Wild & Free must be one of South Africa's best kept secrets. Nestled in a mountainous area of the Naka Sanga Nature Reserve , not far from Bella Bella (previously Warmbaths), it is a comfortable 2-2.5 hours drive from Johannesburg. I went there on my own, so this is written from that perspective. My chalet was called Giraffe, one of only four luxurious chalets -and I mean luxurious, each with a beautiful view of the plateau that stretches into the distance. What was pretty magic for me was the outdoor shower one side of the chalet and the jacuzzi on the patio, the other side. Both completely private. The jacuzzi was particularly enjoyable to sit in after a game drive and gaze out over surrounding bushveldt. And, I really enjoyed the game drives. Lion may not roam freely in the park but there is a large number of other wildlife to see, viz: Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Zebra, a variety of buck and bird life. I've mentioned those animals I got to see, but I believe there are those who have been lucky enough to spot Leopard and Cheetah as well...maybe next time. The thing that I will remember most about Wild & Free, aside from the wonderful experience of being in the bush, is the people who run the lodge and the food. Brunch (11:00am) and dinner were served each day and every meal was memorable. Any plans to diet, leave at home. This is not the place for that...you will want to enjoy each meal. There was also a lovely balance between privacy and personal attention. The staff were friendly and engaging but still gave me the quiet time that I wanted in such a tranquil place. One thing, while I was there there was no Wi-Fi, so no Internet I and I got the impression that was not going to change any time soon. My Blackberry worked with no problems at all. I almost wished it didn't.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set against a backdrop of lush green mountainous vegetation, Wild & Free Game Lodge blends in with the natural surroundings with spectacular views over the valley. No luxury or detail has been overlooked, creating a tranquil haven and a truly unique experience. ... more less