Naledi offers two different Lodges, both in the north-western corner of the Balule Private Game Reserve. Both are run by the same owner and characterised by very friendly service and atmosphere, and excellent value for money. Each has two types of room and there is no price differential between the Lodges. It is well worth combining the two in a single trip. They consistently top the TripAdvisor rankings for Balule.
Traversing is extensive and varied, and includes a decent chunk of Olifants river frontage. Morning and evening drives usually go out for at least three hours, four and on into the night if you get the owner excited.
There are three hides, each overlooking different waterholes, which are excellent places to retreat and spend a few hours birdwatching in solitude or photographing the wildlife. Indeed, in general, Naledi's staff are keen photographers and have some special kit on board their vehicles that you can use. On drives they are attentive to the needs of photographers and strive to get you in position for a perfect shot.
The food is worth singling out here as particularly imaginative, and something in which the team take great pride. Dinner is a three-course affair of fresh local produce. Lunches are generous, delicious and can be eaten on the viewing deck or by the pool (which both Lodges have). In case your eyes remain larger than your stomach, there is a short picnic stop on the game drives.
Enkoveni is brand new, and the slightly larger of the two Lodges, sleeping ten. It sits back from the edge of the Olifants River, over which it offers excellent views. Hippos frequent the area below. It is styled as the Manor.
Built on two levels, it is a cool, thatched building with an upper deck and lower covered veranda. There is one suite upstairs and two on ground level. Each luxury room has an en-suite bathroom with shower and bath. Doors open onto the garden or the deck. There are satellite Riverside Chalets at the Manor.
|Extremely welcoming and friendly Lodge with great service and food|
We were welcomed to Naledi Enkoveni by Rossanne and Shaun and were immediately impressed by their brimming enthusiasm and personal touch. All of the staff were friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them, creating a family atmosphere in a relaxed setting. Rossanne meeting us at the entrance to the lodge after every evening game drive with hot towels and an aperitif added to the hospitality and attention to detail that they provide.
The grounds of the lodge were nicely manicured with a sloping lawn onto the banks of the Olifants River. Many an hour was spent watching the wildlife on our doorstep, hippopotamus, impala, crocodile and birds visiting the area.
The accommodation was spacious and well laid-out although the décor was a little tired and in need of refurbishment. The lodge had been flooded during the typhoon earlier in the year and was due to be extensively renovated.
Every meal was explained by the chef and dietary requirements were catered for. The catering offered set menus of exceptional quality and quantity. Every detail was tended to down to different tableware, decoration and location. All of this was accompanied by Shaun dining with the guests whilst discussing the experiences of the day.
Our ranger Shaun and tracker Vu work well as a team and certainly have a vast amount of knowledge between them, including the habitat, birds and all of the wildlife, we did not have a question they could not answer.
We found that there was less concentration of wildlife in the area, but this only added to our experience as our excitement was heightened when finding four out of the big five. Shaun and Vu worked tirelessly and the outcome was that we saw something new on every drive. The terrain was rugged and varied ensuring rollercoaster journeys.
Janet M and Gaynor M travelled with Kruger2Canyons.com