This little camp, part of the Relais and Chateaux group, will stand out in my memory for bringing us close up and personal with an elephant herd like no other we had encountered before. It was named for Jabulani, the youngest of the adult elephants, who was rescued from certain and slow death when he was three months old. Humans took pity on him after he got stuck in the mud. His elephant family couldn’t get him out and abandoned him. Jabulani’s journey to survival and young adulthood was arduous for him and his saviors; and eventually led to the establishment of Camp Jabulani and the further rescue of a group of adult elephants from Zimbabwe.
This attractive luxury bush property favored by the rich and famous was lovingly maintained and well run. It was named Malewane for the ravine on which the property was built. We arrived a little wilted following a day of travel from Cape Town via Johannesburg. John Jackson, the property general manager and our gracious host, immediately showed us to our quarters, the Royal Malewane Suite, on one end of the property that would be our home for the following three nights. There we were greeted by a sea of welcoming smiles from the small group of staff members who would take turns looking after us during our stay.
At Rattray’s on Mala Mala, a small and exclusive safari property in one of the best game viewing areas of Africa, Big Five game viewing was the number one priority. Game drives lasted about three hours and were limited to four guests per vehicle. During our last visit, we shared the vehicle with two enthusiastic repeat visitors, a mother and daughter from Europe, who made an annual pilgrimage to Mala Mala, and now Rattray’s, for their game viewing fix. We were accompanied by Warren Meredith, an English speaking young guide who drove the vehicle, and Jeffrey, a tracker who sat in the last row and whose job it was to spot the game viewing opportunities, especially of the highly coveted Big Five animals (elephant, hippo, lion, leopard, and rhino). Warren was our go-to person during our stay. He dined with us, accompanied me on a bush walk, and organized wake up calls and any activities we might want to schedule.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa, a former farmhouse now restored and filled with nostalgic touches and modern comforts. We visited in between a series of game viewing stays at properties in the Sabi Sands Reserve and Kruger National Park. After days of busy early morning and late afternoon game drives, the quiet ambiance, lush flower filled gardens and grounds, friendly staff, tasty treats and alluring spa options we found at the property were a godsend.
We arrived at 1933 late one afternoon weary from our long trip from the United States and felt instantly welcome. After check in procedures at River Lodge, a sister property, we left our rental car in staff hands and were transferred to the house in a 4 x 4 game viewing vehicle. Before we knew it the 15-minute drive was behind us and we were disembarking.
After refresher towels and introductions, July Nyalangu, the villa’s attentive manager, and staff greeted us warmly and showed us around the main areas of the villa. Our four night stay at 1933 was marvelous. In addition to exclusive use of the property and all its facilities a dedicated staff team looked after us with enthusiasm. Additional characteristics that made 1933 special were the luxurious home away from home environment within a Big Five reserve, striking riverside setting, many amenities and winsome facilities including an on site swimming pool, fitness room, computer corner and wine cellar, and made to order home style meals.
When I think of Londolozi Tree Camp the words that spring forth spontaneously are whoo hoo! This pretty as a daisy camp in the heart of the best game viewing area of the famous Sabi Sand Reserve stood out for extraordinary game viewing as well as its many creature comforts, romantic bush setting, friendly staff and very fine food.