The Abelana Experience
Joburg Style was invited to spend a few nights at one of the most prestigious game reserves in Limpopo - Abelana Game Reserve, close to the town of Phalaborwa. After the year we have had, we were beyond excited to travel again...
Our first impression exceeded our expectations. We received an incredibly warm welcome from the Abelana River Lodge team. The reserve itself is quite large and offers all the game that Africa has to offer. The lodge is pure opulence – nestled close to the Selati river, offering great viewing of wildlife. We enjoyed a relaxing drink on the deck watching the hippos, baboons, and waterbuck. What a delight. We especially loved the opportunity for an afternoon nap in a beautifully decorated, comfortable, and spacious chalet. Waking up to the sound of a roaring lion, definitely made us realise how close to nature we were – which was both nerve-racking and exciting at the same time.
The word “abelana” means “to share amongst each other” in the local Northern Sotho
You will definitely not go hungry at Abelana – the culinary offering is diverse, decadent, and divine. What we loved is that you get to enjoy a different menu each day and they also seat you in different locations. Our favourite was dinner under the stars being serenaded by the sounds of the African bush – you simply cannot beat the experience.
The game drives are a highlight. We were spoilt with two drives per day – expertly hosted by a very knowledgeable game ranger who had answers to all of our questions. Searching for the wildlife is only part of the fun – what surprised us is how much we enjoyed learning about both the animals and the vegetation. We had excellent sightings of a range of birds, Impala, crocodiles, zebras, Wildebeest, Steenbok, Kudus, giraffes and elephants. Because the reserve is so large, you get to explore different areas on each drive. Geographically, the reserve is blessed with a range of eco-systems, from the distinctive granite outcrops and koppies of the south to beautiful riparian forest in the north, dominated by large riverine trees. The views over the bushveld are spectacular and daily guided walks and game drives allow guests to explore large tracts of bush in absolute exclusivity.
We had the most incredible sightings of both a leopard and a lion. Literally sitting about 5 meters away from the lion, who was guarding his recent kill. We will never forget this amazing experience.
There are only two camps in the reserve. We visited the Abelana Safari Camp which is located in an elevated position in the southern part of the reserve, overlooking a large watering hole. The camp is smaller than the lodge – offering Meru-style tents – catering for only 8 guests. The tents are simple yet comfortable, offering an authentic safari experience.
Abelana River Lodge is a perfect venue for intimate weddings, they can cater up to 40 people – which is ideal if planning to tie the knot under the current restrictions. It is also a honeymoon paradise, or if you are just planning a romantic getaway, you will not be disappointed. Abelana Game Reserve offers guests the chance to enjoy a unique feeling of exclusivity while on safari while offering exceptional value for money.
Our hearts were very heavy to leave this glorious place. What we realise is what a beautiful country we live in, and what better place to enjoy the best of it than Abelana game Reserve.
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