Officially we called it a business trip, a brain-storming weekend, and the Mamba team quickly put rainy overcast Jo’burg behind us late Friday afternoon. We were on our way to Kiasoma Retreat and Bush Spa – a sanctuary of peace and quiet in natural bush; an excess of luxurious touches, and pampering… lots of it!

Kiasoma is an accessible, affordable, treaty getaway tucked away in one of the most beautiful areas in Gauteng. Cullinan (discovery-place of the world’s largest ever diamond) is just 35 minutes north of Pretoria and only an hour and half from Johannesburg, although you’ll feel much further away from it all. The heavy rains had ensured our isolation and the clever owners had ensured no interruptions on this retreat; they’ve chosen not to install a cellphone tower on the property.

Both Darlene and Janet (pronounced Ya-net) the lesbian couple that own and operate the lodge, as well as their professional team are warm, accommodating, knowledgeable and – most importantly – non-intrusive. It felt like one of those experiences where the thought of food, or whatever your desire, would result in it simply materialising out of nowhere. Food is what I think about a lot.

We were taken on a quick tour of what Kiasoma can offer frazzled guests and were immediately shown the pigpen. Okay not just a pigpen, there was a goat and a besotted sheep that lovingly tailed a fat pink pig. The animals, thank goodness, were not for consumption but the natural herb and vegetable garden most definitely was and we were treated continuously to fresh, deliciously tasty mom-made meals, only better!

Guests can choose to be served at the pool or inside their cottages. A short walk via the gardens we found two open-air brick enclosures shaded by huge trees. The first housed a massage bed and Jacuzzi (big enough for three or four), with spaces for candles inside the walls. The other opened out into a massage room with a fireplace and also contained wall cut-outs for candles.

A little way on led us to The Stables where there were three more treatment rooms. The girls had decided to let donkey one and two roam around the property instead of locking them up and the old stables had been transformed to welcome guests with a number of therapies.

Visitors can choose to take massages, reiki sessions, scrubs, angel or crystal healings and manicures, pedicures and facials here – all of them performed with a back-drop of nature in all its glory. I couldn’t wait to be naked, oiled- or creamed-up (your preference) and feeling skilled hands giving my body some much-needed relief!

The Stables also house four luxury double en-suite rooms or visitors can choose to shack-up in one of two self-contained and comfortable cottages, or even at a little camping style Teepee village.

The rooms are a reflection of Darlene and Janet’s African travels with Moroccan relics, brass lanterns and lots of well-placed candles to set the mood. The only reasons to ever leave the decadent comfort of your double bed and heavenly pillows would be to take a breather, get a treatment, cool down in the pool, eat, or enjoy a leisurely walk in the great outdoors – a highly recommended activity that truly rounds off the Kiasoma experience.

Not even ten minutes from the main camp, nestled inside the mountains and hidden amongst rock we came across the waterfall. Spectacular and spiritual, we did what I’m sure most people do when they come across it – climb down to the rock-pool and touch its spout.

I could’ve lulled there all afternoon if it hadn’t been for that small rock I saw walking from the corner of my eye. Rock crabs are just one of the many animals living here.

Sightseers should also look out for their neighbours – buck, baboon, monkey, mongoose, hare, porcupine, bush pig, jackal, brown hyena, caracal, leopard and any of the more than 350 bird species that call De Tweedespruit Conservancy their home.

Without a doubt, a visit to Kiasoma is not only addictive (this was my second visit and I’m planning a third) but also a necessity. And I’m not the only fan, Kiasoma was a finalist in the Unique Spa Concept category of the Les Nouvelles Esthetiques 2007 Spa Awards.

None of my many other spa or weekend getaway experiences compares to the holistic experience at Kiasoma. You choose your pace; even breakfast begins at a very leisurely nine-thirty in the morning. No matter how long your stay, there will never be enough down-time to indulge in all the decadent offerings from the bush spa retreat.

Kiasoma is close enough to leave on Fridays after work but far enough to forget the troubles of your world. The drive itself puts you in the mood for what lies ahead, winding through country roads, farmlands and little towns with historical and cultural significance.

Once you meet Darlene or Janet, who make it their responsibility to greet all guests personally, you’ll soon see why so many return. Best of all for anyone thinking they can’t afford a decadent weekend away, is that all this luxurious treatment is available without the luxury prices!


The girls at Kiasoma are thinking of hosting a gay-only weekend in July/August (with a 10% discount for Mambaonline visitors) and are doing a feasibility study to see how many of you would be interested. If you’d like to find out more, contact Darlene or Janet on 012-734 2650.

To find out more about treatments, packages and prices, visit

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