I had a lovely five-night stay at the Shammah Lodge in Middelburg, South Africa, my first experience on a South African farm and a lovely chance to unwind and recharge.
Shammah Lodge Review In Middelburg, South Africa
Shammah Lodge is neither your typical resort or typical game lodge (if there is such a thing), but more a facility aimed at hosting groups. In this case, it was a pastor’s retreat, but think functions like a family reunion, work seminar, or things of that nature. Of course, individuals and smaller families are welcome too, but this isn’t the sort of lodge with a 24/7 restaurant or room service menu.
The road to the lodge, if you are coming from J’berg or Pretoria via Middelberg, is not for the faint of heart. After leaving Middelberg, you will hit a dirt road mired in potholes and stones that really screams out for all-wheel drive. However, you may run into dung beetle…which I found fascinating.
But eventually, you’ll reach the gate of the vast farm and from there take a five-minute ride to the circle of structures that make up the habitable portion of the lodge. Along the way, you will pass a number of lovely mature trees.
A crew greeted us and escorted us to our rooms. Some rooms are intended for couples, but many were like mine, with two twin beds, or even some with two bunk beds. As I said, it’s about the fellowship here. But that was not a bad thing. I enjoyed rich fellowship over the days ahead and liked that each guest bungalow had a shared living room from which conversation could be held–it reminded me a bit of my college dormitory at UCLA.
Outside was a pool surrounding the dwellings an electrified fence intended to keep away most moving things, including a special “spike strip” for snakes.
There was a dining room and bar, but it was not generally staffed by employees waiting to serve you with printed menus. Rather, it was self-service. A trio of pastors’ wives graciously volunteered their time to cook for the 30 or so men who were there. I made coffee in the morning. The food was delicious, but mostly food that was brought in rather than supplied by the lodge. That said, the lodge is more than happy to feed guests…just don’t expect a huge menu with a short-order cook waiting in the kitchen. There is no room service. If you get a hankering for a midnight snack, you will need to invade the refrigerator yourself.
The farm includes a number of animals including zebras, giraffes, springboks, and kudu. Hunting (and target practice) is offered as an add-on package. If you don’t want to hunt the gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) animals, you can simply hop in a Jeep and go look for them.
Always look up for the bird too. I love kingfishers.
One of end of the property is a rushing river from which you can jump in for a refreshing swim.
If you are into golf, a private course in nearby Kranspoort is about a 45-minute drive away.
During load shedding, the lodge’s back-up generators kick on immediately, though there is no internet or mobile phone coverage during the blackouts and sometimes even when the blackouts end it takes time to restore internet service. You need to be willing to unwind and disconnect when here…and in my case I had no choice.
I really enjoyed my time at Shammah Lodge and of course loved the people I spent time here with. But a special thanks to the hosts (even the owner was around) for making our stay comfortable and for creating a venue in the bush to promote relaxation in a very lovely environment, albeit not a five-star lodge. I hope to take my family here one day