Brand-new Babohi Lodge elevates the luxury safari experience in the Waterberg

Qwabi Private Game Reserve has unveiled the latest addition to this remarkable Big Five safari destination, with the opening of the five-star lodge Babohi – set in a commanding location overlooking the game-rich hills of the world-famous Waterberg Biosphere.

Offering 25 luxurious rooms and suites, Babohi is the flagship offering at Qwabi Private Game Reserve and the second of three unique lodges to be built and refurbished across this 11 000-hectare conservation area.

“We’re thrilled to expand on the offering at Qwabi Private Game Reserve, with Babohi now catering to a discerning market of local and international safari travellers,” comments Neil Markovitz, CEO of Newmark Hotels and Reserves. “Today’s global traveller demands wilderness experiences that are both sustainable and authentic, without compromising on luxury, and Babohi is a perfect fit for this sector of the market.”

While Letamo Lodge – which opened on Qwabi in late-2022 – offers a luxurious family-friendly safari, Babohi ups the ante for creature comforts in the wilderness. Babohi is dedicated to delivering understated opulence in a Big Five setting – and in keeping with the remarkable surroundings of the Waterberg, water was a key influence in the lodge’s design.

The 25 rooms and suites are spread across four room categories, each offering serene private spaces, opulent furnishings and memorable wilderness views. Selected suites promise a range of additional indulgences, from private plunge pools to the on-trend addition of wood-fired hot tubs.

But the stand-out offering is the expansive Lion Presidential Suite, which stretches to more than 150 square metres to allow for exclusive private dining and bespoke butler service on request.

Within the main lodge, the spacious communal areas include an elegant restaurant showcasing regional and international cuisine, and a choice of bars for memorable sundowners or after-dark nightcaps. The lodge vinoteque is stocked with sought-after vintages from some of South Africa’s most famous cellars, hand-selected by Marlvin Gwese, group sommelier for Newmark Hotels and Reserves.

The eye-catching lounge space, redolent with natural tones and textures beneath thatched ceilings, spills out onto a deliciously Instagrammable rooftop pool deck delivering panoramic views across the reserve.

For those favouring wellness over the wilderness, the double-storey spa offers an extensive menu of facial and body treatment journeys.

To ensure the lodge remains an oasis of calm and rejuvenation, only guests older than 16 years of age are allowed at Babohi. Younger safari travellers are warmly welcomed at Letamo Lodge, which offers an array of child-friendly facilities and services.

In keeping with the contemporary lodge experience, the culinary adventure at Babohi has been expertly crafted to ensure an unforgettable gastronomic journey.

“With Babohi we have created a uniquely interactive food experience,” explains Chris Erasmus, food & beverage curator for Newmark Hotels and Reserves. “What’s key is that it’s about making unique moments around food, at different times and in different locations around the lodge, and within the reserve.”

Those interactive experiences are as varied as the landscapes beyond Babohi, from discovering wild game on the wood-fired grill or getting hands-on with the table-side hibachi grills that allow guests to create their own unforgettable dining experience.

Dovetailing seamlessly with these interactive elements guests can look forward to traditional South African braai experiences, often enjoyed al fresco beneath the sweep of starry southern skies, or upscale gourmet evenings offering a la carte dining informed by Erasmus’ time behind the pass of fine-dining kitchens in South Africa and abroad.

Woven throughout the dining experience is Erasmus’ long-held fascination with hyper-local and seasonal ingredients. Along with tapping into the bountiful produce of the region, Erasmus and his kitchen will also look to incorporate wild ingredients foraged from the surrounding landscape.

“Wild ingredients really bring a unique sense of place to the plate,” explains Erasmus. “The foraging is very seasonal, and although we’re still finding our way around the property I expect this coming spring will showcase lots of wild berries, plums, marulas and herbs. At the same time, we’re focused on sourcing the best local meats, vegetables and fruits from the incredible farmers in Limpopo. The tropical fruit, in particular, up here is amazing!”

“At Babohi we’ve really worked hard to create memorable moments that are subtly integrated into the stay of each and every guest,” adds Neil Steedman, general manager for Hospitality at Qwabi Private Game Reserve. “Aside from the incredible dining, that could also mean a memorable morning coffee stop, with a gas stove delivering unforgettable hot chocolate on a cool morning, to secret surprises that will delight you on your sunset drive.”

Beyond the lodge, guests can look forward to twice-daily game drives in the company of expert safari guides, exploring this remarkable reserve in search of creatures great and small. While all of the sought-after ‘Big Five’ are found on Qwabi Private Game Reserve, equally thrilling is the chance to spot some of the reserve’s lesser known residents, from elusive aardvark to the more than 200 bird species recorded here.

Qwabi Private Game Reserve is located within the rich biodiversity corridor of the malaria-free Waterberg. This region of dramatic geological formations and lush savannah grassland is a proclaimed Unesco Biosphere Reserve, home to more than 5500 species of flora and a rich biodiversity of species, many of which are endemic to the region.

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