Situated on a breathtakingly beautiful, secluded, private Wildlife Reserve in the Elands River Valley in Mpumalanga, just 2 and a half hours outside of Johannesburg & less than 2 hours from Nelspruit, Saragossa Game Reserve offers an extraordinary experience for the traveller who has seen and done it all – because, I can guarantee you – you’ve seen nothing, and done nothing, like this before!
We visited as a group recently and were blown away by the experience! It really is a ‘haven of tranquility, in the heart of the African bush’. I can say this without even a stammer – Saragossa is a product like no other in South Africa. From arrival to departure, I was totally amazed. As the product of a mans’ passion, Saragossa has been born from a dream and is already making huge waves in the South African Tourism scene!
Being a foodie, one of the main things I keep an eye out for on a stay is the meals the venues serve. When you travel a lot, there are a few times where to food isn’t anything to write home about – but this is certainly not one of those times. Saragossa has got ‘farm to table’ down to a fine art, with a kitchen team that is just plating up some of the most beautiful presented ‘farmstyle’ meals I’ve experienced, hearty portions and packed with flavour.
The food philosophy at the reserve is something to take home with you. Being conscience of what you’re eating is so important, and modern life often forces us to over look this – but, we forget how easy it is to use the ‘farm to table’ concept in our everyday lives. 90% of what we consumed on our stay was produced on the reserve, and whatever wasn’t, is sourced locally sourced. Caroline, the Agricultural Manager, took us on a fantastic ‘agricultural’ tour of the whole property, where we saw how they produce everything we ate on our stay – from the Rabbit served at lunch (not for me, I had a gorgeous spinach, basil and feta pasta) to the vegetables used in my Curry for dinner – it’s so clear to see why from farm to table is the best way to live!
Saragossa reminds you to make the little things extraordinary. From the birds to the bugs, to the variety of buck and indigenous plants, it’s so much more than just another ‘game reserve’. On our 30hour stay, I managed to add FIVE incredible birds to my Lifelist! One of which was on my Wishlist to see. Although not much of a ‘creepy-crawly’ fan, I enjoyed the show Frank did for us after dinner – he’s a creepy-crawly specialist that made us feel so comfortable with things that usually are quite foreign to us. It definitively left me feeling a lot more informed about the little creatures around us.
After a full first day’s worth of activities on the reserve, slowly drifting off to sleep, I lay listening to the massive thunder storm echoing through the valley, bouncing off the Granite mountains that surround the lodge, and woke up at sunrise to the Blue Wildebeest bleeting, the trumpet & growl of the Hippos and a soft babbling broke of fresh water brook running through the property – and this was all happening less than 2 meters way from my bed, combined with the soft call of the African Fish Eagle in the distance. Saragossa is the PERFECT get away when you’re looking for that place to escape and reconnect with nature – and yourself at the same time.
Jens was a wonderful host, and the full team really have a passion for what they do – from each of the guides, right down to the housekeepers who make you feel more at home than I have ever experienced before. Thanks for the incredible stay! A big thank you ‘mention’ must also go out to Anna, Grant and Siya for their incredible hospitality during our stay. Offering the extreme personalization of service, down to to the finest detail.
The only negative of our trip was that we only had one night to stay – so will definitely have to be back again soon! We arrived as travellers & left as friends. See you soon, Saragossa.
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