New exclusive bush retreat Becks Safari Lodge offers the quintessential luxury safari experience

So close and yet so far away… a few days in the bush at Becks in the Karongwe Reserve with its lush vegetation, numerous trees and more than 365 different species of bird is a far cry from life in vibrant Joburg. It’s a great treat to be away from the noise and the bustle, the traffic jams and honking hooters. Here, life goes at a much slower, gentler pace, even if you do have to get up at the crack of dawn to experience what it’s really like to live in the wilds.

At 5am it’s quiet, a little chilly and very peaceful. After coffee and rusks, we head off into the true African bush on a game drive in an open safari vehicle. Our knowledgeable guide is ready to answer any questions we have about the animals we see as we amble along. Of course, we were all hoping to see the Big Five immediately, and even though we didn’t see everything on our first morning, our expectations were rewarded. A highlight was tracking leopard, which took us way off-road, but was worth every bump. We also got to watch lions mating, which was quite an experience.

There’s no rush in the bush. Zebra, giraffe and numerous other animals go about their morning routine at a slow pace. Our base for two nights, the brand new and luxurious Becks Safari Lodge, nestles in the exquisite Karongwe Game Reserve overlooking the Makhutswi River. It’s an intimate retreat with just 11 luxurious safari suites on the riverside, including two suites for families or couples. All offer stunning views of the river or a waterhole from a private deck. All of the accommodation, which sleeps up to 20 people in total, offers outstanding views, combining luxe living with a deep appreciation for the natural terrain.

The living area features a large main deck as well as a sunken fire pit; both provide excellent opportunities to view game as they come to drink and to enjoy the natural setting. One thing I noticed from the moment I arrived at Becks is that the lodge is committed to conserving and protecting the environment in every way possible. Built from locally sourced materials and decorated with indigenous artworks, Becks strives to have a positive impact on the community and inspire social change.

When we get back to the lodge at around 8.30am, there’s a hearty breakfast waiting. Then it’s time to enjoy the various relaxing facilities on offer, such as the 20m infinity pool and a selection of pampering, rejuvenating treatments at the Thera Naka Spa where natural healing is the focus. A delicious afternoon tea is served at 3pm, followed by a game drive at 4pm, another opportunity to see wild animals and enjoy a true bush experience.

Sunset in the wild is best experienced on safari, with the late afternoon shadows adding a dramatic effect to the beauty of the bush. If you stay at the lodge instead of going on a game drive, you can enjoy sundowners on the main deck as the sun sets on another perfect day.

I chose to go game viewing in the afternoons while there, and when we returned to the lodge at 7pm, we had time to freshen up and change before dinner. As it’s quite chilly in the evenings, there’s a fireplace inside in the lodge’s main area where we could relax after dinner and share stories of the various animals we’d seen on our game drive and the great photographic opportunities we’d had – or missed.

All too soon it’s time to head home. I’m loath to leave my magnificent luxury suite, which is not only spacious but offers an inside/outside feel that is hard to beat and unsurpassed views of the surrounding terrain. Here, everything is modern and beautiful, including an en suite bathroom with every mod con. But sadly, it’s time to head back to the city.

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