Arriving at Jbay Zebra Lodge in Thornhill was a breath of fresh air. Perfectly positioned on top of a hill, the lodge enjoys spectacular panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, lush bushveld and rolling mountains.
The lodge is a stunning mixture of earthy tones and Afro-chic décor. We were warmly received by co-owner and manager, Florbela Mateus Duc, who was thrilled to be able to share their lodge with us.
A daring African adventure, JBay Zebra Lodge started 10 years ago when a couple – Didier and Florbela, packed up their comfortable life in Switzerland and purchased a 120ha farm in Thornhill, just minutes from Port Elizabeth and Jeffrey’s Bay.
With a 20-year background in the travel and tourism industry – and over 40 countries visited, Didier and Florbela wanted to share their love for Africa with others.
Florbela says: “We did not only build the lodge for guests, but for ourselves, as a way to express our love of Africa and as a way to always remember our travels.”
This passion can be seen throughout the lodge and rooms, with each room representing a place that has left a lasting memory with the couple.
Explore the beautiful rooms on offer at JBay Zebra Lodge
The Main Lodge is something you would expect to see in the pages of a design magazine. Tastefully-decorated by Florbela, the lounge and dining areas, offers a refined setting of light woods and interesting African décor. Local artist’s photography and artwork are also on display.
Guests are also able to enjoy the outdoor sitting area overlooking the bushveld and Indian Ocean. There is also a pool for those hot summer days.
Accommodation on offer at JBay Zebra Lodge includes the Stone Luxury Suite, the Earth Luxury Suite, the Leopard Family Room, the Colonial Safari Tent and the Country Safari Tent, all accessible via stone walkways a short distance from the main lodge.
During my visit, I experienced something truly special – a tranquil stay in the luxurious Stone Suite. Florbela explained that the Stone suite was inspired by the specular rock formations of the Drakensberg.
The suite was tastefully-decorated in soft greys, light wood finishes, while the King-size bed is framed by a stone wall.
All the modern conveniences are offered, including an elegant full en-suite bathroom with plush bathrobes, slippers and hairdryer, a fan, electric blankets, fireplace, tea and coffee making facilities and an honesty bar. The suite also has a TV with DStv. Wi-Fi is available in the Main Lodge only.
The room opens up onto a stone sitting area offering not only panoramic views of the bushveld, but intimacy with nature. Be sure to look out for the lodge’s resident Zebras as they peacefully graze on the grass below.
Dine in style!
We later headed back to the Main Lodge for our three-course meal. With a glass of Dornier Bush Vine Chenin Blanc in hand; we took in a spectacular sunset as we waited for dinner to be served. It was simply superb. If Chef Thabisa could cook for me every night, I would die a happy woman!
For starters, we had herb and garlic prawns on a bed of couscous asparagus. The mains were Angus Beef fillet served with homemade mash and Veggies. The fillet was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth. Florbela suggested pairing the beef with a glass of Dornier Red Cocoa Hill and it raised our meal to a whole other level.
A serving of Afogato Amereto ended our meal. This coffee-based delight is a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of Amereto and homemade caramelised almonds.
Florbela and Thabisa’s hospitality made the meal even more enjoyable. With bellies full, we headed back to our suite to call it a night. Lulled to sleep by the tranquillity of the Bushveld, I had the best sleep of my life.
The next morning, we tucked into a full continental breakfast of tea, coffee, juices, cereals, fruits, cheeses, breads and jams before ordering a scrumptious omelette. Afterwards, we sadly had to head back to the office and face reality.
I have been fortunate to experience some incredible establishments; JBay Zebra Lodge outdid them all in hospitality, food and ambience. Florbela and Didier can truly be proud of what they have accomplished.
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