Welcome to Schoone Oordt Country House

Schoone Oordt Country House is a charming country hotel in Swellendam South Africa, possibly the best of Swellendam accommodation, with 10 luxury bedrooms set in lush gardens, an intimate Conservatory restaurant, a sparkling saltwater pool and a passion for people, family, food, wine and the environment.

Francois talks about their trip to Schoone Oordt Country House.

KC:  How far is Schoone Oordt Country House from Cape Town?

Francois:  After about 2 and a half hours’ drive from Cape Town you will discover Swellendam (one of South Africa’s hidden treasures) with Schoone Oordt Country House being one of the gems within this beautiful village.

Schoone Oordt Country House

KC:  What made you decide to stay at Schoone Oordt Country House?

Francois:  About 3 years ago we drove through Swellendam for a quick lunch and I saw this beautiful Victorian building as we were looking for a place to eat. I immediately asked my wife to settle the kids somewhere suitable – as I wanted to go and see if this striking building could be a boutique hotel… and it was!

Since then I have wanted to experience this charming establishment firsthand.

KC:  What was your first impression of Schoone Oordt Country House on arrival?

Francois:  Attention to detail and authenticity – old world charm, handmade furniture, antiques, wooden floors, rich textures and friendly warm smiles greeting us as we arrived.

KC:  What was the service like?

Francois:  Very attentive and friendly. We were fortunate to meet the owners (Alison and Richard Walker) with their lovely children. They made us feel right at home and it really felt like we were old friends getting together.

Schoone Oordt Country House

KC:  Is it child friendly?

Francois:  Yes, with Schoone Oordt’s owners having 4 kids themselves – everything has been tested as child friendly and our kids were very welcome. They even arranged a babysitter for all the guests’ kids while we were having dinner.

KC:  What activities are offered at Schoone Oordt Country House?

Francois:  The Conservatory Restaurant is onsite and known as one of the top culinary experiences in the area. There are also many activities that can be arranged from the Schoone Oordt concierge service – from wine tours, horse riding, excursions to the De Hoop reserve and more – or just take a stroll down Swellendams main road with antique shops, coffee shops and other treats.

KC:  What was the food like?

Schoone Oordt Country House

Francois:  We were privileged to have been invited by Alison and Richard to a traditional braai and spent hours along the long dinner table in the Conservatory Restaurant sharing stories and laughter with the other Schoone Oordt guests. The food was great.

Breakfast was also fantastic and Schoone Oordt’s eggs benedict with salmon has my vote any day!

KC:  What was the highlight of your stay at Schoone Oordt Country House?

Francois:  The leisurely, traditional braai in the Conservatory Restaurant with interesting people and no time restrictions.

KC:  What should potential visitors take note of?

Francois:  Driving from Cape Town can become a long trip – so make it a journey and plan a stopover somewhere in the middle (Gabrielskloof Wine Estate (in Bot River) is always a winner for us). I would also recommend that you stay at least 2 nights at Schoone Oordt to allow you to experience what this special boutique and surrounds have to offer.

KC:  Who is Schoone Oordt Country House ideal for (i.e. The type of client you would sell this product to)?

Francois:  Young and old enjoying boutique-style service with an appreciation for architecture and interior.

In short: if you have style, you will love it.

Point out of 5
Service  5
Food  5
Location  5
Facilities  5
Décor  5
Attention to detail  5
Value for money  5

Should Schoone Oordt Country House sound like music to your ears, contact Klein Collection at info@kleincollection.com to book your stay.

Welcome to South Hill

The Venue at South Hill Vineyards nestles at the eastern end of the picturesque Elgin Valley. Surrounded by the Kogelberg Mountains, neighbouring orchards, pine forests and the farm’s own vineyards, The Venue is a very special place.

South Hill

Francois talks about their trip to South Hill.

KC:  How far is South Hill from Cape Town?

Francois:  About 45 minutes drive from Cape Town located in the beautiful Elgin Valley – known for fresh produce (especially apples and pears)

KC:  What made you decide to stay at South Hill?

Francois:  I have heard great things about the guest house on the South Hill farm and took the opportunity to experience the villa myself – with my wife, Carien and our two boys (James and Francois).

South Hill

KC:  What was your first impression of South Hill on arrival?

Francois:  Wow – scenic setting, fresh air, farm size open spaces and privacy – and all of it just for us to enjoy for two full days!

KC:  What was the service like?

Francois:  We felt like we were visiting friends who own a wine farm – Sandy welcomed us with a warm and friendly smile and guided us through all the villa’s facilities and features.

KC:  Is it child friendly?

Francois:  Yes, the villa accommodated us perfectly and our children had space to play outside – and play games inside in front of the large fire place in the evenings.

South Hill

KC:  What activities are offered at South Hill?

Francois:  South Hill is a wine farm and the wine tasting is a must if you enjoy good wine. The Villa is also stocked with South Hill’s wine – so you can have your own wine tasting while having a bite to eat in your private space. There is also a restaurant on the farm and the Old Mac Daddy trailer experience is just across the road with a restaurant on site as well.

KC:  What was the food like?

Francois:  The facilities in the villa are really top end and any chef would feel right at home (and inspired) to cook up a storm. All I can say is that we ate well!

South Hill

KC:  What was the highlight of your stay at South Hill?

Francois:  Quality time with my family in front of the fire place in the villa, surrounded by nature – enjoying good wine from the South Hill wine cellar.

KC:  What should potential visitors take note of?

Francois:  You should stay here at least two nights – and you can bring friends along (there is lots of space to accommodate two families in the villa) if you are not seeking a private weekend away.

KC:  Who is South Hill ideal for (i.e. The type of client you would sell this product to)?

Francois:  People who love the farm living idea and want to experience living in a luxurious farm house for a night or two – cook, eat, sleep and relax.

Point out of 5
Service  5
Location  5
Facilities  5
Décor  5
Attention to detail  5
Value for money  5

Should South Hill sound like music to your ears, contact Klein Collection at info@kleincollection.com to book your stay.

Bluebells Cottage

Bluebells is just a brisk stroll away from the centre of Greyton; a town known for its delightful coffee shops, top restaurants and interesting corners filled with arts and crafts. Every Saturday from 10 to 12 you will find the locals and visitors streaming to the morning market where locally produced or harvested treats and fresh produce are sold.
                                                                       
Francois talks about their family trip to Greyton.

KC:  How far is Bluebells from Cape Town?

Francois:  Bluebells is located in Greyton, a peaceful and picturesque village in the Overberg region about 150 kilometers from Cape Town.

KC:  What made you decide to stay at Bluebells?

Francois:  Myself, Carien and the two boys have been to Bluebells in 2012 for the first time and we have been hooked ever since. Bluebells offers something really unique – allowing us as a family to connect, relax and spend quality time together.

Bluebells Cottage

KC:  What was your first impression of Bluebells on arrival?

Francois:  We are home (although we do not own the house…)

KC:  What was the service like?

Francois:  Bluebells is a self-catering cottage – the check-in procedure and cleaning services offered was friendly and efficient.

KC:  Is it child friendly?

Francois:  Yes, Bluebells and Greyton as a whole are meant for children. The gravel roads to walk or cycle and the random free roaming horses makes this place a paradise for children – my kids loved it!

KC:  What activities are offered at Bluebells?

Bluebells Cottage

Francois:  Bluebells is walking distance from Greyton’s top restaurants, art galleries and more. The cottage is well equipped and we ended up buying fresh goods in Greyton and then cooked up a storm every evening – with the fire burning in the back ground (and kids playing snakes and ladders in the lounge – and not staring at the IPAD )

KC:  What was the food like?

Francois:  Greyton offers a good selection of restaurants and if you do not feel like cooking yourself – Bluebells is a hop skip and jump from where you want to be!

KC:  What was the highlight of your stay at Bluebells?

Bluebells Cottage

Francois:  The time with Carien and the two boys in the evenings in front of the fire – just the slow pace of the surrounds and quality time with my loved ones.

KC:  What should potential visitors take note of?

Francois:  You need to stay for at least 3 nights – and you will be back!

KC:  Who is Bluebells ideal for (i.e. The type of client you would sell this product to)?

Francois:  People wanting to escape from the hustle and bustle of normal city life and want to connect with their loved ones in a rustic unpretentious environment.

Point out of 5
Service  4
Location  5
Facilities  4
Décor  4
Attention to detail  4
Value for money  5

Should Bluebells sound like music to your ears, contact Klein Collection at info@kleincollection.com to book your stay.

The perfectly located InterContinental Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport Hotel

South Africa’s only luxury airport hotel, the InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport hotel is only a 68.7-metre (225-foot) walk from the International Arrivals hall at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Stephanus talks about his and his wife’s trip to InterContinental Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport Hotel.

KC: How far is InterContinental OR Tambo from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa?

Stephanus: 67m… literally!

KC: What made you decide to stay at InterContinental Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport Hotel?

Stephanus: My wife and I travelled to Johannesburg for business and we required accommodation close to the airport.

KC: What was your first impression of InterContinental OR Tambo on arrival?

Stephanus: I’ve always driven past it on my way from the airport to wherever I was heading, so I’ve always been curious to see what it’s like to stay there. I was pleasantly surprised. The porters (with their muted African attire) were incredibly friendly and quietly took care of all our baggage. The check-in process was equally smooth and the duty manager made us feel right at home. The hotel, although modern, had a warm and welcoming feeling, and exuded the energy so typical of Johannesburg (albeit in a more relaxed way).

KC: What was the service like?

InterContinental Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport

Stephanus: Superb. Fantastic. Unforgettable. Seriously, from the moment we walked in until the moment we left, our needs were always attended to in a discreet and unobtrusive manner. Regardless of the request that came their way, nothing ever seemed to be an issue. They have simply thought of all the details: fruit bowel with champagne upon arrival, together with a gift bag and card. Then you have all the other niceties in the room that you’d expect from a 5-star hotel (but which, quite frankly, not all 5-star hotels offer): Nespresso machine, iPod docking station, large flat screen television, mini-bar, clothing press, gowns, complimentary Wi-Fi, electric safe, etc. The windows are triple-glazed (this was a first for me), so despite being only 67m from the airport, the noise levels are less than what you would fine in a hotel overlooking lake Geneva. In fact, the rooms are 100% sound proof, so you don’t need to worry about listening to CNN with your hotel guest next door at 1am in the morning. The bathrooms were exquisite: stylish, light brown marble featuring double basins with a separate bath and shower (and a separate toilet). The hotel manager also called us shortly after check-in just to double-check that we were 100% satisfied and whether there was anything else that we’d require.

KC:  Is it child friendly?

Stephanus: Yes, although the hotel is obviously geared more towards upmarket business and leisure travellers. If a family vacation is what you have in mind, you will probably want to visit Mauritius instead. Nevertheless, they accommodate kids and make them feel just as special as adults. And yes, they offer babysitting services as well.

KC: What activities are offered at InterContinental OR Tambo?

Stephanus: The hotel features a nice gym and swimming pool on the top floor overlooking the airport runway, which is pretty, particularly at night when all the airstrip lights are on. There is also a spa where you can enjoy a massage, including a business centre, various conference rooms for functions of all sizes, a lovely restaurant (which is also open for the public), disability services and 24-hour security, to name but a few.

KC: What was the food like?

Stephanus: It was really delicious – very unlike typical airport food! Everything was so fresh, tasty and stylishly presented. We unfortunately didn’t have dinner there (we had a dinner appointment elsewhere), so I can’t comment on their dinners, although we had a fantastic breakfast (room service).

KC: What was the highlight of your stay at InterContinental OR Tambo?

InterContinental Johannesburg OR Tambo

Stephanus: The overall experience was genuinely unforgettable. It is one of the few places where I honestly couldn’t think of anything else that I would have wanted to experience differently. Also – and I know it sounds cliché – but the people were really so helpful and went to all extremes to make our stay extra special. Although airport hotels don’t ordinarily come to mind when I think of an idyllic holiday destination, I can honestly say that this is the kind of hotel where I won’t mind staying 2 or 3 days, particularly if you just want to relax. The rooms are lovely and I’ll definitely do my utmost to think of another excuse to travel to Johannesburg, even if it’s just to stay there!

KC: What should potential visitors take note of?

Stephanus: Because the hotel is literally 67m (i.e. walking distance) from the airport, you obviously don’t need to rent a car or catch a shuttle between the airport and the hotel. Furthermore, it’s incredibly convenient to literally check out of the hotel, walk a few meters and 5 minute’s later check your bags in at the airport (assuming you’re flying out). Conversely, if you arrive at the airport late at night, you can be dressed in a gown and slippers or sleep in pure cotton linen in a matter of minutes.

Stephanus: Something else that I really found appealing about the hotel is their emphasis on being environmentally friendly, not just in terms of electricity usage, but even in terms of the breakfast take-away packaging.

KC: Who is InterContinental OR Tambo ideal for (i.e. the type of client you would sell this product to)?

Stephanus: Mainly top-end business travellers, but also luxury leisure travellers who need world-class accommodation at the airport.

Point out of 5
Service  5
Location  5
Food  5
Facilities  5
Décor  5
Attention to detail  5
Value for money  5

Should InterContinental OR Tambo sound like music to your ears, contact Klein Collection at info@kleincollection.com to book your stay.

Discover the 5-star Peermont D’oreale Grande Hotel

Discover untold luxury and regal comfort … the 5-star Peermont D’oreale Grande hotel at Emperors Palace is conveniently located next to O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

Stephanus talks about his and his wife’s trip to D’oreale Grande.

KC: How far is D’oreale Grande from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg?

D'oreale Grande

Stephanus: The 5-star Peermont D’oreale Grande hotel at Emperors Palace is conveniently located about 10 minute’s drive from the airport and 30 minutes from Sandton.

KC: What made you decide to stay at D’oreale Grande?

Stephanus: My wife and I attended a Mrs South Africa 2013 gala evening held at Emperors Palace.

KC: What was your first impression of D’oreale Grande on arrival?

Stephanus: We arrived quite late and decided to enjoy the hotel’s grounds the next day – which we did – so the porter accompanied us to our room and ensured that we were settled in.

We stayed in a Club Floor Superior King room. These elegantly decorated rooms featured a king size bed, a writing desk, easy chair and marble topped coffee table. Other amenities include a hairdryer, digital lap top safe, and TV offering a selected bouquet of satellite channels, complimentary Wi-Fi, full evening turndown, room service, full mini bar and valet service on request.

The great thing about this room is that it is located on the exclusive and private Club Floor, which offers a luxurious Lounge with complimentary refreshments, work stations, a meeting room, free Wi-Fi Internet access, local and international newspapers and access to a Club Floor Services Manager willing to assist with a diverse bouquet of personalised services.

Other room features include early check-in and late check-out options, 24-hour refreshment in rooms, robes and slippers in the room, selected complimentary food and beverage, shoe polishing services and complimentary pressing/laundry.

KC: What was the service like?

Stephanus: The service was great and staff members were always willing to assist. When we arrived in the room, we received a welcome note, including a complimentary gift bag from the hotel – all little things that, at the end of the day make your stay extra special.

KC: Is it child friendly?

Stephanus: Yes. In fact, our 2 year old accompanied us on our trip and we never had any issues. (That said, she is simply adorable and well behaved!) Our 2-year old loved standing next to the floor to ceiling windows and looking down on the world below. Bear in mind, however, that the hotel features a large and beautiful outside pool, which doesn’t have any surrounding fences, so if you’re on the ground floor, you need to keep a watchful eye on your youngsters. Also, as far as I could tell, they didn’t specifically have any kids activities. The hotel is better suited for professionals and luxury travelers who require accommodation for a night or two within close distance of the airport.

KC: What activities are offered at D’oreale Grande?

Stephanus: The hotel features a gym, spa, outdoor swimming pool and expansive grounds, which really provides a great escape from the city.

KC: What was the food like?

Stephanus: We had a fabulous breakfast in the Club Lounge, which was on the seventh floor (the same level as our room). The presentation and food options were great. It certainly didn’t feel like we were dining in a hotel with 192 rooms! The attention to detail was evident and the chef frequently made appearances just to ensure that everything was perfect. My wife, 2-year old and wife were all very impressed!

KC: What was the highlight of your stay at D’oreale Grande?

Stephanus: The Club Lounge was probably the biggest surprise, and we ended up spending most of our time there.

KC: What should potential visitors take note of?

Stephanus: The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service between the hotel and the airport which runs every 15 minutes, so there is no need for you to hire a cab.

Ask the hotel to put you on the seventh floor (it was recently refurbished) and double-check with them that you will have access to the private Club Lounge. If you do, you will be able to enjoy snacks and beverages there at any time of day and it’s ‘on the house’. Because we arrived so late, we literally had our ‘dinner’ there, snacking on all the delicious things that they had on display. It’s also a nice place to sit and read a good book or – if you want – mingle with other corporate and leisure travellers.

KC: Who is D’oreale Grande ideal for (i.e. the type of client you would sell this product to)?

Stephanus: Corporate travellers, or leisure travellers who require accommodation for a night en route to their final destination (particularly if you need to catch a flight early the next morning, or arrive late at night).

Point out of 5
Service  4
Location  4
Food  4
Facilities  4
Décor  3
Attention to detail  5
Value for money  4

Should D’oreale Grande sound like music to your ears, contact Klein Collection at info@kleincollection.com to book your stay.

Chitwa Chitwa, Sabi Sand Reserve

Review by Jonathan and Sophie Ellaby.

If safari lodges are about location, location, location, then Chitwa Chitwa is our favourite yet. After a long dusty drive, we step onto the expansive boardwalks and immediately the peace and tranquility starts to ooze into our bones.

Speaking of bones, around Chitwa Chitwa there are lots of them. Elephant skulls form sculptured statues, a chandelier of bones adorns the lodge area, our suite has what looks like a giraffe tibia decorating the coffee table. The outdoor showers of some of the suites have towel rails comprising skeletal remains of some large mammal. Original, and impressive.

Chitwa 4

The main pool overlooks the magnificent dam with several resident hippos, Chitwa Chitwa

Art meets the bush

And continuing with the décor theme, the lodge and suites are adorned with abstract art that is the work of the owner. Each piece is unique, and ties in with the theme of each room. Every suite is themed in a completely different way, showing off the owners’ interior design talent covering a wide, wide spectrum. This is where art meets the bush.

But back to location, and what the main lodge and the suites do all share in common is their incredible position on the edge of a small dam, an oasis in the surrounding bush. While most lodges may boast a modest waterhole, or partially dry river, this dam beats them all hands down. As we unwind with a cold drink, two pods of hippo honk 50 metres away, while the cries of a fish eagle echo over the still water. It’s a fantastic magnet for birds and game, and you don’t need to stray from the deck of your suite to see it all close-up.

Chitwa 2

Each suite has a private pool overlooking the dam, Chitwa Chitwa

Leopards, leopards, leopards

But located deep in the Sabi Sand reserve, our favourite game viewing area anywhere, there’s no way we’re missing a game drive, and soon we’re cruising the area with our guide, Surprise, and tracker, Ralph. It’s not long before Ralph spots a leopard in a Marula tree, with a recent impala kill draped over a branch. We have the sighting to ourselves and watch spellbound as the leopard tucks in, at one point accidentally dropping the entrails to the ground. In a single fluid movement, it slides down the tree to recover it, before slinking off into the sunset. Not bad for the first drive.

Chitwa 3

Leopard on impala kill, Chitwa Chitwa

The food at Chitwa matches all the other superlatives, with superb plated meals and friendly staff. Our waiter (improbably named Coconut) was genuine and endearing. Meals are refreshingly unpretentious, and you don’t feel as if you’re being plied with food constantly. Sophie tried out the small gym anyway, watching a herd of waterbuck come down to the dam to drink while hammering the treadmill. And hosts Claudia, Leon and Gaby do a brilliant job in making guests feel not just relaxed, but also at home. The owners’ great emphasis on attention to detail comes through in every aspect of the lodge, and leaves a lasting impression.

Surprise

We can’t wait for the morning drive with Surprise. Surprise is an old-hand Shangaan guide, who worked his way up the ranks from bush clearing, tracking and finally guiding. Mostly self-taught, he’s one of the best guides we’ve had in years of safaris. This morning he lives up to his name with a stunning sighting of a male leopard stalking a steenbok, just metres from our open-top vehicle. We watched with our hearts in our mouths as he crept closer and closer…but the steenbok was too quick and darted away in the nick of time.

If resting in your suite after breakfast sounds too lazy, you can take a game walk. I’ll take any opportunity to learn from a good Shangaan guide and as we stroll in the heat of the morning following tracks and identifying trees, Surprise tells me stories of his most radical sightings – lions eating lions, leopards eating leopards. You can see anything in Sabi Sand; you just need time and luck.

Chitwa 1

Main deck area, Chitwa Chitwa

Our incredible luck continues next day with more leopard sightings on every drive – hunting impala at night, and two leopards mating. Oh, and lions on two buffalo kills, elephant, rhino and lots more. We’re stunned. Our only disappointment? When the time came to leave.

In a climate where more and more safari lodges are becoming corporate owned and correspondingly bland and much less personal, Chitwa still retains the air of a private lodge. Touches of magic are everywhere. And did we mention that location?

Good for: Art and bush lovers alike, honeymoon couples, leopards (no guarantees!).

Not so good for: Still trying to work this one out.

Our verdict: Eclectic décor style and astonishing attention to detail, combined with a superb setting in the best game viewing area in South Africa, make Chitwa Chitwa one of our favourite choices.

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Sabi Sand Reserve

Review by Jonathan and Sophie Ellaby.

Earth Lodge is like no other place. If you’re thinking warm colonial touches, kudu leather couches and zebra skin carpets as your idea of a safari lodge, forget it. Earth lodge is an assault on the senses, a monstrous statement, a wild experiment.

And we love it. Cast out of cement, river sand and straw, the lodge has a cave-like quality, while the furnishings are even more outlandish than the architecture. Driftwood from floods has been sculpted and polished and made into furniture and individual pieces of art, with mesmerising results. The bar, for example, comprises a large chunk of a dead tree, so extensive it’s integrated into the actual structure of the building, its contortions so convoluted it would have been impossible to design.

Sabi 1

Exquisite interior of our suite, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

We were so busy marveling at this that we almost missed the a la carte lunch so it blended into afternoon tea with an array of delicious cakes, before being introduced to our guide Marcus and tracker Louis for our afternoon game drive.

As the name suggests, Sabi Sabi is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, bordering Kruger National park, the uncontested jewel of safari areas in South Africa. After an assortment of plains game and a sunset G&T it was starting to look like a quiet afternoon, until tracker Louis made a miraculous spot – the ears of a leopard crouched in the long grass some way from the road.

Sabi 4

Leopard, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

Driving off-road, we followed him for 15 minutes as the dusk turned to night, stalking into a dry river-bed, while a troop of monkeys in the tree above screeched their fury at the deadly intruder. There are many places you see the Big 5, but if you want more than a fleeting chance of seeing this majestic animal, Sabi Sand is about the only place to come.

Dinner at Earth Lodge is a lavish affair. Each night’s venue can be somewhere different – under the stars in the boma, the intimacy of the library, or even the elaborate wine cellar. Our 5-course extravaganza of Prawns, Pear & Gorgonzola soup, Spring Rolls, Lamb Rack, Pork Belly and Chocolate Fondant was under the stars, attended to by our jovial and excellent waiter George.

Sabi 2

Dining is a lavish, decadent experience at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

The staff at Earth Lodge are worthy of extra mention. At many top lodges, even in the very highest price bracket, staff will be competent but wooden, where you’ll feel comfortable but not at home. At Earth lodge, the hospitality comes naturally, and the barmen and waiters don’t need to ask your name: they know it already, and they don’t forget.

From afar, the well-spaced suites resemble termite mounds, little earth domes protruding from sunken caves, and inside too, with the earth-like, straw-textured walls and small skylights sending shafts of sunlight into the dark interior. The suites actually blend in so well that it is not unheard of to spot lions perched on the rooftops. Keep an eye out…

Sabi 3

Solitude, peace and out-there architecture, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

The furnishings are minimalist but very comfortable, with the same driftwood theme that characterizes the main lodge. Outside you can perch on a huge sculpted Leadwood bench next to the plunge pool, or relax on comfy loungers set in the bushveld itself. All with absolute privacy.

At 6am next morning sleep is interrupted (I was dreaming of giant termites invading our suite) by our wake-up call for the morning drive, and after a pre-breakfast we’re off into the cold, winter sunrise. Hornbills sit motionless in the trees until the weak sun warms their feathers and starts to warm us too, on our way to find rhino and wild dog.

Sabi Earth lodge, Sabi Sabi’s flagship lodge, is more than a statement, it’s a declaration. In their own philosophy, its futuristic lines represent ‘Tomorrow’. The nearby Bush Lodge and Little Bush Lodge represent ‘Today’ and it’s here that you’ll find your traditional contemporary, quintessential African safari themes. Bush Lodge is big, with outstanding child facilities, while Little Bush Lodge is small and intimate, with just six chalets.

Finally, Selati lodge is themed on the historic Selati railway line that ran close by, full of colonial charm and memorabilia from this golden age, and represents ‘Yesterday’. (It also overlooks a cracker of a waterhole, with great game close to the lodge).

But if it’s your thing, the prize is for Tomorrow.

Good for: Big splash out, something you can’t experience anywhere else.

Not so good for: Intimate, cosy feel (although if this is your thing, Little Bush Lodge offers plenty of it).

Our verdict: Out-of-this age architecture, something genuinely astonishing in South Africa’s premier game viewing reserve.