The hippos began stirring. The small one rose first. Some of the others followed, while the others remained submerged in the river. There were about eight of them. A huge male opened his jaws wide to show his dominance. Further up the river, on the edge of the dense woodlands, a crocodile basked in the sun. Between them, a snakebird perched on a branch extending out of the water looking for prey. Behind me, relaxed impalas strolled around the Gary Player designed golf course. I watched them all from my comfortable seat in the hide at Kruger Park Lodge . Although the nearest gate to Kruger National Park was just 10 kilometres away, I was enjoying the game viewing right there.
Situated on the banks of the picturesque Sabie River, which flows through Kruger National Park and further on to Mozambique, Kruger Park Lodge is part of the prestigious Legacy Group of Hotels & Resorts. More of a resort than a lodge, it is a great place for a family vacation and is rated as one of the top Gold Crown Resorts in Southern Africa. The resort is surrounded by lush greenery and dense woodlands, which attract prolific bird and animal life.
There are 233 deluxe chalets spread throughout the sprawling estate, overlooking the gardens or the nine-hole golf course. The comfortable thatch and face-brick buildings range from one to four bedrooms. All the chalets feature satellite TV and outdoor braai facilities.
Our self-catering "chalet" was a huge three-bedroom house with an open-plan lounge and dining area, a fully equipped kitchen and a wide balcony, spanning two sides of the chalet. Two of the bedrooms were en-suite. To my delight, there was a washing machine and a tumble dryer, perfect for some mid-vacation laundry. It was like a home away from home.
We enjoyed having all this space and my children claimed their own bedrooms promptly. I loved relaxing on the balcony and watching the impalas roam around.
Should you not feel like cooking or doing laundry, there is a restaurant and a laundromat on the premises. The resort also offers a plethora of leisure and entertainment facilities including three outdoor swimming pools, four tennis courts (of which two are floodlit), a pro shop for the golfers, mini-golf, fishing, volleyball, and well-equipped play grounds.
During the school holidays, there is a structured entertainment programme for the little ones. As I walked around the resort, I saw kids having fun everywhere. Mine were having fun too.
Kruger Park Lodge is a self-contained resort with so much to do on the premises but should you wish to go out and explore, Kruger National Park is a short distance away. The town of Hazyview and other popular Mpumalanga attractions like the Panorama Route are also nearby. Day trips and excursions can be arranged by the lodge. This is a great place to unwind, spend quality family time, and take life easy amid the scenic beauty of the Mpumalanga Lowveld.
“…few can sojourn long within the unspoilt wilderness of a game sanctuary, surrounded on all sides by its confiding animals, without absorbing its atmosphere; the Spirit of the Wild is quick to assert supremacy, and no man of any sensibility can resist her.”
* James Stevenson-Hamilton (first warden of South Africa’s Sabi Nature Reserve)
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