Seven things to love about Dinokeng Private Bush House
This house for hire in the Dinokeng Reserve is a quick hop from Joburg and boasts luxury touches including a heated pool and a private chef
One can always find an excuse to take a break from city life, whether you’re celebrating a big milestone, treating yourself to a mini vaycay, or perhaps fancy a working holiday by moving your “office” to the bush for a temporary change of scenery.
That's exactly what the Sunday Times Fashion team and I did when we headed off to Dinokeng Private Bush House for a photo shoot. We quickly discovered that this hideaway just a stone’s throw from Gauteng’s major cities makes for a lavish and blissful escape.
Dinokeng, how did we love you? Let me count the ways ...
1. THE PROXIMITY TO JOZI
The 22,000ha Dinokeng Game Reserve is in northeastern Gauteng, roughly 100km from Johannesburg. If you’re based in Jozi, it will take you less than an hour to get there, making it a great option for a weekend escape or even a midweek breakaway. Pretorians have an even greater advantage as it is just a 45-minute drive to a blissed-out bush experience.
2. THE OPTION TO TAKE YOUR CREW
If you’re looking to getaway with the family and friends in your “Covid-19 bubble”, this is a perfect option as the house is available for exclusive use and sleeps 10 altogether.
The accommodation comprises a family unit that sleeps four in two en-suites with king-size beds, plus there are three additional, separate bedroom suites all linked to the main house by wooden walkways. Each suite has its own deck area. Each room also has DStv and Wi-Fi and there's a heated pool.
3. THE GAME DRIVES
The house comes with the services of a personal game ranger and vehicle, with drives available in the mornings and afternoons across 7,000ha of the reserve.
The friendly rangers know all the hotspots and ranger Lovemore Jack points out that — while the rangers do communicate by radio when there is a great sighting — no more than two vehicles at a time are permitted to linger at any one sighting, so the animals are never crowded.
Stops are also made for those waiting for the perfect spot for sundowners.
4. THE PRIVATE CHEF
It's blissful to know that you can return from your game drive adventures to succulent breakfasts and lavish dinners cooked by your own personal chef.
The house operates on a sort of fancy self-catering basis, where you bring your food and head chef Timothy Mlazakwimba will work his magic for you. There is also an option to have him do the shopping for you.
“We always want people to feel welcome when they are here. They must feel ‘at home’ and comfortable,” says Mlazakwimba. And we certainly did.
When he does the sourcing, the seasonal menu is focused on freshly sourced goods for hearty breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Mlazakwimba says a guest favourite is his chicken livers served on fried garlic and onion with an in-house chilli and cream. Another tasty treat to try is their homemade onion marmalade.
5. THE PERFECT VIEWS
The game drives may offer up a feast for the eyes, but the views from the house itself are equally sublime. While a swim or a tan is the ideal leisure activity in your own private space, you will often get to admire the animals that frequent the waterhole at the foot of the house.
You can also take in more of the area on a bike ride around the inner boundary of the house, which is fenced within 170ha (bring your own bikes).
Groups can also gather at the picnic spot near Mongena Dam. Ranger Jack is enthusiastic about this option. “You can set up your romantic picnic there and you will be able to enjoy the nature and see all the animals right in front of your face. It’s very beautiful and unique,” he says.
6. THE DÉCOR DETAILS
The dining area is decorated differently each night with all the glamour you could want for a romantic dinner or a jovial evening with friends. Think candlelight, fresh flowers, and luxury touches.
The homely décor is a fusion of old wooden furniture with cool-toned minimal pieces lending a modern take. Plush area rugs are found in a number of the suites. Throws and pillows add warmth and colour, while leather furniture brings a cosy, cabin-in-the-woods feel.
At night, the wooden walkways connecting the suites are lit up with lanterns.
7. THE BIG FIVE
Dinokeng is the first free-roaming big five game reserve in Gauteng. It is home to two species of rhino, black and white, which in total number around 50. An exact number is never given, however, to help guard against poaching. Buffaloes are the most abundant of the big five with at least 128 of them calling the reserve home. Lions are the least abundant, with 22 divided into three different prides.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Dinokeng Bush House can be booked through Perfect Hideaways at a rate of R16,500 per night for the exclusive use of maximum 10 guests. This includes a chef to cook in “your kitchen” and game drives with a ranger. The rate applies until the end of 2021, after which it will be R17,500 per night.
• Ntwasa was a guest of Dinokeng Private Bush House, a member of Perfect Hideaways. See perfecthideaways.co.za
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