HIKE, BIKE AND PURSUE FITNESS AT NOKO RESORT
Jerry Ramodike was born in Lenyenye near Tzaneen where his father hails from and later moved to live with his grandparents in Motlhatsweng village at Ga-Mamabolo not too far from Noko Resort. Going from Wits University studies to distributing pamphlets at taxi ranks to junior sales-rep, Jerry moved into the position of Account Manager in a Marketing company within three years. He then joined SABC Sales division before moving on to the first commercial radio station in Limpopo – Capricorn FM as a Sales and Marketing Manager. This gave him the necessary experience to start his own Advertising agency, which he has been managing for the past 13 years. Since 2014, he has nurtured a vision of starting a resort, and in December 2020, he did just that.
Noko Resort was inspired by Sun City, which Jerry describes as ‘one of our biggest tourist destinations built around breath-taking views of raw African nature and mountains with lots of activities and scalable hospitality offerings.’ Jerry drew from this kind of tourism offering to suit his Limpopo surroundings, starting with a small café, a 5 km hiking trail and three quad bikes. These humble beginnings have developed into an adventure and lifestyle resort with options for ‘different clientele with some choosing for outdoor activities and fun in the sun before heading home. Others will come through for lunch or sunset drinks and just chill, enjoying the surroundings, an awesome vibe and some great music.’
Jerry recalls, ‘during the days of Lockdown, my wife and I went on the Hennops Hiking Trail at Hartbeespoort Dam. At that point, due to Covid restrictions, one of the few activities permitted was hiking. I strongly believe that this is the moment when a lot of black people in our country developed an interest in hiking. There we were on top of the mountain when a thought came to my mind. I turned to my wife and said, ‘let’s start a hiking trail’. Noko currently has a 5km, 7km and a more challenging 12km trail which takes hikers up two elevations of the surrounding mountains. They also offer outdoor fitness days, paint-ball, mountain-biking and quad-biking as ‘an exciting and thrilling adventure that you won’t normally get in black communities’ according to Jerry. The route takes you around the bush and up a stretch of the Makgeng Mountain for some scenic bush views.
But great activities are nothing without excellent staff. Jerry explains that ‘at Noko, we preach quality service to our staff members daily - those two words are the first and key principles of our business. It was important to us to create employment in and around our operational area, so we empowered our local communities with hospitality training to be able to source staff members from the areas around Makgeng, Mamabolo and Mankweng.’ There is excellent service at the café, which offers tantalising treats from short ribs, chicken wings and burgers to a shared meat platter, washed down with your choice of fine wines, gin, whiskey, cognac or bubbles from the bar.
Noko Resort has a number of adventure, sporting, wellness and therapy events planned for the year, as well as some music entertainment including Soul Ka Plata – a night of Soul and R&B music with the best DJ’s in the genre by Tbose Mokwele from KAYA FM. There will also be a signature event hosted by the legendary house-DJ, Ganyani as well as the launch of a Bush Heritage Market. To celebrate Mathata’s birthday, there will also be a line-up of House-music DJ’s rarely seen before in the Limpopo Province. Jerry is not one to stop dreaming and wants to keep growing the business by introducing new adventures so that Noko Resort can one day offer a complete package for visitors with excellent accommodation along with the lifestyle activities on offer. He says, ‘we have not yet even scratched the surface of what our intentions are - ultimately Noko Resort is destined to be one of the key attractions in Limpopo offering a unique hospitality experience.’ Watch this space.
Noko Resort is located 44 kilometres from Polokwane and 14 kilometres out of Haenertsburg on the R71 to Tzaneen and is open Friday to Sunday from 7am to 10pm. You can connect with them on 066 380 5207 / firstname.lastname@example.org