A perfect stay at Timamoon luxury retreat
A beautiful naked woman stood luxuriating in the cool water of an outdoor rain shower at Timamoon Lodge, surrounded by tropical foliage and enjoying the far-reaching view of the Sabie river valley below. Hubbie was sold. He normally spends a little longer on websites when we’re deciding where to stay but this one was a no-brainer. If I’m honest, I quite fancied recreating that scene myself, although no doubt the reality would mean cold water and far too many bugs for me to actually enjoy it.
These things always look more sexy in photographs don’t they!
Known in South Africa as the most seductive lodge on the planet, Timamoon is a romantic hillside hideaway surrounded by plantations and forests, not far from the Kruger Park. We’d just spent a few glorious weeks in South Africa, going on luxury game drives in Sabi Sand, sipping wine at the most prestigious estates in Franschhoek, and sleeping under the stars in Swaziland. Yet it was a few days of doing something we never do – chilling out – at Timamoon that I was perhaps looking forward to the most.
There are 6 luxurious lodges tucked away amongst the greenery, each with it’s own unique African style. Much of the decor involves artefacts and quirky ornaments collected by the owners on their travels around the continent, most notably Morocco and Zanzibar. Usually the centre piece of any luxurious abode, the ornately carved four-poster beds are almost upstaged by lofty thatched roofs, intricately tiled sunken baths big enough for two, and huge fireplaces to warm even the largest of lodges.
Oh, and did I mention the infinity plunge pools? Drool.
Perhaps the hardest decision was choosing our lodge as they all looked divine, but after many emails back and forth with the lovely assistant managers Jessie and Skye, they convinced me that ‘Blue Moon’ was the most romantic as it was even more secluded than the others. They certainly know their stuff…it was perfect!
The anticipation grew as we bumped along the hillside track in our car, following Jessie through the plantation on her quad bike. The fact that she was wearing a gorgeous scarlet summer cocktail dress whilst riding this dirt machine was strangely fitting of the whole Timamoon ethos. Luxury outdoor living at it’s finest.
Parking in Blue Moon’s own little shaded terracotta car park we tried to contain our childish excitement as we followed Jessie down the cobbled garden path to our home for the next few days.
We tried not to trip over the resident peacocks along the way, and soon learnt that it was as much their home as ours with their frequent displays of superiority as they strutted across our terrace each morning. One of their favourite past-times was admiring (and being confused by) their own reflections in our windows.
Blue Moon was incurably romantic, and never have I seen ‘sexy’ and ‘eco’ work together so well. The lodge was an endearing blend of wood, thatch and the trademark Moroccan-style terracotta that is found all over the plantation, with an open plan style that lends itself most superbly to outdoor living.
Inside was like stepping into the most charming museum ever! Every alcove was adorned with tribal antiques or abstract ethnic art, and even the furniture was individually hand-crafted and sourced from exotic corners of the continent. Definitely our sort of place. I immediately began taking notes for our next house, much to hubbies despair.
I loved that there were so many places to laze about, including a mezzanine viewing deck accessed by a gorgeously rickety ladder, leaving the bed purely for the purpose for which it was intended. Sleeping, right?
And so on to the bathroom, often my favourite part of any accommodation. It sure didn’t disappoint with it’s glamorous bath tub and suitably placed candles.
There was a shower too, and even his and hers sinks which are definitely one of my guilty pleasures. Not to mention the beautiful Moroccan lighting casting pretty shapes onto the walls.
Undeniably the plunge pool was the icing on the cake, and if you’ve read about our travels in Laos you’ll know that we’ve been known to choose our destination country based entirely on an internet image search for infinity pools around the world! Better than just sticking a pin in the map anyway!
Whilst hubbie was out accidentally hunting for snakes and getting cornered by the male peacock, I found my own little corner of paradise.
The sweeping views from the pool terrace overlook the Sabie River and distant mountains beyond, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot the Long-crested eagles floating on the thermals that rise above the valley. The comfy stilted day bed was a great little touch, and we loved coming up here to read in the heat of the afternoon, enjoying the cooling breezes from the valley. Have to be honest I didn’t progress my latest novel very well. I’m easily distracted, especially by good views. And inquisitive peacocks. And flying insects.
Privacy is something Timamoon does superbly. None of the lodges are overlooked, and you could easily spend a few days without seeing or hearing another soul if you so wished. Approaching staff coming to service the lodge or deliver a picnic lunch always call out from the path, checking its okay to pop down, and giving you enough time to wriggle back into your bikini should you have been trying out a true al-fresco lifestyle!
Check out our walk through film of the Blue Moon lodge at Timamoon…
Sorry it’s a bit shaky…there had been wine involved!
When we’d had our fill of lazing by the pool, we hiked down to the Sabie River to admire the waterfalls. It was a pretty steep climb and we were glad we’d left the flip flops back at the lodge. The rocks at the bottom are a great place for a picnic, but I have to be honest, it was just too hot in November to want to hang around for long, and we were glad we’d ordered our lunch to eat back by the pool later on.
Yoga and massages can be arranged in the privacy of your own lodge, or for the more energetic there is horse riding, river rafting and hot air-ballooning nearby. Timamoon isn’t far from the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, a stunning place to hike and admire the waterfalls. As for us, we decided to go micro-lighting over the canyon. But that’s another story!
Before dinner each evening we popped down to the open air bar for cocktails and to enjoy the twinkling star lights hanging in the rafters. I’ve never been to a bar accessed by stepping stones over a pond and this was significantly easier to negotiate on the way in!
The food at Timamoon is a delight, and we loved that the chef came into the candle-lit restaurant each evening to present the menu to the diners. Breakfast was delicious too, and we were seated in private little natural alcoves around a koi carp pond, listening to the peakcocks calling to each other in the trees. Did you know they roost in trees?
Being the renowned sportswoman that I am (I was excluded from football class at school and once shot my niece with an arrow!) it was only natural we should have a game of pool after dinner. Only trouble was, the snooker table appeared to be full size, and height isn’t one of my fortes.
Still, I think I potted a couple of balls. Or maybe that was just the wine talking.
Timamoon is all about decadence in a rustically romantic setting, and going back to nature without giving up the pleasures of life. Coincidently exactly the ethos behind Conversant Traveller! We were over the moon with our stay here, and can’t wait to return to try out one of the other lodges.
And as for the naked lady?
She never did put in an appearance, but at least I got to try the shower myself. Bugs and all.
Timamoon is accessed by a steep forest track and although it is just about reachable in a normal car in the dry season, I wouldn’t have wanted to try it in the wet! If you can, take a 4×4!
Picnics are delicious but perhaps not quite what you’d expect…all hot food (wraps and pizza) and a bit too much just for lunch. So don’t go mad at breakfast if you’re planning one.
It’s a bit of a walk through the estate to the restaurant from the lodges (10 minutes from Blue Moon) so best leave your heels at home, or at least take some flats along too. Staff are happy to escort you back afterwards in the dark, but it’s far more fun to take your own flash-light and hope you don’t get lost!