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African glory in Molori

African glory in Molori

Opened in 2007, Molori Safari Lodge has become top choice for a string of A-list safari fans, from Kate Moss to Lily Allen. BTN takes a peak inside South Africa’s most talked about luxury lodge.

As the eyes of the world turn to South Africa in the build-up to FIFA 2010, the next seven months will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the nation’s travel and tourism industry to showcase its wonders to the world.

Next year will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for South Africa’s tourism economy, and keep it on the ascendancy whilst the rest of the world struggles in the downturn.

What is even more important, however, is how the legacy created by FIFA 2010 will enable the nation to reap long-lasting rewards, and how it will help transform fantastic local tourism products into globally-recognised brands.


Perhaps South Africa’s finest tourism attraction is its safaris – that blend of big game, big scenery and luxury facilities is a magical experience that everyone should sample at least once in their lifetime.

Whilst South Africa is home to hundreds of safari lodges, one of the nation’s most luxurious is Molori, a private game reserve with an abundance of game, and wonderful views of an expansive valley set against a backdrop of the Dwarsberg Mountains.

Situated 400kms northwest of Johannesburg, Molori has an overwhelming sense of being the real Africa – an Africa of rolling scorched savannah land where rhinos and zebras are drawn to water, and the roar of lions rips through the silence.

The reserve is only 400kms northwest of Johannesburg, making it easily accessible from an international gateway (and Host City of FIFA 2010) whilst enjoying the solitude and awe-inspiring scenery of timeless Africa.

This five-suite retreat was built in 2002 in the heart of the 75,000-hectare malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, originally as a family retreat, with a secret history as a meeting place for African heads of state. In 2007, the owners decided to open the property to the public, transforming it into the intimate, local-chic lodge it is today.

Now it has become top choice for a string of A-list safari fans, from Kate Moss to Lily Allen.

Catering to the discerning traveller in search of absolute privacy, relaxation and a genuine connection to their local surroundings, Molori Safari Lodge is anything but a typical safari camp.

Guests who have experienced much and expect the very best will find in Molori a retreat without the pretence – one whose essence stems from extraordinary personalised service, style and comfort.

Everywhere you look there’s an exquisite and unusual touch – local-chic interiors to soothe guests with neutral palates, streaming natural light and exceptional furniture by Fendi, Kenneth Cobonpue and Philipp Plein.

But Molori is not resting on style alone to distinguish it from its competitors. Its intimate size helps foster the guests-as-family feeling, but it’s really the warmth of staff.

The Molori experience is about every need being anticipated from beginning to end and is continuously evolving to provide repeat guests with a fresh perspective. The lodge strives to maintain personal relationships with each guest – before, during and well after the experience – from arranging a personal VIP airport greeting to providing highly-customised game drives and gourmet meals in unique settings.

Boasting an aesthetic that blends local elements with well-placed international design, the lodge’s warmth, charm and comfort reign supreme in the five meticulous open-air suites, thoughtfully distanced from each other to offer maximum privacy.

All of the suites boast spacious wooden decks, private infinity pools and floor-to-ceiling glass walls which fully retract to let nature in.

Molori’s two Presidential Suites, the Metsi Suite, which measures 593 square meters and the new two-bedroom Molelo Suite, measuring 619 square meters are breathtaking, both in size and opulence.

Guests will find two infinity pools and heated Jacuzzi at the main lodge, as well as the retreat’s second rim-flow heated Jacuzzi, situated on the highest mountainside deck for optimal wildlife viewing.

For close encounters with nature, Molori offers game drives twice daily that aim to leave guests with memories of much more than just the “big five.” The 75,000-hectare reserve boasts several prides of lion, large herds of elephant, black and white rhino, countless buffalo and more than 340 bird species, as well as the endangered cheetah, brown hyena and a healthy population of wild dogs.

Night drives showcase an array of nocturnal wildlife, including leopard and various smaller members of the cat family, and guided safari walks give guests the exhilarating experience of bush tracking.

For a more celestial experience, guests can take advantage of Molori’s observatory. With a fully retractable roof the observatory is equipped with a fully automatic, digital telescope (one of the largest privately owned telescopes in Southern Africa) to explore the cosmos and the Southern Hemisphere’s remarkable night sky.

Game viewing at Molori is exceptional at any time of year and throughout all the seasons.

Spring and autumn are very loose and broad terms in Madikwe Game Reserve, as they are not gradual change-overs from winter and summer as they both have a tendency to arrive almost over-night.

Summer is a wonderful time to be in the bush. The rains have either arrived or are on the way. Fantastic thunder storms and wonderful smells of new blossoms, flowers and a wet earth.

Generally the start of the rains is the start of the lambing and calving season. Impala and wildebeest and a host of other antelope generally have their young at a time that there is plenty of grass in order to help with the mother’s condition and milk production. It is also easier for many of the antelope that hide their young as the grass is taller and thicker. This is important as this is the time of the predator! All the young and inexperienced animals offer an easy meal for lions, leopard, cheetah and a host of other predators, including the larger eagle species.

All the migratory birds start returning to this part of the world to start breeding due to the increase in rodents, insects, amphibians and snakes, so it becomes a very vocal and wonderfully colourful time of year to be here.

Winter is also a magical time. It certainly gives a real ‘feel’ for Africa without the heat. The grass is dry, the dust kicked up by thundering hooves and the distant roar of a lion in the cold, first light of day.

The vegetation is, in general, sparser which allows you to see ‘deeper’ into the bush and makes spotting a little easier. Walking is also a very rewarding experience as the temperature is very pleasant during the day.

The water holes are also busy at this time of year due to less rain in the winter months. The limited water acts as a magnet for many animals coming to slake their thirst, which again means that the predators choose to let dinner come to them!

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