Modumela Lodge – Botswana
Having stayed at Ukuthula Lodge between Warmbaths and Thabazimbi we were only about two hours drive from the Grobler’s Bridge border post to Botswana. Modumela is just over 800 kilometers from Johannesburg.
The border crossing was hassle free and soon we were into Botswana where we filled up at the Sherwood filling station a few kilometers from the border. You need to have Pula 110 available for a road usage tax. We turned onto the N1 at Palapye and headed North towards Francistown. The road was good and we made good time. We made sure to obey speed restrictions as you have to reduce speed as you pass through villages along your way.
At Francistown we phoned the lodge to alert them of our arrival and enable them to unlock the gate where we were to enter the property.
After turning off from the N1 we followed a good gravel road for 7 kilometers till we arrived at the gate.Travelling distance from Johannesburg is just ubder 800 kilometers and lasts on average 10 hours.
Clive Hoy and his wife June were on hand to welcome us when we arrived at the main buildings.
The all wooden and thatched main building is very impressive. Built on different levels a wooden staircase takes you to a very large “living” level where you find the open plan dining/lounge/bar area. Five large sliding doors open up to a wide deck with tables and umbrellas looking out over a large waterhole reminding me of the waterholes we encountered at the restcamps in Etosha in Namibia.
Modumela currently has five rustic chalets. Our chalet was right next to the waterhole and has a long boardwalk leading from the main building to the deck of our chalet, also a wooden stucture built on stilts. The whole front wall of the chalet was glass, so you could view the bush and the waterhole from inside, all part of the unique African bush experience.
There was a very large double bed and a door leading to the bathroom.Very clean, neat and comfortable as we have become used to with QVC resorts.
We didn’t even bother to unpack, just grabbed our cameras and headed back to the main building as we didn’t want to miss the fantastic African sunset from the main deck.
By then we met the two other couples that had arrived and we all enjoyed sundowners while marvelling in the glorious bushveld sunset.
We were all famished by then and looked forward to dinner when June called us inside. At first it was a bit strange that we were all seated around one large table, but we soon realised that was part of the “timeshare with a difference” that we were experiencing. I must mention that dinner and breakfast are part of the package when you come to Modumela so all you need to do here is to relax and enjoy the African bush experience.
The lodge features a different kind of “Big Five”; comfort, peace, relaxation, tranquility and wilderness.
The food was good, June classed it as boerekos . We tucked into a crumbed mushroom starter and then followed a really nice chicken stew with assorted veggies and dessert of melktert and malva pudding. Breakfast the next morning was full English. This was the pattern for the rest of our stay.
I actually invented a breakfast dish that I called the Modumela Breakfast Special, consisting of pap on a layer of bacon with fried eggs on top!
If you feel the need to work off some calories, there is also a golf course a short drive away (32 kilometers)
Clive and Joy are definitely the most friendly, helpful and pleasant resort managers that we had ever encountered at a timeshare resort. It seemed as if their soul purpose for being there was to make our stay as pleasant and memorable as possible. The fact that they took the trouble to dine with us at the large table made it even more special. What a great idea. And it seems to work especially well at this particular resort giving this home away from home feeling.
Clive and June also have this special working relationship with the staff. It was June’s birthday the day we arrived and the kitchen staff baked her a surprise birthday cake and sang to her at the dinner table, a really nice gesture.
The resort is powered by generator which is switched off at 22h30 at night but gas provides hot water to the chalets.
The next morning we explored the reserve by Landy spotting a family of warthog, some wildebeest and a brown snake eagle. The resident fish eagle was also sitting at his favourite spot at the one end of the waterhole.
The resort also boasts 167 different types of birds and the early morning birdsong is something to be experienced.
That evening everyone again gathered on the deck to witness the beautiful sunset. Once again the boerekos was mouthwatering.
The lodge arranges a game/bush drive on the resort and also a nature walk led by a professional guide, Dumisani, who concentrates mainly on flora identification as well as bird, game and spoor identification.
The early morning bush walk with Dumisani was a highlight, he is a walking dictionary with a vast knowledge of the local flora and the uses of the various trees as well as an expert on animal tracks. All very interesting and informative.
During summer months the swimming pool would be the ideal place to relax and cool down.
Several self-drive day trips can be done to a local village to see traditional dancers and drummers as well as local craftsmen.
We took a drive out to the Domboshaba ruins dating back to the 1400’s and on the way back stopped at a gigantic African Rock fig tree with a circumference of 45 meters. Apparently it is a popular place for wedding celebrations.
Clive mentioned that one could also fish at one of the dams at the resort.
If you feel more adventurous a drive of about 200 kilometers takes you the well-known Makgadigadi pans.
We all wished that we could have stayed a while longer but all good things come to an end and we had to get back to the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg.
Clive and his team are busy re-fencing the reserve and once that is done the plan are to add some more game. More chalets are also in the pipeline making this a really unique bush experience.
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