Set in a 20,000-acre reserve in the malaria-free Waterberg region is the rather extraordinary Leobo Private Reserve. The originality of its owner Rory Sweet, is apparent in the quirky detail of the property, as well as the limitless list of activities on offer: Choose from quad biking, an exhilarating cross country polaris drive, hippo camping or meet a crocodile called Stevie. Rented on an exclusive-use basis, the estate is fully staffed by friendly, obliging staff who will plan your day as you wish. Dining is a highlight, with a top chef organising surprise bush breakfasts and traditional braai's with excellent locally sourced ingredients, accompanied by top international and South African wines.
The Observatory accommodates up to six adults and three children. Designed by Lesley Carstens and Silvio Rech, the interiors are full of imagination and one-of-a-kind artefacts. There are numerous outdoor and indoor terraces to lounge about one, which take full advantage of the tremendous Palala Valley views, an original mezzanine level for chilling out in the roof of the large lounge and a rather magnificent dining area crowned with a chandelier crafted from a hippo skeleton. The pièce de la resistance is the two-level library set in a tower with a domed roof which opens up the sky to a 20 inch telescope - there are even silver and gold space suits for the full effect.
- Bedroom 1: Super king size bedroom
- Bedroom 2: Super king size bedroom
- Bedroom 3: King size bedroom
- Bedroom 4: Triple Bunk room
Things to do at The Observatory:
- Enjoy a swim in the heated infinity pool, with stunning views over the Palala Valley
- Chill out on the shaded veranda
- Enjoy sundowners on the rooftop sunset terrace
- Relax and watch a movie on the mezzanine lounge
- Check out the library, set in a two level tower
- Enjoy an evening star gazing in the Observatory with local astronomer, Dr Phil Calcot
- Give the butler and maid the night off, throw your own fancy dress party and cook up a braai (BBQ)
- Enjoy dinner next to the fire pit as the sun sets
Things to do on the reserve:
- Ride one of the reserve's six quad bikes over 240km of beautiful Waterberg countryside (There are even children's quad bikes)
- Strap in tight for a drive in the speedy cross-country Polaris
- Fly over the reserve in the property's private helicopter and admire the spectacular views
- Be competitive at clay pigeon shooting
- Enjoy a horse riding safari
- Go fishing for bass and trout in the dams
- Camp out in the tree tent metres away from the 11 hippos on the reserve
- Go on a game drive
- Dive off the jetty and go swimming in the dam
- Meet the reserve's crocodile, Stevie
- Admire the numerous Bushman paintings and uncover some of Waterberg's archaeological history
The views: The shaded veranda and pool deck feature a stunning view over the reserve. Enjoy a great stargazing experience from the observatory.
The gardens: Leobo Observatory has stunning verandas with fire pits and is the perfect sport for a braai. The 20,000 acre backyard in the form of Leobo Private Reserve has a big variety of wild, birds, game and plants.
Why we like it? Possibly the most fun-filled African lodge we've ever encountered, where the hosts are like genies who magically conjure up your every wish. As a parent of six children, the owner knows exactly how to satisfy the curiosity and energy of little ones, whilst there's just the right balance of high adrenaline activity and chill out zone to satiate grown-ups. Leobo is just perfect for those celebrating a special occasion - there's so much to keep everybody entertained, and the chill out areas with super-sized sofas and fireplaces just invite lazy evenings watching the stars fall out of the sky.
Nota bene: Children are very welcome and baby-sitting services are available. Participation in game activities are, however, at the discretion of your guide.