In South Africa’s Waterberg region The Observatory sits atop a hill at the heart of the 20,000 acre Leobo Private Reserve. It’s a private safari house with stunning panoramic views of the reserve and the Palala river valley below. The owner has six children of his own and built the house with his wife and children in mind because they couldn’t find anywhere on earth that had everything that they wanted. Leobo is extremely well equipped for children without losing any of the style, elegance or luxury that the adults enjoy.
Accommodation & Facilities
The Observatory, designed by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, is a magnificent, luxurious private house with four bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. The two huge master suites have large decks with superb views, swings in the bedroom, super-king size double beds, indoor and outside showers, and free-standing baths. The third bedroom is a little smaller but still very spacious with an en-suite bathroom and is ideal for parents or a nanny, as it is adjacent to a fourth bedroom which is set up for children and has space for four bunk beds. The house has a very spacious and originally decorated dining and lounge area, topped by a mezzanine area with a TV and sofas. At the heart of the house is the observatory itself, which boasts a research grade telescope, said to be one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. Below the tower housing the telescope is a luxuriously appointed library, which is also ideal as a study. The house is fully staffed, and has its own kitchens and cellar. There’s also a deck, and a rooftop ‘sunset’ deck with sofas and Jacuzzi. The heated swimming pool is very child friendly and has a very shallow large platform ideal for children and babies to sit in the water.
Eating & Sleeping
The chef is very happy to cater to children’s food requests and separate mealtimes. There’s a team of young, enthusiastic staff dedicated to entertaining and educating the children while the parents can relax and enjoy the fabulous house, lovely south African wines, and superb cuisine.
Wildlife & Activities
Leobo Private Reserve is a fantastic place for active and energetic people and caters especially well for families. The Observatory comes with a private game viewing vehicle, three expert guides for different activities, quad bikes, paragliding buggy, horses, an off-road buggy, and mountain bikes. Activities on offer also include star gazing from the observatory, clay pigeon shooting, kayaking on the river, picnics, and walking safaris, as well as swimming and fishing in the large dams on the reserve. A helicopter is based at the house, and can be used, at additional cost, for accessing the more remote parts of the reserve, including a stunning mountain nearby and some of the best fishing and kayaking spots. Wildlife in the area includes buffalo, numerous antelope, zebra, giraffe, hippos, crocodiles and occasional leopard and hyena. Among the additional activities on offer are a professional astronomer to guide you through the night skies, an overnight riding expedition to a neighbouring tented safari camp, and game drives to see lion, elephant, and rhino, though these are however charged separately.
Specifically for children …
• Mini quad bikes are available for children from about 10 years old.
• Horse riding on well behaved children’s ponies.
• Toys and fancy dress costumes for children.
• Children’s films and a home cinema.
• A children’s Bear Grylls style Bush Skills programme is being introduced. This will take children out in to the bush to learn how to survive in the wild, and how the bushman live. They will learn to forage for food, set up camps, track wildlife and sleep in the wild. They’ll be awarded a certificate at the end.