Chilling in the Waterberg

Whether it be for a long weekend or a whole week, the Mabalingwe Game Reserve is an ideal place for that "Out of Africa" experience.

Situated on the road to Thabazimbi, Mabalingwe is spread over 12000 hectares in the tranquil mountain range of the Waterberg.

A comfortable two-hour drive from Gauteng, the resort consists of a number of accommodation options.

For those who enjoy caravanning and camping there are over 100 sites available and a well-stocked shop is open seven days a week for those little bits and pieces you forgot to bring along.

My option for a week was a lovely, fully-equipped chalet with a breathtaking view of the valley below.

It is home to the Big Five so one soon gets used to friendly visits throughout the day from a variety of animals.

Warthogs, monkeys and squirrels all seemed to make it a part of their daily ritual to pop their heads into the airy chalet in search of the odd bit of food.

The monkeys in particular are brazen and will not think twice about stealing some fruit from the kitchen.

Activities on offer at Maba- lingwe include game drives, tennis, squash or just chilling out at one of the many pools scattered around the resort.

Particularly enjoyable in the early evening is a long soak in the heated pool, which is a only stone's throw from the bar, where it is possible to catch the latest in international sport on a big-screen TV.

An added bonus to staying at Mabalingwe these days is that guests have access to the nearby Zebula Golf Estate.

A short 10-minute drive up the road, Zebula offers plenty for the outdoor sportsperson.

An award-winning 18-hole golf course looked in stunning condition with the greens and fairways in tip-top shape after the recent rains.

Also on offer is a spa where guests have access to a wide range of facials, manicures, pedicures and various massages.

An adjoining gym is an ideal way to spend an hour in the morning to work off the excesses the night before.

The staff at Zebula are particularly friendly and went out of their way to make sure time spent at the resort was pleasurable.

One of the main benefits of a stay at Mabalingwe is that it doesn't take forever to get there.

The roads are tarred the whole way, the resort is extremely well maintained and the vastness and beauty of the area is just the tonic for a stressed soul.