Gondwana Game Reserve (www.gondwanagr.co.za/ Tel. +27 (0)21 555 0807) has added a new luxury lodge to its portfolio, Ulubisi House, named after the Black Harrier frequently seen hunting in the grasslands surrounding the private lodge. It represents the most exclusive accommodation offering on the 11,000-hectare, Big 5 reserve which is ideally situated on South Africa’s Garden Route. Breathtakingly stylish and sophisticated, yet refreshingly simple, Ulubisi House provides the ideal venue to reconnect with friends and family and to share an exciting safari adventure in the Western Cape’s leading private game reserve.
With 180-degree views of grass plains dotted with game, fynbos-covered rolling hills and the Outeniqua mountain range, Ulubisi House is tucked away in the reserve’s 1000-hectare protected walking area for endangered species. Sleeping either 6 adults or 4 adults and 4 children, the property comes with a full complement of staff, including its own butler, chef and field guide. The timetable runs to guest’s guilt-free whim and they will instantly feel as though this is their second home. Ideal for friends or families seeking peaceful, quality time together, the privacy is only interrupted by the numerous wild visitors that drop in regularly for a drink from the swimming pool.
Developer Mark Rutherfoord, skillfully incorporated the large scale, modern African structure made of stone, wood and thatch into the natural environment. There are three spacious bedroom suites and an enormous central living space with seating and dining areas overlooking an open grassy pan. A loft apartment is also available adjacent to the lodge for extra guests.
Lynette Kuhn from local interior design firm Urban Jungle brought the vast spaces to life with an understated Afro-chic décor style: a mix of African artifacts and texture, with contemporary custom furniture. Local wood artisans Meyer von Wielligh created a unique design for every wood element in the house including the kitchens, closets, and gorgeous furniture statement pieces. The layout, style and décor of the house was all carefully selected by Gondwana’s owner Wendy Rutherfoord right down to the forks and knives and handmade, mouth blown glassware. “It was very important to the design of the spaces to make guests feel right at home,” says Wendy. A one of a kind glamorous coffee and wine bar area was designed so guests could make their own specialty coffee with the push of a button or pick out a wine for dinner. Of course your butler is always on hand to help if you prefer!”
Generous wrap-around terraces and living areas that open up to the landscape beyond embrace the surrounding bush, inviting it into the spacious interiors. Beds are positioned to face the waking bush but there’s no need to jump out of bed early – with a dedicated game ranger and a private game drive vehicle, guests set their own schedule.
The expansive deck looks out onto magnificent savannah and mountain views, while the sparkling swimming pool and hot tub are surrounded by loungers with plump cushions. An outdoor dining area, ideal for stylish bush dinners under the stars, completes the African experience.
Besides private game drives guests can enjoy a wide array of activities directly from the lodge, includingbush picnics and fishing excursions, guided walks including fynbos and wildlife hikes, mountain biking (with 7 bikes in varying sizes available), and trail running. Children will enjoy Gondwana’s popular Junior Ranger Experience with their private field guide illustrating the wonders and joys of nature. Satellite TV and Wifi are also available.
Those wishing to explore the region will find world-class tourist facilities and attractions on the doorstep, including the charming coastal towns of Mossel Bay, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, neighboring championship golf courses such as Pinnacle Point, great swimming and surfing beaches and even whale watching between May and September each year. This and the year-round idyllic climate, second most moderate in the world, as well as absence of malaria make Gondwana a must on the Garden Route.