Situated about 400km north of Johannesburg in Limpopo province, Fifty-Seven offers sheer wildlife beauty complimented by incredible VIP treatment from friendly staff.
Driving on the 16 km gravel road from the R33 (between Modimolle and Thabazimbi), towards Fifty-Seven Waterberg, one of over fifty lodges forming the greater 35 000 hectare Welgevonden Big Five Game Reserve, we are greeted by troops of baboons, monkeys and other smaller game, setting scene for what to expect inside the park.
Expertly built on top of the mountains, accessible only by the lodge’s land cruiser, the facility offers great game viewing, amazing culinary arts by the young but experienced chefs.
On arrival we were welcomed by the facility’s manager, Simon who offers us champagne while he loaded our luggage into his land cruiser. We were to leave the car at a secure parking at the gate. After exchanging pleasantries, we hopped into the vehicle with a couple from Israel and took on the long bumpy mountainous road to the lodge.
On the road Simon gave us an induction about what to expect on the day. But he first wants us to check into our rooms and have lunch before he takes us on the afternoon game drive.
The game drive
We were fascinated by Simon’s astute knowledge of wildlife and his way around the bush – he would stop the land cruiser to study foot prints and tell us what animal walked passed and how long ago, and continued driving towards the direction the animal took. One of the amazing sightings was when we visited the “King of the jungle” and his pride, because they sleep during the day we had to wait for the sun to set when they start moving around.
It is every game reserve visitor’s desire to see the big five (Lion,
elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo) and we made four out five, we miss out on
buffalo, we were quite impressed.
The facility boasts a restaurant, bar with television, and an infinity swimming pool overlooking the green bushes. The most noticeable missing household item in the rooms is a TV and we enquired about this unusual situation.
We are told the idea behind was to get visitors to “socialise” and not spend time watching TV – but, plans are underway to put up television sets in all five chalets following several enquiries from guests.
Other planned upgrades include building a children friendly lodge in the park and introduce game drives for children that will also concentrate on smaller game other than the big five.
The scrumptious meals
Every meal, after being put on the table by the waiter is followed by detailed explanation from the chef on the process of preparing and the ingredients – which plays tricks on curious taste buds.
In addition to the usual beef and chicken, the menu included grilled duck, springbok and fish, all prepared with amazing skill and love - thanks to chefs Gabriel and Mark, waiters Michael and Piet.
The rooms have a Jacuzzi, walk-in closet, shower and bathroom and of-course beautiful views. You can see antelopes and a waterbuck walking around, coming to drink water on the pond outside.
Our overall experience at the lodge was 9/10. 57 Waterburg is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg.