Following a three-hour drive from Johannesburg Airport we had reached what would be our home for the next few days, Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp, located in the malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve within the Limpopo province.
A boutique luxury safari lodge with eco-credentials to boot, all the boho-chic design elements you could wish for and the famous ‘big five’ on its literal doorstep, Noka Camp is nothing short of spectacular. Not to mention it is one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit safari camps!
Upon arrival, we were greeted with the smiling faces of the staff – who little did we know at the time – were soon to play a huge part in making the stay so special.
As we made our way down the solar walkway (which self-generates 100% of the energy used at the camp) to our villa, we were immediately stunned by the jaw-dropping views of the endless bush ahead and winding Palala river below.
Perched atop a 100ft cliff, the Maldivian-style stilted villas with private plunge pool were impressive to say the least. As we entered, we stood before an expansive open plan lounge area, bedroom and bathroom with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering up stylish furnishings and eclectic bush inspired art pieces.
The camp operates private game drives so there was no need to wake up at the crack of dawn if a relaxing morning in bed was what you wanted. Led by our wonderful ranger, we were fortunate enough to spot many of the big five during our time at the camp, including elephants, buffalo, rhinos and the most extraordinary sighting of all; a lion goring into its prey after a victorious kill.
Dining is high up the list with what Noka camp does best. Some of the incredible foodie-experiences we enjoyed included a gourmet ‘bush breakfast’, sundowners and canapes on a nearby cliff edge overlooking a ravine and a candle-lit dinner served up under the twinkling stars.
If you can tear yourself away from the game drives and mouth-watering dining options, Noka Camp also offers a plethora of activities from water safaris, to yoga and spa experiences and guided visits to the local Wilderness School, nearby Iron Age site and bushman painting rock-art sites.
Conservation and sustainability efforts, as well as support to local community projects is the beating heart of Lepogo Lodges. The latest initiative being the camp’s carbon offset programme which donates the monetary value of each guest’s carbon foot print – from the time they leave home to the moment they return – into one of three conservation projects chosen by the guest.
If you’re seeking a luxurious wildlife escape with a conscience, this is most definitely one for the bucket list…