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WE LIVE in Africa so getting back to nature should be something we all do now and then. And if it's with a touch of luxury, then so much the better.
Situated in the province of Limpopo, the Waterberg range dates back to the Stone Age and stretches for hundreds of kilometres. In more recent years, though, it has become home to a number of game lodges and weekend getaway spots.
The Aventura Resort in Bela Bela has been around for years, as has the nearby internationally renowned Mabula Lodge and Mabalingwe Nature Reserve.
A relatively new addition to this prime area is the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa. Established in 2001, Zebula is tucked away at the foot of the Waterberg and is a combination of golf estate, nature reserve, bush lodge and health spa. Just a two-hour drive from Johannesburg or 90 minutes from Pretoria, the resort is situated on 1600 hectares of malaria-free bushveld and provides an "out of Africa" experience. but with class and sophistication.
There are various accommodation options at Zebula. We opted for renting a private home situated in the reserve.
Being situated in a nature reserve, the houses must conform to certain specifications, so thatch is the order of the day with wide, open-plan living areas standard.
Thatch always seems to provide a sense of nature and manages to blend in so well with the environment. The last thing an area such as this needs is another pseudo-fake Tuscan monstrosity!
Now we all know interior designers can work wonders with a home. Minimalistic is the current trend but if you or I attempt it the result bare-looking, whereas an interior designer manages to make bare appear funky and chic.
African artefacts positioned in just the right place, plasma-screen TV... oh, the hardships of being in the bush! Upstairs is a snooker table and bar area leading out on to a patio deck that proves the perfect place from which to watch the sun go down in the early evening.
The two bedrooms are both enormous, with walk-in en suite bathrooms that has unusual, very romantic "his and her" shower heads in a large open area. It is Valentine's weekend after all! A jacuzzi bath also looks like fun but with temperatures soaring, a hot bath is out of the question.
The activities and facilities at Zebula definitely match its five-star rating.
The health spa is a must for those wanting to unwind with a variety of packages available for a bit of self-indulgent pampering. A steam room, gym, outdoor and indoor pools along with a number of jacuzzis ensure there is no excuse for not working off the extra kilos you are guaranteed to gain dining at the main restaurant in the clubhouse.