Kruger National Park
Surrounded by vast, dramatic landscapes and soaring scenery in the heart of wild Africa, this graceful mountain retreat is unlike any other. Isolated, rural and yet steeped in luxury within its rose tinted walls, it offers families their own private wilderness amongst the glorious terrain and historic setting.
Its legacy as South Africa’s first ever water reserve has transformed the landscape into a sanctuary in which the flora and fauna flourish to provide a haven for endangered wildlife whilst also hosting a plethora of activities ideal for a spot of family ‘team building’ prior or post your Big Five adventure in Kruger or the Sabi Sands.
Facilities & Activities
It’s all about the location here and this exquisite family retreat is teeming with activities, carried out with a qualified guide and a host. The water here is the lifeblood of the water system of Mpumalanga, and is among the purest in the world. The variety of weirs, dams and lakes provide great fishing for all ages and stages, disturbed only by the wildlife coming to drink at the waters edge.
The wildlife safaris, either on foot or in a sturdy 4 wheel drive offer spectacular viewing. Spot the elusive leopard or jackal amongst the herds of antelope, marvel at the extraordinary variety of birds and the beautiful carpets of wild flowers. Or hike out amongst the wilds, swimming in the clear mountain streams and showering under waterfalls. There are rock art paintings, ancient ruins that date back to the stone age or enjoy a lesson about the terrain and its history from your own personal guide. For a faster explore, then its prime mountain biking territory too. Expect exhilarating rides with breath-taking views; every age and competency is catered for with professional cycling guides on hand and a specially built track for children.
There is plenty to do at the lodge itself with horse riding and clay pigeon shooting, or explore the relics of the gold mining era of the 1920s and 30s and try panning for gold. More leisurely days could include a picnic at the playground of the homestead’s lakes; swimming in the sparkling waters, hurling along on a zip-line or fishing, once you’ve finished drinking in the fabulous views.
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Home-cooked, mouth watering and simple meals are created out of seasonal and fresh produce by Monica, who runs the ranch with her husband and two daughters. Meals are served up on the warm veranda in the summer or in front of the cosy, crackling fireplace in the winter. And at breakfast time, the nocturnal camera that captures the escapades of the four legged neighbours provides an entertaining start to the day.
The homestead is colonial ranch style, built with rose-pink stone and is quiet, luxurious and cosy underneath the expansive skies.
Larger groups and families can opt to have exclusive use of The Golden Cottage along with a team of staff and the family owners themselves, who tend to your every need.
There are 5 additional Luxury Rooms, these bedrooms are spacious with en-suite bathrooms and are comprised of three twin rooms and two triple family rooms. There are two elegant lounges with tall ceilings and floor to ceiling windows, with a separate dining room and snooker room for chillier evenings. But when its warm, there’s nothing to beat a cold aperitif on the terrace and watching the peaks of the mountains turn pink in the sunset.
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The lodge provides a haven for families looking for adventure in the wilderness within their own private home from home. It is family owned and maintained and the ambience is comforting, warm and welcoming. The beautiful and elegant rooms provide plenty of room, sleeping up to 12 people, with large dining and relaxing spaces. However, do please note that due to its extraordinary and remote location, the minimum age here for children is 8.
They’ll run wild in the great open grasslands and enjoy swimming in the lakes and dams on the property. They’ll love exploring the old miners’ houses and shafts and panning for gold (any finds must be returned!).There is horse riding in the paddocks on the well-schooled and friendly ‘boer perd’ ponies, clay pigeon shooting and child friendly cycle rides. Excitingly there are also treasure hunts that are part of the cycling and hiking routes. Each child has the opportunity to learn orienteering with directional cards and GPS devices directing them to ‘treasure areas’, including digging for artefacts or using a metal detector to explore for precious finds.
Owner Michael Rattray’s first step towards recovering the water reserve from non-perennial status was the removal of all exotic livestock, plants and trees from the area. The overgrazing and inadequate road maintenance had damaged the water retaining sponges and caused soil erosion, but by introducing indigenous animals and protecting indigenous plants, biodiversity has improved and many bird species have returned.
Described as ‘some of the most magnificent scenery of the entire African continent’, Mount Anderson is found in the foothills of the Drakensburg Mountains in the Mpumalanga Province. The region is isolated, relatively untouched, steeped in history and lays claim to the largest gold nugget in South Africa, found here during the heady days of the 1920s gold rush.
It sits a 4 hour drive away from Johannesburg, 3 hours from the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and Kruger National Park – making it a great option for combing a Big Five Safari with a taste of your own private wilderness. Panoramic transfers can be organised on your behalf or take one of the scenic helicopter flights between the airports, picnic lunch included, and arrive in style on the homestead’s private helipad.
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