Mon, Jul 13, 2020
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Fun Time Tours & Safaris have a wide range of packages available for every different taste and adventure. For getaways with a difference we can offer you vast knowledge and experience in the industry.

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Owner/Manager team, Steve & Nicole Baillie would like to invite you to visit our luxurious Toro Yaka Bush Lodge.

             TY room_2       TY pool_2        TY Boma

This special lodge is nestled in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 38 000 hectare conservancy, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park biosphere. ToroYaka means “My Dream” in Northern Sotho, one of South Africa’s local languages, and the creation of Toro Yaka Bush Lodge has fulfilled the dreams of Steve and Nicole, by establishing a haven of peace and tranquillity from which to share their fierce passion for nature.

The lodge has been designed in a modern elegant style, with a relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to sit back, relax and feel at home. The six en-suite double rooms ensure tranquillity and comfort at all times.

Steve has spent more than a decade sharing his knowledge and love for the bush with clients from all over the world at luxury game lodges throughout South Africa. Nicole is a qualified holistic massage therapist and takes care of all the tiny details. Together with the Toro Yaka Staff, they will ensure your stay to be a memorable one.

Balule is home to a large variety of plants, birds and animals. From the smallest spider to the largest elephant, from the tiniest flower to a 1000 year old Leadwood tree, owls at night and eagles by day, every aspect of the ecosystem is explored.

The Olifants River, which flows year round through the Balule, is home to hippos and crocodiles, and the whole area is one of scenic splendor, with the northern tip of the Drakensberg mountain range being visible from many points.

Together with all of this, Toro Yaka Bush Lodge offers you good home cooked food, friendly service, warm South African Hospitality and loads of enthusiasm.       


The Main lodge has been designed to maximize interaction with nature. During winter the warthogs are regular visitors and most nights the bush babies can be seen. The communal area includes indoor and outdoor dining areas, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, and an honesty bar. The Boma offers an African dining experience around an open fire under a starlit sky whilst the 9m swimming pool is a refreshing relief from the summer heat. The gardens’ indigenous trees and flowers attract an abundance of bird species, and animals gathering at the waterhole can be viewed from the communal lodge area and pool deck.


All the rooms are air-conditioned, with ceiling fans, mosquito nets and private decks. The en-suite bathrooms have both inside and outside showers, double basins and separate toilets. They are spacious and comfortable and the insect screens ensure closeness with nature, whilst keeping the insects out.


              TY Game_drive                     TY Bush_walk_1

All our bush activities are done by Steve, who is a professional SKS trails guide, qualified through FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) and has been guiding for the last 14 years at lodges all over South Africa.

Morning bush walks offer a wonderful opportunity to see nature from a different perspective. Steve believes the only way to truly experience the pulse of the African bush is through your feet. Observe how mammals, insects, birds and reptiles, live and inter-act their roles, within the savannah ecosystem.

The game drives, in an open 4x4 land rover, give you a good chance to see big game of all varieties. Balule has a very high number of Giraffe. These are exquisite animals to see and form a large part of the diet of our local lion pride. The games drives can be conducted either in the morning or late afternoon.

Birding in the Balule Nature Reserve is very rewarding and Steve’s Balule Bird List to date is >250 species long. A large variety of birds are found in Toro Yaka’s garden, including sunbirds, kingfishers, owls, francolins, cuckoo’s and many more. The Region, with its diverse habitat of mountainous forest, riverine forest and bushveld savannah, hosts 80% of the country’s raptor species. All of the birding “Big 6” (Kori Bustard, Ground Hornbill, Lappet faced Vulture, Pels Fishing Owl, Martial Eagle and Saddle billed Stork) have been recorded here.


Spoil yourself with a relaxing massage to round the day off. Nicole is a qualified therapist and has been doing massage work for over 10 years.

Massage treatments on offer include:

Swedish massage
Indian Head massage

Nicole is also qualified in Kinesiology and The Reconnection (level 3).


Steve & Nicole got married on January the 14th under a Weeping Boer bean in the dry river bed of the Great Hlararalumi River. With 12 close family & friends as witnesses, a troop of Baboons in the surrounding trees and elephants in earshot, they said their “I Do’s” and started on a new chapter of their lives together. This could not have been a more perfect wedding for these two bush babies.

Steve was born in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). Because of the war, his family moved to Johannesburg when he was six and to his total disgust, that is where he grew up. From a very early age, he decided he was going to be a “Game Ranger”, and although there were a few obstacles to over come, nothing stood in his way. He was in the bush for his 21st birthday and every one since then. As a young man, armed with loads of enthusiasm, he started his career in the Pilanesberg National Park, working as a field guide at Bakabung. He is one of the early members of FGASA (field guide association of SA) and has his level 3, SKS tails guide qualification as well as SKS Birding. He has also worked with Africam on various projects (including, as a presenter on the program “Live and Wild” in 2000) and is passionate about conservation.

Nicole’s life was very different. She was born in Pretoria, loved the city and made a good living working in the Complimentary health field. She is a qualified, reflexologist, massage therapist and kinesiologist. One day the opportunity to work at a Game lodge presented itself and after some thought she decided to give it a go. Her new life could not have been more different to her old, but Nicole fell in love with the bush and it did not take long before the seed was planted. She would own her own piece of African bush, from where she could practice her various therapies.

One and a half months after Nicole started working in the bush, Steve came to the lodge as a freelance guide, and that is how they their paths crossed. Together they worked in the Sabi Sands, Timbivati and the Kalahari. Their shared dream, of owning their own lodge was never far from their thoughts and 4 days after they got married they walked into Toro Yaka for the first time. They had seen the advert in the Africa Geographic and, since they were in the area.................!!!!!! It was love at first sight! Finally, after a couple more stumbling blocks, on 15 June 2006, their dream became a reality. Toro Yaka Bush Lodge (which means MY DREAM in Northern Sotho) was their platform from which they could live their dream and share their passion and love for the African bush with others.

Steve and Nicole’s ideas for Toro Yaka Bush Lodge, was to create a bush paradise where nature as a whole is the main attraction, and that incorporated aspects of 5 star lodges, but remained a more affordable bush escape, where you can find good food, great hospitality, unforgettable nature experiences and go home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, with good memories and stories to tell.

The staff at Toro Yaka are always friendly and helpful. Pinkie has been there from the beginning. She is capable in many aspects of the running of the lodge and is developing her cooking skills. She is also in the process of getting her drivers licence. In August 2006 Vusi joined the Toro Yaka family. He started out as a general assistant and is busy undergoing training to be a guide. He has completed a birding course and a basic field guide course and is in the process of getting a drivers licence. Patience joined in 2007. She is responsible for the house keeping the house keeping. Mildred started helping as a temporary staff member in 2008. Wherever Mildred is needed is where you will find her. When needed Mpho or Sibusiso are brought in to help as general assistants on a temporary basis.