Hotel Of The Week: Moditlo River Lodge, Hoedspruit

On the western bank of the Nbesi River, in the heart of the 36,000-acre Blue Canyon Conservancy, lies Moditlo River Lodge. Named for the majestic African elephant which roams the surrounding savanna grasslands, the conservancy is also home to the rhinoceros, hippopotamus, leopard, cheetah, African wild dogs and herds of various antelope.

Courtesy of Moditlo

Courtesy of Moditlo

A focus on luxurious open plan design with the lowest possible environmental impact ensures that the atmosphere of the bushveld can be felt inside the lodge. An array of decks and raised walkways littered with bushveld-inspired furniture connect numerous relaxation and dining spaces to 16 individual sleeping quarters appointed in a chic African style. The architecture is sensitively arranged so as not to disturb the local fauna. To this end the lodge is not fenced, but never fear: an experienced ranger is always on hand to accompany guests to their rooms.

Game drives during the winter in this part of the world are a special experience: the rain has not yet arrived to send wild grasses above the ideal height for viewing distant fauna. This is the closest Ive personally witnessed the African elephant in its natural habitat. Our early morning safari was followed by a spread of hot and cold breakfasts.

A huge buffalo thorntree graces the swimming pool. Around it, deck chairs and lounge areas invite one to unwind with old friends and new, and although the Wi-fi is complimentary, youll find better ways to spend your time. On our late afternoon game drive I was lucky to see the African wild dog for the first time. Cocktails and a languid sunset preceded one of the better culinary experiences the bushveld has to offer.

Choose to dine inside or under the stars in the boma and be prepared for the most succulently prepared meat youll ever taste. The chefs take on a mussel pot told of true culinary ingenuity and a chocolate fondant served with Amarula (a liqueur made form the fruit of the marula tree) nearly sent me straight to the other side. Service and attention to detail are king at Modlito youre never left wanting for anything and it was as though my every need was anticipated before it came to my own mind.

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