Having scaled the dizzy mountain heights last week, this time we’ve hunted down the ultimate adventure for Smith amateur explorers. Top of the food chain is Lion Sands in Kruger National Park.
Style Boutique bushveld
Setting Extraordinary plain
Why this week? Christmas is upon us, and while tradition may have encouraged you to expect bell-jingling reindeer and the odd stray donkey, I’m prepared to wager you’re not anticipating big cats. Unless Felix has stumbled across the mince pies. Moreover, the lion’s expecting you. And he’s not a critter you want to disappoint. Situated in South Africa‘s Kruger National Park, Lion Sands is where the wild things are, and as their guests, you’ll more than likely be privy to some of their bad habits. Eating one another being a general favourite. Don your pith helmet, get up close and pesterable with inquisitive, biscuit-snatching monkeys, admire the majesty of lissome leopards and lordly lions, and feast on the local quarry – impala and wildebeest are highlights of the menu. From January 4th, you can also have four nights for the price of three.
Our favourite bits: It’s got to be the game. They’re very persuasive. But this South African game reserve isn’t all rough and ready, rifle-toting, safari action. When the hurly-burly’s done, you can retreat from the ‘Five-go-nuts-with-a-wildebeest’ adventure to your own private sanctuary; the cool, elegant, black-and-white interiors of your riverside lodge calmly await your return. Each glass-fronted villa has its own pool, muslin-draped four-poster bed, and luxurious bathroom with a roll-top bath. You also have a telescope stationed on your lodge’s private deck for a little more wildlife voyeurism before the sun goes down. Then turn your eyes heavenward for a tour of the cosmos under a shimmering African sky.
Mr & Mrs Smith say…‘Once the sky has turned a stunning blood-red, and darkness has fallen, we chat about the evening drive, and our sightings of black rhinos with their young, a herd of 100 Cape buffalos, a family of elephants, hippos snoozing in the water, and birds of all colours: reds, blues, oranges. In the guestbook in our room, one guest has written that she saw a lion kill a wildebeest on the banks of the river as she was having a massage. When the masseurs come and set up side-by-side beds on our private deck, next to the infinity pool, I promise myself I’ll keep my eyes open as long as possible…’
Compiled by Louisa Coward