Even the most avid safari lover will tell you that the Aardvark is an elusive creature. Only the lucky are provided with the pleasure of a few glimpses of this unique animal. We found that finding its namesake, the Dulini Lodge, can be just as daunting… that is without a map or directions, of course.
As we bopped around on gravel roads in our rented car we realised that we were, to some extent, lost. Failing to print the directions from the website could have been a fatal mistake. When we eventually found a gate (not the correct one) to the well known Sabi Sand Game Reserve, we discovered that we had missed our target somewhat. After paying our access fees we were allowed to back track within the reserve. If you don’t want to relive our predicament, use the Newington Gate.
Somewhat irritated and anxious that we were going to miss our afternoon game drive, we arrived at our oasis for the night. Lush green vegetation and friendly smiles welcomed us and soon drove these thoughts far from our minds. Even though we arrived slightly late (not only for the game drive, but for lunch as well), Leisha and her team were able to dish up a delectable lunch under the canopy of trees before we set out for a specially arranged (late) game drive. And what superb game viewing we were able to enjoy! After placing our orders from the game-viewing menu, we were treated to a buffet of sightings. The area is well-known leopard and lion territory – on this particular afternoon, we found various models who were very happy to pose for our clicking cameras.
Since Dulini is also part of the &Beyond family, we knew we could expect excellent service. Upon our return from the game drive, we learned that even the highest expectations can be exceeded – Freddy, our butler, had decided to arrange a private dinner for us. Not only could we enjoy a delicious three-course meal in the privacy of our chalet, Freddy had also run us a hot bubble bath and put a bottle of sparkling wine on ice!
Dulini boasts with serene romantic luxury – each of the six chalets have their own outdoor shower and plunge pool on a private deck overlooking the Mabrak river. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for chance game viewing at any time of the day (or night) while the single stone wall in the lounge brings nature right into your home. His and hers basins, an enormous shower and the freestanding bath are made even more inviting when you step onto the bathroom’s heated floor (such a treat during a cold winter visit!). There is also an abundance of shower products, each of which has creatively been labeled with the image of a wild animal – the cleverly named ‘lion’ hair conditioner was a favourite. This is the perfect hideaway for honeymooners or couples looking for an intimate, romantic destination.
Early the following morning, a wake-up call and steaming coffee eased us into the long day of returning home. Our departure was earlier than that of most guests and the staff went out of their way to accommodate us with a packed breakfast of muesli and fruit. As you drive away, Dulini quickly disappears in a dust cloud, but the memories linger. We won’t easily get lost on our next visit.
– Independent review by Klein Companions, Francois & Shané Barnard