If you’re looking for a place to unwind, enjoy the calls of nature, and still feel like you’re home – Thali Thali is where you need to go! Located on the R27, just before the Langebaan turn off, is a stunning game lodge. Offering a healthy blend of open plains, sandy dunes, and dense bush.
We recently spent a heavenly weekend on this blissful lodge – and we were so impressed with it! It far exceeded any expectations that we arrived with, and we fell deeply in love with this little piece of African paradise.
The Glamping Tents
On the farm, there are 8 ‘chalets’ or tents. These are made from both brick walls and canvas, making it quite a luxurious way to camp – hence ‘glamping’. The doors to the chalets are glass sliding doors, with blinds on them. This gave us an amazing view of the morning, while still allowing us privacy as we slept.
The chalets are spaced out nicely, just far away from each other to offer privacy, but close enough so that you don’t feel like you’re all alone in the bush. They are set out in a circle-like shape around the main farmhouse and restaurant. It’s a quick 2-minute walk to get to the restaurant and bar, which is convenient!
We were in Chalet 8. It’s the furthermost from the restaurant, and also sits tucked a bit more away from the other tents – perfect private spot. We were also on a hill a little higher than chalets 1 – 7, which gave us the most amazing views of the front of the farm! In the morning and late afternoon, we had an undisturbed view of a herd of grazing springbok.
Inside the Tents
The inside of the luxurious glamping tent really doesn’t make you feel as if you’re camping! We had a double bed with the warmest double duvet, as well as a plush blanket and really comfy pillows! There was also a sleeper couch in the room; a mini fridge; toaster; microwave; kettle; wardrobe; bedside tables; coffee table; and a rustic wooden lamp.
All the furniture was made from a rustic-looking wood, making the whole experience even more nature-inspired. The only downside was that the bed’s headboard was made from the same stuff, and as you got into the bed, or turned over in the bed, it squeaked – quite loud! – I’m sure if the neighbours heard they thought we were on honeymoon or something.
In addition to the big furniture, we also had mugs, plates, glasses, cutlery, and other smaller necessary items – making the self-catering part really easy!
There were also fresh white towels placed neatly on our bed, and the cutest soaps and shower gels. We really aren’t used to such luxuries.
Thankfully, the tents all have en suite bathrooms – there’s no trekking through the bush to pee at midnight like there would be if you were truly camping. These bathrooms are simple, clean and fully functional. From the ordinary flushing toilet to the huge shower!
Ok, one thing that would have been great is if the shower head could have moved. It was quite stuck in one position, and so you had to stand REALLY close to the wall to get wet. The bathroom walls are 75% brick and 25% canvas. The wall in between the bathroom and the room is canvas, with a tent door serving as the bathroom door.
I was a little afraid of spiders, scorpions, and other creepy crawlies coming to visit us in the tent in general, but especially in the bathroom! Thankfully, we only had one spider guest and a whole lot of moths!
The lodge does warn you to bring bug spray, but we only got bothered by a single mosquito – nothing compared to what we experience at home! This is perhaps because we went during a cooler period, even the lizards and geckos were scarce.
The Glorious Food
Oh my! The food you can find at Thali Thali is so delicious and so filling! We arrived just after 6 pm on Friday evening, but weren’t sure how the restaurant bookings worked, and whether we would find extravagant prices! So we stopped at the Engen 1 Stop right opposite the lodge and got Wimpy for the first night’s supper.
We were, however, given welcome drinks when we arrived. These we enjoyed on the deck, and as the sun was just setting – it really made for a magical start to our weekend.
Breakfast – Day 1
The next morning, we made our way to the restaurant to enjoy breakfast (included in your accommodation cost!). We were met with self-service hot coffee, orange juice, fresh fruit with muesli and yoghurt. There was also a menu of hot breakfasts to choose from!
We almost couldn’t choose, but eventually settled on the French Toast. This was possibly one of the best decisions of our lives! The toast was made from fresh farm-style bread. Just one slice, but it was the size of three slices!
Served with the French Toast was two rashers of bacon, half a banana, and grated cheese. I wasn’t too keen on the banana – but Dean happily ate mine and his! The meal was so good, it filled us up right until suppertime!
After our amazing breakfast, and after seeing the more-than-acceptable prices, we decided we just had to book a table for dinner! It beat cold take-aways by far.
For supper, I had Chicken Cordon Bleu, with mash and pepper sauce; and Dean had a Rump Steak with chips, also served with another piece of that massive bread!
The food was beyond delicious, and well worth the price! And even the drinks were at a great cost.
Breakfast – Day 2
The next (and last) morning we again helped ourselves to some coffee, and then ordered breakfast. I had a mini breakfast – an egg, slice of toast, bacon, cheese, and mushrooms (yum!) – and Dean had the aptly-named Safari breakfast – basically double mine plus baked beans – and both were absolutely delightful.
The Spectacular Animals
Around the camp, restaurant, and busier spots, not much wildlife can be seen unless you stand still. We managed to see a couple of tortoises, a lizard sunbathing, and even a mongoose/ferret/honey badger (we’re not sure, it moved fast!) I was hoping to see a porcupine, but no such luck.
At night, or in the early morning hours, there were definitely buck moving through the camp, past our tent. The first morning we could see the tracks, and the second night we could actually hear them!
We got to see some Emus as we entered the lodge, they were running alongside the dirt road. And the neighbouring cows were there to welcome us as well. In fact, the first morning we woke to the cows mooing quite loudly across the fields – it was quite a happy farm-feel.
One animal that is available in abundance is birds! There were so many different kinds, I wish I knew them by name. But we had colorful ones, big ones, small ones, and their songs were the best morning music.
Other than that, the best way to see the animals is to go on the game drive!
The Game Drive
We originally hadn’t planned to do a game drive – it was a little pricey and we figured we could just enjoy nature from our room. But after 30 minutes of being on the lodge, and seeing a Kudu walking along a trail – we knew we couldn’t leave without seeing the animals!
So we booked an afternoon drive, leaving the morning to explore Langebaan and enjoy some quiet time. Our drive was scheduled for 3:30, and we were pretty excited!
Our driver was Eln, and she took us through the park as if it were her home. She seemed to know the animals almost by name, and you could tell that her passions lay in the wild. Her insights on the animals were interesting – things you don’t learn at school – and her knowledge of the specific animals ‘personalities’ was astounding.
While the different buck and deer, and even the zebra were amazing to watch, the real entertainment began with the Giraffes. Elne skillfully spotted them in the trees and lured them to us with some fresh lisern. One by one, they slowly approached, cautious but still trusting. They really are gentle giants, and so beautiful!
Then we met up with a herd of Kudu, and one pregnant female was quite pleased to see us. She bravely approached and stuck her head into the jeep, looking for food. We were amazed at Elne’s ability to interact with these animals, and could really tell that although they are left as much as possible in their natural habitats, they are also well looked after!
I did notice that the menu had venison on it and that on the restaurant floor lay zebra and buck hides. Which we assumed were real. I may be too much of a softy for game farm life because I would get way to attached to the animals. But I understand the laws of nature, I suppose.
The Brilliant Team
Possibly the cherry on top, the fabulous team that keeps Thali Thali running.
We were greeted and welcomed by the staff and the owners. Amalia was a friendly face every morning, and went out of her way to introduce herself to us! We saw Thys briefly on Sunday morning, but you can tell that this husband-wife duo is a dynamic team.
Each of the staff members was amazing as well. We enjoyed laughing and chatting with them each time we visited the restaurant/reception. They were helpful and dealt with my (sometimes stupid) questions really well.
We especially took advantage of the helpfulness from Kaylee, who managed to book us our game drive and dinner table. As well as make sure we were settled in and educated on the workings of the lodge.
The man who came past to clear the bins arrived mid-afternoon, and he was quick and respectful. Even the ladies who came to carefully and quickly clean our room on Saturday we friendly and efficient!
They cleaned our dishes and made our bed (I tried, but did not do as good a job as them),. They also swept the room and did a general tidy up. We saw one of the ladies as we were leaving. Her infectious smile and cheery “come back soon” was the perfect send-off.
This really is the ideal spot to disappear to if you’re looking for a break from life in general. You’ll have just enough WiFi to share pics of what you’re doing. But not enough to be bugged by social media drama, or work emails!
We enjoyed the privacy of the self-catering chalet but welcomed the social interaction and feeling of safety that the entire lodge gave. In fact, the place felt so much like home that leaving it truly was a sad event.
If you haven’t yet visited the lodge, I recommend you do! Take the time to enjoy a peaceful weekend, immerse yourself in a cleaner, safer version of nature, and surround yourself with bird songs and neighboring cow cries.
The only thing I regret is not doing the archery – but at least it gives us an excuse to go back! Perhaps we’ll try for a winter getaway.