Three Blissful Weekend Escapes within Two Hours of Johannesburg

Best Kept Travel Getaways


It’s Friday afternoon and you’re on your way to a weekend escape. In less than two hours you’ll be kicking off your shoes, sipping a G&T and breathing in that unmistakable peppery scent of the bushveld. Heavenly! And so easy! And yet every time you make the effort to get away, you wonder why it’s taken so long.

Sound familiar? Enter Moledi Gorge, an eight-suite sanctuary on a privately owned game farm on the edge of a dramatic gorge in the northern Magaliesberg, about an hour and a half’s drive northwest of Johannesburg. The magnificent views from its contemporary suites, each lined with floor-to-ceiling glass, give Moledi the edge over every other accommodation option in this picturesque area, and they’re complemented by several viewing decks. And there’s a rim-flow swimming pool overlooking this unspoilt gorge and the mountains beyond.

At Moledi, the predator-free bushveld means that guests can see wildlife on foot, enjoying nature walks with a guide, on a mountain bike or trail run on the private 21km trail on the farm, or in a safari vehicle.

Known for its romantic setting, Moledi is the perfect venue to propose or to celebrate an anniversary. For those who prefer to simply spend the weekend taking it easy, Moledi’s spa therapist offers relaxing massages, or you can curl up on one of the comfy couches to read a book or take in the amazing views.

For a bush experience of a different kind, head south to the Vredefort Dome. It’s a 90-minute drive that takes you just across the provincial border into the Free State, home to fields of nodding sunflowers and wheat against unimaginably vast blue skies. As you enter the ancient and somewhat surreal landscape of the Vredefort Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’re met by the wonder of the oldest and biggest meteorite site on earth.

Its unique beauty wasn’t lost on brothers Xavier and Damien Huyberechts. Driven by their dream to go back to nature and rediscover a simpler life, and captivated by the unusual site, they bought Witklipfontein, one of the original farms in the area, in 2013. Architect Xavier is famously quoted as saying that he wanted to ‘gently lift the “carpet” at the bottom of the hill and slide the house underneath’.

Today, this rammed-earth eco-lodge is testament to his vision: built with earth bags, adobe and stone, and finished with natural paints and reclaimed granite, it’s a raw and rich living environment. Once you’ve discovered the subterranean dome and natural eco-pool, and harvested your own greens for dinner from the permaculture garden, you’ll never see life the same way again.

Equally fascinating is the Cradle of Humankind, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, about an hour’s drive north of Johannesburg. The nearby minimalist Farmhouse 58, a peaceful farm retreat, offers absolute tranquillity and a chance to connect with art and nature, and explore the Cradle of Humankind, a treasure trove of early fossils and palaeontological finds.

Not only are the caves, fossil digs and museum worth a visit, but the Nirox Sculpture Park is an exciting venue for art lovers – its 30 hectares of lawns, arbours and wetlands on the banks of the Blaauwbank Spruit host more than 50 permanent and long-term installations by artists from across the globe.

For more information about Moledi visit or call +27 (0) 82 613 5723 or email

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