Today conversation at work centred on if South Africa was a good destination for the school holidays which bought to mind one of my favourite places Tshukudu Game Lodge. Tshukudu is situated 45 minutes from Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate about 470 km’s from Johannesburg in Limpopo Province. The Lodge covers 5000 hectares and hosts all of the Big 5 plus runs an orphaned animal project.
I have been to Tshukudu Game lodge about 18 times – yes great places keep you coming back. Each visit has offered different experiences and been consistently worthwhile. A Window Full Of Elephant which I have used as the title for this post is in fact the title of a book written by the former owner Ala Zofia Sussens.
Ala with her husband Lolly started the famous “Flame Lily Tours” in Zimbabwe. Ala was a force in the hospitality industry, starting up “Sundowner Cruises” on the Zambezi and making a success of the Chobe River Safari Lodge in Botswana before moving to South Africa where in the eighties they took over the running of
a former cattle farm and turned it into a Lodge where visitors were truly made to feel like family. Ala became like a second mother to me and was much loved and admired by many. Tragically in April 2010 Ala was killed along with her eldest son Ian in a terrible car accident.
The running of the property has since passed to the remaining Sussens family who have had to face many challenges but are currently running the Lodge with some great packages available. Maximum number of guests is 28 and children are very welcome, plus there is wheelchair access for anyone needing this assistance. The thatched chalets are comfortable with views over the bush and a small waterhole. Tshukudu has always been a 3 star lodge delivering a 5 star experience.
Over the years I have bottle fed lion cubs, lounged by the pool with purring cheetahs, swum in the river with an 18 month old hippo, hand fed elephants, shared my bed (not voluntarily) with a warthog called cutlet and had my eyes opened to how we must protect the habitat of these animals.
Tshukudu is great value for money – Ala’s vision lives on. Would recommend combining 2 nights at Tshukudu with a few days in the Kruger Park and/or a Lodge such as Garonga in the Makalali Game Reserve, Ngala in the Timbavati or any of the lodges in the Sabi Sand.