New to the South African safari scene this year is Inzalo Safari Lodge, an intimate tented luxury lodge due to open its doors to guests in May 2019. Located in the picturesque Welgevonden Game Reserve, a vast 34 000 ha ‘Big Five’ protected wilderness within the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere of South Africa’s scenic Limpopo Province, Inzalo Safari Lodge is a mere 2.5-hour drive or an easy 45-minute flight from Johannesburg into one of the reserve’s two airstrips, making it one of the most accessible premier malaria-free reserves in the country.
The lodge is situated along the crystal clear Sterkstroom River, where each of the five luxurious tented safari suites will provide panoramic views of the river and Waterberg sandstone cliff beyond. The main lodge will offer an airy and welcoming retreat, with large open spaces extending onto an expansive deck and bar area with spectacular views. The décor and design combine modern comforts with rustic charm to create warm and inviting spaces where guests can mingle, dine, enjoy a refreshing beverage or simply soak in the views.
Each of the lodge’s five custom-designed tented safari suites are positioned to provide maximum privacy and solitude. Generously proportioned at fifty square metres, each suite features a private deck with splash pool, en-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, spacious bedroom, well-stocked bar fridge and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Owned and managed by husband and wife team, Dave and Henriette Rieger, together with their passionate and dedicated team, Inzalo Safari Lodge will offer the opportunity to escape, explore and immerse oneself in the daily rhythm of the African bush. “At Inzalo Safari Lodge nature creates spectacular guest experiences; here nature is the main attraction and our team will support it by providing excellent service that makes for rejuvenating experiences for our guest,” says Henriette.
Dave adds, “The name Inzalo can loosely be translated to mean ‘born’ or to ‘be re-born’, symbolising and celebrating the rejuvenating characteristics of nature. When early conservationist Pienkes du Plessis did the groundwork for the establishment of the Welgevonden Reserve – Welgevonden is Dutch for ‘well found’ – his vision was to restore this beautiful landscape into a “wilderness reborn”. Since the establishment of the reserve in 1989 this dream has been spectacularly realised through many years of dedication and hard work of Welgevonden conservation and management teams. Like the original San inhabitants we can again glance from the mountain tops at a landscape untouched, teaming with wildlife and a rich diversity of fauna and flora”.
The Waterberg, as the name implies, serves as a water reservoir for this region. Rolling wooded mountains cut by deep rocky ravines and majestic gorges make the Welgevonden Game Reserve an evocative part of Africa. This is a place of rare and rugged beauty, plentiful wild- and birdlife. The area has also been inhabited over thousands of years and is an important San rock art area in South Africa. Safari experiences abound and include daily game drives, on-site birding, river walks, track and sign identification, bush walks, visits to San paintings, bush picnics and more.
The development and transformation of local rural communities is a key factor in enhancing protected area management for the biosphere. Local communities are enabled to actively participate in the protection and preservation of the area. Community initiatives and partnerships run by the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve as well as the lodges aim to support economic and employment opportunities within the local communities.
Conservation projects abound and the Welgevonden Game Reserve maintains a low human footprint, limiting the number of lodges and guests allowed within the reserve. Private vehicles may not enter, and the number of vehicles allowed at rare sightings is controlled. The unspoiled environment provides guests with the rare opportunity to enjoy unrestricted views of the beautiful habitat and unique wildlife.
Dave and Henriette add, “The Swahili word for journey is “safari” and as owners we believe that this will be a start of a new safari/ journey for us, with the potential to be reborn in this beautiful part of nature”.