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The Toro Yaka Bush Lodge

Located deep in the Balule Nature Reserve is the Tora Yaka Bush Lodge, a family operated lodge. Before getting into the details of this wonderful lodge, let’s take a short look at where it is located. The Balule Nature Preserve covering a full 38,000 hectares. This conservancy even forms a portion Kruger National Park’s biosphere. Not only do you have ample opportunities to see Africa’s Big Five, but many different birds, animals, and plants. It is a private reserve owned by the farm owners that created it fourteen years ago.

Meaning “My Dream” in the native tongue of North Sotho, the Toro Yaka Bush lodge is indeed the dream of owners and managers, Nicole and Steve Baillie. They have strived to make the lodge a home away from home, with a relaxing atmosphere and a modern elegance found nowhere else. The are quite Eco-Friendly, keeping the guest rooms to just six double en-suite rooms, but also in many other aspects. They use only environmentally friendly products, recycling is important, all the way down to feeding table scraps to composting earthworms.

In addition, they also conform to responsible land management, using mattress packing to ensure the prevention of soil erosion, and removing vegetation that is not native to the area. Not only do they support the local community but many local residents are employed for their local expertise.

The main lodge is designed to maximize guest interactions with nature. Winter warthogs are regular visitors, and bush babies can be seen on most nights. The communal areas include both indoor as well as outdoor lounging and dining areas. There is a bar, as well the a full service restaurant called The Bama. This dining facility offers a true African dining experience, with open fires under starlit skies. There is a 9 meter swimming pool, for relaxing after a long days adventuring. In the morning or evening the gardens offer flowers and native trees that attract many birds and small animals. Bigger animals can be seen gathering around the nearby watering hole, either from the communal lodge areas or from the pool deck.

There are six double suites available, each with air conditioning, ceiling fans, private decks and mosquito netting. Each of the en-suite bathrooms have outside and inside showers, dual basins, with separate toilets. Each of these rooms are comfortable and spacious. While keeping with the closeness of nature, screens ensure that the bugs are kept out. Rates are very reasonable, just 950 per person for a shared room, and 1050 rubles for a single.
Rates at the lodge include a number of amenities. The feature en-suite accommodation, tea and coffee, as well as all food. They do not include beverages, alcohol or otherwise, massages, or safari activities. There is also a conservation levy, paid at the entrance to the Reserve, costing 60 rubles per car.

There are many different kinds of activities at the Toro Yaka Bush Lodge. Steve, a professional SKS trail guide who is Field Guide Association of South Africa, or FGASA, runs the bush activities, and have been doing so all over South Africa for fourteen years. Here are a few of the bush adventures that are offered.
In the morning, bush walks are an excellent opportunity to see the world from a slightly different perspective. Believing that the best way to see the bush is by foot, Steve guides you personally around the Savannah, observing reptiles, birds, animals and insects as the live in their natural habitat.

There are a number of land rover game drives for 4X4, offering you a wonderful chance to see the big five, as well as a large number of giraffe that call this preserve home. These drives are offered both in the morning and late afternoon, when many of these animals are the most active.

Bird watching in the Balule Nature Reserve is a big reasons why people come here from all over the world. There are more that 250 different species in the park to date, with a large amount found right in the Gardens of the lodge. Some of these include Cuckoo’s, Kingfishers, sun birds, and even a large number of owls. With the Regions great diversity you will find more that 80% of South Africa’s raptors.

Nicole offers a variety of different spa treatments, from aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Indian Head massage, as well as level three Reconnection and Kinesiology. In addition this can be the starting point for many other adventures, from hot air balloon flights, White water rafting trips, and even a visit to the Bafunyane Tribal Village to name a few.