The ubiquitous welcome drink cleared the dust from my throat after the final 11km gravel road to the Welgevonden East Gate. From there it is a short drive in a game viewer to the actual lodge. The 3-hour drive from Johannesburg was incident-free and almost without potholes or long lines of trucks that can cause chaos on the 2 lane R33.
Game lodges only get one opportunity to make a first impression and in the case of Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway in the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve near Vaalwater, they did that in spades. I certainly had no preconceived ideas about what to expect, aside from what I had seen on their website.
It is an interesting lodge as the immediate feeling is that it could be a beach destination and should be at the coast, given the colour palette and the decor. But you look across the valley into the sheer cliff face of the Waterberg Mountains and I realized that this destination can be viewed as both, although there was not an ocean in sight.
A view of the previously mentioned Waterberg Mountain range as seen from the deck of the pool at the main lodge building. A spectacular landscape that never got old. Each day of my stay, I conjured up a different feeling and vista that I had not noticed before. As I was there in winter, the vegetation was sparse with pockets of green dotted about and otherwise dry and almost bland landscape canvas. The view from this perspective in Spring and Summer much be truly breathtaking.
From the mezzanine floor looking back towards the front door. To the left are a lounge and a deck, while to the right is the office and compact gift shop.
Just one of the public spaces and where we had dinner on our first night. COVID-19 protocols were in place and both guests and staff were respectful of each other and masks and social distancing was the order of the day.
BTW, if you are wondering how the interior designer found such perfect rocks…let me burst that illusion and say one-word “resin”. That being said, I would like a couple of them for a corner of my garden back in Johannesburg.
The Sterkstroom River slowly meanders its way along the valley floor. Watching this river as it flowed past our accommodation, reminded me of the Scotty McCreery lyrics to the Garth Brooks song The River:
Ever-changing as it flows
And a dreamer’s just a vessel
That must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what’s behind you
And never knowing what’s in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores
The property is part of the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere and that makes it even more special.
Looking for somewhere to chill while waiting for either food or a game drive? Then why not hang out in one of these in the far corner of the main deck that overlooks the valley?
Or you could head up to the mezzanine floor and spend some time on this day bed. It too has a spectacular panoramic view out over the mountains and the landscape.
Looking back at the main building from the corner of the deck…From this vantage point, the bar/lounge is beyond the door on the left, the steps lead to the front door and the shop. Upstairs behind the railing is where the day bed and a conference room are. And finally, to the right is the dining room that leads out onto a deck, so that meals can be enjoyed either indoors out outside depending on the weather.
And to add the feel of being at a beach destination, this prawn salad was one of the options for lunch.
To find out what they currently have on offer, click on the logo above to visit their website.
All images are the copyright property of
and may not be used without permission.