Domestic travel in South Africa has been possible since late August and we used the opportunity to visit a few safari lodges in the Hoedspruit area of the greater Kruger National Park. It was also an ideal opportunity to see how COVID19 protocols have been implemented at safari lodges and the effect it has on the safari experience.

Although we’re not elaborating on COVID19 protocols in the individual lodge site reports, I’d like to give a summary on the topic. All properties followed the protocols in a manner that ensured the least disruption of the experience. We’re all used to adjusting to COVID19 protocols in our everyday lives and it was no different while travelling. Protocols should be seen in light of enhancing people’s safety from contracting the COVID19 virus but also to facilitate the re-opening of the tourism economy and saving the lives and livelihoods of so many people involved in the tourism industry. Luckily the safari experience also lends itself to social distancing, outdoor living and fresh air – which makes the protocols unobtrusive and easy to implement while having minimal impact on the enjoyment and operation of a safari experience.

South Africa and the safari side particularly is ready for travel in the COVID19 era.

Many of you would have seen (and enjoyed) our social media postings on Facebook and Instagram during our road trip to the various lodges, but we are using this opportunity to provide in-depth feedback for your reference.

For those who are not following Royal African Discoveries on Facebook or Instagram (or even via our website), please make use of the opportunity to follow us and get instant updates on how the tourism economy in South Africa is opening again while receiving the latest feedback on products we’ve visited. We intend to make a few more trips while we wait for the international borders to re-open – so keep an eye out for our postings. Herewith some detail on the properties we visited in our latest road trip.

We look forward to bring you updates from our next road trip re-discovering the art and joy of travel.

Kind regards,

Johan Groenewald

Kapama Karula

Kapama Karula, the flagship property on the Kapama Game Reserve is sleek, stylish and simplistically elegant. Each villa is a calm haven decorated in hues of white, greys, light woods and brushed metal. The voluminous space is well proportioned and designed with a wall of glassed doors allowing for a seamless flow onto the large outdoor deck that includes an equally large plunge pool.

The family villas includes a smaller but still spacious 2nd bedroom with it’s own bathroom. Direct access between the 2 bedrooms can be restricted and entry to the 2nd bedroom diverted to a separate outside entrance – thus making it suitable for e.g. a personal assistant or extended family scenarios.

The public areas comprising a bar/lounge, a dining room and a library/lounge are spacious and similarly designed to the rooms.

A top quality property for those with a taste for understated elegance with a modern touch.

We also conducted site visits to the sister properties on the Kapama Reserve – Kapama River Lodge, Kapama Southern Camp and Kapama Buffalo Camp. Reviews and our comments are available for those interested.

The Last Word Kitara

The latest addition to the Last Word collection is a perfect safari fit to the collection. Small and intimate, decorated in a balanced blend of contemporary style while retaining the classical character of the original lodge.

Tones of green in aloe, lime and fern add perfect splashes of a colour to lift the mood and compliment an oasis of green lawns and riverine foliage in the stark Klaserie bushveld.

The personalised service from the small team enhances the welcoming and homely yet discerning ambiance. Hearty and wholesome fare served in stylish and delectable form rounds of the experience.

The lodge is located in the most northerly parts of the Klaserie Game Reserve which makes it one of the more remote and secluded lodges. We would thus recommend it for repeat visitors or twinning it with another property or for longer relaxed stays. The knowledgeable and enthusiastic game rangers will however still ensure a safari experience to remember. This delightful little gem will ensure that visitors would want to return for repeat visits.

Rockfig Safari Lodge

Located in the Timbavati Game Reserve, the property is easily accessible from the Hoedspruit area – it should take no more than 30 minutes from HDS airport to the lodge.

The small intimate property oozes style and hospitality with lounge, dining, show kitchen and outdoor spaces flowing seamlessly into each other. Although it is a newer lodge and the style contemporary it is timeless in character & design and anybody will feel comfortable regardless of personal taste.

Wholesome, delicious food not only appeals to the taste buds but make your eyes feast from the moment food is placed in front of you. And the chefs are master bakers – pastries and breads during meals, oats cookies, ginger biscuits, choc-chip cookies and rusks at any other time will have you lick your lips constantly.

Although the lodge only has 6 rooms it is family-friendly and can easily accommodate young children on extra beds in the same room as parents. Enough safari vehicles ensure that families and other guests all get a personalised safari experience tailored to their needs. Rockfig Safari Lodge is one of those properties you can sell with confidence knowing that your clients will have an enjoyable stay – a “safe” choice but one that will exceed expectations.

The Farmstead at Royal Malewane

How do you take the concept of a farmhouse, place it in the middle of the safari bush and make it a cutting edge fashion statement? They most certainly know how to do that at Royal Malewane!

The Farmstead satellite camp at Royal Malewane is a tour de force of attention to detail, extraordinary design vision, incredible artistic talent with just a dash of frivolous spontaneity and a sprinkling of madness. And then a healthy dose of bold colour. Magic is probably the word I am looking for… The farmhouse style would rarely if ever be described as such again – magic doesn’t happen every day.

Although unique, you can immediately see the Farmstead is the bushveld brother to The Silo, its award winning city-slicker sister in Cape Town and part of the Royal Portfolio family. Anybody familiar with the Royal Portfolio will know the Liz Biden style might not be to everyone’s personal taste but it will surely be appreciated and admired by all.

As a first impression, the Farmstead is undoubtedly a style & design statement but it is the hospitality & service that leaves a lasting impression. Unpretentious, warm-hearted, intuitive, naturally relaxed yet impeccable and invariably exceeding expectations. And that is what will ensure it stays in the top tier of South African safari lodges – a fiercely competitive and constantly innovating segment!

From a culinary point of view they’ve managed to combine both the design and hospitality aspects I’ve mentioned – a trendsetting feast of colours and tastes yet wholesome and mouth-wateringly delicious while paying homage to its farm-fresh roots.

For those who wonder about the safari experience – you just have to follow our social media posting to know it definitely makes the grade. Slight understatement!

Besides the Farmstead (and its exclusive use family unit, the Farmhouse @ the Farmstead) we also had a look at Africa House (the original exclusive use 6-bedroom villa at Royal Malewane). We’re happy to give updates on request on Africa House and Farmhouse – I think I have used enough superlatives for today!