Nestled in the heart of the Balule Game Reserve just outside the borders of the Kruger National Park, Toro Yaka Lodge is a little gem in the African Bush. I was lucky enough to spend a few nights there at the end of last year and I nothing short of fell in love with the place.
Inspired with influences of the African culture, which surround it, owners Nicole and Steve Baillie have created an elegant and enchanting retreat that provides the perfect base to experience a South African safari.
The eight bedrooms are kitted out with an en suite, indoor and outdoor shower, double bed and air conditioning offering ultimate comfort whilst allowing you to still get a taste of authentic Africa.
The main lodge itself has also been specially designed to allow you to get as close to the wild as you can with plenty of open plan indoor and outdoor chill out areas including a pool, which overlooks the bush. This is a great place to spend your time in-between the day’s activities chatting to the Baillie family or the other guests over a Savanna from the honesty bar, or just hanging out with the baby of the lodge, Shinga the resident pup who is guaranteed to steal your heart. There are also regular visitors in camp including warthogs, bush babies and even a herd of elephants who had stopped by on the day of my arrival.
During your stay there are a number of activities you can take part in, the most popular being the game drives in the lodge’s open top jeep, which take place every morning and evening and last for around three hours a time (with a short break for coffee at sunrise and beers at sunset!) I’d recommend going on every single one – I went on seven during my stay and saw something different every time, including the breathtaking sight of lions on the hunt in a thunderstorm on my very last drive! Other ways to fill your time include bush walks, birding and massage treatments given by Nicole herself.
One of the standout features of Toro Yaka was the food, breakfast is made to order on return from the morning game drive and enjoyed round a large table with everyone from the lodge, lunch is served in your own private party and is a selection of fresh as you like salad, cold meats and mouthwateringly delicious fruit and dinner is something different every night, my favourite of which was the BBQ under the stars on the terrace.
Designed to offer all the luxuries of the big five star lodges, without the price tag, Toro Yaka has an intimate family feel that you would struggle to find at any of the bigger resorts and the attention to detail is second to none. One night there and you will feel like you are staying in your home away from home with your new adopted family. If you are considering heading off on safari, you will struggle to find better than this place.
Rooms at Toro Yaka start from £75 pppn inc breakfast, lunch and dinner
*I received a reduced rate in exchange for a review, however all opinions are my own.