This is a truly special safari experience. I can honestly say that it exceeded all expectations. It's not just the intimate atmosphere of a small, friendly lodge that allows the guests to bond by the outdoor fire at dusk as the first night's four-course dinner appears effortlessly and the next day's dawn drive is planned with Gavin and Verena. It's not just the anticipation of seeing the big five as Gavin's bush vehicle heads to the very front of the queue at the Kruger gate at dawn, and we sit hushed with cosy blankets on our knees, stuffed with Julia's muffins and tea, eager and a bit nervous. Will we see anything? Will we be safe? Within minutes, there's a female lion training her daughter, adolescent giraffes lanking and dipping by the vehicle, and -wow- a sumptuous leopard padding purposefully right across our path, inches from us. And it just goes on getting better, with elephants, rhino, kudu, impala, birds of all descriptions, cheeky warthogs.
Where is the special magic of the Royal Kruger experience? It's not just the utter quiet of the bush in the afternoon, with the daft 'go away' bird calling; or the gentle voice of Julia announcing the evening menu (always with a surprise pudding), or the evening drives by Crocodile River with G &T sundowners and unaffected kindness from the attentive and knowledgeable Verena, jokes and lightly-worn expertise from Gavin. It's a combination of everything. You want to have a guided bush walk on foot in the morning for a change? Gavin arranges it at the drop of a hat, at a time to suit us. We have the privilege of two and a half hours in Rick's company, seeing birds and plants up close, stumbling on a herd of zebras, tracking giraffe prints, gathering discarded feathers, laughing and relaxing at our own pace.
Why Marloth? We chose The Royal Kruger in Marloth Park for a three-night stay as the conservancy adjoins Kruger, making access pretty quick for dawn and night drives, while also allowing for safe rambles: the big predators are inside the park while Marloth is unique in its abundant wild life. Also, as we flew up to Nelspruit, then hired a car, we wanted fairly rapid journey times, and it took only about an hour from the airport, mostly easy roads. Our room was very comfortable, with a huge corner bath in the bathroom. Julia's cooking was delicious every night and her gentle hospitality added to the sense of welcome. Gavin arranged our game requests effortlessly and proved an excellent guide; Verena's friendly smiles light up the room. The special atmosphere comes from these two, I think. They made a dream stay for us and we are very grateful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Royal Kruger Lodge ensures guests relaxation, adventure and a oneness with nature. This 4-star, privately owned game lodge is renowned for its exceptional personal service and intimate atmosphere. Situated in the Mpumalanga Province in the Wild Frontier region, the Royal Kruger Lodge is just beyond the Crocodile River and borders the Kruger National Park. ... more less
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