Ivory Tree Game Lodge Review, November 2008
By Jacqui Cochran
My husband's and my first trip to the Pilanesberg is going to be a hard act to follow. Our destination was the five-star Ivory Tree Game Lodge and Spa. I had first heard of the establishment because the Amani African Spa at Ivory Tree had been announced as a winner of the Safari Spa category in the Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Awards in 2007. A self-confessed spa addict and a game viewing enthusiast, Ivory Tree was high on my list of “must visit” destinations. One of the things that sets this lodge apart, is the level of service offered to its patrons. The helpfulness of the lodge staff at Ivory Tree make you believe that nothing is too much bother and, unlike many other exclusive lodges, we experienced a warmth and sincerity that made us feel completely at home, whilst never compromising on luxury.
During our game drives, we were fortunate enough to catch sightings of leopard, lion, rhino, elephant, warthog, kudu, nyala, blesbok, springbok, hippo, crocodile, spotted eagle owl and other birdlife. We were also treated to a visit to the Wild Dog rehabilitation pen where our game guide introduced us to “the girls” he works with on a daily basis and who will soon be released back to the park.
Our visit to the spa was a real treat. Treatment rooms are separated by wooden walkways with views of the African bush. To combat the heat, all rooms are equipped with airconditioning which ensure comfortable inside temperatures. We commenced our spa experience with their signature treatment, the Ku Rhula Body Ritual which started with a brisk body brush and was followed by a full body massage incorporating a variety of massage techniques using fragrant and unique African essential oils. I was then treated to an African Goddess Anti-ageing facial whilst my husband received a Holistic Men’s facial. Testament to the relaxing effect of our treatments is the fact that both my husband and I dozed off during our treatments. A truly splendid spa experience delivered with African flair.
We were so impressed with Ivory Tree, in fact, that we returned with one of our corporate groups of 55 pax for their annual 3-day, 2-night Management Conference & Teambuild. We facilitated an awesome Amazing Race through the spectacular Pilanesberg Game Reserve, which was a definite highlight in the itinerary. We also arranged clay pigeon shooting and quadbiking for the adventure seekers whilst others opted for a relaxing spa treat. For our final evening, we surprised guests with a bush boma dinner and Marimba band underneath a starry, African sky. Aah, this is the life!