From the Big 5 to luxury river lodges, delicious meals to African sunsets , no one can deny that the
African bush is easy to get obsessed with. I say this because I know I did.
Makalali Private Game reserve must be one of South Africa’s best kept luxury lodge secrets. What
you see from the entrance does not prepare you for what’s tucked neatly inside.
This exclusive lodge provides luxury with exceptional service.
Makalali which means “ place of rest “ is set in a malaria area on 26 000 hectare conservancy in
the Hoedspruit region west of the Kruger National Park.Home to over 1000 wild animals including
Africa’s “ Big 5 “ one won’t be disappointed when out on a game drive in the morning and late
The child friendly property comprises of three camps with 6 luxury suites located on the Makhutswi
River as well as the main lodge with 30 rooms. Blending in effortlessly with the bush, the lodge
allows guests to continuously experience the natural beauty of their surroundings.
With a classic bush feel, the rooms exude a seemingly effortless elegance. The high peeked thatch
roof, the outdoor shower – my personal favourite and a deck with breathtaking views over the
sweeping bush below means a person couldn’t want for anything more. Full length glass windows
running parallel with the deck of each of the 6 luxury rooms, providing uninterrupted views, and a
strong, bold front door that opens widely, bringing the smell and sounds of the outdoors in.
The 6 luxury rooms are uniquely dressed in soothing textures and tones of white with a splash of
colour. With light streaming in through the large windows you can be forgiven for finding your king
size bed to be the most comfortable spot in the room. The well sized oval bath tub is not only a
great focal point but also blissful, lying in the steaming hot bath after having listened to an African
thunderstorm, the wet smells of the bush kept inside the room, enhancing the overall sense of
tranquility. Amenities in the room included a Nespresso coffee machine, mini bar, air con, hair
dryer, safe, bath robes and bug spray.
The day ends with dinner under the tapestry of stars sitting around a raging fire in a boma. This is
where you can enjoy the heart of Africa. The boma “ which originates from Swahili , is used to
describe an enclosure – usually where sheep and cattle were kept. Nowadays a boma signifies a
place where people come together to eat, chat, tell stories , sing and dance. Boma dinners at
Makalali are truly unique and enjoyed by all , the potjie pots bubbling with juicy meat which is
served on a hot bed of pap is one of the tasty options. With full stomachs and lots of giggles we
made our way up the path way guided by torch light back to our turned down beds.
Extraordinarily beautiful in its simplicity and textures, the lodges timeless design incorporates
wood, thatch , glass , water and sand enhancing and blending effortlessly with the surrounding
landscape. The open plan restaurant is spacious but cosy, opening out onto the deck and pool
where one can watch the animals in the river bed below. This would be the informal meeting hub of
the lodge where guests relax and chat.
The multitude of game includes lion, buffalo, elephant rhino, leopard, eland, kudu, springbuck,
brown hyena, jackal, cheetah, zebra, giraffes , impala, hippo, baboons and duiker. The best way to
see them is to take full advantage of both game drives offered each day.
Creating a unique and memorable experience for each guest, ensuring personal attention from the
knowledgeable guides on the game drives through the magnificent surrounds, sipping on
refreshing beverages at the pool, and a superb dinning experience, guests are sure to leave
feeling pampered , refreshed and eager to return.
The crown jewel of Southern Africa this unspoiled African bushveld made me realise why my roots
are deep in Africa. It’s an experience that connects you with the wild side and can only be fully
understood once you have breathed the African wilderness and witnessed the charismatic animals
up close , wandering freely in their homeland.
Makalali is an authentic slice of bush life that exudes calmness and depicts the pinnacle of 5 star
accommodation and food.
by Marion Kate