Watch wildlife cross the river from your chalet at this Big Five getaway
If you're in need of an exclusive and perfectly private wilderness break, you'll be entranced by Kuname Lodge. Unashamedly luxurious, this small safari lodge is set in some 9000 hectares of pristine African bush in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, east of the Drakensberg escarpment and just 45 minutes by road from the Kruger National Park. Its surroundings are lush with riverine vegetation, the views are varied and truly lovely, the game is healthy and plentiful (this is a Big Five reserve) and the silence is broken only by birdsong and the snuffles and grunts of wildlife.
At the lodge
The open-fronted lounge is simply decorated with the best quality furnishings – squashy leather couches, natural fibres, bold orange cushions and local artwork. Meals are served in the dining area, with a view. The chef is a dream, whipping up superb dishes from local ingredients, such as pesto made from wild basil collected by guests on morning excursions, and a drool-worthy coffee-chocolate mousse. Outside, a rocky-edged pool overlooks the river. TVs? No. But there's free WiFi in the lounge.
Five thatch-roofed chalets nestle in the dense bush, their interiors rustic-chic African in style, with deep beds, dramatic artworks, aircon and all the mod cons. But it's the tranquil views over the Kuvenjane River, the wilderness and the Drakensberg that catch at your throat. Take it all in from the wooden deck or your outdoor bath (so romantic in the evenings). For an even more private group or family experience, book the colonial-style manor house, which sleeps six with a private splash pool and full board facilities.
Game drives are the main attraction here, because there's so much to discover, big and small. The reserve brims with wildlife and 360-plus bird species, so there's plenty to see and photograph. Venture into the bush on foot, and enjoy a sundowner as you watch the sun set behind the Drakensberg mountains. Ask your guide to drive up a koppie (hill) for some amazing views and forever memories of the Lowveld.