Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve, Free State
Did you know?
Did you know that meerkats have nictitating membranes (an extra, transparent eyelid), like birds?
One of the many reasons that Moolmanshoek Game Reserve in the Free State is an award-winning tourist destination is because of the personal attention guests receive from the Nel family throughout their stay.
Founded by Willie and Miemie Nel, this award-winning private game reserve in the eastern Free State is the Nel family’s realised dream. As a longstanding conservation steward, Willie Nel recognised the rich natural offerings of their 3,500-hectare property and developed it into a conservation area and natural heritage site.
To sustain their dream the Nel family strives to ensure that everyone who visits experiences more than they expected and receives the highest level of hospitality from the family-run team.
The reserve nestles in the Moolmanshoek valley in a horseshoe formed by the Witteberg Mountains that feed several mountain streams. This water-blessed valley is rich in plains game, including springbok, zebra, black wildebeest, blesbok and ostrich. It also features 230 bird species.
Hiking, horse trails, fishing, and San (also known as 'Bushman') paintings are all on offer. For the horse riders, South African boerperde ('farmer's horses') and endurance Arabs are bred at Moolmanshoek. Horse safaris are managed by Willie and Miemie’s son, Wiesman, for groups of between 2 and 15 riders, and these are accompanied by a well-trained guide.
Horse and hiking trails offer a range of views and the must-see San paintings, one of which features a warrior.
Moolmanshoek also offers a meerkat experience, where guests can get close to wild meerkats that are habituated to humans. For the anglers, there are black bass and carp dams or you can flyfish in the natural springs.
The lodge is built from the eastern Free State’s characteristic sandstone, with 15 en-suite bedrooms, including fireplaces or Queen Ann stoves. The lodge has an honesty bar, library and sunroom are part of the lodge. Meals are of a high standard, enhanced by ‘fresh from the farm’ products and flavours such as figs and pomegranates.
At Moolmanshoek, they call their cooking ‘boere cuisine’ ('farmers' cuisine') because it features typical South African dishes such as pumpkin fritters and leg of lamb.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve
Tel: +27 51 933 2220
Isabel Arangies (nee Nel): + 27 (0)82 855 54 54