It’s when the African sun beats down on you and creates little drops of sweat on your brow that a country breakaway is at its best. While the sun scorches the earth it warms the pool for cocktails later.
When you’re at Askari Lodge and Spa, nestled in the Magaliesberg mountain range, you will constantly yearn for the heat so you can spend time outside, especially at night when the star tapestry is at its boldest.
The lodge is one of those perfect places where city dwellers from Johannesburg or Pretoria, who spend their week nose to the grindstone, can jump in the car on Friday at 5pm and be sipping sundowners listening to the trumpeting of elephants at 7pm. Or alternatively you can just go visit for a day.
It’s a country escape in every possible way, but close enough to “civilisation” that you can still populate your Instagram feed with photos of your breakaway. Askari Lodge and Spa is in the Plumari Africa Game Reserve, where the Big 5 are still king.
Everything is in perfect balance in this pristine wilderness area, with its 5 000ha of bushveld and an abundance of flora, fauna, birdlife and, of course, wildlife. Garden cottages have moderate rates and are perfect for short stays (privacy is a problem and longer stays might strain relationships).
The quaint en-suite bathroom, with its claw-foot tub and country charm, also features a wood-and-glass door, which means you can see every detail of the bathroom when you’re in the bedroom. I used a towel as an impromptu curtain, but was constantly cautious of the door.
On the other hand, accommodation comes with extras you won’t find at similarly priced hotels. A giant multi-plug next to the bed means you have enough space to charge all your devices, and then some. It eliminates the need for you to pack and potentially lose your own adapters.
If you brought your own bottle of wine or bubbly, you won’t have to sip it from the tumbler glasses hotels usually provide, as the coffee station has two wine glasses – a rare find. The room also had a can of mosquito spray, which comes in handy if you forgot your own.
The main part of the lodge is next to a man-made moat, separating hippo pools and the elephants’ stomping grounds from guests. Ask staff about the elephants and they will regale you of tales of the tusked beasts and their interactions with guests. If you’re brave enough you can meet them up close for R450 and feed these mammoths.
Animals are everywhere and you’re warned from the start that bats and snakes do get into rooms if you leave a window open for too long, but if you want to really see all the creatures of Askari, one of the game drives is the way to go.
If you’re lucky the pool will be the perfect temperature when you get back. Askari Game Lodge and Spa has one of the largest private collections of ox wagons, carts and other animal-drawn vehicles.
A variety of stone and iron-age artefacts, items from the Boer War and San Bushmen rock carvings tell the history of the area, which is also known for the nearby Battle of Nooitgedacht. Guided bush walks take guests through areas where many stone carvings can be found.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.
BACK TO CITIZEN
BACK TO PREMIUM
The Citizen. All rights