Ivory Tree Game Lodge, Pilanesberg National Park
The crater of an extinct volcano provides the perfect setting to one of South Africa’s premier National Parks. Situated in the North West Province, within a comfortable drive (2.5 hrs) from OR Tambo airport, passing through some rural villages, one arrives at the Bakgatla Gate where Ivory Tree Game Lodge is located. After passing through the main gate, a short drive brings you to the main entrance of the Lodge where one is greeted with a colourful, refreshing drink and lots of smiles.
Ivory Tree Lodge is neatly tucked away in the low treeline overlooking one of the Valley’s leading to the centre of the Volcano. With many of the rooms having recently undergone a refurbishment, they offer 5 star luxury with perfectly appointed bathrooms, having a large bath with view, and outdoor shower. Relaxing on the small verandah offers you the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of the bush veld around the camp while unwinding after your travels.
The central areas offer an outside “pool bar”, large restaurant, where breakfast, lunch and dinners are served, unless of course, the weather prevails, and dinner is served under the open skies in the large boma. The pool blends in to the surrounding landscape having been contracted from surrounding rock, offering a refreshing dip on the hot days after game drives.
Morning and afternoon game drives are offered, where one is able to go and explore the magnificence of this extinct volcano. Mountains and valleys offer contrasting game drive experiences, where blue wildebeests roam the plains, and giraffe’s browse on the Acacia trees. More often than not, lions are picked up either hunting their next meal, or lazing under the shade after a full night of hunting. We were lucky enough to find three young male lions feeding on, what was left, of a giraffe carcass. Despite the fact that there was little left, they were still fighting over the pieces that were there, snarling and swiping at each other if there personal spaces were interfered with.
If you don’t feel like a drive, the option is there to jump in one of the Hot Air Balloons and go for a breathtaking drift over the centre of the extinct volcano, which is now marked by a large lake. Game viewing from the air takes things to the next level in African safaris.
Arrival back at the Lodge was met with an open fire next to the bar, where one could enjoy a drink and roast a marshmallow or two over the open flames …
The Low Down ….
Accommodation: 5 Star Luxury Game Lodge Hotel – 67 rooms
Rooms: Well appointed luxury hotel suites (Standard, Executive and Luxury Suites) with king or twin beds, en-suit bathroom with large granite bath and outdoor shower. Verandah’s offer place for quiet, secluded area allowing time away to relax in peace and quiet.
Pool/Spa: A large pool is situated in the main area. The luxury suites have their own splash pools. A full service Spa is available, offering all the popular therapies.
Restaurant/Bar: Three meals are served daily, plus a morning snack before game drive, tea/coffee stop on game drive, afternoon tea before game drive and then sundowners in the Park.
Children: Children are welcome.
Wifi: Wifi is available in the central areas.
Game Drives: Two game drives are offered daily into the Reserve. If you self-drive, you are obviously allowed to go into the park on your own and spend the day there. Balloon Safaris can also be organised.
Activities: Various other activities are offered, from quad biking, archery, target shooting, drumming and walks.