When I say big, I mean big in all its contexts. Babohi Lodge itself is large in size; think double-volume suites, huge living spaces, a choice of bars, a communal lounge that makes an airport lounge look ‘cosy’, a split-level spa, a deck that stretches into the horizon with panoramic views, and its location in an 11 000 ha Big Five reserve.
But despite the scale, Babohi offers an intimate and authentic experience, filled with special touches that ensure there’s an element of surprise around every corner.
Fit for royalty
The accommodation is spread across four room categories, with 25 rooms and suites in total and one Presidential Suite.
The double-storey units are between 80 and 150m2and are like mini apartments, with a splash pool, private balcony and patio. On the top floor, the expansive space includes a king-size bed that revolves so that you can position yourself for the perfect view of the sun-baked mountains, an open-plan bathroom with a large bath and shower with a view, a walk–in wardrobe, coffee station, minibar, and work desk.Some have a wood-fired hot tub – a blissful under–the–stars experience.
If more is more for you, theopulent 150m2Presidential-style LionSuite allows for private dining and a bespoke butler service.There’s also a fitness centre and a wellness spa.
Views from above
If you can tear yourself away from your luxury abode, you’ll discover that the communal spaces are just as inviting. Spacious, yes, but with more than enough options to still feel like you have some privacy, while the comfy loungers and couches make curling up with a book or binoculars the most natural thing to do. Everything about the decor is thought out – from the tones to the comfort to the positioning for the best vantage point.
“This is definitely a lodge that speaks to a sense of place,” says Neil Steedman, General Manager – Hospitality for Qwabi Private Game Reserve. “From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to bring a vibrant African flair into the lodge, celebrating the colour, creativity and warmth of the continent. Throughout the rooms, suites and public areas, the decor is thoroughly contemporary but infused with a rich African influence.”
The best part is the perspective from atop. Perched above the rest of the lodge, the dining, bar and rooftop pool deck offer panoramic views that allow for quiet game watching from afar or sunrises and sunsets. Birders are also well rewarded by the abundance of feathered life around the lodge. It’s like you are cocooned in a bubble of beauty and wonder, everywhere you look.
Wining and dining
Don’t expect the usual bush fare when it comes to meals. Food and Beverage Curator Chris Erasmus, Chef Kristine Moodie and Group Sommelier Marlvin Gwese ensure that palates are pleasantly surprised over and over again.
From the breakfast “McMuffin” on a bridge in the bush, to the Japanese-inspired Habachi cooking, where guests can grill their own food over an open-flame tableside, the insanely decadent dessert (think crème brûlée meets malva pudding), to the most interesting aperitifs – whisky cocktail or Campari and orange with star anise anyone? Plus, the coffee to go for the early morning game drive, and popcorn freshly popped on the burner on the late afternoon safari are absolute winners.
There is undoubtedly a more discerning safari traveller nowadays that expects not only a five-star experience, but also something different, plus all the cherries on the top. Babohi is the perfect fit for that traveller. It’s decadent, yes, but it also certainly delivers on the Newmark Hotels and Reserves promise of ‘Experience Authentic”.
About Qwabi Private Game Reserve
Located in the malaria-free Waterberg, a Unesco-declared biosphere reserve (believed to be more than 2.5 billion years old), renowned for its natural beauty, biodiversity and wildlife, Qwabi offers everything you would expect from a safari experience.
It’s home to more than 5,500 species, including the Big Five, cheetah and impressive birdlife, as well as a Cape vulture breeding colony nearby. The reserve and wildlife are managed by Dr André Uys, and the conservation team has exciting plans underway including the reintroduction of species and a focused genetic management programme, bringing in black maned lions from a Kalahari bloodline, for example.
Qwabi is approximately three hours by road from Johannesburg and 60 km from Bela Bela in a malaria-free area. It’s accessible for self-drive visitors and there’s a helipad for fly-in options. For rates and bookings, click here.
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