At Sabi Sabi we believe that you are on safari from when you wake up in the morning, with calls of the wild announcing a new day, until the moment you gently fall asleep with the sounds of the bush coming alive at night. You do not have to be on a vehicle to be “on safari”. Nowhere else is it more evident than at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge. Etched into a natural slope of the earth, the lodge is designed to have minimum visual impact on its surrounds – blending in with the natural environment which makes it barely visible to wildlife who inhabit the area. In complete harmony with the surroundings, Earth Lodge’s unobtrusive architecture sets the scene for the ultimate armchair safari where one can sit for hours marvelling at nature.
Earth Lodge mimics nature’s design with its ingenious decorative touches. Organic and natural, the walls resemble the local soil and the gravel that gives it colour. A lodge built of the earth, to blend in with the earth, utilising all material removed to create space for this unique masterpiece. Textures include snippets of the golden thatching grass, coarse river sand and quartz rock. With natural light streaming in from all angles and a sense of minimal interference from man, it is not surprising that animals residing in the adjacent bushveld frequently move through the unfenced lodge as if it were still part of the natural environment.
Usually timing their arrival as the day hits midway, and fortuitously as our guests are enjoying lunch, elephants often use the pathways and make their way closer to the lodge to quench their thirst in the nearby waterhole. A lone bull elephant has even been spotted striding onto the roof of the lodge to grab a snack from elevated branches of the Marula tree.
One of the best workout views you can find is from the gym at Earth Lodge where floor to ceiling glass windows provide views of the bush and beyond, making any sweat session seem less intense as your attention is drawn to a herd of elephants slurping from the water feature right outside the gym.
Lounging on the patio area of the recently refurbished and remarkable luxury suites, not only does the terrace lounge encourage you to take full advantage of the beauty of the uninterrupted views of the bushveld, but you may find yourself in the company of these gentle giants hovering beside the plunge pool for a sip of cool, filtered water. This elephant was clearly not wanting to share his cool bounty, cheekily splashing water onto the windows of the Amber Presidential Suite behind which one of our guests was filming its rather dismissive attitude.
Due to the subtle design features that are so unique to Earth Lodge, from the biggest land mammal to some of the smallest creatures regularly visit this sanctuary – almost going unnoticed due to its small stature, a Serrated Hinged Terrapin is spotted as it heads towards the lodge’s main water feature to cool down and feast on water snails and small insects.
Our guests are constantly surprised and rewarded with the array of wildlife that grace us with their presence – a warthog family can often be seen on their calloused knees munching the short grass, curious waterbuck meander past, identified by their characteristic white circled tail or a graceful bushbuck ewe and her lamb tentatively walking through the lodge. Whilst these animals are wild, the lodge environs are so seamlessly integrated into the environment that foraging around the lodge or even seeking shelter from potential danger is part of their daily routine and is as natural as the lodge’s ethos.
Predators, too, pass through the lodge from time to time, leaving only a trace of their nocturnal presence in a line of fresh lion tracks imprinted in the sandy walkways outside the front doors of the suites. Other times, their presence is more obvious when drawing back the curtain of your suite’s sliding door and finding one of the Big 5 on your doorstep.
Experienced staff are always on hand to ensure our impeccable safety record remains intact as well as our decades old philosophy of safari etiquette, where treating wildlife with respect remains our number one priority at all times. We are indeed guests in their environment and at Sabi Sabi such sightings can be enjoyed under the supervision of professional staff, to interpret the beauty and adventure of what unfolds daily on our doorstep.
Sometimes, the best game viewing is where you least expect it.
Post courtesy of Sabi Sabi Game Reserve