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Recently relaunched, this small luxury lodge has an 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 through which you can watch passing game. 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 emerges 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 to 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.

What you need to know…

  • Mhondoro is one of many different safari destinations on Welgevonden Private Game Reserve. The reserve is home to the Big Five, but with very strict regulations (a limited number of game vehicles is allowed per lodge, and building codes are strict, for example), so you get an amazing wildlife experience without feeling like you’re somewhere overrun with visitors.
  • There is a new two bedroomed house next to the villa – great for families of four. It’s also available on its own at a lower rate than the villa. Also ask about the Honeymoon Suite if you’re looking for some romance!

Reviewed by Julia Freemantle



Sleeps 6 (and the adjacent lodge sleeps another 14)

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Mhondoro Villa rates:
(3 bedrooms, king extra length or twins)
1 January 2019 until 10 January 2020: R 45 455

Additional adult for more than 4 guests at R 9 091 per adult per night for any guest 12 years and older.

Additional children between 3-11 years of age pay the extra child rate of R 5 051 per child per night when more than 4 adult guests book the Mhondoro Villa.

Minimum stay of 3 nights between Dec 2019 and 3 Jan 2020.

Please enquire about the Villa annex (2 bedrooms)

Main Lodge rates:
1 January 2019 until 10 January 2020

Deluxe Suites x2 (each sleeps 2): king x-length or twins
R 5 675

Family Suite (sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms): king x-length or twins
R 5 350 per person sharing per night (minimum unit rate is R 16 050 per night)
Children 0 – 35 months: Free of charge
Children 3 – 11 years of age: 50% of the applicable adult rate per person sharing
Children 12 years and older: Full adult rate per person sharing

Executive Suites x2 (each sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms): king extra length or twins
R 6 377 per person sharing per night (minimum unit rate is R 22 323 per night)

Honeymoon Suite (sleeps 2): king extra length or twins
R 6 378 per person sharing per night

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.