An outdoor bath, a splash pool and a view of a watering hole always get my vote when in the bush: all three can be enjoyed in the heat of the day or under the stars at night, and are how I indulged my senses between game drives and feasts, on my visit to the exclusive-use Manor House at Tintswalo Safari Lodge.

With a shady patio, comfortable outdoor bar/lounge, said view of a waterhole (which attracted thirsty and curious antelope, warthogs, zebra, wildebeest and elephants in the space of two G&Ts), and luxurious rooms, you may consider never leaving the comfort of the villa.

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But when in an area as diverse and game-rich as the Manyeleti Game Reserve, which also offers one of the lowest vehicle densities in the greater Kruger region (it borders the Kruger National Park, the Timbavati and Sabi Sand game reserves), it would be a sin not to enjoy the morning and evening game drives with your private ranger. This is Big Five territory and the animals didn’t disappoint. We saw lion feeding on their kill, young hyena peering out of their dens, beady-eyed vultures and elephants close up, thanks to a dedicated and exceptionally knowledgeable tracker and ranger.

The service back at the Manor is equally good – attentive, but discreet – while the food is a more-ish affair with tapas-style lunches on the patio, breakfast in the bush and dinner under the stars.

The Safari Lodge down the road offers eight suites, each named after 19th century explorers, while Tintswalo Manor House, with its five en suite bedrooms, is a fully-catered, exclusive-use villa, with a pool, private chef and service staff, and a dedicated game ranger. Kids are welcome.

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