exploring, living

Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve– one of SA’s best kept secrets in the Free State

Warrick and I entered the 4peaks challenge a 24km mountain run which took place this past weekend on the 26th September 2015.  The event is hosted at a place called Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve which is approximately 3.5hr drive from Johannesburg and is situated in the Witteberg Mountain Range in the Eastern Free State.

Having broken my finger in the Crazy Store Magaliesberg Challenge, I sadly had to pull out of the race but Warrick still took part. By luck (in our eyes), the 4peaks challenge was well timed as it happened to fall over Warrick’s 30th Birthday which meant it would also be a great weekend away to celebrate this milestone with my husband – And let’s be honest what could be more perfect than a weekend in the mountains for your birthday.

We booked to stay in the 4-star Moolmanshoek Lodge for the first night of our stay which was on Heritage Day. When we arrived we were completely blown away by the beauty of this ‘unknown’ place. The lodge is literally situated in a valley that is surrounded by a horse shoe mountain range. The reserve is absolutely magnificent with one section dedicated to game such as eland, springbok, black wildebeest and red hartebeest and the other to pure bred horses and cattle.

Entrance to Moolmanshoek Private Reserve

Once we had settled into our cosy, luxurious en-suite room at the Lodge we decided to head off to explore this beautiful place by going on a hike following one of the suggested short walk paths. We headed out into the beautiful valley along a flat road where we were able to view a lot of the game on the farm and even came across an ostrich egg (I was terrified the mother would come and attack us so we quickly moved away from it after of course a quick photo opportunity). On our walk we came across a hikers rest camp where Warrick decided to take out his new favourite toy – the Phantom 3 Advanced Drone. It is truly amazing to see how sophisticated these alien-looking technologies have become. The footage that Warrick was able to get of the Moolmanshoek valley and mountain range from a birds eye view is simply incredible – Check out this short edit of some of the footage Warrick captured on our walk.

In addition to hiking opportunities, Moolmanshoek also offers numerous other activities such as horse riding, fly fishing, game drives, 4×4 trails and abseiling which unfortunately we weren’t able to fit into our busy weekend but there definitely will be a next time.

Not only does Moolmanshoek have incredible views but it also offers exquisite food. Dinner takes place at the Bamboesbos or Silverspoon Restaurant at the main house. Our dinner was simply divine and consisted of a salmon and potato salad starter followed by two choices of mains; an oxtail potjie and samp dish or a lentil briyani vegetarian dish and last but not least a coffee crème brûlée pudding. Breakfast takes place on the stoep of the farmhouse and consisted of a buffet meal with everything from freshly baked muffins to scrambled eggs. For our lunch, I was able to organise with the Moolmanshoek owners to arrange a special picnic for Warrick on his birthday.

I had no idea what they were going to put together for us for this picnic but they exceeded my expectations by far. They set up the picnic in the poplar forest just down from the farmhouse where they host wedding ceremonies. They included a picnic blanket and pillows as well as a picnic basket and cooler box. Inside the picnic basket was a platter filled with scrumptious finger foods such as cheese and biscuits, figs, blueberry jam, sausage rolls, filled croissants and some koeksisters. All in all the picnic was a great success which was evident as after enjoying our picnic lunch Warrick allowed me to fly his drone for the first time ever and it was epic!

Surprise Birthday Picnic in the forest at Moolmanshoek
Surprise Birthday Picnic in the forest at Moolmanshoek

As I am sure you can tell from this post, Warrick and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Moolmanshoek Lodge and we will definitely be back for many reasons one of which being that I need to tick off the 4peaks challenge on my bucket list of races to complete.


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