Monday, November 26, 2018

Lush by name luscious by nature. Lush Private Game Lodge,Black Rhino Reserve, Pilanesberg.


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It is always great to visit a lodge that has recently
opened its doors as a commercial venture.
Six years in the making, and at the time of writing this, 
Lush Private Game Lodge in the Black Rhino Reserve
 had only been open for 5 months ( from July 2018)
The lodge entrance is rather spectacular and most welcoming.
It is here that guests are met by the staff , 
 a welcoming drink and wet facecloth to wipe away the road dust.
Just inside this building is a small reception area on the left,
where the signing of the paperwork (and the ubiquitous indemnity forms)
 is completed with minimum fuss. 
On the right is an office with a small shop that has a 
selection of curated items for sale.

This is the first view that guests get of the lodge
as they drive through the gate. 
Self drive game drives are not permitted in Black Rhino Game Reserve.
However visitors are able to drive from the
 main entrance gate of the park to the lodge.

Looking back towards the public spaces of Lush.
Given that it is so new, it has yet to find its own footprint on this property.
That being said, it is already blending into the landscape,
rather than standing out from the surrounding bush.

I have to say that this communal veranda/deck
 was one of my favourite spaces.
And I revisited it on many occasions during my stay.

The main indoor dining area.
The bespoke stove in the alcove on the left,
will keep diners warm in winter.
When I arrived and first saw the public spaces, 
each of them looked so eclectic and disparate that I wondered
if they really worked as a cohesive whole and that the flow
through the building would work.
As I walked between these spaces, I realized that they were indeed
a space that did exactly what the designer had intended.
Which was, to my mind, to keep each are different,
but to make them work as a whole...

This sunken lounge area that sits between the main dining room
and the outdoor deck reminded me, for some reason, 
of a cruise ship that I had been on.
This is where high tea is served before visitors leave on game drives.
Like the indoor dining area, it has a wood burning stove, 
which I am certain will be appreciated by guests 
who visit during the colder months.

A part of the bar area...
This is currently a more informal seating space.
Visitors can also peruse the wines on offer.

All the coverings over the walkways are constructed
using these poles. 
The multitude of  shadows that they create
make for some interesting patterns.

This is the first item I noticed when I entered my accommodation!
Every switch is marked, and that is truly a unique
 selling point as far as I am concerned.
In all my years of lodge visits, this is only the second lodge
 to have utilized this.
And what a difference it makes...
especially if you are sharing and your partner decides
 to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet.
Usually every light is turned on and off at least ONCE
 before the correct switch is located.
Not here...every light is quickly and easily identifiable.

The brochure says that this is an Emperor  bed.
Not a size that I am familiar with, but combined with stunning linen
it gave me two nights of uninterrupted sleep...
not to mention a couple of afternoon naps as well.
I wish I could say that I used the bath that stood in the alcove, 
but in the spirit of water savings, I decided to utilize the showers instead.
You read correctly, plural, one indoors and one out on the deck.

In the corner of the room is the tea and coffee station,
as well as a small fridge that contained water, beers and soft drinks.
Speaking of coffee, there is a Nespresso machine, a plunger pot
as well as instant coffee...spoiled for choice.
The stunning SMEG equipment shows that the owners
 are sparing no expense when it comes to making their guests feel special.
At Lush, the devil is definitely in the details.

The outdoor shower with the tiniest/deepest plunge pool
I have ever been in. Who needs to swim laps when you can
just bob up and down to keep cool on a hot day.

My visit coincided with the November full moon,
so a late night outdoor shower was compulsory.

At night, under subtle lighting, the lodge takes on a different look.
This is the bar/informal lounge where I had spent some time  
on my arrival.

The main indoor dining area.
The light fittings over the table are make up of individual brass sections
that sound like wind-chimes as the breeze blew through them.

The outdoor lounge.veranda area...
I did mention earlier that is was one of my favourite public spaces.

The words of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song,
"Bad Moon Rising" were playing is my head as I watched THIS moon rise 
from the mountains behind the lodge.

My first evening meal was enjoyed in the Boma,
 that is situated just a short walk from the main deck of the lodge.
By the light of a fire,candles and some paraffin lamps,
guests were treated to a fabulous dinner...
served in true South African style.

My dinner...
The soup is plated and is served to the guests, as is the dessert.
The mains are served buffet style and the guests are spoiled for choice.
My mains consisted of;
pumpkin, brussel sprouts, coleslaw, 
corn-on-the-cob(know locally as a mielie).
Ostrich fillet and a piece of boerewors (literally means "farmers sausage")
completed my dish.
The meal was more than sufficient and as a result,
I decided to give dessert a miss.

Breakfast is served on this portion of the deck directly behind the outdoor seating area.
Once again, the shadows of the overhead poles break up the sunlight,
thus creating a wonderful space with subtle natural light.

And what a breakfast is served.
If the lodge has a  breakfast specialty, it has to be the bread.
"And the reason for that"? I hear you ask...
Truth be told, the owners own a Johannesburg based bakery!
An aside...try the bread-sticks, but be warned they are addictive.
The one item on the breakfast menu that I have to highlight is their bacon.
The chef here is one of the few who actually knows
 how to make proper crispy bacon! 
I was impressed.

My final dinner was served on the deck a
and lit mainly by the light of the full moon.

My dinner...
This is what I decided on as there were a choice
 of three starters and three mains.
Starters: Pear and Blue cheese salad.
Main: Rack of lamb with vegetables and mashed potato.
Dessert: Slice of lemon cheesecake with chocolate drizzle.
Considering that this meal was served in the middle of a game reserve,
these dishes would not have looked out of place in any city restaurant.
Well done to the Chef and all the staff involved in the kitchen.

Using the light  full moon that was visible through the branches of a tree,
it was time for me to head back to the comfort of my bed and
 an early end to the evening, 
seeing that wake up time would be 05h00.


To find out more about this lodge and what it offers,
please visit their website:


 

The latest addition to my sponsors list...
The Olight SRS2UT Intimidator.
Marketed locally by:

My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!
Photo:

Photo:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.

A new clothing sponsor has come on board...
Welcome to Kallie Khaki.
Bush gear to allow me blend in...
in comfort and style.

I have worn these shoes in the jungles of India
and on the beaches of Croatia.
Not to mention, many game reserves in Africa.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.

Photo:
When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high speed fibre connectivity 
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.

Photo:
This powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by...



When offered an option...
ALWAYS be Batman.
The newest of my travelling companions.
To find out more about the collectible Funko range of figurines,
visit:

My new addition, this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely an stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack. 
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
visit:


A new "tool" in my camera bag.
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is, 
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal 
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows to to move from supported
to hand held in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product, 
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:





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