by Dec 2, 20200 comments

Deep in the heart of South Africa’s Greater Kruger wilderness, Abelana Game Reserve is upholding the spirit of sharing that gave it its name by offering groups of friends and families the chance to come together and celebrate landmark events and important milestones…

Simply put, Abelana – whose name means “to share amongst each other” in the Northern Sotho language – is the perfect party destination. Whether it’s a small, intimate wedding, an important birthday or anniversary, an engagement or just the chance to get an entire family together after the stresses and strains of lockdown, Abelana has it covered.

In the south of the reserve lies Abelana Safari Camp… This wonderful authentic tented camp has been wowing guests ever since it opened in September 2019. It’s located amongst the distinctive rock formations and koppies that dominate the southern section of the 15,000ha reserve and accommodates just eight guests in four beautifully appointed, Meru-style en-suite luxury tents. Atop the towering koppie that Abelana Safari Camp was built beneath is one of its best-kept secrets – an incredible 100 square metre viewing deck offering incredible panoramic views of the entire reserve and the dam below. 

Abelana Safari Camp is the perfect spot for intimate get-togethers and low-key celebrations. Days can be spent exploring the incredible scenery on foot with legendary trails guide John Fouche and evenings are a time for gathering around a roaring log fire in the boma, while Head Chef Lector Shai prepares amazing, mouthwatering dishes for dinner under the stars.

Further north, on a beautiful stretch of the Selati River, lies Abelana River Lodge. This brand new lodge is already turning heads thanks to its fabulous décor and effortless blend of African and contemporary design and offers the ultimate event venue for up to 40 people, with accommodation in 20 luxurious thatched guest suites.

As its name implies, the river is the drawcard at Abelana River Lodge which is built on the northern bank of the river overlooking a permanent stretch of water that’s home to a pod of hippos as well as some impressive crocodiles! The lodge’s beautiful and expansive outdoor areas are perfect for al fresco dining and entertaining and include a riverside boma and firepit, outdoor lounge, bar and dining areas and breathtaking infinity pool.

“Both Abelana Safari Lodge and Abelana River Lodge have already successfully hosted landmark celebrations,” says Abelana Game Reserve CEO Ian Beauchamp. “We’re putting a lot of emphasis on fine dining and our food is already becoming something of a talking point, so we welcome the opportunity to cater for weddings and parties,” he adds.

He adds that one of the first landmark celebrations Abelana hosted was a 50th wedding anniversary dinner under one of its beautiful baobab trees, where champagne magically “descended” from the tree and was opened in traditional sabrage fashion. The event was a huge success.

“Abelana Safari Camp’s stunning viewing deck was the venue for a romantic wedding proposal… She said ‘yes’ and the happy couple later posted that the deck should ‘become the best place to get engaged or married in the world!’ Abelana River Lodge has also hosted a wonderful surprise party for a couple staying at Abelana Safari Camp,” adds Beauchamp. “They were driven, unsuspecting, to River Lodge for a sundowner overlooking the Selati and were met by a large group of their closest friends! It was a wonderful event.”

No form of celebration is complete without amazing food. Abelana River Lodge head chef Juan Louis “JL” Kruger has been using the lockdown to hone his and his team’s creative skills, putting his hand to some amazing signature dishes that would complement any celebratory feast. “We have a state-of-the-art kitchen here at Abelana River Lodge,” says Kruger. “Combined with the culinary skills of our team, we’re able to create outstanding, personalised banqueting menus that are perfect for weddings, anniversaries and themed evenings,” he adds.

Add to the mix a wonderful list of South African wines, a well-stocked bar and selection of locally made craft gins, as well as access to talented musicians, and you have the recipe for the perfect party! 

“There’s nothing better than helping to create a wonderful vibe for a special occasion here at Abelana,” says Beauchamp. “Good food, good wine, good company and good music always go down well when combined with the indescribable beauty of the African bush,” he adds. There’s no arguing with that!

The rate per person per night would be R3300.00. If the lodge is booked for the wedding this booking will need to be for a minimum of two nights.

Abelana Game Reserve
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