TOMJACHU BUSH RETREAT
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.
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.
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 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.