Big Five country

Set among deep ravines, ponds and waterfalls, Makweti Safari Lodge in Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg offers a bush experience that is delightfully different from the norm.

Ingrid Casson

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WHERE IS IT? Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, Waterberg, Limpopo.

HOW TO GET THERE? A three-hour drive from Joburg. Air charters and road transfers are available.

BEST-KEPT SECRET? While Kruger Park to the west features stretching savannah and Madikwe to the east offers flat, meadowed plains, Welgevonden is a mountain bushveld etched with two-billion-year-old rivers and streams. This varied, rugged beauty ranges from wide plains to wooded mountains, red sandstone cliffs, gorges and rivers, often
sprinkled with wild water lilies. It is home to more than 50 different mammals, including the Big Five, and has a high population of white rhino. Conservation is paramount here – arguably more so than in other reserves, which means unusual species like brown hyena, civet, aardvark and 250 bird species thrive in the area.

ACCOMMODATION There are 22 lodges on the reserve, each with a unique feel. At Makweti the main lodge is built from natural rock with teak decks overhanging the Makweti Gorge. When you’re not on a game drive or lounging in your room, the deck offers viewings of herds of animals gathering at the waterhole just a few metres away. The lodge is not fenced, giving a particularly‘wild’ feeling to the camp, and five thatch and stone suites have their own private decks with plunge pools.

FOOD Makweti is a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and executive chef Lara Whyte ensures that the food experience is as enticing as the bush surroundings. Highlights included kudu phyllo parcels with marula jelly and warm cumin-brushed eggplant with baby marrow salad with pine nut dressing, and orange and almond cakes with mascarpone cream and almond brittle.

BONUS POINTS A limited number of guests have access to the reserve at a time and no private vehicles are permitted, ensuring minimal stress on the reserve. Bushman rock art can also be found in the reserve and, as the area is malaria free, it makes Welgevonden an easy option all year round.

HOW MUCH? F&HE reader offer: Standby rate of R2 860pp, bookable 10 days prior to travel. Includes all meals, accommodation and game drives. Excludes drinks and conservation levy of R75pp per day. Call 011-837-6776;
visit www.welgevonden.org.

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