Mashovhela Lodge is situated on Morning Sun Nature Reserve, a natural heritage site in the beautiful Soutpansberg Mountains of the Limpopo Province of South Africa and now, (together with World Heritage Site Mapungubwe) part of the UNESCO-registered Vhembe Biosphere Region. The lodge which has 10 en-suite chalets, a safari tent, a unique hammock camp, and an award-winning restaurant and conference centre, was built on the already degraded site of an abandoned Venda settlement in order to minimize the ecological footprint.
A decision was made not to connect to the public power grid. Instead, renewable energy, wherever possible, is used to satisfy the energy needs of the Lodge. Hot water is produced entirely by solar water heating, supplemented by efficient mini-boilers, fuelled by wood (eucalyptus and wattles recovered from our exotics eradication programme). Sound waste management and recycling practices and innovative water saving and recycling measures form part of the lodge’s eco-friendly policies.
Green and good
Mashovhela is not only ‘green’ but ‘good’ and is proudly Fair Trade Tourism-certified. The lodge is aware of the negative impact that tourism can create and is committed to spreading the benefits of tourism to previously disadvantaged communities by sharing their skills and knowledge, connecting communities with opportunities, funding and facilitation. The lodge also has a local community development element to it, through employment of lodge staff and dancers, education and supporting local arts and craft producers.
Morning Sun Nature Reserve is home to the second most sacred site for some local Venda people: Mashovhela rock pool “the place where the drum can be heard”. A Venda cultural theme can be seen through the lodge’s design and decor, with its chalets, safari tent and restaurant having an ethnic feel to it.
Guests of the lodge can enjoy a combination of a nature and an authentic cultural experience, with nature walks, scenic drives, Venda dancing and Venda tours on offer. Walking and hiking trails range from easy short walks to longer and more challenging hikes to suit different levels of fitness. A night out, sleeping under the stars at the hammock camp, is a unique addition to the activities on offer and this can be combined with a night sky safari and a bush dinner or bush breakfast.
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