A jewel in Limpopo

Tintswalo Lapalala, a luxury tented camp in Lapalala Wilderness Reserve offers a sublime bush experience with all the extra trimmings.

In Shangaan, the name Tintswalo means ‘the intangible feeling of love, gratitude and peace bestowed upon someone offering you a meaningful and worthy gift’.

This message is woven into the Tintswalo properties’ ethos and I was reminded of it when visiting Tintswalo Lapalala, a luxury tented camp in Lapalala Wilderness Reserve in the UNESCO-declared Waterberg Biosphere, one of the largest private reserves in South Africa.

Tintswalo Lapalala, a luxury tented camp in Lapalala Wilderness Reserve i

The greater Limpopo area offers a variety of things to do and its proximity to Gauteng and incredible malaria-free game reserves make it a very attractive destination for local and international holiday makers looking for a bush experience with a difference. The Lapalala Wilderness Reserve also offers another level of privacy and exclusivity with only three commercial lodges on the 44500 hectare property.

The Tintswalo Lapalala reserve was founded in 1981 by conservation leaders Dale Parker and Clive Walker

The reserve was founded in 1981 by conservation leaders Dale Parker and Clive Walker and their legacy of nature conservation and preservation is clear throughout. One of the initiatives started back in 1981 which is going strong today is the Lapalala Wilderness School.

The first intake consisted of 10 students, but the school’s founders had the vision of turning it into a place of education for young people, focusing on conservation, ecology and our natural resources, and the protection thereof. Fast forward to 2022 and, in addition to the Wilderness School Experience, the school now offers tertiary level training and a Youth Development Programme and is recognised as a centre of excellence in environmental education.

While the focus at Tintswalo Lapalala is all about delivering an unforgettable experience for guests, done with an eye on the least possible impact on the environment. It employs a number of sustainable environmentally conscious initiatives and is completely off the grid, ranging from hot water delivery in the morning (to avoid the use of kettles in the rooms), looseleaf teas and filter coffee that can be composted, eco-friendly mosquito and bug repellents to no plastic usage, a large vegetable garden on the property, seed banking and an established recycling process.

A host of activities are on offer in addition to game drives. Guests can walk or fish parts of the 37km untouched rivers – the perennial Palala River runs north to south, and its tributary the Bloklands Spruit. There’s also a network of smaller streams and dams, offering swimming, an abundance of water-loving birds, and incredible guided fishing (spin or, for the more experienced, fly-fishing). Species include the sought after indigenous yellowfish, as well as the canary largemouth, Limpopo rock catlet, sharptooth catfish, Labeos, Bquog, silver robber, tilapia, Churchill and the southern mouthbrooder.

Guests can walk or fish parts of the 37km untouched rivers at Tintswalo Lapalala

If you’re a night owl, you can choose an after dinner game drive or opt for stargazing. You could even spend the night out on a comfortably furnished, raised wooden deck under the stars. Then there’s a morning or evening barge on the Koebo Dam, guided bush walks or a visit to the ancient San rock paintings and carvings (Lapalala has identified 13 sites within the reserve). And then of course, there’s the option of doing as little as possible – book into the spa or ensconce yourself on a lounger on the deck above the waterhole and let the game come to you.

A visit to the bush is undoubtedly a meaningful and worthy gift and one can’t leave without feeling gratitude and peace after being enveloped by nature in such an authentic environment.

For bookings and enquiries click here.

REJUVENATING RETREATS

IF YOU NEED TO RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES OR SIMPLY WANT TO CATCH UP ON BEING, CONSIDER TAKING TIME OUT FOR A RESTORATIVE WELLNESS BOOST.