On our most recent trip to the lowveld, Roaming Media dropped by Panzi Lodge to sample their wonderful hospitality, on the doorstep to the Kruger National Park. This fantastic location is perfect for a quiet retreat to the wilderness. Positioned along a riverbed and among the tall trees that surround it, Panzi Lodge offers a peaceful stay in-between your Panorama Route and Kruger activities.
The Guernsey Private Nature Reserve
The Guernsey Private Nature Reserve sits in the Greater Kruger belt. Surrounded by big-five reserves, it offers easy access to the Open Gate of the Kruger National Park. The reserve itself is home to a variety of wildlife, including buffalo, giraffe, zebra and many more. However, it’s the birdlife that really got us excited. Scores of bird species can be spotted in the lowveld habitats spread across this small reserve. Moreover, Panzi Lodge itself especially lends itself to the avid birder. The winding wooden walkways carve over the riverbed and into between tree canopies – allowing a unique view into the surrounding greenery. Thus, we often found our eyes lost in the leafy environment, trying to put names to colourful flashes of feathers. Not to mention spotting other residents of the reserve – both big and small.
As far as accommodation goes, we couldn’t have asked for more. An air-conditioned room permitted a much needed respite from the oppressive heat outside; A large bed, donned with a four-poster mosquito-net (to keep the inevitable bloodsuckers at bay); a bathroom that offered a choice of an inside, or outside shower. The mini-fridge and wide-angle view into the surrounding bush added an extra measure of comfort. We were right at home from the moment we marched up our private walkway and deck.
The Panzi Lodge layout includes a spacious dining hall and deck – overlooking the glistening fountain-fed swimming pool. Additionally, a fully-stocked self-service bar corners off the lounge area and a fireplace sits ready for a cold night. Lastly, high on the wall above, a large painting of a leopard looks down on the activity of the lodge. Meals were served by smiling staff who detailed the menu and were always up for a chat. We especially enjoyed the ‘boma evening’ – a traditional South African braai, followed by an night of gazing up into the stars from the fireside.
When we weren’t eating, we spent a fair bit of time trying to cool down. The swimming pool is centrally located and became a regular hang-out spot for a few reasons. Firstly, the over hanging trees meant a partly-shaded pool which meant the waters were permanently cool. Secondly, the fountain in the corner provided a trickling backdrop that weaved in beautifully with the local birdsong – a truly relaxing soundtrack to our pooltime. Lastly (but certainly not least) it was in very close-quarters with the bar. This meant that poolside GnT’s were an easy fix. The pool wasn’t our only hangout however – we spent a fair bit of time watching the waterhole from the lodge hide. Unfortunately we didn’t get much animal action – but we still greatly appreciated the moments of stillness spent looking into the surrounding veld.
In summary, Panzi Lodge is a great choice to base yourself for an eclectic lowveld experience. While it is perfectly situated for you to explore the surrounding area, it also offers a fantastic opportunity to relax to the sights and sounds of nature. We can’t wait to visit again.
You can watch our video overview below:
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