The Lodge at Melozhori Private Game Reserve

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Dook

This luxurious hideaway blends harmoniously with nature, providing guests a serene escape from city life while ensuring all the comforts of home are readily available.

Situated within the foothills of the Overberg Mountains, Melozhori Private Game Reserve, with its 2,300-hectare predator-free wilderness, is a remote getaway far removed from any mainstream tourist hub.

The Lodge, an exclusive-use manor house, has been recently redesigned to offer its guests a hassle-free and comfortable home-away-from-home experience. The spacious four en-suite bedroom lodge is a harmonious blend of elegant, contemporary styling within a contrasting countryside setting.

The Lodge boasts a spacious open-plan living area beneath its lofty double-volume ceiling, where rustic thatch and wooden beams tower above polished oak floors. Uncluttered and serene, the interior is a wash of neutral, earthy hues with lots of organic materials that draw inspiration directly from the environment. “We took incredible care selecting decorative accents,” says Lientjie Nell, who manages The Lodge with her husband Coenraad.

Melozhori Private Game Reserve
The earthy textures and tones of the interior design reflect the surrounding landscape.

Individually crafted furniture and finishes are used throughout the interior. In the big open-plan living areas, generously proportioned sofas are covered in hardy natural-fibre fabrics, a tall, stacked stone fireplace looms on one side, and a pair of enormous ornamental chandeliers made with hundreds of pieces of cocoa sticks hang above a specially crafted dining table with a magnificent blackwood top. Accentuating The Lodge’s proximity to wildness, huge fold-away glass doors connect this indoor living space with the majestic world outside.

The Lodge is plush in decor and texture – aesthetic elements, from beautiful pendant cork light fittings by award-winning Cape Town-based designer Laurie Wiid van Heerden to objét from Weylandts, exudes luxury and comfort without being overly grandiose.

“From handwoven washing baskets by Mia Mélange to the throws in beautifully textured fabrics by African Jacquard, we sought to keep it local and unique, to create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere while keeping it liveable and durable – and family-friendly. We want grown-ups and children to feel totally at home in the space, not tip-toe around it.”

The bedrooms open up to the undulating landscape stretching towards a distant horizon. Each bedroom features a private deck with a hammock, perfect for bokkie or bird-watching and relaxation amidst nature.

“As much as it’s an aesthetically cushioning environment, it is still a nature reserve,” says Lientjie. “It is still wild and, aside from the variety of hoofed mammals, there are plenty of weird and wonderful creatures, too. And the amazing stars at night,” explains Lientjie.

An ideal spot to do some stargazing is The Lodge’s scene-stealing fire pit. Sunken into a rim-flow swimming pool that hovers at the edge of a pristine swathe of Overberg wilderness, there’s a surreal sensation of gazing, eye-level, across the water, as you take in the vastness of the enfolding terrain.

There are no set plans or strict itinerary to follow at The Lodge: everything – from the safari outings to the chef-prepared meals – is tailored around the guests’ preferences. Since there are no dangerous animals, guests can hike, stroll, or even jump on a mountain bike and discover more of Melozhori’s dramatic landscape.

Apart from The Lodge, Melozhori has a pair of state-of-the-art eco-pods, each accommodating a couple (and, by arrangement, a child). There is also a double-level “Treehouse” that provides an elevated view of the surrounding terrain. Plus, there’s The Cottage – a pet-friendly self-catering abode with two bedrooms, a wood-fired hot tub, and a pool.

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