A memorable African experience at the Inzolo Exclusive Game Lodge
Katie Ann Lamb ventures to the African Bush and mixes raw nature with outstanding luxury…
If you are seeking the ultimate luxury escape in the Eastern Cape, look no further than the newly opened Inzolo Lodge. This destination has it all. Inzolo is translated as ‘peace’ or ‘tranquillity’ in the Xhosa language, which is the native dialect in the Eastern Cape, and this perfectly describes the boutique environment.
The sound and smell of the African bush is pretty hard to describe to those who have yet to witness this incredible habitat. If you are thinking about encountering this environment, it promises to steal your heart and soul. The song of the birds, chirping crickets and the deep low calls of hungry predators will make the hairs on the back of your neck rise. Inzolo is ideally situated to give guests a glimpse of such wonders. Nestled in a secluded valley against a cliff in the heart of the African bush, Inzolo overlooks a watering hole. If you’re lucky enough, you may witness various animals bathing and drinking from this oasis during your stay.
The Lodge is run by the lovely Dave and Christina. It is their abundance of knowledge, experience and warmth that ensures Inzolo is such a fulfilling retreat. With only four chalets, the capacity to sleep eight guests and support from a handful of staff, a highly personal environment is provided for those staying at Inzolo, along with the highest standard of service.
The Lodge is well-equipped and immaculately decorated. It combines African culture with modern luxury through texture and artwork, whilst maintaining a homely feel. Each of the four thatched chalets can sleep two adults in king size beds, which are presented with the finest linen to ensure a restful night. The décor is earthy and encapsulates the natural environment. However, modern amenities are aplenty and there is access to a Nespresso coffee station, extensive mini bar, safe and also wifi connectivity for those who want to upload their snapshots straight to Instagram.
Personal touches like biltong and homemade date balls or rusks add an extra special touch. These can be enjoyed in privacy on your own balcony whilst making the most of the panoramic views, with a glass of South African wine in hand.
The bathrooms feature double basins and a unique enclosed shower with a secluded view that reaches far in to the valley. Complimentary toiletries are exclusively manufactured by “Rain” from ingredients that are locally sourced. This is in keeping with the ethos at Inzolo and the venue prides itself on supporting the local economy by employing those from the area and also using a wide-range of regional products.
Time seems to pass very slowly in the bush enabling you to really unwind, relax and become at one with nature. The chic plunge pool offers the perfect location to soak up the sun whilst marvelling at the sheer cliff face, which inspired Inzolo’s logo. Alternatively the viewing deck offers 180 degree views over the valley, which is perfect for evening sundowners and a gripping African novel.
I am a huge advocate of the South African culinary scene and can honestly say the meals we experienced at Inzolo were some of the most memorable meals that I have experienced globally. The attention to detail, taste and creativity demonstrated by the chef is remarkable, not forgetting the location. Ingredients are mostly sourced from their organic farm. They are homegrown and fresh, which makes the food even more enjoyable.
Inzolo offers two game drives a day the first departing at approximately 6am and an evening drive at 4pm. Despite the high temperatures during the day, the early morning and evenings can be chilly so it is recommended to pack accordingly. Nestled within 6500 hectares of bush the animals are as exclusive as the lodge itself. It is not guaranteed that you will see anything remarkable; however, with Dave’s understanding of the animals and their behavioural habits, it is a thrilling experience. On both drives, Dave sources a solitary location to stop. In the morning, coffee and muffins are available and in the evening a selection of beverages and snacks are served whilst watching the sunset and capturing that perfect picture.
Inzolo’s owners Paul and David, together with their team, are passionate and committed to the conservation and sustainability of the land, as well as supporting the local community. The lodge has successfully launched two special conservation initiatives: the interactive buffalo breeding project and the protection of the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra. I was also really impressed by the presence of the anti-poaching vehicles during our drives. Inzolo offers Africa’s renowned Big Five which sadly not everyone in today’s society is happy to respect and appreciate in their natural environment.
The hospitality is outstanding at Inzolo and guests are made to feel special at every opportunity. Upon returning from the early morning game drive, Ntombi was there to welcome us with warm hand towels and a delicious hot chocolate before we enjoyed breakfast on the terrace. On offer is a buffet of fresh fruit, pastries, cereals and selection of meats and accompaniments. You can opt for something traditional like Eggs Benedict or the chefs special, which for us was rösti, springbok carpaccio and a poached egg washed down with a delicious watermelon mimosa.
In the evening Themba and his visionary cocktails greet you from your game drive, which you can enjoy whilst warming up by the boma and sampling canapés. Unless otherwise specified, dinner is a social affair enabling you to get to know other guests whilst recounting tales of the day and Dave’s experiences. The menu is ever changing depending on availability and season but you wont be disappointed. We sampled the beetroot borscht, kudu tataki, eland loin and the chef’s take on peaches and cream. Each dish was extraordinary in taste and presented beautifully.
Inzolo is located within close proximity to both Port Elizabeth (80km) and the historic city of Grahamstown (30km). They have facilities to accommodate arrival by helicopter or small chartered plane. Inzolo don’t accommodate children under 12, differentiating themselves from other lodges in the area and ensuring they stand out. If you’re looking for a honeymoon destination or a special celebration, the intimacy offered by Inzolo is totally unique. This is the perfect place to make some magical memories and see the very best of Africa.