14 November 2014
First off I have to apologize to the Leopard Mountain team for the rather long delay in posting this review!
Ours was an unusual trip to South Africa, my wife and I were visiting our son who is studying out there on an Advanced Nature Guiding and Wildlife Conservation course but to further add to the complication we were bringing my parents, our daughter and her partner.
This was our first stay at this lodge and it will not be the last. This is a very well run lodge in a stunning setting with well trained and dedicated staff. It is a family run business the has carved itself a very enviable reputations in the lodge tourism market. This has been achieved and is sustained through hard work and attention to detail.
The accommodation chalets are perched on a ridge affording each with a spectacular view over the valley, the river bed within and the bush beyond. The rooms are very well appointed with massive beds with high quality linens (and electric blankets for the colder seasons), a seating area with desk, a glass walled shower room with his and hers basins which has been well designed to provide privacy should it be required via sliding doors and there is a separate WC. To further emphasise the luxury and well thought out appointments, for the warmer months there is a plunge pool and a covered balcony with seating to allow enjoyment of the stunning views. I consider myself to be a perfectionist yet the only niggle that I can bring up here is the shades on the bedside lights are too dark making reading in bed difficult, but that was it!
On arrival we were introduced to the guides that we were to have for the duration of our stay and the opportunity to get to know and chat your personal guides continues during pre-morning drive drinks and the post drive breakfast which we enjoyed. Breakfast is outstanding with cereals, fruits, fresh baked muffins, croissant, toast and preserves and the option for a choice of cooked ingredients for a "full English". The food and service throughout is first class and while your guides are on hand during the pre diner drinks, they leave you alone during the excellent diner allowing you some time to yourself which is a nice touch. The diner (weather permitting) is served outside round an open fire within a boma which is very pleasant in addition, should you wish, you can choose from the Platinum grade wine cellar.
Our guides were Ryan Vivier and Robyn, they were both pleasant, articulate, informative, and while able to give expanded and more detailed and technical answers to our sons questions; they provided clear and concise explanations for those of us with significantly less knowledge and we were all very impressed by the level of attention to detail, level of information and quality of service provided.
Having read the history of the lodge and made enquiries about the park; it is evident that the managements attitude towards the running of the lodge and management of the animals and the land is professional, ethical, proactive and with the best interests of the animals being in the for. It was great to see a conservation centred approach rather than just making money while still ensuring customer satisfaction. In my view an enlightened approach that should be taken by far more similar high end operations.
As for the viewing, it has to be said that while we were extremely lucky, the viewings were first rate, a family of 6 cheetah on a kill, total lion sightings 19 including 5 cubs, white and black Rhino (with calfs), buffalo, elephant, genet and even an aardvark which is extremely rare. In addition there were a great many bird sightings which were of huge interest to our son.
As stated, this will not be our last visit here and the view from the restaurant/coffee area upon arrival is something that is going to be very hard to beat!
In summary, as the title of this review says...if you come to this area of South Africa, you have to stay here!