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Exclusivity and Privacy at the New Luxury Eco-Retreat Riverhorse Lodge

Far from the Madding Crowd

Exclusivity and privacy at the new luxury eco-retreat Riverhorse Lodge in the heart of the Greater Nature Cradle Reserve


Riverhorse Lodge – a new unique ecotourism hideaway situated in the privately owned Greater Cradle Nature Reserve (GCNR) just outside Johannesburg – opens its doors in September. 

This exclusive, luxury retreat – located in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind, which was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999 – lies within a reserve that is home to two world famous active paleoanthropological sites.

Nestled on the lip of a lake within the reserve, and surrounded by an indigenous forest, the exquisitely appointed lodge is surrounded by pristine highveld landscape with free-roaming plains animals, bird life and crystal clear springs in abundance. 

The Greater Cradle Nature Reserve1
The Greater Cradle Nature Reserve. Source: Provided

In keeping with the strict sustainability ethos on the GCNR, Riverhorse Lodge (like it’s sister property The Cradle Boutique Hotel) operates on a fully Green ecosystem.

The lodge – which has five en suite rooms, a lounge with its own fireplace and a wrap-around deep shady terrace on the lake-edge – was designed to melt into its natural setting, becoming an earth-coloured sculptural backdrop. For this reason, the interiors are designed using muted neutral colours. Nothing jars in this magnificent paradise.

Riverhorse Lodge, which sleeps a maximum of 10, has to be booked in its entirety and comes with its own team including a dedicated game ranger and a private chef.

Executive chef Sam Ramokoka with the GCNR hydroponics team Desmond Sibya Lerato Moagi and Malefu Molefu. Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep1
Executive chef Sam Ramokoka with the GCNR hydroponics team Desmond Sibya, Lerato Moagi and Malefu Molefu. Image by Yolanda van der Stoep

In charge of the food is Executive Chef Sam Ramokoka who has a wealth of experience. A champion of all things fresh, and a fan of local food sourcing, Ramokoka will ensure that the finest fare is on offer at every meal served in the lodge. He will discuss daily menu selections based on seasonal ingredients and guests will have a chance to provide input on the final menu.

Those in search of adventure will have the opportunity to explore this unique ecotourism destination boasting two world famous active paleoanthropological sites – Gladysvale and Malapa – presenting the area’s roughly 4.5-million-year history and at which both hominid and animal fossils are being unearthed. 

Examining fossils at the Malapa Museum at the Greater Cradle Nature Reserve 2 Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep
Examining fossils at the Malapa Museum at the Greater Cradle Nature Reserve. Image by Yolanda van der Stoep

As part of the package, an exclusive guided Human Origins Tour allows the chance to visit these world famous locations, including the Malapa fossil viewing platform – designed by Krynauw Nel Associates – which has won a number of major local and international awards and which is a short walk away from Riverhorse Lodge.

Also on the GCNR site is the Malapa Museum, built in partnership with renowned paleoanthropologist Lee Berger’s Foundation for Exploration, the Cradle Foundation and National Geographic. Berger’s documentary Unknown: Cave of Bones, currently on Netflix, shows how he and his team investigate what might be considered the world’s oldest graveyard to date while his recently released book, Cave of Bones, takes the reader deep into South African caves to discover fossil remains that compel a monumental reframing of the human family tree. 

The Greater Cradle Nature Reserve21
The Greater Cradle Nature Reserve Human Origins Tour. Source: Provided

Guests can also enjoy wildlife expeditions, bush walks, and birding hikes, and the opportunity to delve into the region’s natural history.

All of this a stone’s throw from the financial hub of Africa, Sandton.

Riverhorse Lodge – framed by striking dolomite rock cliffs – is an ideal haven for nature enthusiasts craving an indulgent and unique African experience in pristine wilderness.


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