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More often than not, the most beautiful things are borne out of the most simple ideas that only ever surface in the mind once we’ve allowed it to run free for a fleeting moment or two. When we pass perfectionism over to curiosity, and intuition takes hold of the reigns. When the relationship between craft and creativity merges into mastery. 

It’s evident here, on a 215-hectare game farm, just ninety minutes south of Johannesburg, that mastery has been achieved. A trusty relationship between two Belgian brothers, and their free-flowing proficiencies in sustainable architecture, was the core component in the build of Witklipfontein. Their combined ingenuity and unbridled visions of building an eco game lodge on a Unesco World Heritage Site, is seen in the walls that have been raised from the earth and seamlessly blend into the prevailing nature. It’s felt in the gentle breeze and beautiful natural light that wafts through the vast, open spaces, enveloping the monumental entertaining, living, dining and reclining areas. It’s smelt in the thickness of the fresh African air that’s pungent with indigenous vegetation, and the occasional blesbok dropping. It’s heard in the chirps and shrills of the weavers, the waxbills, the finches and the francolins as their songs glide the open skies, around the kitchen, through the library and back out into the wild garden. It’s tasted in the fresh vegetables that are grown in the permaculture garden, from the formation of mandala symbols. In letting loose with their ideas, the brothers have mastered perfection. Yet all in keeping with this hideaway’s grand statement on the circle of life, and how to honour it.

Situated on the Vredefort Dome, not far from the town of Parys, Witklipfontein emerges from the soil and looks out over rugged, undulating plains where wild antelope roam, kloofs soar, dams and rivers flow and the burgeoning bushveld thrives. Accommodating up to 10 guests in the capacious ensuite bedrooms and family rooms, this award winning hideaway is totally in tune with nature, and implores you to adjust your clocks to it too. Being totally off-grid, with a substantially stocked library – that includes French comic collections – and a garden that’s as wild as they come, there will be endless hours of the day spent reacquainting yourself with the most simple and satisfying pleasures of life. From long walks and bike rides around the warm, to wading about in the natural swimming pool as the birds dart in and out of the water. From embarking on a number of hiking trails to the top of kopjes or the nearby farm’s bushmen paintings, to taking shade beneath the acacia as you immerse yourself in a good book. The kids might be hanging out with the goats and their kids whilst you submerge yourself into that dreamy bathtub with a dreamy drink and watch the leaves dance in the breeze. Or perhaps you’d like to spend time in that heavenly kitchen that holds centre stage to the house, preparing the evening’s feast that’ll be beside the fireplace, as you all share tales of the day gone by, looking out to the breathtaking blanket of stars. 

One thing that’s certain – a week of a simple existence, surrounded by your favourite people, and the nature that abounds, is nothing less than perfection.

What we love!

  • The inspiring use of materials with the build, from the soil and its differing techniques, the reclaimed granite slabs from Rustenberg quarry, the white-washed scaffolding planks on the floors and the palette wood, bleached with lime, for the ceilings. Everything has been respectfully thought out.
  • With the intention of blurring the lines between the outside in, the magnificent views of the abounding wilderness and respect for all the creatures that inhabit the land makes for another special statement about the ethos of Witklipfontein.
  • The owner is an avid art collector and in fact, his collection is part of the SAFFCA collection that promotes South African Contemporary art that goes beyond our borders and provides help for young and upcoming artists.
  • The natural swimming pool has areas where the water is very shallow, acting as a birdbath for the amazing birdlife to make as their own.

What you need to know…

  • The farm itself is only a 90-minute drive from Johannesburg. So while it feels completely remote and hidden from the nearest town, the journey to and from Witklipfontein will not take much precious time out of your getaway.
  • There are a number of glorious walks, and adventurous hikes around the farm, and neighbouring farms you can take. Pack a picnic and the walkie talkie and head out in the wilderness.
  • Darryn, the farm manager is an expert on birds and will happily arrange birding tours should you wish to go out and experience the birdlife in its glory. Darryn is also a reptile and snake specialist.
  • The property is completely off grid – solar panels are in use and the spring water system is sourced from 65m deep borehole.
  • The game farm also offers fun, adventurous activities that include treasure hunts, guided nature and bird walks, bakkie game drives and sundowners.
  • It’s important to respect and keep your distance from the wildlife. There aren’t any dangerous creatures around – aside from the odd snake – but it’s imperative the wildlife remain wild.

Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie

Facilities

  • 1 x Bedroom (king) (extra length) open plan en-suite with bath & shower
  • 2 x bedrooms ( 1 x king (extra length) & 2 single beds(extra length)on a mezzanine. Open plan ensuite with shower & toilet)
  • 3 x bathrooms ensuite & 1 x guest loo
  • All linen & towels provided
  • Camp cot available on request
  • Coffee plunger
  • Dishwasher
  • Electric oven
  • Fireplace in the lounge (large supply of wood provided)
  • Freezer
  • Fridge
  • Housekeeper (full-time)
  • Microwave
  • Nespresso machine (please bring your own pods)
  • No TV
  • No Wifi
  • Smoking outside only
  • Stove (Gas)
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine

Guests

Sleeps 10 guests in 3 bedrooms (Max 10 adults)
The lodge can accommodate 4 additional kids
on stretcher beds
Children under 2 are classed as infants and stay
at no charge

Pets

No Pets Allowed

Note: There are two dogs who live on the farm - both
very friendly and lovable. One Great Dane and one
Africanis. They are happy to visit guests and join on walks
if guests wish!

Check-in time

2 PM

Check-out time

11 AM

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Vredefort Dome, Free State

More often than not, the most beautiful things are borne out of the most simple ideas that only ever surface in the mind once we’ve allowed it to run free for a fleeting moment or two. When we pass perfectionism over to curiosity, and intuition takes hold of the reigns. When the relationship between craft

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Rates

Summer Rates: November - April
R9 300 per night up to 6 guests
Additional guests are billed R930 per person per night

Winter Rates: May - October
R6 800 per night up to 6 guests
Additional guests are billed R680 per person per night