Leopard Mountain Lodge
The leopard. Elusive. Elegant. Solitary. This lodge gives you a taste of that. The views are vast. Far beyond where the horizon lies. Or at least, that's how it seems. A lost wanderer. Roaming the Manyoni Private Game Reserve. 56,000 splendid acres. And only eight chalets. Welcome to the African landscape. Welcome to Zululand.
The Msunduze River is below you, the Lebombo Mountains in the distance.
This is where the wild ones go so expect top notch game viewing. Leopard Mountain Lodge is an award winning family run venture in the heart of the of the Kwazulu-Natal province. A passion project sparked by a farmer who wanted to preserve the land and protect its animals. The Big Five roam alongside endangered species like black rhino and wild dog. In 2017, the family celebrated 20 years here.
Conservation is very much their bag. They support the Zululand Rhino Orphanage and have had success returning calves to the wild. They also support the Zululand Conservation Trust which supports both local community and conservation initiatives.
So. Where do you sleep? Ok. This is very civilised, all stone and thatched. They’re chalets so you’re not roughing it.
You can feel like an explorer as you lather up in the shower - look, here comes another view - these showers are big and open, overlooking the incredible valley below.
You can dry off in your hammock. Although this is the cherry on the top, not your bed for the night.
Leopard Mountain Lodge can feel very romantic. You have a private plunge pool. An incongruous luxury as you watch the wild world go by. As long as you mean to take a dip and not just skid in as you saunter by. No Inspector Clouseau types allowed. Google that: Clouseau and parallel bars. Think of that whilst you’re in the pool, not remotely relevant but you’ll laugh like a hyena.
You can eat in the boma, on the main deck or in the dining room. Bread and pastries are home-baked on site. Look out for impala, warthogs and nyala, they’re never far from the lodge.
Enormous thatched chalets with en suite bathrooms and open-air showers; air conditioning; balcony with plunge pool; lounge area; WiFi; swimming pool; main lodge with viewing deck, indoor and outdoor dining areas and swimming pool
Get up early and go on an early morning game drive. With your guide. Come back. Have breakfast. It’s a hard life. Game drives are available in the afternoon too. You’ll be taken somewhere to watch the sunset.
There’s a secluded hide by a waterhole that you can visit at midday. You just have to settle down and watch.
If you want to chill out more, there’s a spa called Africology for beauty treatments etc.
And in the afternoons, you can partake in that most marvellous of meals, high tea. High tea served with the Lebombo Mountain Range in the distance. Cake anyone?
They also offer what they call their ‘elephant experience’. A chance to get close to these mighty mammals.
Later, lie down, listen. That’s the distant roar of a lion.
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