One of the things I love about what I do is discovering hidden gems. The uber-chic Moledi Gorge is one such treasure. Built high on a cliff, in a malaria-free private reserve near Derby in the North West province, this five-star lodge overlooks a spectacular gorge. Retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows throughout the lodge take maximum advantage of the breathtaking views and bring the outdoors in.
We left Johannesburg on a Friday afternoon and reached Moledi Gorge, after a pleasant drive of one-and-a-half-hours. At the lodge, we were welcomed with a song and chilled mocktails from the staff, then led inside. Immediately, we were drawn to the magical views and my first thought was that everyday troubles certainly pale into insignificance when faced with a vista like this.
This intimate and exclusive sanctuary has just seven deluxe rooms and an opulent Presidential Suite, and can be booked for individual stays or for groups. The décor is eclectic and though the rooms have similar styling, they are individually decorated. I couldn’t get over the trendy furnishings and my daughter, an art connoisseur-in-training was fascinated with the beautiful artwork.
All the rooms have private balconies with panoramic views of the gorge. Two of the rooms have enclosed bathrooms and the rest have partially enclosed or open-plan bathrooms. It is best to state your preferences when booking. The presidential suite – which also makes a perfect honeymoon suite - features a private garden with its own swimming pool and a hot tub.
Our bedroom had a king-sized bed, a working desk and an open-plan bathroom with a claw-foot bathtub. A Nespresso machine and a complimentary mini-bar were on hand to quench our thirst in between mealtimes. Africology amenities were provided in the bathroom area. There are no TV’s in the rooms, but they weren’t missed at all.
Full-length windows led onto our private balcony and looked out onto the gorge. The first thing I'd do in the mornings when I woke up would be to open the blinds and admire the scenery. Sometimes, I could see sable antelopes grazing on the opposite cliff. There were daybeds and an outdoor shower on the balcony. My son especially enjoyed the latter.
Children are welcome at Moledi Gorge. My kids had their own en-suite bedroom, which they loved. They also loved having their own mini-bar and unlimited wi-fi.
The main lodge is spacious with an open-plan lounge and dining area. A large deck with outdoor seating overlooks the gorge and is the perfect place to enjoy a drink while watching the sun set. On the other side of the lodge is another deck with an infinity pool flanked by sun beds and boasting more great views. Amid the manicured lawns is a steam room, a spa treatment room and a games room for the kids. My kids were having too much fun in the pool to spend much time there though.
Stays include one game drive a day. Although the reserve doesn’t have many predators, there are several species of plains game. We saw zebras, giraffe, wildebeest, kudus and Red Hartebeest, inter alia. But more than the wildlife, we enjoyed the picturesque scenery in the reserve. What made it even more special, was that we had the whole reserve to ourselves, as there are no other commercial establishments there.
Meal times were usually a wonderful surprise. Every meal was at a different location. For lunch, we had a picnic in the hammock garden and for supper we were given a surprise seafood braai in the bush boma. The next morning, breakfast was in the bush, a 20-minute game drive away. The service at Moledi is personalised and the friendly staff were always at our beck and call.
If you are in search of privacy, luxury and relaxation, Moledi Gorge is the ideal place. The wide-open spaces, fresh air, and sumptuous food and accommodation promise to lull you into a state of zen-like tranquility and you will learn to master the Italian art of “Dolce Far Niente”, the sweetness of doing nothing.
Things you must do in South Africa