Hilltop Conservation Lodge in the Great Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa

w: Icon Private Collection

Hilltop Conservation Lodge in the Great Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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Hilltop Conservation Lodge in the Great Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Concealed deep within the expansive bush of the Eastern Cape is a place unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before, shrouded in beauty, ensconced in history.

Sky above, earth below, rolling hills and vast, shimmering plains stretch out as far as the eye can see. A unique family-owned nature reserve, encompassing 20 100 hectares of rugged Great Karoo terrain, with a variety of accommodation offerings.

A literal oasis in the middle of nowhere, this lodge offers discerning guests a soulful safari experience, along with sophisticated living spaces and access to exciting activities.

As if floating in an otherworldly atmosphere, the lodge rests atop one of the highest mountains on the reserve. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors in the reception areas perfectly frame the magnificent surrounds. Comprising seven beautifully appointed suites and two separate apartments, it makes an ideal sole-use villa for extended families or groups of friends. Each suite is spacious, light-filled and furnished with all the modern amenities one would expect. Two of the suites also have their own private pools overlooking resplendent views that replenish the soul.

The décor and interiors feature earthy tones of brown and beige, which give the sense of a connection to the surrounding nature, as do the textures of wood, wool and similar natural fibres. Blazing fireplaces in each reception room keep guests cosy from the sometimes-nippy temperatures of the great outdoors, while the infinity pool is a sublime place to cool off when the mercury rises. Step out onto the sweeping decks and indulge in the magical silence of the night air and a glorious display of stars above.

Each suite has its own rainfall shower and deep-soak tub, luxe toiletries, hairdryer, private bar fridge, Nespresso machine and tea-making facilities, and a large flatscreen TV. WiFi is available throughout the lodge at no additional cost. Cellular phone signal may be limited at times.

The lodge offers only 7 suites, each beautifully decorated in the same refined elegance as the rest of the lodge. Every suite has a private terrace where you can spend a lazy afternoon with a glass of champagne in hand, watching wild game from the comfort of your balcony. The main suite has two bedrooms with an exclusive terrace, a tended garden and a private pool.

It comes as no surprise that the central activity of every safari adventure has to be the safari drives and walks. On a normal day your guide will meet you at sunrise every morning with warm drinks and rusks at your lodge before departing on your morning game drive or walk. The experience will last for about three hours before returning to your lodge for a mid-day rest and relaxation. In the evening you’ll depart again with your guide to be out in the African bush in time to bid farewell to another perfect day. Your safari experience is completely customisable to your needs with private vehicles and a personal guide available on request.

The guides are passionate beyond the norm with each guide a believer in the reserve’s philosophy and goals so however you choose to safari you will find that you will always have way more than just a ‘game drive’.

The intention for the reserve is to first and foremost become a conservation destination and a blueprint for how to responsibly and intentionally rewild and restore landscapes to the desired state. While offering various luxury accommodation and invigorating activities in nature, the core purpose here is rehabilitation and restoration.

Together with the world-renowned The Aspinall Foundation, this area will become a safe haven for previously mistreated animals that have been rescued from international zoos and other ex-situ environments. Where possible, indigenous game will be rewilded, and in situations where this is not suitable, animals will spend time at the Rescue Centre – currently under construction – on the reserve until such a time that they can be rehomed. The Aspinall Foundation will assist in identifying reserves that are fit for recovered wildlife.

  • 7 Suites
    14 Guests
    Prices from R75,000 – R86,250 per night

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