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Feature lodge: Umkumbe Bush Lodge

As we meander through the wild terrain of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve enroute to our lodge we are met by impala, elephants, and a substantial herd of waterbuck, two of which are putting on a show of strength as they lock horns with one another. If the location is anything to go by, we are onto a winner and it’s no surprise as this private reserve, which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, is one of the best places in Africa to view animals in their natural environment.

Image by Umkumbe Bush Camp

Finally, we pull up to a neat clearing under the trees, where we are met by Nadine the lodge manager of Umkumbe Bush Camp. We are assisted with our luggage through the camp and shown to our glamping-style, luxury tented suites, which are built in a circular formation under a canopy of trees. The lodge is made up of 10 tented suites and these are divided into 4 standard tented suites, 5 superior tented suites, and 1 luxury tented suite.

Image by Umkumbe Bush Camp

We are immediately made to feel like we have arrived home in this intimate space in the southern Sabi Sands, and this is complemented by the friendly staff who are very welcoming and available to anything we may need. Nadine shows us around the lodge, which has an outdoor gym for those wanting to hit the treadmill, cycle or pump some weights; a beautiful lounge area that overlooks the open savannah and is perfect for relaxing, reading a book, or catching up on emails; an restaurant area as well as a boma (an outdoor enclosure) for dining under the stars; a swimming pool to cool off on hot summer days; and a cosy bar for enjoying a night cap on those chilly evenings.

Image by Umkumbe Bush Camp

Once settled in there is time to enjoy a refreshment before heading out on our first safari game drive and after being introduced to our ranger and tracker we head out into the bush in search of animals. There is so much to learn on safaris that goes beyond snapping a photograph and this is where the value lies in the experience and wealth of knowledge that wildlife rangers and trackers provide. Pieter is attentive and quick to answer all our questions, and we are fortunate to see some brilliant wildlife sightings along the way. As the sun is setting, we stop for drinks in an open clearing where a herd of wildebeest is grazing nearby before continuing our drive as night-time falls.

Image by Umkumbe Bush Camp

Back at the lodge a hearty South African feast awaits in the boma, followed by a nightcap at the bar with fellow guests who share their stories of the day’s events. Everyone is ready to hit the hay as tomorrow brings another early start to catch the awakening of the African bush.

It can certainly be said that Umkumbe Bush Lodge is an absolute treat and a pot of gold at the southern end of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve!

Image by Umkumbe Bush Camp

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