Leobo Lodge, The WaterbergYou usually know what to expect at a game lodge, with twice-daily game drives and perhaps a guided bushwalk. But Leobo Lodge in the Waterberg doesn’t have enough wildlife to make game drives particularly exciting. It’s also the holiday home for an Englishman who made oodles of money in the technology business, and like most geeks, he’s still a boy at heart. Read full review:
So Leobo is equipped with quad bikes and an amazing buggy called the Polaris that motors through rivers and up rocky hillsides like a spider.
There’s a shooting range, fishing, horse riding and the warmest outdoor heated pool I’ve ever enjoyed in the bush. There’s stargazing too, but not with the usual portable telescope. This is a whopping industrial-sized version in a round observation tower reached by two flights of ladders. Silver lamé spacesuits straight out of Star Wars are hanging in the library below the tower, so you can dress up as R2D2 before you search for your old home in the Milky Way.
When I stayed there was also a crocodile tug-of-war on offer, but the croc has probably grown far too big to avoid trouble since then.
Leobo is aiming to hire out all its rooms en mass to groups rather than individually, in which case a chef will be brought up from Joburg to cater for the visit.
Our group enjoyed the fine food prepared by chef Coco Reinharz of Sel et Poivre restaurant in Sandton. His food and wine pairing menu started with tomato, basil and mozzarella wrapped in phyllo pastry, followed by tender duck with orange and ginger sauce, then a rich chocolate cake creation.
In the morning we went out on the quad bikes, keeping our eyes out for the smattering of giraffe, zebra, buffalo, buck, hippo and leopards. Most remained elusive, perhaps because the noise we were making had them raising a haughty eyebrow and roaming off in the opposite direction.
We got the Polaris stuck in a rocky river, of course, but eventually yanks and dug it out.
Leobo’s eight chalets stand on the side of an escarpment with private decks looking over the plains. There are enough amenities to make it welcoming but not too lavish, while the central lodge has the pool, a sauna, a pool table and squishy couches dotted around the deck.
The more opulent option is the Observatory, which is lavishly over-the-top luxurious. Imagine a hippo-skeleton chandelier hanging over a sandstone dining table and a ceiling covered with wildebeest hide and you might get the idea.
The Observatory has two luxury bedrooms, a triple bunk room for kids and a separate guest room for a nanny.
Details from: www.leoboprivatereserve.com.