21 August, 2018 | Tsala Treetop Lodge is a retreat where your mind becomes quiet and your senses alive. While you are able to withdraw from your hectic daily life into the five-star luxury of your cocoon elevated in the trees, there is nothing monastic about rejuvenating at Tsala.
The lodge is 10km from Plettenberg Bay, but you can be forgiven for imagining that you are much further from the madding crowd. The treetop villas, perched in an enchanted forest, are connected by a web of elevated walkways spun between massive indigenous tree trunks. The sense of spaciousness is achieved by double-volume glass-and-wood structures, and a 360-degree view from the outdoor shower, bath, bedroom and living area. Even the loo has a view over the forest.
Tsala is a magical place encircled by lush forests – the perfect place to do … well, nothing. You can listen to the trees creaking rhythmically in the breeze; hear the birds, some above and some below you, tweet their mates; watch curious vervet monkeys peer with soulful eyes through the branches; or drift away to the sound of water trickling over the edge of your private infinity pool.
If it’s a bit chilly, the indoor fire, crackling as the moisture in the wood boils and bursts free, exudes a gentle explosion of warmth. There are piles of sweet-smelling logs to keep it going all day if you want to. You can curl up with a good book, nibbling on home-made cookies or enjoy a complimentary drink from the mini-bar.
If, however, adventure is what blows your hair back, you have myriad choices close by. For those wanting to explore the Garden Route, options include swimming with seals, organised by Offshore Adventures in Plettenberg Bay; visiting Birds of Eden, the world-class free-flight bird sanctuary; bungee jumping from the Bloukrans Bridge; hiking around Robberg Nature Reserve; and abseiling, skydiving, mountain biking or sliding through a canopy tour. You know you can return to your treehouse bubble to rejuvenate and indulge yourself after.
Meals at Tsala are exquisitely presented. Guests are able to enjoy the cuisine at Tsala’s glass-walled dining room (including choosing a bottle of wine from the cellar). The Lodge breakfasts are sumptuous. The chefs take great pride in their continental breakfast – home-made muffins, fresh croissants, cheeses, cold meats and fresh fruit, washed down by freshly percolated coffee.
For those with a hearty appetite, there is a selection of egg dishes, including gourmet omelettes, as well as sweet treats finished off with a glass of bubbly or Tsala’s specialty coffee.
You can also walk a short distance on the boardwalk to Zinzi restaurant. It’s not surprising zinzi means ‘abundance’ in Swahili.
The restaurant, in a fairy-lit garden, offers a diverse menu in a relaxed environment with wholesome food, warm service and a home-from-home ambience that ensures a relaxed yet vibrant dining experience. The passionate Zinzi chefs have created distinctive dishes with international flavours, using only the freshest ingredients. Wandering back to your villa along the boardwalk, replete and mellowed, you can enjoy a peek into the busy nocturnal life of the forest.
Then it’s back into your cocoon of luxury – indulged, laid-back and closer to heaven than you ever could have dreamed.
Read more by Kathy Malherbe here.
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