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Recently relaunched, this small luxury lodge has exclusive-use villa that sleeps six – perfect for a family or small group of friends looking to spend the ultimate bush experience together. The private house, close to the main lodge, but also screened from view by virtue of strategic positioning, has all the bells and whistles you could want in a bush getaway. From a gym and yoga room downstairs, to a heated pool and an outdoor shower with a peephole to watch the game through, it’s so well equipped that it seems a shame not to stay long enough to make full use of all the impressive facilities.

What’s also unusual is that you have access to the main lodge’s facilities – such as an amazing underground viewing hide, linked to the lodge by a tunnel, that comes up at the waterhole – a great feature for photographers who want to get up close. But you can also choose to enjoy the villa in complete privacy as you would your own home, albeit with a private chef, guide and staff on standby. Three en-suite bedrooms (the main a palatial space with a mini study and private deck area), all face onto the waterhole, which the resident elephant Mr T is known to frequent.

The design also encourages outdoor living – to fully experience the setting you can dine on a covered deck, game view or star gaze in one of a few different beanbag- or lounger-equipped spots, or swim in your own pool.

Decor is contemporary safari chic – refreshing in a realm so often dominated by kitsch curios and overbearing or muddy colour schemes. Neutral tones and understated textures create a comfortable airy atmosphere. But it’s luxe too, the richly textured wallpapers are different in every room, the furniture is all supersized and ultra comfortable, and the house is kitted out with everything from umbrellas and delicious-smelling bath products. Overall the experience is one of easygoing luxury – big open spaces, serious comfort and inspiring scenery.

What we love: The underground waterhole! And the fact that Mhondoro is an easy three-hour drive (tops) from Joburg, which makes it a no-brainer for a weekend away. No plastic bottles here either, please.

Need to know: Mhondoro is one of the 16 different safari destinations on Welgevonden Private Game Reserve. Home to the Big Five, but with very strict regulations (number of game vehicles allowed per lodge, and building codes, for example), you get an amazing wildlife experience without feeling like you’re somewhere overrun with visitors.

Review: Julia Freemantle



Sleeps 6 (and the adjacent lodge sleeps another 14)

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All prices are per night/per property. Please confirm availability / actual rates, and enquire for DISCOUNTS & SPECIAL OFFERS.

Cancellation / Prepayment

The 50% rental deposit and the 50% balance of payment due 30 days prior to arrival are non-refundable. However, in the event of a cancellation management may consider refunds where those days can be rebooked after deducting any costs incurred with respect to the re-booking and preparation of the residence.