The lodge, which has played host to a bevy of Hollywood actors, pop stars, royals and presidents since first opening in 1999, is located in the Greater Kruger National Park and accommodates a maximum of 20 guests in only eight one- to six-bedroom villas in the utmost colonial splendour and privacy.
The refurbishment covered major structural work including new floors, doorways, walls, decking and thatching, as well as resurfacing of the swimming pools.
Liz Biden, owner of The Royal Portfolio, has added exquisite pieces of furniture and exotic new fabrics including a few vibrant flashes of colour to the lodge. The two Royal Suites have been enhanced with new gazebo entrances and the kosher kitchen is redone.
New addition: Masiya Bar
The highlight of the refurbishment is the opening of the Masiya Bar on the site of the old boma. This contemporary gin and whisky bush-bar is a tribute to the Master Trackers of Royal Malewane. Wilson Masiya was the first of three Master Trackers at Royal Malewane. He passed away in 2015 but his legacy lives on at the lodge through his contemporaries Jonas Mhula and Juan Pinto. The Masiya Bar is a new space for guests to relax around the fire and share the stories of the day. It also provides a new private dining option for guests.
“The refurbishment has given the entire lodge a lovely lift while retaining the classic safari style and relaxed atmosphere that our guests have enjoyed for nearly 20 years,” Biden said.
The safari experience
Royal Malewane provides Big Five game viewing opportunities and with a qualified guiding team, who will go off in search of the ultimate wildlife sightings and provide detailed insights into the complex and fascinating ecosystems of the South African bushveld. Between game drives, the award-winning Waters of Royal Malewane Bush Spa is an oasis renowned for its beautiful setting and the luxuriousness of its treatments, many of which make inspired use of indigenous ingredients.
In the evenings guests can enjoy nightly feasts under the African stars and a regular bush dinner under a marquee in the heart of the wilderness. This is a remarkable and romantic experience with glowing lanterns casting a gentle light among the brightly burning braziers.
Royal Malewane is easily accessible by road from Johannesburg in under six hours. For guests wishing to fly, South African Airways operates daily flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Hoedspruit Airport, from which it is an easy 45-minute road transfer. The lodge also has a private airstrip for those wishing to charter flights.