The Experience

Falling in love with Magic Hills
The Magic Hills

EXPERIENCES FOR THE SENSES AND MORE

No one-day at Magic Hills is the same: from the ever-changing colours of the landscape to the unexpected wildlife encounters and the daily variation in culinary options. Added to this is the variety of activities on offer to fully immerse guests in the Magic Hills experience. While your time at the reserve should be relaxed and unhurried, those who like to explore and discover are catered for too.
“The whole is in the parts and the parts are in the whole”
This idea of holism is the guiding philosophy driving The Magic Hills Private Collection. Our guests are treated to the highest levels of service in the most beautiful of surroundings, but our philosophy is one in which our environment is in the service and the service we provide is in the environment. None can exist without the other. The Magic Hills experience is one where our guests are part of the magic while their journey aligns with ours and when our paths diverge a small bit of the magic stays with them making it so that they are always part of our whole and we of theirs.
Experience the wild

Daily Game Drives

With two set game drives daily – one early morning and one late afternoon – guests have the opportunity to get up close to some of nature’s rarest animals, as well as experience epic sunrises and sunsets. Chilly morning drives are made cozier with luxe blankets, piping flasks of coffee and a few rusks too. Sunset drives are brisker and invigorating, ending with a bush-side sundowner stop, where your tipple of choice and a selection of snacks will help you unwind and take in the beauty of the land.
 
Join the herd

Guided Walking Safaris

Let our experienced guides take you on an unforgettable journey through the great outdoors on foot. It’s often the things that may seem insignificant that have the most interesting story – from footprints leading to unchartered territory to unique trees with incredible medicinal properties and tiny insects that have a big impact. Learn the intricate details about the land and its history while enjoying a brisk walk through nature.
 
Under the heavens

Sky Lab Stargazing

The heavens of the Great Karoo are known for their spectacular stars. Thanks to mostly clear skies and no intrusion of city lights, this location offers some of the best starry nights in the country. Which is the reason that Sky Lodge will soon introduce its astronomy hollow. Sky Lab will be a space that will protect from the elements and comfortably ensconce guests within, allowing them to lie back and marvel at the wonder of the night sky, no matter the weather.
Lavish relaxation

Sky Spa & Wellness

The Sky Spa offers indulgent massages and a unique selection of additional pampering treatments, while the jacuzzi is open 24/7, with uninterrupted views over the savannah. Additional holistic treatments and wellness packages can be specifically created for guests, using the landscape and its medicinal plants as inspiration to relax, rejuvenate and heal from the stresses of daily life.

THERE'S MORE MAGIC TO EXPLORE

A SENSE OF SIGHT

Daily Safari Magic

It comes as no surprise that the central activity of every safari adventure has to be the safari drives and walks. On a normal day your guide will meet you at sunrise every morning with warm drinks and rusks at your lodge before departing on your morning game drive or walk. The experience will last for about three hours before returning to your lodge for a mid-day rest and relaxation. In the evening you’ll depart again with your guide to be out in the African bush in time to bid farewell to another perfect day. Your safari experience is completely customisable to your needs with private vehicles and a personal guide available on request.
Our guides are passionate beyond the norm with each guide a believer in the Magic Hills philosophy and goals so however you choose to safari you will find that at Magic Hills you will always have way more than just a ‘game drive’.

Walk the Walk to Talk the Talk

Being on foot in a big game area is always special and our expert walking guides will introduce you to some of the smaller things that you may miss from the back of a game viewing vehicle. On a game walk you will learn about spoor and dung… that’s right you’re going to talk about poop… as well as insects, trees and the medicinal uses of plants. At Magic Hills we respect that not everyone is comfortable with the risk that comes with the possibility of encountering dangerous game on foot and so have set aside an area of 1500 hectares in which there are no large or dangerous game animals but you’ll still find all the other species as well as vistas and wide sandy rivers.

THE TRAIL OF THE CHUBBY UNICORN

Let our experienced, qualified guides walk you in the footsteps of rhinos. This experience can take place on request or ad hoc while on a safari drive or from the lodge depending on where rhinos are moving during the day. You and your guide will start at a water point where animals have drunk the previous night or that morning and look for fresh rhino spoor. Once you find spoor you’ll set off on “The Trail of the Chubby Unicorn” learning about these animals, their ecology and biology as well the threats they face as a result of poaching, misunderstanding and greed. Led by your guide you will follow the spoor that you found together until you get a sighting of the rhino. After some time with the rhino your guide will lead you back to your vehicle or lodge.
*For safety’s sake we only track white rhino on foot with guests*

SKY SAFARI

Join us under the thick black blanket that is the Karoo night where your guide will take you on a journey of the skies using our state of the art telescope and purpose-built observatory. The dark night skies over Magic Hills are ideal for launching your flight into our solar system, and even further, without ever leaving the comfort of a blanket around your shoulders and a hot Irish Coffee in your mug made the same way it was first concocted in 1943 with Irish Whiskey, pouring cream and a hint of adventure.

Disappearing Spots

Did you know that the cheetah is an endangered species and that there are less cheetahs left on earth than rhinos? Magic Hills has aligned with the National Cheetah Meta-Population Strategy under the Endangered Wildlife Trust to actively promote cheetah conservation awareness. Our cheetahs are monitored as frequently as possible and you’ll join one of our conservation officers or rangers to learn how we use radio telemetry receivers to track cheetahs at Magic Hills. Once a signal is found for one of the cheetah radio collars you will proceed either by vehicle or by walking to find the collared cat. Once found some time will spent in close proximity on foot observing the cheetah in their natural environment. For the purposes of monitoring our cheetahs are all habituated to people so while you are observing them they ignore you and act normally occasionally even moving towards the observers.

A SENSE OF TASTE

The Juniper Journey

Once thought to be a prophylactic for the prevention and treatment of malaria, gin has come a long way from the simple London dry gins of a few years back. Infused with botanicals and fruits, drunk neat, over ice or in a cocktail, modern gin tastings at Magic Hills make for as interesting a summer night as any wine tasting exercise or cocktail evening. Gin and Coke anyone? How about a Sloe Gin Fizz featuring egg whites as an ingredient?.

Grapes and So Much More

If you’re a wine drinker then a mainstay of any decent Safari has to be an evening spent with our resident wine lover as you go the A-V, from aroma to vegetal, through the world of wine. Remember to let us know if there are any wines you want us to have ready and waiting for your stay with us.

One of the very nicest things about life

…is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. Those words from legendary operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti certainly ring true through the Magic Hills food philosophy. Our Executive Chef will take you on a fresh flavour adventure while also bubbling up happy memories by making the familiar dishes that make up your food memories. Specialities include game meat dishes harvested locally and enhanced with foraged spices typical of the Magic Hills floral diversity, ranging from the citrus of the Spekboom and spicy wild mint to the aromatic blue sage.

A SENSE OF SOUND

Smoke on the water
When the Lootskloof River is flowing our guests can join us at our bush braai site for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Located on a bend in the river under the watchful cliffs of Dassiekraans we will host you for a meal cooked on the open fire of our bush braai. In the skilled hands of our Executive Chef a braai fire can be used just as effectively as any oven or stove producing every kind of meal from steaks to seafood to soups. If you’re feeling adventurous you are most welcome to jump into the cooling waters of the Lootskloof and sip on a refreshing beverage while your food is prepared.

A SENSE OF TOUCH

Restoration and Rejuvenation

Whether at Sky, Ilanga, Elsa or iSanti we invite you to take advantage of the availability of our resident spa therapists and Reiki Master. Select from our wide selection of traditional and modern holistic massage experiences or engage in a one on one Reiki session tailor-made to your needs which we guarantee will leave you feeling relaxed and grounded.

A SENSE OF EXCITEMENT

Bows With Breakfast and Clays Over Lunch

If thrills while challenging your own strength and hand-eye coordination sound like something for you then we can offer you the excitement of “Bows with Breakfast” or “Clays over Lunch”. Which ever you choose you will head out with your guide to a safe and remote area of the reserve where our expert marksman instructors will meet you for a safety briefing before engaging in some target archery or clay pigeon shooting. Snacks and refreshing drinks will be available already set up for your indulgence while a full breakfast or lunch, depending on the time of day, will be prepared to be indulged in once your “Bang Woosh” experience is complete.

The Difference You Made Today – THE SPEKBOOM PLANT FOR GUESTS

Visit the Magic Hills Private Collection and literally help save.
For every guest who visits us at least two indigenous trees are planted as part of our thicket restoration program. One of the trees will be of the miraculous Spekboom species while, depending on where the trees are planted in our restoration landscape, the other may also be a Spekboom or perhaps a Spike Thorn tree or even an indigenous succulent such as the Paper-Rose Cactus, whichever it is you can rest easy knowing that you have made a difference today.

A SENSE OF ADVENTURE

First Nation Gallery Visit

We at Magic Hills are all very excited about the discovery of previously unknown rock art sites on the Reserve. An investigation is currently underway into the history and significance of the sites while respecting the rights of the national cultural estate and the KhoiKhoi people. Unfortunately the San and Khoi cultures are slowly eroding, being lost to the twin corrosives of both the instant gratification that modern technology brings and the boredom of extreme rural living. To help in ensuring the long term sustainability of the culture we are in the process of developing an alignment with the Ju/’hoansi Master Trackers of the Nyae Nyae community to provide an experience like no other. As you depart from the lodge for your morning game drive or walk you will be joined by a Ju/’hoansi Master Tracker who will take you on a spiritual journey of interpretation. You’ll learn, through his interpretation of tracks and sign left by the animals and birds of Magic Hills, who has been walking around at night and what they’ve been doing. Why did that jackal stop right there? How did that springbuck know she was being followed by that cheetah? Your journey will culminate at our rock art site for a guided tour of the paintings interpreted by none other than descendants of the hand that put them there eons before.

Magic Hills Pioneers

This experience will be limited to the first 16 full paying parties only! In the spirit of Erik and Alexandra’s (the owners) pioneering spirit we are offering the chance for the first 16 full paying parties to leave a special mark on a special place somewhere on Magic Hills. You will travel with your guide to a secret place on the Magic Hills Private Game Reserve where a small plaque with your name and date of visit will be placed as a token of gratitude for your support of our dream. This secret place will remain off limits to future guests and only the pioneers or their delegates will be allowed to visit their plaques on return visits. Why 16 you ask? 16 is a prevalent number for us at Magic Hills. It marks the date the final farm was officially bought and subsequently also the date of Erik and Alexandra’s wedding anniversary. It has therefore become a date symbolizing love, union and adventure in the Magic Hills family.

A SENSE OF WONDER

Magic is not something restricted to the old or the young and so in recognizing that our younger safari adventurers visiting us at Magic Hills are just as important as Mom and Dad we have developed special programs to keep Cubs and Pups under the age of 12 years entertained.

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be A Ranger

Special educational drives and walks can be arranged for the Cubs while the “big cats” are resting during the day at the lodge. Taken in our non-big game area, and with the presence of a trained minder as well as one of our professional guides, these drives and walks are designed to accommodate easily distracted minds and fidgety little hands while ensuring maximum safety and fun..

All The Flavours of The Rainbow

Our junior and trainee chefs need their practice and what better way than by introducing our younger lodge guests to the joy of cooking. From clever sandwiches and sliders to fun sized cakes of every colour washed down with a nice healthy Spekboom smoothie who knows what surprises might come out of a kitchen inspired by the unfenced imagination of a child’s mind.

Sharing Is Caring

The Magic Hills story is one of revival, of second chances. Like so many of the small villages scattered across rural South Africa the small town of Jansenville near Magic Hills is plagued by social ills including poverty, alcoholism, hunger and contact crime. At Magic Hills we believe that no one’s story is over until they decide it is and to that end we are in the process of aligning ourselves with the renowned NGO “Pack for a Purpose” to help supply the schools in our area with basic educational materials as well as supplies to initiate and maintain higher need projects focused around social education. We believe that this will help the next generation of learners to break the cycle of tragedy in which they find themselves. A list of required items can be requested prior to travel.
What do you need to know?

Have Your Questions Answered

Want to plan your trip to the picturesque landscape of Magic Hills but have some questions? If you are wondering about what to pack, climate and more, please feel free to visit our frequently asked questions for more information.

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