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The Pinnacle of Luxury at Melozhori Private Game Reserve

Words: Julie Velosa

Luxury can mean many things to different people, yet some experiences redefine it in unparalleled ways. A recent visit to Melozhori Private Game Reserve was a masterclass in what luxury can be, and it set the standard for what exclusive getaways like this should aspire to.Melozhori-The Lodge

The Magic of Melozhori Private Game Reserve

Situated near Stormsvlei, with the majestic Langeberg mountains framing its backdrop, Melozhori is an oasis of tranquillity and refined elegance. The Lodge, which is the weekend home of the Bhorat family, is the jewel of this reserve and is available for exclusive hire, offering a fully inclusive stay for up to eight guests.

Melozhori is an oasis of tranquillity and refined elegance…

In total, Melozhori accommodates just eighteen guests at any time, eight in The Lodge, with the remaining accommodated in two secluded self-contained pods, the stunning treehouse and a two-roomed, pet-friendly cottage. This ensures a high degree of privacy for all guests at any time, with your only distraction being sightings of the reserve’s abundant wildlife. All of the accommodation offerings are the last word in luxury, every detail met and then some.

Connected to Nature

Melozhori is more than just a getaway; it’s a sanctuary for guests, as well as for the wildlife that live in this predator-free haven. The reserve, formerly a cattle and sheep farm, has been meticulously transformed into 2,300 hectares of pristine Renosterveld and fynbos. Now a vibrant ecosystem, it is home to 38 species of game, 129 species of birds, and an array of indigenous flora. A plethora of buck, as well as zebra, ostrich, bat-eared foxes, giraffes and more flourish in freedom.

Melozhori is more than just a getaway; it’s a sanctuary for guests, as well as for the wildlife that live in this predator-free haven.

Our stay at The Lodge mirrored this sense of freedom – we found ourselves in a blissful state of detachment from the outside world. The Lodge offers a comprehensive all-inclusive experience, attended to by a dedicated team that ensures every desire is met. Our hosts, Coenraad and Lientjie Nell, supported by the attentive Melissa, Gift and Chef Marthinus Erasmus, were always nearby, ready to cater to all our whims and share fascinating insights about managing such an extraordinary estate.

The African Edition

The Bhorat family are committed to continually restoring this area with their transformative conservation efforts. Coenraad and Lientjie, who have been looking after the reserve for nine years, shared stories that painted a picture of the immense effort and passion required to rejuvenate exhausted farmland into a thriving natural reserve. So compelling, that I could easily see it being a riveting reality docu-series, something like “Clarkson’s Farm” but the African edition.

One of Melozhori’s most treasured inhabitants is the Bontebok, once on the brink of extinction, with only 17 left in the early 19th century. This elegant antelope, with its distinctive white face and striking coat, adds a touch of regal beauty to the reserve.

On our game drives, we were delighted by sightings of springbok, zebra, bontebok, gemsbok, antelope, waterbuck, ostrich, the gorgeous male Masai giraffe (with his unique coat pattern) and even a plucky hare, to name just a few.

Even if you’ve grown up in Africa, encountering wildlife is still a profound experience. ‘G is for Giraffe’ in many a favoured childhood book, and it’s easy to take for granted a picture on a page. Seeing these graceful animals up close is very humbling.

Raining on our parade

We encountered a few spells of rain, which thwarted some of our plans; we quickly retreated from one game drive and had to put a pin in plans for an infinity pool boma fire and a hot tub under the stars, however, the team seamlessly adjusted things so that we barely noticed.One of the most memorable experiences was a sundowner game drive to a secluded spot within the reserve. As we arrived, the Melozhori team were putting the finishing touches on the scene – a roaring bonfire and drinks, complete with a lavish cheese and charcuterie board, featuring housemade venison droëwors.

Mother Nature favoured us, allowing for the rain clouds to dissipate and reveal a sky streaked with hues of pink and orange as the sun set. As the day gave way to dusk, we reluctantly had to leave this magical setting, however, we were enticed by the prospect of a gourmet dinner prepared by resident chef, Marthinus Erasmus, and the promise of an equally roaring fireplace at The Lodge lounge.

Mother Nature favoured us, allowing for the rain clouds to dissipate and reveal a sky streaked with hues of pink and orange as the sun set.

Melozhori Private Game Reserve

Yes, Chef!

Chef Marthinus Erasmus has been delighting guests with his cuisine at Melozhori for two years. Having a chef who accommodates every dietary preference and whim is a rare privilege, and the food that he serves is more than just sustenance, it’s an integral part of the luxury experience.Chef Marthinus navigated our diverse dietary needs with ease and served delicious food course for course.

One of the standouts was a delicately prepared salmon dish, with a coconut and ginger sauce that ranks among my favourite meals of the year so far. Although equally impressive was the venison dish the evening before, as well as a lavender-infused cheesecake with honeycomb. Everything was vibrant, yet elegant and full of bold flavour.

On one of the afternoons, when the rain was being insistent, he treated us to a cooking demonstration, revealing the secrets of lightly smoking fresh salmon and crafting that aromatic ginger and coconut milk sauce. With the salmon smoking on the deck, and the view overlooking the infinity pool and the expansive hills beyond, it was hard to imagine a more idyllic setting.Melozhori-Lodge-poo

A Local Look

The design of The Lodge at Melozhori harmoniously blends with its natural surroundings, featuring earthy tones and rich textures. The tactile finishes of the walls and luxurious materials create a space that is quietly opulent yet inviting.Each of the four rooms, along with the main lounge and dining area, is positioned to offer sweeping views over the infinity pool and the vast reserve. The lofty thatched ceilings and expansive windows enhance the sense of space and light, while underfloor heating and sleek contemporary fixtures contribute to the overall sense of refined comfort.

At Home at Melozhori

Despite the undeniable luxury, Melozhori maintains a warm and homely atmosphere, which is attributed to its people; the friendly and approachable nature of the team ensured that we felt utterly at ease. We were invited to kick off our shoes, get comfortable, and feel at home in this extraordinary setting, and the exclusive use of the space allowed for a truly immersive experience.Melozhori Private Game ReserveUpon summing up our stay at Melozhori, I couldn’t help but reflect on the quiet elegance of the giraffes we encountered on our game drive – striking in their appearance and size, yet so graceful in the way in which they navigate their world. Melozhori strikes this same perfect balance – exuding grandeur yet remaining grounded and intimately inviting. A special place indeed.

+27 66 595 7823 – 8h00 – 18h00
Western Cape, Overberg (5km from the N2 turn-off to Stormsvlei)

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