Pencil and ruler at hand, trace your index finger down the left-hand side of a South African map to S 33° 41’ 48.95 and draw a horizontal line across. Now, follow the horizontal line, stopping at E 20° 36’ 15.64” and repeating the latter process. The duo of lines crosses between Barrydale and Montagu. The location is seemingly far removed from any national highway, in the middle of nowhere.
Dwyka Tented Lodge, located in Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, is only a cinch more than three hours outside of Cape Town. It’s remarkable how you need to travel only 270 km outside the hustle and bustle of the Mother City to reach this place of tranquillity. It’s a holistic environment.
En route to solitude
Of course, in modern times, travelling to this environment, you’ll no doubt refrain from reading a map but, instead, keep a keen eye on the one provided by Google, displayed on your motor vehicle’s infotainment screen via screen-mirroring software. A disclaimer: although Google Maps might suggest the shortest route, it’s best to – this time, at least – refrain from taking the first turn off and continue straight on the N1. If you’re so inclined to take the road less travelled, preferably with a tall-riding vehicle, you’ll be awarded with picturesque landscapes. You might, however, encounter some traffic in the form of sheep and the odd bakkie. Next stop: Dwyka Tented Lodge.
However, if you’re travelling in a low-slung sedan, as mentioned, continue straight on the stretch of tarmac. Following this scenic route, after entering the 54 000 hectare reserve, the piece of gravel is well-maintained. Dwyka Tented Lodge also offers guests the choice of leaving their vehicles at a safe parking space located at the Welcome Lounge and taking a shuttle to the five-star lodge, where you are met by a friendly team and a welcoming drink.
Upon arriving at the lodge, a sense of calmness starts surrounding you. You’ll quite literally experience a breath of fresh air. Gone is the stress induced by everyday work life.
The lodge is beautifully designed, with a large glasshouse and decks outside. Inside, you’ll find a lounge, complete with a fireplace for those chilly evenings, a bar area and a dining area, and a wine cellar, housing some of the best wines South Africa has to offer. There’s also an onsite relaxation retreat comprising a duo of therapy rooms. Outside, there’s an open-air dining boma. Guests are treated to exquisite meals. Wi-Fi is provided in the lodge, so you’re not in complete desolation, though as you make your way down to one of the nine luxury tents outside, the signal slowly but surely starts disappearing. Not a bad thing, considering this is a place where you can leave the outside world behind, focus on yourself and your loved one, and find some solitude.
The luxury tents are located at the foot of a striking rock formation, a canvas painted with a palette of various shades of brown and orange. The colours become even more vibrant with the sunrise and sunset.
The tents are lavishly appointed, with a king-sized bed (a twin-bed configuration can be arranged) and an en-suite bathroom, comprising a large bath and shower. Air conditioning is also provided, as is a station for making tea or coffee. A mini-bar is also present. A highlight is a private deck, accessed via the bedroom or from the bathroom, and the jacuzzi. There’s also an outdoor shower. It’s the ideal romantic getaway.
Walking with wildlife
The five-star wildlife reserve, so named (instead of ‘game reserve’) as Sanbona focuses on the game and the beautiful Karoo flora found growing there, is home to the big five. The game-driving experience is unrivalled. Sanbona’s team of experienced game rangers goes to the utmost heights to ensure you have the opportunity to view and, indeed, get close to these wild animals. If you’re fortunate enough, you may even spot the elusive leopard, which was only recently spotted for the first time in around six years.
A highlight of the experience is tracking a cheetah on foot. With the guidance of Sanbona’s game rangers, you can get exceptionally close to this wild cat. Another highlight is stopping for sundowners while viewing a herd of elephants.
To use a metaphor relating to the digitally-orientated world and one in stark contrast with the absolute peace one experiences at Dwyka Tented Lodge, it’s a place where you can ‘reboot’ your internal software. Dwyka Tented Lodge is a holistic haven, a place where you can truly leave behind the city confines and find peace for your mind.