RECONNECT WITH NATURE, YOURSELF AND YOUR PARTNER AT THE BEAUTIFUL QAMBATHI MOUNTAIN LODGE IN THE KAMBERG, WRITES KATRINE ANKER-NILSSEN
Stephen and Nadia Maritz met in 2007 in a small Welsh pub. “He was South African, I was Polish. Both foreigners in a strange land,” laughs Nadia. Four years later Stephen brought Nadia home for a surprise engagement at a bush lodge in the Pilanesberg. “It was magical and everything I had ever dreamed of. I was instantly bitten by the Africa bug.”
The couple returned to England and got married in Poland in 2013. “We lived our lives in the moment – both climbing corporate ladders, going on nice holidays and buying expensive cars,” says Nadia. “But we were not happy and couldn’t fill that void in our hearts.”
On a game drive in Nambiti Game Reserve, while on holiday in KZN, Nadia had an epiphany. “The wilderness, the bush, the animals, the people and the diversity… the crazy melting pot of South Africa is where we belong.”
Knowing that finding jobs would be difficult, they had always been passionate about people and travel – so heading into this field seemed logical. The process of moving took four years. They bought a farm in December 2018 without even having seen it, but knew it was meant to be.
This farm – which started off as a post office and cattle thief jail before being the home of the Barnes family for a few decades – was sold to architect Gerhard le Roux in 2007, who developed it into a stunning guest lodge and nature reserve. “Finally it became a dream come true and a home for Stephen and I,” says Nadia. “I have a farm in Africa, at the foothills of Mount Erskin in the Kamberg Valley, and I couldn’t be happier.”
“Running a lodge means waking up at 5.30am every single day and going to bed late. It means problem-solving in the background while keeping a smile on your face. But it also means beautiful sunrises, watching wildlife through your bedroom window and reconnecting with nature,” says Nadia. “I have about 15 pairs of high heels in my wardrobe that I haven’t worn since April last year – when we moved here. And I have one pair of flip flops left because the dogs have chewed up the rest. But who cares. I have the biggest smile on my face.”
Qambathi – the Zulu word for Silver Sugarbush Protea, which grows on the farm – is a place of relaxation and romance, where you can have a digital detox and truly reconnect with yourself and your other half. “We pride ourselves in doing our absolute best to get to know our guests and providing small personal touches. We are also very eco-conscious and slowly on our way to get off the grid and reduce our carbon footprint,” says Nadia – adding that they want to live a sustainable simple life. “We want to give people a holiday to remember or a dream wedding, we want to create jobs for the locals and a safe home for wild animals,” she says. “Someone once said that when you love what you do you never work a day in your life. This is how we feel at the moment.”
There are plenty of activities to enjoy, both on the farm and nearby. And the delicious, never-ending treats by amazing chef Fungai are something to write home about. “We want our food to provide a treat for your tastebuds, nourishment for your body and a feast for the eyes. Dining is a culinary journey here, a journey that reflects and celebrates local flavours,” says Nadia.
Exciting Qambathi additions this year include horse riding, a spa overlooking the mountains and streams – using 100% natural products, as well as wood-fired hot tubs. What more can you ask for, on a romantic weekend escape without the kids?
FOR MORE INFO
082 774 8164 or 066 002 4852; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.qambathi.com