When you want to feel at one with nature but can’t bear to forego your daily luxuries, what do you do? You go glamping of course! Fortunately, we have some great glamping spots in Gauteng – like Sibani Lodge. An unexpected, but welcome, long weekend, saw us heading to the Cradle of Humankind, west of Gauteng, where the lodge is situated.
The Cradle of Humankind is one of the world’s foremost archaeological sites. One of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa, and the only one in Gauteng, it contains 15 major fossil sites, of which the 20-million year-old Sterkfontein Caves are the most famous. Significant fossil discoveries have been made here and new discoveries are continuously being made.
A short drive away from the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng, the official visitor’s centre of the Cradle of Humankind, you will find Mount Savannah Game Reserve, home to Sibani Lodge. Buffaloes, giraffes, zebras and various species of plains game, roam the 2000 ha reserve and we started seeing herds of wildlife from the moment we entered the main gates.
Sibani Lodge consists of a main lodge, two cottages and a tented camp. A significant portion of the main lodge, including the communal guest area, was destroyed by a runaway veld fire in August 2021, and it is therefore currently closed. There are plans to open the cottages in December once the communal area has been re-built.
The tented camp, which is some distance away, was not affected by the fire. It is the only section of the lodge currently operational, and this is where we stayed. Consisting of just four luxury tents and a communal boma, it overlooks an expansive savannah landscape with a waterhole, both of which attract a steady stream of wildlife all day long.
The luxurious canvas tents are well-appointed with the old-Africa décor and furnishings blending seamlessly with the natural bush surroundings to create a warm and tranquil ambience. The king-sized beds are dressed in white percale linen and flanked by bedside tables and a dressing table. Hot water bottles and a gas heater provide warmth on chilly nights. There is a cosy lounge area with comfortable seating facing the savannah, and outdoor seating on the patios.
The en-suite reed-lined bathrooms have rain showers, basins and toilets, and bathrobes were provided.
Open-air wood-fired hot tubs have recently been installed at the tents and are a huge highlight for guests. Each tent has its own tub where you can immerse yourself in the warm water as your eyes soak in the spectacular nature vistas.
We stayed in a waterhole-view tent and I loved relaxing on the plush couch with a book, while watching the wildlife through the tent opening. In the evenings, we were rewarded with magnificent golden sunset views.
The old Africa theme is continued in the communal boma where you will come across leather trunks, old wagons and animal hides. To add to the ambience, a roaring fire is lit in the boma’s fire pit at night.
Breakfasts and set three-course dinners are served here, and dietary requirements are catered for if specified prior to arrival. In keeping with our requirements, the staff prepared delicious meals with fish and meat-alternatives for us. Dinners were accompanied by decadent desserts and followed by star-gazing in the clear skies.
Picnics can also be arranged. We had a light al-fresco lunch facing the waterhole, then we went on a game drive with France through the undulating but scenic terrain. We saw giraffes, zebras, elands, sables, springboks, ostriches with chicks, and so much more.
The idyllic wilderness setting near the city makes Sibani Lodge a great romantic getaway from Johannesburg or Pretoria. With no television or wi-fi to distract you, you can bond with nature - and each other - and let the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings wash over you and melt your stress away.
For more information and/or to book, visit Sibani Lodge.
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