I’ve been craving the bush. I hadn’t been for a few years so we decided to take a little time out over my birthday this year to escape to the magic of Tshwene Lodge in the private Welgevonden reserve, just 2.5 hours outside of Johannesburg. Tshwene is a part of the Rare Earth Retreats portfolio and is an intimate lodge that sleeps 10, 5 two-person suites. It’s nestled in the Taaibos River Valley and is named after the Chacma baboon which inhabits the valley and serves as your alarm-clock in the mornings if you decide to sleep with the doors open like we did; heaven. The lodge and the suites are built on stilts and the setup feels very Robinson Crusoe tree-house. Tshwene has WiFi, two luxury lounges with fire-places, a pool, indoor and outdoor dining areas and a huge patio with loungers and magnificent views of the valley and watering-hole below.
The bush is amazing for disconnecting and recharging the soul. It’s also great for over-indulging in hot, home-made bread, ice-cold pink gins & tonic and pretty much anything the chef Steven prepares each day. We whiled away our time at Tshwene taking naps (all of the naps!), eating (all of the bread!) and going on long, lazy game-drives through the reserve. April, our guide, was excellent and brought his eagle-eyes and sharp wit to the party. I’ll admit, we committed to only one drive per day as I find doing both morning and evening drives a little too much time on the road and not enough time at the lodge unwinding. We had some great sightings (my camera lens isn’t ideal for long-range wildlife photography, sadly) and I loved our pitt-stops for coffee and rusks on the morning drive, and gins & tonic with biltong and snacks in the evenings. My highlight was a cheetah we spotted on the edge of the reserve and then another with her cubs near the lodge; I have really bad luck with cat sightings in the bush so this was really special.
On the eve of my birthday we had an incredible encounter after dinner with friends at Tshwene’s sister lodge, Ekuthuleni, next door. After an al fresco supper in the boma we moved to the deck which overlooks an enormous plain. Before long we realised we were surrounded by elephants; they’d come for the fresh water stored in the lodge’s tanks. We spent a couple hours watching these majestic creatures, red wine in hand, from a safe but palpable distance.
Here’s our stay at Tshwene in pictures…
I’m giving one lucky reader and his/her partner the opportunity to experience Tshwene Lodge at Welgevonden for two nights valued at R15 600. This incredible prize includes breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, game-drives in the mornings and evenings, tea and coffee. The prize does not include drinks, transport to Welgevonden, nor gate fees. The prize is valid for 1 year and is subject to availability.
How to enter? Easy. Here are 4 simple ways you can enter. Note, you don’t need to do all of the below, you can choose just one, however entering via each method will increase your chances of winning. Competition closes midnight August 31st 2016. I will announce the winner the following week.
- Comment on this blog post telling me what you like most about Tshwene (brochure here) and who you’d like to treat to this amazing bush experience
- Like and share my Tshwene post on facebook
- RT my Tshwene tweet on twitter
- Go to my [first] Instagram post relating to this giveaway and tag the person you’d like to share in the Tshwene experience with you
That’s it! Fingers crossed.