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WWhere do you find your peace?
Is it in a quiet place where the only noise is the call of birds in the trees, while the autumn breeze blows the leaves in murmuring cadence? Is it nestled in the sight of nature’s scenic art gallery? Perhaps you find it in the somnolent sound of rural living or in the presence of wildlife that involuntarily restores you to equanimity.
Whatever the case, there’s no doubt that one of the pathways to peace is through nature. And thankfully, finding it is far easier than you could ever imagine.
Located in the shadows of the Malelane Mountain Range and 45km from the Kruger National Park is a peaceful retreat in Mpumalanga that has come to be known as the aha Bongani Mountain Lodge.
BBoasting gentle and unspoiled landscapes, this game reserve welcomes discerning guests to a place of unparalleled peace and tranquillity.
Each chalet in this luxurious accommodation establishment is designed to not only capture the spirit of Africa, but to also bring the beauty of the outdoors into its interiors with warm terracotta tones and a subtle blend of timber and thatch. In addition, it features private decks with spellbinding wraparound views and every modern comfort, ideal for families, groups or individual travellers.
Bongani Mountain Lodge
AA place of wildlife
While enjoying a sundowner on your private deck, there’s a great chance that you might spot one (or more) of Africa’s Big Five game animals – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo – disappearing into the horizon.
If not, you have the choice to go on an exciting game drive offered by Bongani Mountain Lodge.
All you have to do is sit back and relax in an open safari vehicle. Your experienced guide will ensure that you’re fully immersed in the moment, which is defined by the sights and sounds of the bush, as you come into close contact with nature and the multitude of species of wildlife, reptiles and birdlife.
There are also other things to see and do at the game reserve, such as rock art tours, cultural village tours, Kruger National Park drives, adventurous game drives as well as bush walks through the lodge.
AA place of history
As you wander through the Bongani Mountain Lodge, you’ll find that it’s almost impossible to avoid the undying spirit of the great African explorers and hunters of the bygone era who once occupied the area.
These include the San people, with over 250 recorded San rock art sites estimated to be 1500 years old - the greatest concentration of recorded rock art per square metre on earth.
Speaking of great Africans, Nelson Mandela has also graced the lands of Bongani Mountain Lodge. Just a few days after his release from prison in 1990, the former president of South Africa visited the Mthethomusha Nature Reserve, managed by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Authority (MTPA). He also addressed a capacity crowd that had gathered at the nearby KaNyamazane Stadium in Lekazi. This is the same stadium where the national 2017 World Tourism Day celebrations were held. During his stay in the province, Mandela went on a hunting expedition at the MTPA-managed Songimvelo Nature Reserve.
AA place of African cuisine
The lodge boasts an outdoor dining boma (an enclosure), which provides guests with an ideal setting to sweetly repose around an open fire and enjoy a traditional African meal under glittering skies.
There’s also a beautiful restaurant on site where you can catch enthralling views of the bush and the mountains. A hearty breakfast, leisurely lunch and buffet dinner here will leave you wanting more.
And with so much scenic beauty stalking your every move, there’s no reason not to grab a light meal, snack or a drink on the viewing deck while you lose yourself in the pulse of the rolling countryside.
A place of escape
Sometimes (read: often) the best thing you can do for yourself is to escape the city rush. To enjoy the mystery of the bush, to feel the sun’s warmth on your back, to listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, and more importantly, to find your peace.
Rock climbers are spoilt for choice in South Africa – Western Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape are all provinces blessed with plentiful mountains and myriad climbing routes.
South Africa’s grassland wildflowers, especially around the Drakensberg, put on a floral show to rival Namaqualand in spring, or Western Cape’s fynbos – and even better, it lasts through summer.
Mpumalanga boasts several water bird destinations where birders can view Pel’s fishing owl, saddle-billed storks, white-winged flufftails, Cape wagtails and more along dams, rivers and streams.
South Africa is the perfect place for a wedding in the countryside and each province has its own unique offerings from parks, gardens and farms to historic buildings and landmarks.
South Africa’s rich history, going back 3-million years, that makes its historic attractions unique. You can explore past civilisations; visit battlefields, museums, monuments and memorials; relive the early gold rush and diamond mining days; and follow the long walk to freedom of Nelson Mandela. More than 300 historical museums are spread across the country, from the smallest towns to the largest cities, and cover everything from the emergence of humankind and the freedom struggle, to winemaking and transport.
South Africa’s sacred sites stretch from Lake Fundudzi in Limpopo and eMakhosini in KwaZulu-Natal to the energy centres identified by spiritualists and mosques and temples.