It can’t be overstated: A stay at Royal Malewane will be one of the most wondrous stays you’ll experience. Twenty years ago, it was the private residence and friends-only lodge for Liz and Phil Biden, who had ties to African fashion house Jenni Button before becoming hoteliers. Now? It’s one of the most sought-after safari experiences in Greater Kruger National Park, and the winner of multiple top resort awards. Set among 30,000 private acres in the Thornybush Game Reserve, it was recently refurbished in 2018 and continues to out-do itself as one of the most opulent stays surrounded by unbelievable natural beauty and wildlife.
With only six luxury suites, two royal suites (where celebrities like Elton John have been known to stay), and a villa with six bedrooms (for bigger groups and families), the lodge is where you don’t really have to think about anything at all. Drinks and food are available at any time (the price you pay is all-inclusive), with personalized menus for mealtimes and an “adult watering hole” that features pretty much any liquor your heart desires. But, try not to imbibe too much — safari wake-ups are at 5 a.m. in order for you to be on the road with your guide and tracker by 5:30.
Royal Malewane is the only safari lodge that has a two-year apprenticeship program and the “Most Qualified Guiding Team in Africa,” meaning you are in expertly-trained hands that will not only keep you safe, but help you find incredible gems and get you closer to seeing the Big Five (and more) in record time. I saw the Big Five in the first two days. (Truly a feat!) There are also afternoon drives, as well. (I recommend doing both, but depending on how long your stay is, you can also relax and enjoy the resort or spa.)
And because of the exclusiveness of the resort, rest assured that your safari ride will be an intimate experience. If you book an extended stay, you can also work with the team to experience things outside the resort — including hot air balloon rides and local village excursions. Staying for only a couple of days? Lounge by your own private pool (yes, all rooms feature them), enjoy a coffee while watching hippos from the deck, or sip a cocktail by the fire pit before dinner. The team also makes sure you have a Bush Dinner before you’re on your way — complete with African dancing, drinks, and an extraordinary menu curated by Executive Chef Brandon Souris.
In short, your stay will be nothing short of magical. Mine certainly was.
Stays begin at $1,778 per person per night. To book visit TheRoyalPortfolio.com/RoyalMalewane.