Gecko Lodge is situated on a 35ha Sabie River frontage farm and is just 3km from Hazyview in Mpumalanga, which gives you easy access to 3 of the Southern Kruger National Park gates; Phabeni, Paul Kruger and Numbi.
The lodge is owner run by Anja and Gideon.
A large entrance leads to the lounge and library which are just off from the reception area.
The palm studded rock pool offers a wonderful view over the thick Hazyview bush; this is a good place to unwind with a great book.
You could also take a walk down to the dam and sit on the bench and listen to the calls of the birds; you may even spot a hippo or two.
Breakfast and dinners are served in the restaurant, or you can eat under the canvas outdoor area. Each night there is a different set menu, which is advertised on the chalk board at the entrance of the restaurant.
We did not eat at the restaurant because we prefer to have a bigger selection to choose from, but judging from the many happy faces we saw in the restaurant, dinner must have been good.
Perry's Bridge Trading Center is just two kilometers from the lodge and has three good restaurants to choose from:
Breakfast packs can be arranged by prior arrangement.
A lovely bar area outside with fireplace is a cozy place to relax with a glass of wine.
There are 7 double, 12 twin, 2 triple and 2 family rooms; each with an individual look and feel. We stayed in room 27, which leads onto a covered veranda style walkway with a view of the courtyard and lush gardens.
A small table and chairs on the veranda outside each room offers a good place to sit and watch the bird life in the huge trees.
Each room has a ceiling fan, tea & coffee station and a safe, but no bar fridge. The rooms are en suite with a separate toilet and shower.
There is plenty to do in an around the lodge; white water rafting, hot air balloon rides, guided game drives into the Kruger National Park or visit many of the other places the Lowveld has to offer.
We did the self-drive into the park each day, which is about 16 kms to Phabeni gate, but we used the Paul Kruger gate instead (44 kms) because we wanted to get down to the Lower Sabie area. We would then exit either at Phabeni Gate or Numbi Gate (21 kms).
Two full days in the park and we got to see 4 of the Big 5 – rhinos were very scarce.
We had three different lion sightings, one leopard sighting, one cheetah sighting and many ellies and buffalo sightings along the way.
We entered the park via Paul Kruger Gate and would drive down to Lower Sabie, watch the sunrise at the high-level bridge over the Sabie and Sand Rivers, spend some time at Sunset Dam, have lunch and then make our way back to Gecko Lodge, exiting either at Phabeni or Numbi Gates.
"It's 768 pages of the most amazing information. It consists of, well, everything really. Photography info...area info...hidden roads..special places....what they have seen almost road by road. Where to stay just outside the Park...camp information. It takes quite a lot to impress me but I really feel that this book, which was 7 years in the making, is exceptional." - Janey Coetzee, founder of CAROK (Camps and Roads of Kruger) South Africa
"Having a passion for the region itself and having to know about all dynamics, water holes and ideal roads for a period of 6 years - I wish I had this guide on my first trip already!" - Morkel Erasmus, Secunda, South Africa
"Mario and Jenny take you to places that are not always visited, and their descriptions of the more remote camps will allow you to make an informed decision without wasting time and money" - Bob & Sherry Shepardson, DeBary, Florida, USA
"Your time and money are valuable and the information in this book will help you save both." - Don Stilton, Florida, USA
"I highly recommend the book to anyone visiting Etosha National Park to photograph the animals - or anyone considering an African photography safari in the future." - Anne Darling, Cognac, France
"As a photographer and someone who has visited and taken photographs in the Pilanesberg National Park, I can safely say that with the knowledge gained from this eBook, your experiences and photographs will be much more memorable." - Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada
"This work is so much more than an eBook, because it is also a guide, a tutorial, an inspiration and a must-have for anyone interested in wildlife photography" - Findtripinfo.com, USA