– written by Bridget Gardiner
Part of the greater Kruger National Park area and located in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve, Royal Malewane lodge sits peacefully on a magical vantage point overlooking a watering hole that seems very popular with a local herd of elephants.
The ellies graced both our lunch experiences with many showing off as they enjoyed the cool mud and water. One elephant forced us to get up from the lunch table on the viewing deck as he came to see what was on our menu, whilst another decided that crystal clear pool water from our adjacent rim-flow room pool was a better choice than the muddy dam water!
There are six luxury suites and two royal villas, all decorated with the distinct style of owner, Liz Biden. My room was very comfortable with a dark wood, colonial feel. The plunge pool and outdoor shower provided a welcomed relief from the blazing African sun (not to mention great views of passing antelopes, birds and monkeys!). And, while out on game drives or at meals, the Royal Malewane housekeeping team did an excellent job of tending to the room.
Another accommodation option, Africa House, is slightly removed from the main lodge. This private-use safari house has six rooms, also beautifully decorated by owner Liz.
Ranger Piet and tracker Selby made for an awesome team, finding incredible wildlife sightings for us to capture in our minds and on memory sticks! It seemed to us that we were always one step ahead of the game and therefore got to see unforgettable moments such as a cheetah carrying one of five cubs in her mouth; black rhino munching on leaves in the thicket at dusk; and a leopard crunching the bones and flesh of a freshly caught impala.
Piet certainly has a love for nature. He protected and respected it at every given chance, whilst taking us exhilaratingly close to the big five!
The variety of delicious food at Royal Malewane was a treat! We loved the food experience and left having put on a few kilograms, I’m sure.
The spa facility looked amazing, but sadly there was no time to be pampered. It’s a huge facility that caters for a wide variety of treatments. The spa is the perfect way to enjoy downtime in the peaceful surrounds of the bush.
Easily accessible by road, Royal Malewane is definitely a top-end experience in Africa’s beautiful bush – a highly recommended, memorable safari that will connect you to the intricate ecosystems of Africa’s wilds.