On day one, “you’re looking for lions and elephants.” On day two, “you’re looking for the leopards you haven’t seen.” But as you depart South Africa’s Molori Safari Lodge for your third sunrise game chase, you realize: “It’s not the animals,” says Zambia-born and South Africa-raised event designer and style icon Colin Cowie, whose stay at “the most luxurious destination on the African continent” allowed him to spy the Big Five and experience what anyone who’s planned even one wedding craves—utter relaxation.
“It’s a great place for a honeymoon,” Cowie says of Molori, first stop on a culinary tour he undertook as good will ambassador for South African Tourism. “You’re looking for a place where you can have exclusive time together, a place that’s romantic, that appeals to all of the senses, where you can cement your marriage,” he says, and share “the memory of a lifetime.”
It’s on the third day at Molori, which means “to dream,” that vacationers notice the shapes and colors of the clouds, he says. “There’s a vibration in the air that you don’t find anywhere else.” Something happens to you. “You are able to look at your life and put things in perspective. It is the most romantic spot on the planet because you get to be together in an environment that is both singular and humbling,” says Cowie.
Situated within the 75,000-hectare Madikwe Game Reserve, where thousands of animals are “kept one-hundred percent in their natural habitat,” Molori’s twenty-two staff members cater to just ten guests. “As you approach the lodge, the entire complement of African staff is there to sing a song of welcome,” Cowie says, adding: “The people are wonderful. They are so genuine. They cannot do enough to make you feel happy.”
Cowie’s spacious, “private and very secluded,” suite was “one of the best I have ever stayed in.” Guests enjoy private infinity pools, a state-of-the-art gym and spa. Game rides at 5:30 a.m.—an ideal time for jetlagged Americans—and 5 p.m. are admittedly exhilarating: “We saw gazillions of giraffes,” Cowie recalls. But it was the food—even the “lovely appetizers,” served mid-safari with champagne and martinis—that blew him away.
“The food was just too magical for words,” says Cowie. “Every time the table is set, it’s more gorgeous than the time before.” Executive Chef Willie Malherbe is “without a doubt the most talented chef in South Africa,” asserts Cowie, who enjoyed three unique dining experiences including an authentic South African barbecue featuring slow-cooked oxtail and spit-roasted lamb, served within a thorny boma.
After dinner, guests can observe the night sky through the country’s largest privately owned telescope. “The African sunset,” says Cowie, is “God’s greatest show on Earth.” As fiery pink, purple and crimson fade, “you see catrillions of stars.” “I always take a mental picture,” he says. In the midst of hectic business negotiations, “I can magically take myself right back to that moment.”
In Cowie’s suggestion to his travel companions, there’s a message couples in the blissful early days of marriage should heed: “Let’s bottle this moment, so we can dine on it another time.”
> Written by Kim Knox Beckius