From Kruger’s Gentle Giants to the Pinnacle of Jo’burg’s Skyline

A delightful fusion for bush enthusiasts and urbanites is a synthesis between tranquil Kruger National Park’s Elephant Point and The Leonardo in bustling Johannesburg. Combining the two destinations has never been easier with Legacy Hotels and Airlink, providing guests with a luxuriously seamless experience.

A fluffy hyena pup enjoying the early morning sun. Photo by Heléne Ramackers
A fluffy hyena pup enjoying the early morning sun. Photo by Heléne Ramackers

It is exactly 7 o’clock in the morning and everyone is in high spirits as the sun has just made its appearance on our game drive. Guide Romeo slows the 4×4 down, comes to a complete stop, and turns the engine off. In the middle of the road lies a hyena, completely nonplussed about our presence. She momentarily looks up, lays her head back down on the tar again, and continues to let her young suckle. The pup is rather large and along the side of the road are three more, snuggled up together against the early morning chill. 

A very large matriarch as seen during our morning game drive. Photo by Heléne Ramackers
A very large matriarch as seen during our morning game drive. Photo by Heléne Ramackers

Driving along a different road, we encounter a breeding herd of elephants, with a very large matriarch. Fellow guests Nicci, Candice, Helen, Adele, Raveen, and Andrea are all in awe of this majestic pachyderm. As they wander off, two of the youngsters put on a show, with trunks and ears flapping away, much to everybody’s amusement. 

My spacious suite at Lamula Lodge. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl
My spacious suite at Lamula Lodge. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl

We return to Lamula Lodge, our luxurious villa at Elephant Point, situated a mere 4 miles from the Paul Kruger gate in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and 16 miles from Skukuza airport. Situated in a secure estate, Elephant Point houses a variety of individually designed villa-style lodges. Lamula Lodge is constructed with plush interiors, four bedrooms, a dining area, a lounge area, an outside dining area, a fire pit, a pool, and majestic views of the bushveld beyond. At over 5,400 sq. ft., this magnificent home is the ideal getaway for family or a group of close friends. 

Dining options are plentiful and with the temperate climate, meals can be enjoyed inside or outside at Ubuntu Lodge. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl
Dining options are plentiful and with the temperate climate, meals can be enjoyed inside or outside at Ubuntu Lodge. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl

When it comes to food and beverage, guests can choose to make their own meals, with a pre-arrival shopping option or dining at the Elephant Point Boma & River Deck. But why spend time in front of the stove when it can all be done for you with superb fine dining cuisine at your fingertips? The Private Chef Services are available throughout the week, except on Wednesdays and Saturdays when a starlit dinner can be enjoyed at the Boma. On our first night, we dine at Ubuntu Lodge, and chef Owen has gone all out with his special menu. An appetizer of smoked salmon with potato rosti, baby greens, and balsamic reduction, followed by a delicious entrée of pan-fried Kingklip fillet, creamy mash potatoes, seasonal grilled vegetables, and lemon butter. Dessert is the ever-popular traditional malva pudding with a bit of a twist – Amarula syrup instead of the conventional custard topping. 

Take in the sunset from the pool deck or have your spa treatment here. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl
Take in the sunset from the pool deck or have your spa treatment here. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl

To ensure that you are completely relaxed while in this paradisaical environment, book a mobile spa treatment with Heather’s Spa. Whether in the privacy of your room, outside on your verandah, or next to the pool, your spa therapist will set up in your choice of location. Spa therapist Londi’s massage technique is just what I need to unwind as she applies the correct amount of pressure to my neck and shoulders. 

Lamula Lodge offers a haven of tranquility. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl
Lamula Lodge offers a haven of tranquility. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels / Francois van Zyl

Home to a variety of animals and bird species, Elephant Point also offers walking trails as a way of getting out into the fresh air and admiring the beauty of nature. We are led by general manager Juan Heydenrych, a qualified former guide, who stops along the 1,3-mile path to point out footprints of animals and teach us more about the healing properties of certain plant species. 

The Leonardo towers 767 ft. above the ground. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels
The Leonardo towers 767 ft. above the ground. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels

After a wonderfully reposeful two-night stay at Elephant Point, it’s time to head to Johannesburg for an overnight at The Leonardo in the upmarket suburb of Sandton. Towering 767 ft. above the ground, this hotel is a cut above the rest. 

A favorite sundowner spot is Alto234 at The Leonardo, with wraparound vistas of Johannesburg. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels
A favorite sundowner spot is Alto234 at The Leonardo, with wraparound vistas of Johannesburg. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels

Up on the 57th floor, guests will have wrap-around vistas over the city at Alto234, the highest urban bar in Africa. Note the Moët & Chandon champagne vending machine, dispensing 200ml bottles of patrons’ favorite drink. “The hotel had already been constructed, so the conundrum of how to get this special fridge to the rooftop bar posed a few challenges,” Adrian Landry, General Manager of The Leonardo, tells me. “In the end, it was brought in by helicopter. The arrival was as spectacular as the contents of the fridge!”

Aurum is host to delectable dining at The Leonardo. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels
Aurum is host to delectable dining at The Leonardo. Photo courtesy of Legacy Hotels

Staying at The Leonardo, guests can choose between 1, 2, or 3-bedroom suites, with varying views of Johannesburg and every comfort considered – a kitchenette with stove, oven, washing machine, dishwasher, fridge/freezer, lounge area, bedroom, and full bathroom. Dining at Aurum is not just about the mouthwatering cuisine, it’s undoubtedly about being seen. Conclude your stay with a guided art tour displayed throughout The Leonardo, with earth, fire, wind, and water taking center stage, inspired by the late and great artist Leonardo Da Vinci.

 

How To Get There
Airlink is a privately-owned, independent premier regional airline offering the widest route network and connectivity to more than 45 destinations in 13 countries in Southern Africa. Experience More https://www.flyairlink.com/airlink-profile

With more than 50 regional jetliners in the fleet, Airlink has been ranked as South Africa’s most punctual airline, based on its 97% average on-time performance year to date. This is a clear indication of their determination and commitment to remain synonymous with customer centricity, punctuality, service excellence, and reliability.

Travelers can also enjoy the benefit of intra-continental style business class service on select routes operating our magnificent Embraer E-190 / E-170 regional jets. Discover More https://www.flyairlink.com/airlink-profile/business-class

How to get there: Airlink operates direct flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg to the iconic Skukuza Airport in the heart of the Kruger National Park. Explore more https://www.flyairlink.com/en-za/flights-to-skukuza

Book direct on www.flyairlink.com, the FlyAirlink app, or your Travel agent. 

Source: Upscale Living Mag

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