Pondoro lodge is set within a private game reserve, but attached to the main Kruger national park, which affords guests the opportunity to see all the Big Five, while also being able to drive off-road.
Exploring the Balule reserve, guests can expect to see lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino and African elephant – plus big names like cheetah and the very rare black rhino. And with owner Robbie as your ranger behind the wheel, expect to see, and learn, more than you could imagine about your new bush-dwelling neighbours.
Daily morning and evening game drives are supplemented by nature walks, as well as evening star-gazing through the lodge’s telescope. And heated beanbags on the seat of every vehicle before a morning game drive are the norm, as is a glass of welcome home sherry after an evening’s drive.
Like the best of boutiques, Pondoro likes to mix it up at mealtime, and we loved a romantic candlelit wine cellar dinner for two, plus a surprise al fresco setup away from the lodge down by the riverbed – surrounded by bomas and tealights.
Chefs make use of local cuts so expect to enjoy an ostrich or buffalo steak, and portions are generous. Fresh, homemade and delicious is the mantra at this lodge. If you’re (un)lucky a monkey might jump down from the trees and steal your bread roll.
New to the lodge this year is a secluded and romantic treehouse lookout – perfect for a picnic lunch for two, or for more the more adventurous an overnight stay.