15 May 2013 by Kate Turkington

Opulence on steroids in the bush

Prepare to be dazzled by a fantastical African castle perched on top of a hill in the Leobo Private Reserve in Limpopo’s Waterberg biosphere.

The living area at the Observatory. Photo courtesy of dookphoto.com

Don’t expect the Big Five. And don’t expect any other visitors.

Expect fantastic award-winning design and architecture, and gorgeous views that stretch to seemingly limitless horizons.

And expect to pay a lot of money.

But it will be worth it.

Leobo Private Reserve

Let’s talk about where we are first – geographically, I mean. We’re in the Leobo Private Reserve in the middle of the Waterberg in Limpopo. The Waterberg was given international status in 2001 as the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve because of its environmental importance and conservation potential. You’ll discover mountains, red rocks, valleys, San rock paintings, birds, butterflies, game, and over 2 000 plant species. Plus, one of its most pristine rivers, the crystal-clear Palala.

You can choose to stay at Leobo Lodge, comfortable and traditional, or splurge (and I really mean splurge) at the Observatory, a fantasy private home in the bush designed by award-winning architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens.

Imagine an African castle on a hill with clustered interlinked interiors that look as if they have come straight out of a James Bond movie.

Imagine an African castle on a hill with clustered interlinked interiors that look as if they have come straight out of a James Bond movie – a massive living area with skin rugs and a chandelier made from a hippo skeleton; a gothic double-storey library that could easily have belonged to Sherlock Homes; a sunset deck on the roof with a jacuzzi; a self-contained nursery; and a hidden TV nook.

Then look a bit harder and notice the sandstone dining table, the wildebeest-hide ceiling in a small lounge, and lampshades made of drums and linen, or hanging beads.

The Observatory can be booked only on an exclusive basis for small groups or families, with activities galore included in the rate. James Bond wannabes can race round the reserve on quad bikes; tear over territory in the all-terrain Polaris vehicle; and practise their target-shooting skills with sniper rifles.

Beautiful views

Less testosterone-filled guests can go walking, jogging, take a helicopter flip, gaze at the stars from a state-of-the-art astronomical observatory, go horse riding, or admire the views from the horizon pool.

And you don’t even have to bring your own food because a gourmet chef will be flown in to titillate your taste buds.

The theme of the whole fantastical Leobo experience is the brainchild of a British dotcom millionaire who obviously got fed up with sitting at his computer and dared to give a whole new meaning to being in the bush.

Aerial view of the Observatory. Photo courtesy of dookphoto.com

Luxury in the Waterberg

Category: Attractions

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