• Steph Anderson

4 Nights at Leadwood, in the Sabi Sand

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

Thought it would be helpful for us to report back on our 4 night stay at Leadwood, Dulini.

Before I start I should just point out that when we visit a lodge we do so unannounced, we pay the standard price just like everyone else, so they treat us just like any other guest and not as an agent in the travel business. Therefore, we can give an honest account of our experience.

We were greeted at the entrance by the Lodge Manager with refreshing towels and a very welcome drink. Our first impression as we entered the lodge was how beautiful it was, the soft furnishings are modern and very luxurious, pale earthy tones have been used to give the guest areas a fresh, clean yet quintessentially African feel. They have various viewing areas to explore, such as the raised tree deck, the lodge swimming pool area, the lounge area and boma, all have wonderful views over the riverbed.

Once the essential paperwork was taken care of and we’d confirmed our diary requirements we were guided to our suite. Leadwood is a very small and intimate Lodge, designed for romance and couples in mind, there are only 3 suites available so a maximum of 6 guests, unless you book the entire lodge then the fourth suite may be used to accommodate a total of 8 guests.

So, to the suite itself, which is river facing with glass walls/doors so we can view the river and bush beyond from every angle. These rooms certainly have the wow factor, again decorated with an elegant and modern feel in mind and generous in proportion. The lounge area has all the usual amenities, tea & coffee facilities, personal bar, nibbles etc. we have a very comfortable sofa for lounging on whilst gazing out towards the river. The bed is very large and comfortable, as you’d expect and also looks out over the river.

The bathroom area in sparklingly clean and stunning with a large free-standing bath in its centre, which I have to admit I didn’t try as for me it’s all about the outdoor shower. There’s something just magical about showering under the stars in the middle of the bush. It has two vanity sinks and mirrors for convenience and a large and invigorating indoor shower with sliding glass doors opening out to the pool area. A separate W.C. for modesty. All the usual spa toiletries you’d expect, fluffy towels, robes and slippers.

Outside we found a dining area, a couple of sun loungers with plenty of midday shade if required, the outdoor shower and the pièce de résistance, the pool. It’s not a plunge pool nor a full-size swimming pool so maybe a lap pool would best describe its size. Heated, clean and with breathtaking views of the river and bush. All in all the suite and lodge has to be one of the most beautiful I’ve come across in my may years of visiting safari lodges.

Time to meet our ranger and tracker at afternoon tea, which is just before you head out for your afternoon drive. Jono our Ranger was very personable with a good sense of humour and with a mountain of knowledge. Rangers and Trackers used in the Sadi Sand Reserve are the best of the best, highly qualified with tonnes of experience behind them, all are qualified to escort clients on Bush Walks and have ongoing testing to ensure they remain at the top of their game.

The game drives were superb, to be honest I’d expect nothing less in the Sabi Sand but Jono and Chris didn’t disappoint. You see game around every corner in this reserve but what you really come here for are the leopards and they rarely disappoint. You can get so close to these graceful, majestic creatures in the Sabi Sand without interfering with their behaviour. They are accustomed to seeing these open game drive vehicles and quite frankly ignore them and go about their business. We saw leopards sleeping in trees, eating a kill, running from hyenas, stalking prey and taking shade under trees. One leopard decided to use our vehicle for cover whilst stalking an impala by crawling under it ready to ambush the animal should it have strayed too close. I could write a whole blog on just the game drives alone as there is so much material to share, but for now I will just conclude that game drives in the Sabi Sand Reserve are something to experience for yourself.

During our four nights we enjoyed first class food prepared by the lodge chef and his team. As with all African lodges, you can usually expect to have a least one boma dinner, we had two, the other two nights we enjoyed a romantic dinner alone on the tree deck and a private dinner on our veranda at our suite, all perfectly prepared and executed. We enjoyed a pre-boma gin tasting with our fellow guests, which was very entertaining. With the set up at Leadwood you really only get to speak to your fellow guests while on the game drives so it’s really nice to shoot the breeze and discuss the day’s drives over a drink in the evening every now and then.

We finally had to say goodbye to this lodge, and to be honest, I really didn’t want to I could have easily stayed another 4 nights!

If you’re looking for a romantic setting, maybe for your honeymoon or a quiet relaxing destination you really can’t go wrong with Leadwood or any of the lodges in the Dulini Collection for that matter.

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