Limpopo – The Birth of Inzalo Safari Lodge

Travel Ideas was invited to the opening of a magnificent oasis in Limpopo that lies in the Welgevonden Game Reserve, an easy 2.5 hour drive North of Johannesburg. 

Welgevonden is truly the heart of Limpopo’s bushveld. Here the Big Five are free to traverse the plains as they wish, protected by one the most advanced nature conservation programmes in Africa.

Limpopo Inzalo Safari Lodge

Private vehicles are not permitted in the reserve in order to minimize the impact of humans on the area, and only a limited number of guests are allowed at any one time.

Inzalo lies 20 min from the East Gate of Welgevonden and upon entering the reserve, we immediately became aware of the abundance and diversity of wildlife and already had sightings of Elephant, Kudu, Zebra and multiple herds of buck en route to the lodge.

The drive flew by with Francois, who with his ample knowledge provides educative and humorous conversation.  He is both guide and protector! Knowing that you’re in such close proximity to powerful wild animals is both exciting and a little unnerving, but you’re quickly put at ease when seeing how comfortable he is in his environment.

Inzalo (meaning reborn) is only visible as you enter its gates, showing the care that was taken in ensuring it is secluded and hidden from view. This means that it does not disturb the ecosystem and allows for wildlife in Limpopo to often be found roaming unthreatened very nearby and around the lodge.

We were welcomed by Owner/Managers Dave & Henriette Rieger who we soon found to be SUPERHOSTS!

An intimate lodge, Inzalo has 5 luxury tented suites, offering guests a very personal and unique experience. Suites have been meticulously positioned to ensure privacy and a seamless meeting of nature and structure.

Each private deck has a plunge pool, which offers views of the free roaming game across the river, as well as an outdoor shower, allowing for the full “nature” experience!

A perfect equilibrium between nature and humankind. Attention to detail is evident and guest comfort a priority with fine touches of luxury at every turn.

We were torn between spending time indoors, outside on the private deck or at the main lodge which has an authentic safari ambience and generous spaces to relax or socialize.

Clearly experience has had its say in the planning of the day’s itinerary where meals are perfectly timed around the two daily game drives.
The first is a 7am departure, which gives guests the best of a fresh new morning in the bush.

As we are all aware rhino poaching is a big concern in Africa today, and anti-poaching campaigns have been well publicized. The Welgevonden reserve is famous for its White Rhino population and their conservation efforts should be commended. They have a rhino identikit database which was established specifically for all known individuals on the reserve.

We saw many rhino throughout the duration of our stay, a few times up close, indicating the delicate ecology of the park is respected and the animals never feel threatened.

Limpopo Inzalo Safari Lodge

Welgevonden Game Reserve is unique in that it collaborates with various external parties to oversee and implement numerous conservation projects. It is known for developing advanced techniques and technology for the conservation and wildlife industry.

We crossed paths with some very cold guests from other lodges, making us really grateful for our blankets and hot water bottles that were on our seats when we got to the safari vehicle!

The guest pampering continuing across all aspects of our stay!
Upon our return to the lodge, we indulged in a sumptuous brunch and informative chats about the area. Thereafter retreating to our secluded space in nature taking in the sounds of the river and wildlife in Limpopo.

Once again catering for our every whim, we were offered an elegant High Tea just before the second game drive of the day.

The afternoon drive was definitely my favourite as we enjoyed sundowners overlooking the savannah, G&T in hand and had the unique opportunity to watch two elephant bulls swimming and enjoying themselves in such close proximity to us. We felt we were part of the scene.

We were welcomed back with a sherry, then dinner on the main deck with a candlelit gourmet 3 course feast.

I learnt plenty about the fauna and flora of the area, especially from the “wagabietjie bos” which taught me to do exactly that – slow down and embrace the magnitude and magnificence of the bush! Inzalo Safari Lodge in Limpopo is just the place to do so!

Story by Shelley Gericke

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