Lalela is a home, a farm and a space for retreat outside of Magaliesburg town. We offer self-catering accommodation for individuals and small groups, and a space for self-retreat, rest and play.

It was started by a couple (Maia and Niel) in 2017 as an act of love and dreaming. We wanted a space of rest and sanity in nature for ourselves and to share this with others. Since then, we have experienced magical collaborations in listening, healing and play as well as the joys and lessons of working in community. We have hosted visitors for individual stays as well as a number of retreats and workshops in meditation, yoga, dance, permaculture and writing as well as vision quests.

In the beginning of 2020, we started our ongoing project, Conversations with the Land, which is an invitation to artists (of all kinds), thinkers and healers to spend time at lalela and create work with the land.

Since the covid pandemic we have shifted away from regular group retreats to offering self-catering accommodation as we continue to explore ways to support our intention of listening to the land and sharing this with others.


About the land

Lalela is nestled within a 115 hectare conservancy in the Naauwpoort valley of the Magaliesberg. The natural quiet and abundant wildness of the valley, facilitates rest and rejuvenation. Our intention is to live and work on this land in a way that not only provides for the needs of the humans, animals and plants that share it with us, but to do so in a way that benefits all organisms in the larger environment.

We live amongst waterbuck, impala, kudu, nyala, bushbuck, zebra, warthog, porcupine, bushpig, blesbuck and baboon. Also keep an eye out for the vervet monkeys, the bush-babies that come out at dusk, jackals, the multitude of bird species, frogs, snakes, rabbits, bush squirrels, and all the myriads of beetles and insects everywhere.There are roughly 159 species of indigenous trees and shrubs in our area, most of which are represented on the conservancy. You might also meet Freddie and Luna, our two corgi children. They are (very) friendly and will try to make friends with you. Our koekoek chickens will usually introduce themselves.

The Hex River runs through the land and during good rains offers two rock pools that you can swim in, as well many spots to sit, listen and feel the flow. We have three signed walking trails for you to explore the ridge, forest and river with, though you are welcome to go off trail and wander.


olive orchard at lalela


About Maia and Niel


I grew up on a sheep-farm in the Southern Free State. Maybe that’s why I enjoy the quiet and the nature here so much. Before moving to lalela, I was a cellist, had a 4.5 year career in the South African diplomatic service, and practiced as a novice Buddhist monk for a year in the UK.

Then I got on a bicycle and toured South Africa, Namibia and Botswana for nine months. During and after this saddled period I lived and practised at various Buddhist retreat centres in SA.

I met Maia on the 30th of December 2015 at Dharmagiri and fell into a love that has only deepened over time. We moved to Lalela in January of 2017. I love living here, and I am grateful to everyone that has made this possible.


I grew up in Mayfair, Johannesburg and since I’ve moved to lalela, have been on a beautiful, unfolding and deepening journey of connecting with nature – inside and without.

I am a writer, healer and facilitator. I have worked with people in a variety of ways and contexts, in schools, NGOs, and on retreats, facilitating storytelling, self-expression, and listening to bring about connection within ourselves and within our environment. My aim is to create spaces of gentle holding and kindness where we can all just be ourselves.

As an initiated stick diviner in the West African Dagara tradition, I connect with ancestors and elemental guides to offer guidance and healing support. If you are interested to know more or book a session (in person or via zoom), you’re welcome to get in touch: