Giraffe’s Nest – A Bush Love Story

A pride of eight lions, exhausted after a long day’s voyage through the rugged bushveld, lay peacefully on the dry river bed under the shade of a few thorny trees. One large, majestic male lion on his side, occasionally lifted his head to look around, ensuring that the others, who were all fast asleep, were safe from danger. Four cubs rolled sporadically from side to side, and flicked their tiny ears and tails to ward off flies. We sat, a few meters away, and watched from our open-air vehicle. Silent and in awe of these regal creatures that didn’t seem bothered in the slightest at our presence. The engine of the safari vehicle started up and one of the females lifted her head to investigate where the noise was coming from. She opened her mouth to yawn, revealing a deadly set of fangs, and lulled back to sleep as we drove away.

As we headed back to the camp, a young leopard decided to make an appearance and we followed him for some time until he plopped himself down on an old termite hill, kindly allowing us to ogle at his beautifully spotted coat and stately disposition. He, too, was tired, and soon closed his eyes for a rest. We left him in peace and headed back to the lodge, elated at the afternoon game drive spotting’s which also included a herd of African elephants embracing at a water hole, a variety of antelope in pairs, a giraffe bull loping over to the female and affectionately rubbing his long, strong neck against hers, and a family of hyenas and their pups playing in the dusky light.

This was day one of three at Motswari Private Game Reserve, where we would be spending our wedding anniversary and already… there was love in the air.

My partner and I, celebrating 3 beautiful years since we tied the knot, would be spending the first night in absolute solitude, right in the middle of the African bush. Giraffe’s Nest is a magical accommodation option at Motswari and is a must for those seeking the ultimate, exclusive romantic getaway. It is a treehouse on high stilts, perched three meters above the ground, overlooking the Xanatsi Dam – an active waterhole that attracts all kinds of wild visitors.

A guide escorted us to our private abode for the evening just before sunset and detailed the evening ahead before leaving us alone to enjoy the tranquil, serene space. He would only be back in the morning to fetch us. We climbed the stairs to the top of the treehouse where champagne on ice awaited us in our luxury canopy among the trees. A large, sumptuous bed (there is no better way to describe it!) with crisp linen and mohair blankets on an elevated platform, enabling us to see the view below, beckoned, invitingly. A picnic dinner, and beautifully set table with candles was laid out for us to enjoy at our leisure and a cooler box of drinks and additional snacks that would see us through the night was there for the taking. Adding to the luxury was an eco-bathroom, complete with open-air shower, which could be enjoyed under the inky black African sky, splattered with glittering stars.

As the sun began to set, and the vast African sky began showing off hues of red, purple and blue, we opened the champagne and clinked our glasses in celebration of our love and the magic that surrounded us. As the sun dipped beneath the horizon and the night fell upon us, we lit the candles and were treated to the sounds of a bush symphony that played throughout the night.

Not long after the night fell, we enjoyed our romantic candlelit dinner and gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes, reminiscing about how we met and the beautiful memories we had shared over the years. We were soon visited by a considerable herd of buffalo who had come to drink at the water hole and who we watched quietly with the torch provided by the lodge. After enjoying our time with them, we retreated to our inviting bed where we opened the retractable roof and had a spectacular view of the night sky in all its glory. Shooting stars (of which there were too many to count) and a sliver moon provided the most perfect canopy for an evening of pure bliss.

The rest…well… I’ll leave that to your imagination…

Waking up to the sun creating a light show of pink that we had never before seen, as it peaked its head over the horizon, beckoning a new day and awakening the bush, we lay in each other’s arms and felt like we were in heaven. Giraffe’s Nest is a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience that epitomises romance and reminded us of the true meaning of love.

Julie Contat




The collection includes a number of neighbouring properties in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, in addition to other trendy properties spread out in Cape Town. It also includes private game reserve offerings in Mpumalanga, Timbavati and Serengeti; a historic hotel in Graaff-Reinet, located in the Eastern Cape; a chic property in the bustling Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg as well as a beach-side lodge in Zanzibar. Newmark further continues to keep a look-out for new, suitable opportunities and developments.

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