Tintswalo first fell into my lap when I experienced the group’s amazing Cape Town seaside retreat, and I was amazed to find out that when the Tintswalo team turned their hand towards the bush, they created their own magic there too….

Joburg; OR Tambo International Airport; a short flight to your game lodge; game-viewing; sleep; wake early; more of the same; leave; back at your desk on Monday morning.

Ouch! Game farms are becoming as convenient as zoos, and if you bang in enough hours in the trunk, you’ll see the big five.  Tick the box. Done.

We took a different approach when we visited Tintswalo Safari Lodge: we drove there.

It’s a good five hours to Mpumlanga’s Manyeleti Reserve private concession, darkness for the last hour or so, but a scenic and real excursion that I think is part of the overall bush experience.

The bush shouldn’t feel like it’s on your doorstep – it needs a journey, a trek that makes the game-viewing all the more authentic and believable.

A campfire supper, some fine red wine and a chat with our ranger, and we retired to a deep slumber, thanks to the amazing duvet and pillows that take you forever to pile into.

The 5.30am wake-up call for the morning game drive was tough, even with a hot chocolate served to our bedside, but we were in for a treat – great bush and game everywhere, as though they had been summoned to wish us a good morning.  There’s not much point writing about what we saw specifically – it will be there for you when you visit.  (We finally achieved the 100 Club – game drives, that is, and each one has been fulfilling in its own way.)

Service, cuisine and amazing comforts are the elements that set the balance of the Tintswalo experience apart from other lodges, from the personal service from your waiter and the fine dining tuned towards your palate – you work with the team there to design your evening menu – to the luxury of your suite and the attention to detail of the housekeeping team…

A magical experience – made all the more magical for us with our trek there and, regretfully, our meander back to reality.

Tony stayed courtesy of the ‘Private Client’ listings of The Roving Ambassador / Tourism Corporation Africa.  The Roving Ambassador, +27 21 426 0991, www.therovingambassador.co.za.