At “Leef Jou Reis” we are always looking for those perfect destinations and hidden gems, which is ideal for a quick weekend breakaway…
The Stone Lodge at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve has been our latest discovery and it TICKS all the boxes for us. A major plus is that it is under two hours’ drive from Pretoria. We sometimes do not need to look that far as what we are looking for is mostly right on top of our doorstep.
This almost boutique-styled self-catering unit is carefully designed and decorated with specific attention to detail. From the moment you walk through the big wooden doors into the very spacious open plan unit it is clear that, as its name suggests, that no stone has been left unturned and untouched. Not only to spoil the guests but to respecktfuly add value to a much-needed break.
Photos almost does not do this lodge any justice. It even offers its own little plunge-pool and a boma to witness those perfect sunsets from, whilst a bonfire adds to the atmosphere of a true safari experience. Three luxurious rooms (sleeping 7 people in total) with bathrooms opening up onto nature itself providing the most beautiful views from your bathtub. There is also an outside shower (for those who prefer to experience “nature” at its best), and a large wooden deck to get a better view from the passing Giraffes or Kudu’s. For chilly nights there is a cosy fireplace indoors and a well-equipped kitchen to cook of a storm should you wish not to braai. Every utensil you can think off is provided, from a fridge that makes ice to a Nespresso machine for your morning coffee to even an electronic green dust bin that separates the recyclables. They even thought of cooler boxes for your game drive; basically, just bring your clothes. This unit is serviced every day by the lovely hosts, who also assists when even the fire must be lit. For the traveller who needs to look at the odd e-mail here and there, free WiFi is offered to all guests, but we would strongly recommend for you to go without your phone (and those silly e-mails over a weekend) whilst visiting here. The place calls for absolute relaxation and that much deserved quality time with friends and family and nature’s peace and quiet.
The sounds of the bushveld is everywhere and waking up early morning with a freshly brewed coffee and the sounds of the lions roaring in the distance, it is easy to think that you have found heaven on earth. An early morning game-drive in the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, for the exclusive usage of guests, promised 12 000ha of unspoiled bushveld, a number of dams, lookout-points and waterholes. With all this it is crocodiles and hippos in abundance. For the birds lovers there is more than 220 species to be spotted whilst actively looking for those gentle giants during your bgame drive, as this Nature Reserve is also known for its elephants. Mabalingwe means “spots of the leopard” and although these beautiful cats can appear to be hiding their spots during the day, they can easily be viewed during the evening game drives hosted by the park rangers. Guests to this lodge can also enjoy all the facilities of the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, which includes the Loebies Predator Park, Wag N Bietjie Hiking Trial and Thaba Moriri. The latter provides an additional 400 hectares where wildlife can roam. If you need more action then there is also the Bonwa Phala Game Reserve for some big cat encounters.
On the other hand, the best way for me during our stay is to almost just stay at the unit while watching from the comfort of the sun lounger as the variety of animals curiously passes by meters in front of you. There is also a very big variety of different bird species that reside around the house so have your bird book and binoculars close by.
Whilst on your private game-drive, is an added stop at the very famous and popular “Kalahari Oasis Bar” which has been seen in various television advertisements and in particular for Castrol Oil. Go down for a beer and take some “very” interesting photos from the longdrop and have your “ja boet , ja swear”-moment. Met eish…ja!
Back at the unit it is complete freedom to one’s soul. The boma fire is burning high, the birds provide the music and the warthogs provide the entertainment – life could not be better, especially with a gin in hand. We will be frequent visitors to the incredible Stone Lodge and with it being such a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg we hope it will also find a special place in your heart.
If you are looking for the perfect spot to share with a very special group of friends and family, this is the ideal place, because when nature calls, one must answer…