A sign of the warm Eastern Cape hospitality awaiting us is already evident on arrival at East London Airport, when Solomon Motau greets us, smiling broadly. Although our destination, Miarestate – a five-star boutique hotel and spa – is a short 65km drive away, Solomon escorts us to a helicopter, from which we can see the incredible coastline and the full extent of the property.
Situated in a reserve, the greenness of the bush, lush valleys and hills are accentuated by the grey-blue ocean and long stretches of white beach.
Owner Nonkqubela Mazwai has a long and solid track record in mining and investment. CEO and founder of Motjoli Resources, she spends a lot of her time in Johannesburg, but it’s here in the Eastern Cape, her place of birth, that she’s most content.
Having bought the 740ha property in 2005, a personal trauma in 2011 saw her escape to it for a sabbatical. “It was during that time that I decided to develop the original three-bedroomed farmhouse. The development was never intended as a commercial venture – my plan was to host family and friends.” However, as her passion for the project grew, so did the plans.
The property now offers nine guest rooms, including two executive rooms with private plunge pools, conferencing facilities for small groups, a spa, a fitness instructor and fine dining complemented by a range of South African wines, all selected by Mazwai.
While this is the perfect spot for reflection and relaxation, the activities are highly recommended. Daily game drives will expose you to giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, a variety of antelope and incredible birdlife due to the coastal and valley forest, plus grasslands.
Take a horse-ride along the coast and you may spot whales and dolphins. The beach is a short drive away, while hiking and mountain-biking (including a 35km trail for advanced riders) are safe, as there are no dangerous predators.
A mother herself, Mazwai’s ensured there’s a range of fun and educational activities for kids too.
“From a personal development perspective, this is the biggest investment I’ve ever made,” she says. It shows. Her love for the property and what it stands for is tangible. This is one special getaway.
This article first appeared in the September print issue of Sawubona magazine. Download for free here.