On the 27th of December 2020, Karl Jensen and I took off from Fly -inn Estates' meticulously maintained grass runway for a quick hop to Kitty Hawk Airfield to pick up Nigel Musgrave for a flight to Tranquillity Lodge and enjoy a breakfast with some other visitors, most of whom who flew from Petit.
The area east of Pretoria is rich in heritage with gems such as Cullinan and Dinokeng, and anybody that has flown with Karl before, will know that each flight is a guided tour with many a detour to view places of interest.
Tranquillity Spa Lodge is a bed and breakfast lodge nestled within a private conservancy, bordered on the south eastern side of the Dinokeng Big Five Game Reserve and next to Kevin Richardson's Lion Sanctuary. Here you can take a break away from the stress of the city and find tranquillity in the bush only 35 km north of Pretoria.
Accommodation includes a selection of luxury thatched chalets for family and friends sharing or cosy en suite bush lodges (or mini bush chalets) for single or couples sharing. For the more adventurous, there is a campsite with a camp kitchen.
With the exception of campers, Tranquillity Spa Lodge is not a self-catering lodge. It has a restaurant with a scrumptious menu and a fully stocked licensed bar for all drinks.
On-site facilities include a warm and welcoming boma with a large braai area which can accommodate small to larger groups. Guests can pre-book a bush spa treatment. There are also two swimming pools.
While there are many activities to do at Tranquillity Spa Lodge, one of the favourites is a gentle afternoon stroll through the bushveld! During a walk through the conservancy, you could spot giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, blesbok, impala, and so much more while other activities include bird watching. Tranquillity Spa Lodge, and the greater surrounds, is a birdwatcher's paradise. A few years ago, a pair of birdwatchers spotted over 80 species in one morning! According to the South African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2), 225 bird species have been recorded in this area to date.
Tranquillity Spa Lodge offers game drives through the majestic Dinokeng Game Reserve. If that is not enough for you, and you want a little bit more from your game drive, you may book an additional 'lion talk', which is given by one of the lodges that they partner with.
For the less energetic, or once you've sampled a few activities listed above, you can simply relax and read a book, or rest and relax while listening to the call of lions and jackals in the evening.
All to soon it was time to leave. Karl, who finds it difficult to fly in a straight line, took us on an excursion overhead Dinokeng, the largely unknown gem of a nature reserve just 45km outside Pretoria. Be aware thought that flying below 2000 feet AGL will land one in warm water. Then it was on to Cullinan to view the immaculately maintained Italian POW cemetery. After dropping Nigel off, we made our way home.
Many, many thanks to Karl for this flight and all the others over the years that I have flown as a passenger with him. Each flight with Karl is an adventure on its own. His knowledge of our stunning country is encyclopaedic and he is forever diverting to show his passengers something of interest on the ground. May there be many, many more flying hours Karl.
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