Our welcome at Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge in the Kruger National Park was very African and rather unique. Shortly after our arrival, as we sat and completed the mandatory paperwork in the brightly coloured communal lounge, a herd of elephants paraded past the lodge deck, their trunks moving up and down, as though they were saluting us. It was one of the most beautiful welcomes to the bush that we’d ever received. Coincidentally, Hoyo Hoyo means “welcome” in the local Shangaan language.
Located on an ancient elephant route on the Mluwati River in a 10 000 hectare private concession bordering the Sabi Sand and Manyeleti Game Reserves, the five-star lodge truly feels like it is in the remote wilderness. It is also unfenced. You realise what this really means when you see an elephant feeding on the tree next to your room, or you see a spotted hyena trotting away from the lodge in the morning. Or when the staff regale you with anecdotes of animals killing each other on the lodge deck!
Officially opened in 2002, Hoyo-Hoyo is rather uniquely designed as far as safari lodges go. Based on Tsonga-Shangaan culture, the ancient African settlement theme is complemented by modern comforts. The lodge is intimate with just six rooms and a grand communal area spread around a clearing under the shade of ancient leadwood trees.
Accommodation is in thatched, round, burnt orange stone huts with en-suite bathrooms as well as reed-enclosed outdoor showers. The rooms overlook the river bed and the savannah beyond, where you often see wild animals passing by.