Imagine waking up in the middle of an exotic paradise, surrounded by the majestic animals. Berkeley Bespoke was welcomed to Royal Malewane – a luxury safari lodge in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park that exudes the romance and beauty of a bygone age while offering every modern comfort. A truly magical experience meeting the Big Five, indulging in sensual treatments at their tranquil Waters of Royal Malewane Bush Spa and being surprised by the chefs at the nightly feasts under the African stars.
The Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa and one of the World’s biggest wildlife sanctuaries. It is located in the Mpumulanga Province and is about a 6-hour drive from Johannesburg. Approximately the same size as Israel or Wales, it covers some 19,485 square kilometres offering a rich diversity of ecosystems that support over 145 mammal species including the Big 5 and over 500 bird species. The untamed environment stirs deep emotions. We have experienced meaningful and life-changing encounters with wildlife – being 2 metres away from 15 sleeping Lions! Adrenalin pumping adventure!
Wake up before sunrise and experience the ‘Lowveld’ – one of the most spectacular and dramatic regions in South Africa. The ‘Panorama Route’ includes incredible geographic sites such as God’s Window, The Three Rondawels, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon and Mac Mac Falls. Pilgrim’s Rest offers a fascinating window into the past and captures the spirit of a bygone era and its people in their quest to discover gold. The ‘Big 5’ phrase was coined by hunters back in the day. It referred to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot and the degree of danger involved. The term is still used today but without the hunting connotations.
On most private safaris in Southern Africa, we have been guided on specialised Land Rovers by a ranger who drives the vehicle and by a tracker who sits on an especially precarious seat at the front of the bonnet. The tracker’s job is to find elusive wildlife and to notice and interpret nature’s subtle clues through acutely honed senses.
There is no bond stronger than the indelible and intuitive connection between a ranger and a tracker. Wild adventures, unique encounters and proud achievements punctuate their derring-do filled days. Followed by a cuisine that is complemented by a natural canvas to savour as much as the delicate flavours with the dining area overlooking the Malewane River where a variety of curious creatures great and small venture to slake their thirst. The Bush Tent at Royal Malewane provides a feast in the heart of the African wilderness. A truly remarkable and romantic experience with glowing lanterns casting a gentle light among the brightly burning braziers.
Introducing the Farmstead at Royal Malewane
A Brand New – Farmstead is a beautiful new lodge at Royal Malewane just a 12-minute drive south of the existing lodge. The land is elevated offering dramatic views over the canopies of the Greater Kruger National Park while the lodge itself surrounds a watering hole popular with the abundant wildlife. The Farmstead at Royal Malewane consists of the main lodge area, three Luxury Farm Suites, and The Farmhouse. The Luxury Farm Suites and The Farmhouse are either sides of a central lodge area where guests will be able to enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in the elegant and comfortable spaces. After dinner guests can relax around the fire pit on the vast deck and reflect on the day’s adventures. There is a double spa treatment room offering a variety of indulgent treatments as well as a gym.
Following last year’s refurbishment of the existing lodge at Royal Malewane, The Farmstead offers something unique in terms of luxury safari accommodation in stark contrast to the ultra-modern style in vogue. In the main lodge area, a vintage North African banking kiosk is repurposed as a serving hatch for the delicious cuisine of Executive Chef Brandon Souris.
The collection of contemporary African Art enhances The Royal Portfolio’s already extensive private collection with notable pieces by Kudzanai Chiurai and James Jana among other works from the AVA Gallery and Smith Studio. In keeping with the community involvement of The Farmstead, there are a number of pieces from Lalela.
There are three Luxury Farm Suites. Each has a spacious bedroom and an en-suite bathroom with a bath and a shower as well as an outdoor shower. There are large front and back verandahs as well as a beautiful deck and a private pool overlooking the bush where inquisitive wildlife might pay a little visit.
The Farmhouse is a three and a half bedroom private villa which is ideal for families or a group of friends. Similar to Africa House and the Royal Suites, The Farmhouse has its own private services including a chef, housekeeper and butler. Guests will have their own private safari vehicle with a dedicated Ranger and Tracker ensuring the ultimate in luxury. There are three main bedrooms as well as a smaller children’s room. There is a magnificent deck with a large swimming pool flowing out into the bush. The total area of The Farmhouse is 636 square metres (6845 square feet) including the vast verandahs and deck. Children of all ages are welcome in The Farmhouse.
The Farmstead is offered as four individual units but will be ideal for the exclusive use of up to 14 guests. Rates are all inclusive.
In keeping with The Royal Portfolio’s Purpose and Values, The Farmstead is part of a broader project to uplift local communities.
Support for the community and conservation of the environment are inextricably linked. The local community needs to realise the financial gains of tourism in order to see the value in protecting wildlife and the environment. The Farmstead land is leased from the local community. Not only will The Royal Portfolio employ and develop members of the community, but at the end of that long lease both the land and the asset will revert to the community with the option to continue working with The Royal Portfolio in perpetuity.