Lindani Lodges lies in the Waterberg, between Vaalwater and Melkrivier, a mere 285km from Johannesburg. This 3 000ha farm makes for the ideal weekend and holiday destination for visitors from Gauteng and other regions.
Owners Sam and Peggy van Coller purchased four properties called Klipheuwel, Koperfontein, Boikhotsong and Klipplaat in 1994, and these now form Lindani Lodges.
The first guests were received in 1998. Some of the lodges were old buildings that were renovated, some were newly built to welcome guests.
Lindani means ‘stay a while’. Sam’s vision was to make the farm available to the public and provide stability in the area by creating jobs. Like most successful businesses, this enterprise started small and grew over time.
Lindani Lodges has a history of employing families and developing staff, and a low staff turnover testifies to the trusting bond that has developed between employers and employees.
Fauna and flora
The lodges are host to two of the Big Five, namely leopard and buffalo. Leopard are shy and seldom seen on the farm, and the buffalo are kept in separate breeding camps so hiking, running, and cycling are safe among the mainly plains game to be found on the farm.
These include giraffe, zebra, eland, waterbuck, impala, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, kudu and bushbuck. The lodges’ giraffe logo is based on one of the rock paintings found on the farm. Other predators that are seen often are brown hyenas and jackals.
Some of the last free-roaming wild dogs outside of national parks occur in the Waterberg. One of the packs, the Melkrivier pack, has been seen on many occasions passing through Lindani.
This pack recently denned on the farm, and staff member Solly Nkhumane was instrumental in locating the den of these very shy dogs.
This enabled a collaborative initiative between EWT, the Waterberg Wild Dog Initiative, Painted Wolf Wines, and the African Wild Dog Survival Fund to dart one of the male dogs in order to monitor the pack’s movements in the Waterberg area. The farm is also rich in different plant and bird species.
There is a 1km tree walk where trees are labelled and visitors can learn more about the great diversity of tree species on the farm. Due to the diversity of habitat on the Lindani property, there are as many as 240 bird species.
Activities for guests
Lindani Lodges caters for everyone. You may enjoy a relaxing, tranquil time, have an active time hiking, or be even more active by running or mountain biking. The more adventurous may even do some rock climbing.
All trails are well-marked and available on the Trailforks app. Hiking trails range from 6km and can be made longer by combining routes.
Mountain biking has routes starting from each lodge, offering different distances and catering for beginners, intermediate and advanced cyclists. Entry-level bicycles are available for hire but need to be booked in advance.
The different routes are made up of a combination of trails together with sections of farm roads. Trail running offers routes from 8km to 25km, and rock climbing is also available along six routes against a sandstone cliff. These range in difficulty from grades 15 to 23.
Lindani recently added fishing trails along the beautiful Melkrivier, where avid anglers can try their luck at catching and releasing bass, kurper and catfish from some of the naturally occurring pools along the river.
Four picnic sites are available and can be booked for exclusive use by guests.
Makgethelo, which overlooks a small natural pool on the Koperspruit, is one of the more popular picnic sites where the lodge hosts sunset dinners. There are three lookout points that make for great views over the valleys below.
Game viewing is allowed during the day in your own vehicle along all the accessible farm roads. However, Farmer’s Weekly booked a game drive, and section manager and qualified Field Guides Association of Southern Africa member Johannes Mosima treated us to his wide knowledge and experience.
Weddings and functions
Lindani Lodges can host weddings, with up to 65 available beds. Guests may select from two possible ceremony venues, and receptions are usually held at one of the larger lodges, called Motseng Village. Conferencing facilities are also available for 18 to 36 persons.
For the more active ones
Three annual Top of the Waterberg events, including a trail run, an MTB event and a gravel ride or run take place, all starting and ending at Lindani Lodges. These events are open to the public and entries can be purchased online.
The trail run event, held in May, has four distances of 46km, 24km, 12km and 6km to choose from. The MTB race, in July, is over distances of 60km, 35km, 20km and 6km.
For the gravel event, in October, the ride option is over 130km, 42km and 6km, and the run is over 42km, 21km, and 6km. All three of these Top of the Waterberg events are single-day events.
A variety of options is available for accommodation, including lodges, luxury tented camping and camping. Farmer’s Weekly had the opportunity of staying at two of the lodges, Alden Cottage and Impala Cottage.
Alden Cottage is on the western side of the property and caters for four guests. It has an exclusive-use lapa and a dam for fishing and canoeing. A swimming pool is available, as well as a braai with a fire pit.
Impala Cottage also caters for four and shares a swimming pool with other residents of Motseng Village. A private braai area is also available. Other lodges include Motseng and Bushbuck, and these two, with Impala Cottage, are part of Motseng Village.
Motseng comprises two units, accommodating 10 guests in total. Bushbuck makes provision for four guests. Both Thabeng Cottage and Maroela Cottage offer accommodation for four, and the Bush Camp cottage is equipped for five guests.
The Stone House, a converted farmhouse built in 1937, sleeps eight, and Skebenga, on the eastern side of the farm, houses six guests. The Loft houses up to 14 guests.
Molope Tented Camp can accommodate up to eight guests in four tents, each with a toilet, basin and outdoor shower. Communal facilities include a well-equipped kitchen, two closed showers and toilets, and a swimming pool.
Camping sites are available for those with their own tents. Warm showers, toilets, and a braai area are provided. The comfort of guests in these self-catering lodges is a priority to the owners of Lindani Lodges.
The whole farm, including staff quarters, is completely off-grid, making use of solar energy for electricity and warm water, with gas for stoves and as backup for geysers. Free Wi-Fi is available and so Lindani makes for the ideal ‘workcation’.
Ceiling fans provide cool air in the warmer months, and there are fireplaces for the colder months.
Farmer’s Weekly needed a Band-Aid, and we were pleased to find a basic first-aid kit in the room. Several members of staff are trained first-aid responders and are only a phone call away.
Units are pet-friendly, but dogs need to be leashed when going on walks. Two of the units, Alden Cottage and Motseng, are fenced and are the ideal accommodation to book when you take your dogs with you.
The farm kitchen
The Lindani Farm Kitchen is a must-try for guests. Various types of meals are available for order before your arrival. The menu is provided on reservation or on request, and includes options to keep all taste buds satisfied. Wildebeest are culled for venison in the farm kitchen.
Picnic baskets are available to enjoy at one of the picnic sites and can be arranged to form part of your game drive, delivered to your picnic site if you are getting there on your own steam, or even delivered to your lodge or cottage.
Adjacent to Lindani on the opposite side of the tar road (the same property where Alden Cottage is), the son and daughter-in-law of the owners, Alan and Denise, breed disease-free buffalo (Alden buffalo).
These consist of three breeding herds on their own property, and a bull herd on Lindani. Young bulls are removed from the breeding herds at two years of age and moved to the bull herd on Lindani.
The bull herd is kept in camps close to Skebenga Lodge, where guests may catch a glimpse of these magnificent beasts. Visitors who’ve booked game drives may also be fortunate to see some of the bulls if they are not hiding in the thickets.
Fights sometimes occur between bulls and, unfortunately, sometimes lead to serious injury or even death. No hunting or culling of the buffalo takes place.
Bulls, and cows with calves, are sold out of hand or on annual auctions. Before sales are finalised, the buffalo need to be certified free of the major bovine diseases, including brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, corridor disease and foot-and-mouth disease.
Herds need to be always kept disease free, and one of the preventative measures includes double fencing with a spacing of at least 10m where neighbours also have cattle or buffalo in adjacent camps.
When tested for diseases, the buffalo are moved into bomas for easier control and then darted. Using a boma to control the buffalo saves a lot of money over using helicopters to track darted animals in this mountainous area.
Visit lindani.co.za, or phone 083 631 5579 or 066 505 8366.