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No Thorns On This Bush

Nicky recently returned to South Africa’s lowveld, a wilderness that Steve loved most. Far from the rolling grasslands of the Mara, she reconnected with those perfect wintry bush days at the jewel in its crown – Kubili House
Above: Toasting to the end of another beautiful wintery day in the lowveld

Full disclosure: I am an open savanna girl through and through. I’m too spoilt to view game by crashing through thick bush tracking an animal for hours before catching a fleeting glance of a disappearing spotted tail. Give me endless grassy plains and a good pair of binos and I am in my happy place.
But when you are invited to spend three nights at what surely must rank in the top five sole-use safari homes in Africa, you chuck gloves, scarves, beanies and a sports bra into your bag, jump on a flight from OR Tambo International and land in Hoedspruit not quite 40 minutes later. Easy peasy.

If you're struggling to unwind (impossible) a spa and steam room will do the trick
So much thought has been put into every nook and cranny

The font of all information, Wikipedia, states "The devil is in the details" is an idiom alluding to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details: something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected. It comes from the earlier phrase, "God is in the details", expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; that is, details are important.

Situated on the largest dam in the reserve, Kubili House is the ultimate sofa-safari
Soaking in the peacefulness of the house and the wintry view outside

If bricks were details, then Kubili House is a home built in detail – every square inch is thoughtfully, graciously, and lovingly crafted. I mean every square inch. Julian and Aida Koski, Kubili’s owners, oversaw every detail from breaking ground to hosting their first guests (the fact that Julian works on Wall Street and Aida is a jewellery designer and mother of twins is irrelevant as they could just as easily have been on-site 24/7). What I love most about Kubili is that it boasts just enough of everything – never too much of anything, just the perfect balance of sophistication and simplicity. You can breathe in this house. And the light filters in through shutters casting beautiful shadows on perfectly screeded soft grey cement floors inlaid with brass strips. Need I say more?

Details of what is surely the best kitted out vehicle in South Africa
The most comfortable and inviting pouffes in the world
Surprises and delights waiting around every corner

Yes. I could go on forever about the surprises that abound in Kubili House. The discreet branding on the leather-trimmed Land Rovers; the crystal decanters for safari sundowners; the tussie-mussies of wild geranium in the showers (tussie-mussie is a fancy word for bouquet or nosegay but perfectly on brand for Kubili); the gigantic marshmallow pouffes in the boma that just scream to be plopped on/in; the softly white-washed stone walls; the French oak beams; the grand piano (beautifully played by the owners’ 11-year-old son); the Indian daybed that is accessed by steps affording sweeping views of the dam; the leather-clad water tank on the Landie; and the Elephant Pool that looks elliptical, are just a smidgeon of what there is to discover in this lovely place.

Simply exploring the house is an adventure in itself

I suppose I must mention the game viewing because isn’t that the point after all? Well, from the house that overlooks a dam, and in no order of importance, I saw waterbuck, hippo, a pair of busy honey badgers, ellies, two white rhino, impala, kudu, and giraffe. Oh, I nearly forgot – and a pack of wild dogs. Viewing game from the marshmallow pouffes is nearly as good as the Chanel game viewing in the Mara Triangle. And out on a game drive, I saw leopards sleeping, leopards mating, leopards snarling at hyenas and leopards dining on impala high up in a tree above us.

Best believe we didn't go hungry

Then it was time to leave before I lost all confidence that game viewing in the Mara was unbeatable and that Angama is the loveliest lodge of all.

Notes from the Editor:

Another disclosure: I am proud to share that my sister Tina, her husband Wayne, and my nephews Declan and Alexander all work at Kubili delighting guests with a sparkling house, delicious food and lovely lowveld gardens. All images used here were snapped by me on my phone – for proper shots please visit Kubili’s website

Filed under: Safari Style

Tagged with:

travel blog , Wildlife , Wildlife Safari

About: Nicky Fitzgerald

After more than 30 years in hospitality, starting with a small hotel at the foot of Africa and followed by a further couple of Cape hotels, most notably The Bay, and sixty plus safari lodges across Africa and India, Nicky has served more meals, puffed more cushions, filled more beds, trained more staff and opened more properties than she cares to remember. Nicky retired as Angama's CEO in July of 2022 and remains an advisor and delightfully opinionated member of the Board.

Browse all articles by Nicky Fitzgerald Meet the angama team

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This Week at Angama #173 28 May 2021 From a super leopard to battling giraffe and newborn cubs, the Mara continues to abundantly deliver the most astounding scenes – first-time and unexpected sightings, even for those that spend every day out exploring the landscape By Douggy Onsongo
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Laikipia: Pure Elegance 20 October 2020 Nicky recently stayed at what surely must be amongst the most elegant safari homes on the continent. All four of these extraordinary sole-use residences are scattered across the great Laikipia Plateau that stretches westwards from the foothills of Mt Kenya By Nicky Fitzgerald
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