TOMJACHU BUSH RE­TREAT

TOMJACHU BUSH RE­TREAT

In Flight Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE - { TEXT: BERNARD K HELLBERG | IM­AGES © TOMJACHU BUSH RE­TREAT }

THERE IS A WIDELY HELD VIEW THAT THE MORE EX­CLU­SIVE AND UP­MAR­KET A PRI­VATE GAME RE­SERVE IS, THE MORE DIF­FI­CULT IT IS TO REACH IT. THE EX­CEP­TION IS THE STUNNING FOUR AND FIVE-STAR, OWNER-MAN­AGED TOMJACHU BUSH RE­TREAT SET IN 550 HECTARES ON THE OUT­SKIRTS OF NEL­SPRUIT, MPUMALANGA. ALTHOUGH A MERE 15 KM FROM TOWN, TOMJACHU OVER­LOOKS THE SOUTH­ERN BOUND­ARY OF THE KRUGER NA­TIONAL PARK AND THE GREAT CROC­O­DILE RIVER VAL­LEY.

LAST­ING IM­PRES­SIONS

Tomjachu – named af­ter Tom, Jack (who is in res­i­dence on the re­serve) and Hugo, sons of the late owner – may sound ex­otic and dif­fi­cult to pro­nounce, but it is a stunning des­ti­na­tion within easy reach of Gauteng, with a re­laxed four-hour drive on the N4, and a 4.5 km stretch of gravel for which a 4x4 is not re­quired.

The es­tate caters for ev­ery taste and pref­er­ence – and does so in style – with old-world charm and modern hos­pi­tal­ity blend­ing seam­lessly into an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence.

But what is it about this place that makes it so unique? It could be the stunning 265 bird species, or per­haps the abun­dant wildlife con­sist­ing of, among oth­ers, ze­bra, gi­raffe, wa­ter­buck and nyala, as well as a pair of semi-tame os­triches who en­joy ac­com­pa­ny­ing groups of hik­ers.There are no Big Five preda­tors – do­ing away with the need for an armed ranger as es­cort.

Tomjachu is also a great des­ti­na­tion for the fit­ness-ob­sessed who never leave home with­out their moun­tain bikes. Selfguided moun­tain bike trails are suit­able for be­gin­ners as well as in­ter­me­di­ate rid­ers, and take you through open bushveld on a com­bi­na­tion of roads and clearly sign­posted sin­gle tracks.

Guests who did not bring their own bikes and hel­mets may rent th­ese, as well as a “bike day pack” for that unique pic­nic ex­pe­ri­ence on the route.With the prop­erty of­fer­ing so much nat­u­ral beauty and his­tory – in­clud­ing Voortrekker wagon trails – the ride on the es­tate will for­ever be en­graved in your bik­ing mem­ory bank.

But for those who are less phys­i­cally in­clined,Tomjachu of­fers na­ture drives in a ten-seater open sa­fari Land Rover. Driven by a pro­fes­sional game guide, we were in­tro­duced to the won­ders of the Lowveld bush and its var­i­ous biomes and habi­tats, in­clud­ing high rocky peaks, wet­lands, plains, dams and ravines where streams plunge into secluded pools – which guests will use to good ad­van­tage dur­ing the hot Lowveld sum­mers.

LUX­U­RI­OUS LODG­INGS

Our party was ac­com­mo­dated in the re­cently launched Val­bonne Villa which of­fers stunning views of the Bekker Moun­tains.Val­bonne was a true de­light with its six suites, each uniquely fur­nished and equipped, as well as an en­tic­ing in­fin­ity pool set in the gar­den over­look­ing the ver­dant val­ley be­low – at eye-level with rap­tors hunt­ing for a snack.

The villa comes fully ser­viced, and our group was spoilt by the at­ten­tive house­keeper/but­ler who took care of our ev­ery need, although fa­cil­i­ties are avail­able for those groups who pre­fer to self-con­struct that great South African in­no­va­tion: a braai.

In ad­di­tion to the ex­cep­tion­ally fur­nished and dec­o­rated Val­bonne Villa, there is the Home­stead, of­fer­ing three in­di­vid­ual bed­rooms and suites, a spec­tac­u­lar sit­ting room, ter­races, a draw­ing room with open log fire in win­ter, and a large swim­ming pool with sun loungers and sun um­brel­las. That quaint and some­times elu­sive Out of Africa ex­pe­ri­ence is very much in ev­i­dence, with guests be­ing able to take up lawn cro­quet or amuse them­selves at the bridge ta­ble. Fish­ing rods are also avail­able – on the ba­sis of catch and re­lease – while the tech­nol­ogy-ob­sessed will take de­light in the Wi-Fi “on tap”. The Home­stead has a four star rat­ing, and is avail­able on a din­ner, bed and break­fast ba­sis.

For those guests with ro­man­tic in­ten­tions, the three secluded cot­tages are the per­fect choice. Rock House is a thatched hide­away with huge slid­ing doors for that panoramic view from the foot of your bed. It also fea­tures a plunge pool and a king-sized bed. De­spite be­ing a self-cater­ing fa­cil­ity with a modern braai area, meals are avail­able at The Home­stead by prior ar­range­ment.

The self-cater­ing Bush Cot­tage like­wise has a four star rat­ing and has its own swim­ming pool and two bed­rooms – one dou­ble and one twin. Per­fect for a fam­ily get­away, guests will quickly get used to cu­ri­ous os­triches star­ing through the win­dows, while sleek im­pala trim the lawn on the ter­race.

Keeper’s Cot­tage, which is tucked away but ad­ja­cent to the Lodge’s gar­dens and pool, of­fers com­plete pri­vacy and tran­quil­lity. In­for­mal and with deep-cush­ioned, old­fash­ioned arm­chairs, Keeper’s has an open-plan, fully equipped kitchen, a large sit­ting room with fire­place, and stunning views over the trees to the hills and val­leys of the Bekker Moun­tains.

BUSH DIN­NERS

Bush din­ners and pic­nics un­der the stars, to which we were treated, turned out to be a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence, con­vinc­ing us that Tomjachu had not seen the last of us. And like Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur in World War II we were each con­vinced that, “I shall re­turn.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.tomjachu.co.za.

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