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Botlierskop, the hidden game reserve on the Eastern Cape coast.

Often one drives on a highway and look out the window and wonder, “what’s behind that rocky hill?”. We experienced such a scenario on this trip as we were traveling on the N2 between George and Mossel Bay, a road which we have driven many times but never taking the off ramps along the way.

On this trip, we were fortunate to have one of our previous students, Anesthia Roosendaal, invited us to her new place of work at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. We took a turn down a small farm road away from the coast and in between some scenic hill passes. As we passed a small-cattle kraal we entered a magical valley, spotting the Lodge on the hill side. As we headed in, we saw the grasslands next to the road filled with Wildebeest and Zebra and BAM! Rhino! We passed the impressive gate to the day center where visitors can come to spend the day. They offer game drives, and visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch while viewing the spectacular wildlife that the game reserve offers.

Driving up towards the main lodge building is in itself majestic as one can’t stop staring at the animals while gaping at the beautiful architecture of the main buildings.

As we parked, Anesthia came to meet us, nearly skipping with excitement to see her mentor chef and greeted her with a huge hug and kiss. We could tell she was filled with mixed emotions of nerves and excitement.

As chefs, we often have such opportunities to visit establishments from behind the scenes and meet the people behind the running of these great places. First, we were taken to see the kitchens where the magic happens and were greeted with smiles from all the staff. Executive Chef Craig welcomed us to his kitchen kingdom and didn’t waste time to tell us how well we had taught our student. Anesthia showed us around the beautiful, clean and well-planned kitchen and to her current station where she was preparing a delicious mango panacotta for dinner guests.

Botlierskop has a well thought out and exciting new menu for each day of the week, each themed with a good pairing of starters, mains and deserts to keep longer staying guests interested. They also experiment with new dishes regularly, so you are guaranteed to get the best and up to date trends every time you visit.

Anesthia took us to the main restaurant and out onto the terrace overlooking the valley. This view honestly took our breath away. From the fire pit you can look over the entire valley, down onto the river where you see Eland, Rhino and other magnificent animals. As a guest one can go on game drives for hours and hopefully see the rest of the big 4 (all excluding leopard).

After taking some pictures and taking in the views, we had some great coffee in the bar, which in fact is more a lounge area with large comfy couches. The African theme is tastefully incorporated into the lodge décor and is prominent throughout with skins on floors, beautiful wood finishes and leather upholstery.

Unfortunately, time ran out and we had to go onto our next appointment, leaving this dream valley behind. We are very proud of what Anesthia has achieved at this international lodge where the staff love her and are proud to have her on their team.

Looking forward to visiting soon!

Images Copyright Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, Pieter Steyn

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