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Issue 6
Africa Travel> Issue 6
UPDATED: August 27, 2014
Bucking the Trend
Hannah Gama Lodge is a captivating tapestry of Africa's sounds, smells and color
By Jo Kromberg

Enjoy an early morning game drive

We were on our way to Hannah Lodge, which is located on the outskirts of the little town of Ohrigstad, midway between Lydenburg and Hoedspruit in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, along with a Certificate of Excellence recipient for 2014 from TripAdvisor, which in my book is always a big deal.

The road from South Africa's capital city of Pretoria to Dullstroom is mostly highway, so it was plain sailing up to that point. Well, pothole hell pretty much sums up the next 200 km or so, hence the travelling time. One has to seriously navigate these nasty caters in order not to damage your car. Well, all the weaving and concentration turned out to be worth it because Hannah Game Lodge, in the heart of the South African bushveld, is an absolute gem. The gentle rolling hills of the Northern Drakensberg Escarpment surround this beautiful Lodge and it spans more than 8,000 hectares of malaria free, unspoiled wilderness.

Our check in late on a Friday afternoon was seamless and before long we are shown to our splendid chalet with the most amazing views of the surrounding valley and mountains. The Lodge offers 56 elevated standard en-suite thatched roof chalets with private verandas, all with breathtaking views of this pristine private reserve. Fourteen of these units have inter-leading doors transforming into seven family units. In addition, there are four standard suites as well as four luxury suites with all the amenities and comforts for that home away from home experience.

It is bone-chillingly cold, probably one of the coldest winters I have experienced in 10 years, but before long the wall heater in the room and the amazingly warm comforters on my enormous bed make me feel snug as a bug. The chalet really is cozy. It has a thatched roof and that time-of-yore real feeling of being in the bush I remember as a child. So often nowadays the "fancy" lodges have gargantuan, cavernous cold rooms but I far prefer this cozy, intimate ambiance. Not that Hannah Lodge isn't fancy! Far from it. This four-star lodge is luxurious and beautifully decorated in earthy, African tones with contemporary touches where needed. The rooms feature lovely bath and shower products, tea and coffee making facilities and each room comes equipped with a dresser and built-in safe in the cupboards. An overhead fan and a panel heater for those winter nights complete each chalet.

We are bone tired and still sated from a late lunch so we decide to turn in early, in anticipation of the game drive the next morning and anyway too warm and cozy to dislodge ourselves from our snug cocoon. This trend continues as the sleep quality here, coupled with the calming silence prove too much for me to get out of bed in exchange for the bitterly freezing temperatures the next morning. My partner goes on the early morning game drive and instead I lie in, just absorbing the serenity and beauty of my environment. I have a cup of coffee on my veranda, watching the sun peek over the impossibly blue mountains and I feel at peace. I amble to breakfast at around 9 to find a roaring fire in the main dining area together with a wonderful feast of a breakfast buffet. The dining room has sweeping views of the surrounding veldt and the centerpiece of the room is the gargantuan, very welcoming fireplace.

Izak joins me a while later for breakfast with stories of buffalo, antelope and warthog sightings on their game drive. We decide to explore the surrounding areas for the day and are given a map by the wonderfully friendly reception manager.

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