By Norma Tsopo
THE piercing lion roars in the warm summer night in the sublime comfort of a roomy safari river tent at Antelope Park kept me on edge.
But this is not the untamed savanna and the little tingling fear the roars induce are just an exaggeration of my long and often tall tales of the King of the Jungle from my time growing up.
The lions are all perfectly secured in different enclosures across its spectacular 3000 acres savanna grassland. The roars are however the signature nightly sounds of this spell-binding award-winning private game park.
Spending a night a few hundred metres away from tens of these roaring fearsome apex predators, whose roar can be heard from up to eight kilometres way, provided a perfect ambiance of an African savanna exquisite night experience.
This is one place that anyone who loves adventure should place on their must-visit bucket list.
Beyond the lions’ authentic bush night experience soundtrack these classic East-African style permanent, spacious safari tents on the waters’ edge offer guests a classic ‘touch of Africa’ with their rustic large en-suite bathrooms fitted with teak-panelled showers, toilets and washbasins.
They have heaters in case it becomes too cold for comfort.
It is no wonder that the River Tents are the most popular accommodation at the camp as they also offer a perfect vantage point to watch the resident fish eagles from the spacious, private tiled deck overlooking an inlet of the lake.
Each of the six two-sleeper tents offer total privacy and sublime comfort with a gwaai tile base and tasteful indigenous teak furniture handmade at Antelope Park.
The award-winning facility that has such internationally acclaimed beauty that it has been used as a film set for various movies that sought an authentic African setting as most of its facilities are under thatch.
The latest being a yet to be released Korean film that was shot there in February.
It just has something for everyone from those who may want a magnificent honeymoon experience, family breakaway to overland adventurers. It simply spoils one for choice – and guarantees flexibility on the budget too.
Set in similar fashion to River Tents are the River Lodges, enchanting brick-under-thatch style four-sleeper facilities ideal for couples or small families. Set at intervals along a river inlet they are completed by private and spacious raised wooden decks above the water where guests can unwind and watch wildlife roaming across the river.
The homely amenities include tea and coffee making facilities as well as a bar fridge. Rooms are en-suite with both an indoor and fabulous open-air shower.
For honeymooners and couples looking for a romantic getaway the luxurious, thatched, teak-panelled en-suite Isle Lodges dotted along a pristine stretch of a lake offer stunning views from their private balconies of the lake, bush beyond and roaming wildlife.
Acacia Lodge is another beauty on the water’s edge sharing the same stunning views.
The spacious double-volume interior opens onto a large veranda with plenty of space. It features a small basic kitchen, two spacious inter-leading en-suite bedrooms plus an upstairs loft.
It is perfect space to enjoy with family as it accommodates up to 12 people or favourite people.
Mupane Lodge is another deluxe setting albeit as a family lodge. It has capacity to house up to six people.
The newest addition to Antelope Park’s selection of lodges, is the ALERT Lodge in the trade mark attractive brick-under-thatch style which can sleep five people.
25% of the income from the ALERT Lodge goes directly to ALERT (the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust) to assist them with their ongoing and valuable work in the fields of conservation and community development.
It also has larger spaces for relatively larger groups who would love exclusive settings.
The picturesque Serenity Lodge, set 1.5km outside of the main camp, inside the game park itself with unrivalled game viewing opportunities as antelope, zebra and smaller game roam freely all around it.
It has four spacious bedrooms which can accommodate up to 12 people and has a fully-equipped kitchen which gives guests the option of a self-catering.
Ntaba Lodge – a complex of three units set on a picturesque hillside, spanning a narrow section of the lake is another flawless option for larger groups looking for comfort and privacy comprising of three separate units with the capacity of sleeping up to twenty people.
It is not only about luxury as it has standard rooms offering basic but comfortable accommodation for guests just looking for the essentials. They are located in a beautiful shaded area of the camp, close to the lake, swimming pool and main camp facilities.
Rooms may not be en-suite but are complemented by close by well-equipped men’s and ladies’ ablutions. They are shared with Antelope Park’s beautifully set campsite.
Each spacious campsite offers multiple plug points, braai/barbeque facilities and a thatch dining lapa.
It is no wonder that Antelope Park’s lodgings are considered among the finest in the country.