The magnificent Karkloof Wellness and Wildlife Reserve is situated within 3500 hectares of South Africa's most gorgeous vegetation, which is home to an abundance of wildlife, guaranteed to enthral guests. At Karkloof in KwaZulu Natal, elegance, inspiration and African hospitality meet on a platform of sheer opulence and modern amenities.
The boutique lodge is home to 16 villas, each with spectacular views of the surrounding vistas and the animals that have made this their habitat. The Karkloof Spa is the biggest of its kind on the entire African continent. Inspired by flowing water, this facility exudes a sense of charming luxury and memorable encounters.
Apart from world-class accommodation, Karkloof also boasts excellent service, attention to detail and plenty of activities and sights in and around its immediate vicinity.
The Association of which the Karkloof Wellness and Wildlife Reserve is a member was established in 1954 in France. Its intention is to recognise and represent one-of-a-kind properties around the world that demonstrate their commitment to quality and to creating a special identity of their own.
The Karkloof Lodge is characterised by a blending of old-world colonial charm and modern touches. The décor is elegant, yet comfortable, while lighting and ornamental items introduce a sense of style, chic and the ideal contemporary flavour.
South Africa is acclaimed for its superior wines and wine farms. The lodge is equipped with its own cellar, which is brimming with local and international vintages, sure to accommodate both the indiscriminate and the well-trained palate. Trained staff members are able to create tasty cocktails or to advise on refreshing malts and ales. Cigars are also available.
Additional facilities contained within the welcoming walls of the lodge are a well-stocked library, the boutique shop where mementoes and keepsakes can be found, a viewing deck overlooking the valley, a heated pool for year-round swimming opportunities and an intimate dining area. All meals are prepared using fresh ingredients and the chefs are focussed on creating healthy dishes, bursting with colour and flavour. The surrounding farms supply many of the items used to prepare the dishes and adorn the plates, guaranteeing freshness. Dietary requirements should be discussed with the lodge's staff so that these may be accommodated.
There is 12-hour access to the revitalising spa. In addition, there are rooms and facilities available for our physically disabled guests as well as a boardroom that can accommodate up to 16 delegates.
The lodge has its own helipad.
There are 16 private villas, each enjoying unique décor and furnishings, and each nestled amongst verdant trees for the ultimate seclusion. For larger parties, four of the villas are interconnected, so that families or couples have access to one another.
Standard facilities in each villa include heated floors for chilly winter evenings and mornings, television with satellite, Internet access, bar fridge (stocked), air-conditioning, heated towel rails, work station, laundry service, spacious bathtub and a private viewing deck. While these outstanding facilities are designed to lure guests and maintain their comfort, they pale in comparison to the spectacular natural surrounds.
Tented Safari Lodge
There are another eight suites making up a second lodge. This facility is elevated on the top of the hill, and promises awe-inspiring views of the surrounding cliffs and plateau that make this area so undeniably memorable. These tented facilities have a private outdoor shower (with hot water), television with satellite, heated floors, a bar fridge and convenient amenities. The outdoor Boma is the perfect meeting place for friends, family and colleagues to unwind and revel in the authentic African countryside.
Karkloof Wellness and Wildlife Reserve is focussed on healthy living. Therefore, the organic cuisine boasts unrivalled flavours and colours such as can only be found in nature. In addition to delicious dishes with influences from all over the world, there is also a Raw Food selection, which offers an array of tasty options. Raw food is easier for the body to digest and contains all of the original vitamins, salts and enzymes, many of which are lost during cooking. The health benefits of consuming food in its raw state include a boosted metabolism, relief from eczema, decreased food allergies and better digestion.
In addition, raw food is tasty and often even sweet. The chefs at Karkloof understand this type of dining and are committed to creating fun, tasty and exciting dishes using uncooked foods. Dietary requirements and preferences are accommodated as far as possible, and need to be communicated to the hotel staff.
Should you prefer to savour the flavours beside the rock pools outside, the chefs will gladly prepare a picnic basket and some refreshing drinks for you.
The Karkloof Spa is the biggest eco-friendly spa in the entire African continent. Although it exudes international style and accents, this spa is distinctly African in its sense of using natural elements to create a restful and invigorating ambience. Set within a game reserve, guests are lulled into total luxury when they hear the many bird species chirping, or watch the Rhino, Wildebeest, Giraffe, Zebra and others grazing on the nearby greenery.
The Karkloof Spa was constructed with the intention of incorporating the natural vegetation of the surrounds within a welcoming and elegant facility. The use of thatch and 'living roofs' (roof surfaces with vegetation growing on them) adds to this appreciation of the African bushveld. There are 17 treatment rooms, each boasting a stunning view. In addition, there are is a glass-fronted manicure / pedicure lounge seating four guests at a time, Rassoul with Moroccan flavours, flotation pool, Kneipp therapy pools, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and reflections lounge.
There are a range of treatments available, each designed to rest or revitalise, energise or ease. They focus on both the mind and body and are administered by top-notch Thai therapists.
The Greens & Teas Spa Café offers healthy refreshments for guests who get peckish between pampering treatments. Light snacks, healthy lunches and fresh meals are on offer at any time of the day.
During your time at Karkloof Wellness and Wildlife Reserve, game viewing is an absolute must. Some of the local residents include the Black Rhino, White Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra, Nyala, Wildebeest, Warthog, different monkey species, and over 300 avian species. The Samango Monkey can only be found in this area, and is a delight to witness first-hand.
Various trails are available and allow both beginners and the experienced hikers to enjoy these surrounds at their own pace. The vegetation showcases thicket, savannah, forests and dolerite rocks, providing a varied and aesthetically stimulating experience. Trails are also available for those who would prefer to experience this part of South Africa on a mountain bike (which can be sourced from the hotel).
South Africa is a well-known source of some of the world's best wines. The Karkloof cellar is well stocked with a collection of wines, sparkling wines and champagnes from around the world and South Africa. Formal wine tastings are available and need to be arranged with the lodge on arrival.
Let your mind escape the stresses of daily living as you indulge in the collection of books and magazines in the library.
Retail therapy awaits the shopaholics amongst our guests. The Boutique Shop is great for mementoes, treats and gifts for the family. It has a delightful range of hats, jewellery, clothes, crafts, art and wildlife prints.
Within close proximity to the lodge thunder five magnificent waterfalls. Guests can walk to and around these, taking in the rest of the stunning surrounds, or simply sit beside them and be awe-struck by their magnitude and power. Take a game drive nine kilometres into the valley before walking a short distance to the wooden boardwalk. Follow these awesome paths overlooking the Karkloof River for about one kilometre, and you will reach the base of the thundering falls. The viewing deck extends out, providing an even closer look at this waterfall as the spray cools and refreshes the spectators.
The Rivers of Karkloof Spa
The Karkloof River winds beautifully through the valley and culminates in a 105-metre waterfall. Water has always been a source of relaxation and reflection in human beings, and watching the movements, ebb and flow of this river creates a sense of sheer isolation and peace.
There is a variety of South Africa's most beautiful and exciting wildlife and birds living in the Karkloof Wildlife Reserve. Game viewing is most rewarding. Karkloof has undertaken a special breeding programme for disease-free African Buffalo and is excited to inform interested guests of their progress. The Serval Cat and Black-backed Jackal are the reserve's only predators, and are both nocturnal.
Guests may embark on their own game drives through most of the reserve at any time of day. Alternatively, trained guides are available for formal tours, which promise an enlightening peek into the fauna and flora of South Africa. The lodge uses silent electrical eco-friendly vehicles so as not to disturb the animals during these tours.
There have been reports of spotting over 300 different bird species to date. These include the world's largest bird, the Ostrich, Turacos, Robins, eagles, the Bronze-naped Pigeon (only found in this area) and various owl species.
Walking, hiking and Mountain Biking
There are wooden walkways, paths and trails through the 3500 hectares of the Karkloof Reserve. These expose the different types of vegetation and the natural wonders of the South African bushveld. Several reflection benches invite visitors to take a break and ponder on the beauty that surrounds them, breathing in the fresh air.
Fly fishing is the ideal retreat for weary bodies and minds. Try your hand at catching Yellowtail in these river waters, or simply enjoy sitting at the water's edge.
The Karkloof Wellness and Wildlife Reserve is 24 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg and less than 1.5 hours from Durban's International Airport. It is on the Otto's Bluff Road, close to the Albert Falls Dam.
Only children over the age of 12 years can be accommodated at Karkloof.