Cypiro Leopard Lodge: Relearning to Relax
The sun had just started to dip as we watched the hills to the south change colour. Late afternoons in the bush are magical, just as early mornings are sacred. Swallows came past, dancing and dipping before disappearing to their nests. Down below – hidden amidst a myriad of trees sprinkled with vibrant new leaves – an Emerald-spotted Wood Dove was calling; another echoing its call. As we sat on the deck, soundlessly listening to nature, it dawned on us: While there are many things we would like to unlearn, being content with doing the bare minimum was something we desperately wanted to relearn.
A different kind of safari at Cypiro Leopard Lodge
When it comes to bush experiences, the first thing that springs to mind is the word ‘safari.’ A visit to Cypiro Leopard Lodge has much to offer, but it’s everything but the traditional safari. Forget about wake-up calls, two game drives daily and those warm, lemon grass-scented cloths we have come to associate with the transition from game drive to boma dinner. In fact, the property of just over 130 hectares is home to mainly plains game, offering a whole new version of a bushveld break.
Cypiro Leopard Lodge is a destination where you can immerse yourself in nature without having to worry about the Big 5 (or housekeeping) showing up at your doorstep unannounced. With a variety of self-catering options to choose from, you can enjoy the bush at your own pace. Here, amidst Marula and Acacia trees, you learn to slow down.
Select your bushveld stay
The bush experience at Cypiro Leopard Lodge gets even more interesting when it comes to the accommodation options available. Apart from the thatched manor house – which is the original farmhouse – there is also a modern stand called The View, two ingenious pods inspired by a curled-up pangolin, and finally the family-friendly Hacienda villa. Whether you’re looking for a modern bush stay, a South African stay with a Mexican twist or a beautifully renovated five-room villa, you’ll find it all here.
Surrounded by Kransberg, the Hoekberg Mountains, as well as the Witfonteinrand Hills, The View was our base from which we got to take in the breathtaking Limpopo scenery for two days. In summer, the sun rises from behind Kransberg – a reference point for the world’s largest Cape Vulture colony of about 800 breeding pairs. The View offered a comfortable stay with large stack doors opening up onto a large deck, allowing for beautiful views from your bed, the couch or the kitchen.
Experiences beyond the usual safari itinerary
Cater for yourself
On our first night, we utilised the braai facilities at The View and catered for ourselves. The second night called for G&Ts at the Bush Bar, overlooking an outstretched piece of land where all the plains game seem to gather as the sun sets. Sables, kudu, impala, zebra and even giraffes made for a graceful veld film as we sat at the beautiful concrete and steel table, complemented by carefully curated director’s chairs. The owners, Rob and Pim Verdoorn have a background in furniture manufacturing and Pim is a talented designer whose eye for detail is evident everywhere – even at the bush bar.
A bush bar and night walks
The bushveld drinks were followed by an earlyish night walk. While they normally do these walks around 21:00 at night, the times, pace and complexity of the walks are often determined by the ability and fitness level of the group. Flashlights in hand we walked up to the manor house – where the chef was preparing dinner – stopping every now and then to look up into the night sky which was gaining a glistening star by the minute. A slight smile of a moon looked down on us as we meandered through the bush, curiously keeping our eyes and ears open for possible nocturnal surprises. That’s the joys of a bush experience without Big 5 roaming around – you can go on guided walks without the worry of an ellie suddenly appearing out of nowhere or a buffalo taking charge.
Of course, being in the bush there is naturally an element of danger attached to these night walks as leopard, hyena and spitting cobras have been spotted here. That is why the night walks will always be guided. With Cypiro Leopard Lodge’s owners both being falkners, they also offer bush walks with their hawk, Uncas, adding yet another special touch to an already unique experience.
Thabazontoren, a greenhouse for foodies
The adventure doesn’t stop in the veld, though. Foodies would be happy to know that one of Cypiro Leopard Lodge’s latest ventures is a greenhouse – their very own mini version of Babylonstoren, dubbed Thabazontoren. Here, guests will soon be able to forage some veggies to take back to their self-catering units where they can cook up a storm (or request the chef to come and prepare a meal for them).
While two days might have been enough for us to familiarise ourselves with The View’s offering, we still wanted to walk up to the Kol-Kol hot tub, nestled between bushes and grass and indulge in a glass of bubbly while watching the sun set. We also had to save the horse riding for next time.
On our last morning at Cypiro Leopard Lodge, we lay in our king-sized bed overlooking the blue-hued Thabazimbi hills. The morning sky blushed beautifully as soft sunrays gently brushed the blue canvas with touches of peach and yellow. For a brief moment – one of those moments that become your reason to travel – everything seemed right with the world. It was then that we knew: A return to Cypiro Leopard Lodge is definitely due.
Feature image: My Lime Boots | Images in text: Renate Engelbrecht