It’s not your average safari lodge. If you had 1200 acres of virgin bush in Hazyview, just 15 minutes drive from the main gate of the Kruger National Park, would you build a picture perfect Mediterranean holiday village on it? The stucco and pantiled Spanish haciendas of the Casa do Sol come as something of a culture shock. Thomson’s gazelles and zebras graze in the private game park where you might expect donkeys in straw hats. But the happy clash of cultures makes for a great holiday experience.
The complex sprawls over 74 acres, its 54 generous villas, casas and suites separated by lush gardens and winding cobbled alleys. It also has a couple of pools, a conference center, two barbecue areas, cocktail and tapas bar, a boma (bonfire area) and a spa. Most of the rooms also have their own outdoor space. All prices start at around US$180 per room per night, including breakfast.
Meals are served in the main restaurant, Cozinha Velha, although in high season there is also a separate à la carte restaurant, O’Estabulo. Breakfast is a full buffet and dinner varies from being a buffet when the hotel is full to an à la carte service on quieter nights. Portions are plentiful and the food is good if not spectacular, with a solid list wine list of mainly South African labels.
- Great for families
- Prices are significantly cheaper than the luxury lodges inside the park limits.
- Staying outside the park might seem a drawback at first, but can have great benefits – you are only a short distance away so you don’t really lose that much time on your game drives and you are closer to all the other facilities of the town and local sights for the days in between.
- This isn’t an intimate bush experience.
- You need to do a lot of walking to get from room to dining room to bar and back.
What to Do
- Because there are no predators in the private Ilanga game park, it is possible to walk freely on its well-marked hiking trails. You can also go bird watching, row on the lake, or take a picnic down to the lakeshore for a romantic lunch à deux.
- Sights such as MacMac Falls, God’s Window and Blyde Canyon are magnificent and well worth exploring, and there are plenty of other activities available locally: five golf courses, quad biking, river rafting, night safaris and trout fishing.
Star Rating ****
Web Site: www.relaishotels.com/casadosol
International reservations tel: +27-21-465 3530