Hotel check: Didimala Game Lodge

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WHAT IS IT LIKE?

With the plethora of game lodge conference centres currently being opened, each one claiming great food, awesome service, comfortable rooms, ‘state-of-the-art’ conference equipment, but with the reality proving to be a little underwhelming, I approached Didimala with caution. You only need to do two things exceptionally well for any team breakaway to be a success: provide comfortable accommodation and deliver great food, and I’m pleased to say Didimala do both of these with aplomb. I stayed in one of their 5 well-appointed de-luxe rooms, complete with mini-bar and queen-sized bed. These rooms have an oval bath and outdoor shower – which was pleasantly useable in late winter when I visited.

Ladies will be pleased to note that the room has a hairdryer right in front of the mirror, not hidden in a drawer 4 feet away and with a 1-foot cord. There are a further 4 Executive Suites with king-sized beds and spa baths, as well as 11 twin standard rooms. The construction of the lodge contributes to its novelty. Built from 10 000 straw bales, the architecture is inspiring and gives Didimala a unique character. The lodge has a number of both open-air and indoor lounge areas, which are good for breakaway sessions. The highlight of the communal areas, though, has to be the pub – perched above the boma, it offers views of the surrounding bush from tree-top level and is ideal for sundowners. The menus were varied and interesting and servings were ample and hearty.

WHERE IS IT?

Didimala is 50 km from Pretoria, and 116 km from Sandton. The drive is an easy hour from Sandton on highways, taking the Hammanskraal / Rust de Winter turn-off 30 km north of Pretoria. From there, follow a wide, tarred road for 21 km to the Didimala gate, crossing the Limpopo provincial border a few kilometres from the lodge. From the gate you only drive about 3 km on well-maintained dust roads.

CONFERENCE ROOM FACILITIES

Didimala features three meeting and conference venues, ranging from an exclusive Board Room seating up to 20 guests, to the Masingita Theatre with 50 seats. I used the 28 seater (in U-style layout) Thetha room, which is equipped with executive chairs for everyone, integrated sound system, ceiling-mounted data projector and screen. All the equipment is electronically controlled from a touchpad allowing the speaker or facilitator to seamlessly control multi-media. The flagship is the Masinita theatre with a 4mx6m silver screen, a stage and digital surround sound. Everything you need for a launch or mind-blowing multi-media presentation is built in, including cordless microphones and a 7-channel digital receiver. 10 of the theatre seats are also attached to the Odyssee Motion/Sound Simulation system. These are comfortable and well appointed facilities and some of the best I’ve encountered at any game lodge. Didimala has set that perfect balance between professionalism and the ‘bush’ feel without erring on the side of rustic. Another really nice touch is that small bowls of homemadefudge are scattered on the tables, and bottled water is included in the rates.

LEISURE ACTIVITIES

Conference delegates can choose from a variety of leisure pursuits (at extra cost). These range from adrenalin-pumping microlight flying, balloon trips and quad biking to the more gentle spa treatments, and star-gazing complete with ‘guide’ and powerful telescopes. For ‘teambuilding’ there’s also interactive drumming, clay pigeon shooting and archery on offer. Naturally, no game lodge would be complete without open-vehicle game drives.

VERDICT

Didimala is a nugget in a field littered with iron pyrites. During the three days I spent there I honestly could not find anything to query or complain about. The service levels were outstanding – better than anything I’ve experienced in South Africa – and I was personally greeted by friendly staff at all hours of the day. Their tag-line is ‘Keep the Secret’ and I well might. If too many people read this I may not be able to get bookings for future groups!

PRICE

Conference Rack rates that include breakfast, lunch, dinner, board room, morning and afternoon teas start at the top end, ranging from R 1 435-00 per person on a sharing basis. Leisure rates available on request.

CONTACT

Didimala Game Lodge, PO Box 724, Montana Park, 0159.

Telephone: +27 (0)12 711 8500

Facsimile: +27 (0)12 711 8510

 

RESERVATIONS

E-mail: reserations@didmala.co.za, didmala.co.za

Erik Vermeulen