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Bona Ntaba Tree House Lodge, Hoedspruit
It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to stay in a tree house for grown-ups with game roaming freely. At Bona Ntaba, there are four tree houses built above the tree line with panoramic views of the Bushveld and the northern Drakensberg escarpment, especially on a clear day.
Each tree house is built around a living tree. The Giraffe unit, for example, is built around a marula tree and its branches are intertwined with the small deck, bedroom and bathroom. The units have a fair amount of distance between them to allow for real peace and serenity during your stay, with only the chatter of birds or the distant call of lions to interrupt the silence.
There’s a communal area with a lounge (and games for the kids), a kitchen, a boma, a braai area and a swimming pool. Orpen gate into the Kruger Park is only a half-hour drive away.
However, the gravel roads leading to and from the reserve are in a poor state, and you can’t walk around freely because of dangerous game like buffalo and leopard. So be prepared to spend lots of time relaxing in the boughs of your chosen tree with binoculars, looking for the reserve’s resident animals. According to Bona Ntaba’s owner Gregory Sweeney these can include “the occasional escapee lion or wild dogs from neighbouring reserves”, alongside the resident antelope and birds.
Facilities: Giraffe and Zebra are the family units. They can each accommodate two adults and two children, who sleep on a mattress in a loft above the bathroom. Impala sleeps two people. These three units share a communal kitchen at the lodge. Kudu sleeps two people and has its own kitchen and boma. All the tree houses have electricity, en suite bathrooms and outside showers with views of the surrounding Bushveld.
Niggles? The bed in the Giraffe tree house was out of shape, so getting a decent night’s sleep was difficult.
How to get there? The main turn-off is about 23 km south-east of Hoedspruit on the R40. You’ll need a vehicle with a high ground clearance.
Rates: R600 per adult; R250 per child. Kudu R690 per person.
Contact: 015 793 3976; bonantaba.com