Every now and then a Press Release drop in my inbox that leaves me hankering to travel so bad that I actually ache. Yep, this is one of those.

I can't be selfish and be envious alone so I thought I would share ... enjoy!

In one of the most exquisite wildlife reserves in South Africa, where the Big 5 roams free between the Kruger National Park and its exclusive Greater Kruger perimeter, a Place of Paradise is found. Contributing to the conservation and preservation of this extraordinary, wild land, Lauren Saad and her team at Ezulwini Game Lodges conduct a superb safari operation, which is luxurious to boot.
Photo: Billy’s Lodge overlooks the lush Balule Reserve vegetation while guests relax in leather comfort and watch the activity unfold.

Lauren’s family built Billy’s Lodge and River Lodge and preceded both with the name, Ezulwini, meaning ‘place of paradise’. An apt description of the untamed thicket, open savannahs, and the inimitable presence of the Olifants River and its river banks. Here in the Balule Nature Reserve, the Big 5 is only the beginning of the wildlife presence. The bush is teeming with woodland-loving antelope, while some of Kruger’s best known 'big tuskers' are regular visitors to the lodges.

The luxury suites incorporate the use of natural wood and stone in novel ways to individualise the décor. Old leadwood tree trunks act as rustic pillars both inside and on the veranda beneath the thatch canopies.
Artisically shaped branches are used as towel rails, while stripped bamboo poles are lined neatly around outdoor showers offering privacy without distracting from the natural ambiance.

Photo: River Lodge’s Shilanga Mahlo suite has a view of the river, a private deck and plunge pool, which is visited by thirsty elephants.

Wild flowers, and bright, fuchsia-coloured bougainvillea are elegantly scattered on the varnished bathroom vanities, while fresh, fluffy towels are laid on the private pool decks at each suite. Cushioned sun loungers, sparkling wine, and evening turn down services are all part of the gentle charm of Ezulwini Game Lodges.

Lauren works closely with her team of housekeeping and catering staff, who are warm and vivacious women from the local villages. When these ladies are not gliding in an out of guests’ suites to iron out any creases and restore the rooms to day 1’s elegance, they are chatting animatedly and laughing at private jokes in Shangaan. Lauren is sure to be in on the humour after spending so much time in the bush and developing relationships with her Ezulwini family.

There is something about the food at Ezulwini that points directly to the exceptional skill coming out of the kitchen. From freshly-baked bread, scones, and muffins, to saucy lasagnes, fragrant noodle dishes, and the tasty, traditional ‘pap and sheba’ that accompanies the grilled-to-perfection braai meat. The Ezulwini women can do it all!

Something that perhaps sets Ezulwini apart from its contemporaries is that it is the biggest donor for a rhino-rescue initiative, which sustains an all-women anti-poaching patrol in the Balule Nature Reserve. The Black Mambas, as this army of camo-clad South African women is known, plays a vital role in securing the Balule and defending its rhinos against poaching. Recently reported in this documentary, the Black Mambas’ jobs involve long hours of vigilant tracking in the bush, and the chance of engaging in armed conflict with potential poachers.

In a league of their own, Ezulwini Billy’s Lodge and River Lodge seduce with their African-opulence, and owner-managed authenticity, while their attitude to wildlife conservation is nothing less than admirable. Nestled in locations that are invigoratingly wild, and that drink in the charm of the Balule; this is a safari experience to write home about.

For all reservation enquiries, please contact Sun Destinations on the following:
Telephone: on +27(0)21 421 8433
Email: reservations@sundestinations.co.za

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