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Spoek2
Malibu, California

Luxurious Bush Safari up there with the best there is

Review of Royal Malewane
5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 31 Dec 2023via mobile
I’m an expat South African who has done a number of extended safaris in africa….this trip was to give my American family a taste of the bush…we stayed at the Farmhouse and have to say this was one of best bush experiences ever!

The attention to detail, the exemplary service, the outstanding accommodation, meals to die for, guides and trackers that were some of the most educated and engaging I’ve ever met

We had our 7 year old grandchild with us, who was crying when he left ….he wanted more

Special shoutout to guide Conrad, tracker Kevin and chef Zeile
Date of stay: December 2023
Trip type: Travelled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Siebert, Marketing at Royal Malewane, responded to this review
Responded 08 Jan 2024
Thank you for taking the time to write this beautiful review.

It is wonderful to read the details of your experience with us at Royal Malewane, and we are delighted to hear that what truly set your experience apart was our passionate and expert team.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back for another memorable experience in the not-too-distant future!

Laura (Marketing Team)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 27 December 2023 via mobile

This was one the BEST traveling experiences I have ever had. The lodge sits in Kruger National Park with wild animals just outside your deck. An elephant drank out of my deck pool while I was reading! Constant wildlife outside my room. It was surreal staring at it all for hours at a time. The food was exceptional. The staff SUPER accommodating; friendly, assertive. My guide/naturalist Juan is the smartest man I’ve ever met. So incredibly knowledgeable about ALL of nature. These safaris make you feel so small I saw all of the big 5. This is the place to stay!

Room tip: Be prepared to be blown away!!!
Date of stay: December 2023
Trip type: Travelled solo
1  Thank bertshowbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Siebert, Marketing at Royal Malewane, responded to this reviewResponded 8 January 2024

Thank you for this wonderful review.
It is lovely to read about the details of your experience at Royal Malewane!
We are delighted to hear that you had a memorable experience and we hope to welcome you back in the future.
Laura (Marketing Team)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 November 2023

We happened to be on a shuttle bus with head ranger Ryan Jack after our safari. Airport construction left us at the curb in the airport and I was there with my friend who has some health issues and Ryan got on the phone with our hotel and driver and waited with us until we were safe in the shuttle. If you have the means to enjoy Royal Malewane, you are in good hands with Ryan Jack! He took a busman's holiday to get us situated.

Date of stay: November 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank 882justeenw
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Siebert, Marketing at Royal Malewane, responded to this reviewResponded 14 December 2023

Thank you for this wonderful message, we are glad to hear that Ryan saved the day and we hope to see you at Royal Malewane one day!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2023

Royal Malewane is a true luxury bush experience. We stayed at the newest property, Waterside Lodge, and had a fantastic 3 night stay.

Arrival: We flew from Cape Town to Hoedspruit on a non-stop flight and were greeted at the small airport by our guide Matt. The airport is small but efficient and all the greeters are clustered by the baggage claim. We enjoyed a beautiful scenic drive to the camp and as we arrived to the entrance, received another warm welcome from the staff while we sipped a cocktail, got the logistics of the camp, and went over preferences.

Room: We had luxury suite #2, a spacious room, beautifully decorated and curated with incredible art. The design mixes African and colonial elements with contemporary luxury and adds a healthy splash of color. We had a fireplace, sitting area, dressing room, indoor and outdoor shower, plunge pool and patio. Between game drives we loved the various areas of the room we could leverage to read a book, enjoy a coffee or catch up on a couple emails. The room featured a well stocked mini bar that is all included with your stay.

Game Drives: You will meet your guide and tracker on your first day and they will be with you for the duration of your stay. They will customize the drives to ensure you are spending the time tracking the animals and experiences you are seeking. Luxury lodges obviously provide 5 star hospitality, but they also differentiate themselves with the quality, experience and knowledge of their guides and trackers. The learning and knowledge that you absorb through asking questions and getting to know the bush is part of the experience - be sure to soak it up! We had Matt and Stanley and gave them free reign to do what they do best - we saw everything - the Big Five plus so much more. We saw two leopard kills and lots of babies, very unique and special moments to see in the bush. Matt and Stanley were truly experts - you cannot believe how they pick up on sounds/calls and tracks to find the animals in the vastness of the park.

Food: The lodge's chef, Chippy, came to greet us on arrival and asked about preferences and allergies/restrictions. From that meeting, we received personalized menus at each meal. You can order off the menu or whatever you want off menu. The food is wonderful - the perfect balance of fine dining and local flair - exactly the type of food you want in the bush. We love local South African food and made a point to try the local meats and flavors that Chippy incorporated into the menu. Breakfast was always a number of beautifully plated pastries, charcuterie and fruits - all before ordering a la carte - you will be incredibly well fed with the quality is top notch. The staff picks up on your preferences and even starts to make recommendations based on what you ordered and enjoyed previously - truly impressive and personalized service.

Spa/Gym: The lodge has a small but well equipped gym that is perfect for a mid day workout. We used it twice and were the only people there. We also visited the spa and had massages two of the afternoons. Again, the spa is small, but perfect for the intimate boutique feel of the lodge. Debra gave a phenomenal head and scalp massage and I definitely felt the early morning wake up and dozed off towards the end.

Service: This is where Royal Malewane shines - the service is BEYOND five star. Everything was personalized and nothing was too much trouble. From housekeeping to the bar to the servers - everyone knew our name, our preferences and was there to make our stay special. The attention to detail is truly special and made our stay. When we come back - it will be because of the service.

Wow experiences: As if the game drives are not enough - there is an evening where the lodge puts on a beautiful outdoor dining experience in the bush. You cannot believe how they create an outdoor dinner party - it is truly a once in a lifetime experience complete with entertainment, local SA fare, and hundreds of candles and lanterns to illuminate the venue. Additionally, our guide Matt sent us a number of beautiful photos from our game drives, allowing us to be in the moment and leaving the photographs to the professional.

I cannot recommend Royal Malewane enough - the bush is such a special experience and this is the BEST way to experience it.

Room tip: Pair it with a trip to Cape Town. 3-4 nights is great to ensure you see everything
Date of stay: October 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Sierra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Siebert, Marketing at Royal Malewane, responded to this reviewResponded 2 November 2023

Dear Sierra,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this wonderful review!

It is lovely to read about the details of your stay with us at Royal Malewane and we are delighted to hear that our passionate and expert team was able to provide you with the complete experience and a perfect stay.

We hope to welcome you back for another unforgettable experience in the not-too-distant future!

Laura (Marketing Team)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2023

During my stay at the Farmstead Lodge Royal Malewane from 6th to 10th July 2023, I encountered an unfortunate incident that significantly affected my holiday experience.

On the 7th of July, I embarked on a safari ride into the wilderness. Our vehicle travelling along the unpaved road, operated by a tracker and guide employed by the lodge, inadvertently kicked up a large wooden branch (see attached pic) with its right front tyre. Regrettably, this branch struck me on the side of my face, near my ear, causing a deep cut that bled heavily.

It took us at least 35 minutes to get back to the lodge, followed by at least another 30 minutes wait for medical assistance. The first responder had to refer me to the nearest hospital for further professional treatment including stitching (see attached pic). The lodge arranged for a complimentary transportation that arrived some 20 minutes later. Subsequently, I had to endure a painful 3-hour drive to a hospital, constantly applying pressure on the wound due to the bleeding. As this injury occurred only on the second day of my stay, it considerably marred my holiday experience.

Even more concerning, I experienced bleeding in my eardrums, which compromised my hearing for a full two weeks after the incident.

Now, a month after the incident, I'm left with a permanent 4-5cm scar on my right face, a lasting reminder of that day.

The lodge informed that an investigation is ongoing on the incident. I can only hope that it will include a review of the operational protocols to avoid any similar unpleasant experience for visiting guests.

Date of stay: July 2023
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank EdLiTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Siebert, Marketing at Royal Malewane, responded to this reviewResponded 12 September 2023

Dear Mr Lim,

Thank you for sharing your feedback about your recent stay at Farmstead Lodge Royal Malewane. We would like to assure you that the safety and well-being of our guests is extremely important to us.

As you are aware we are in the process of dealing with this matter through the appropriate channels. Your threat to defame us on social media should we not heed to your demand of payment in the amount of USD 40 000, is not conducive to productive communication, and amounts to extortion.

We believe in approaching situations with transparency and respect and this behaviour is not in line with our values or the principles of fair and honest communication. We assure you that we are committed to resolving this matter through open dialogue and understanding.

Once our investigation is complete and we have a comprehensive understanding of the incident, we will be in touch with you regarding our findings and proposed resolution.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2023 via mobile

We have been traveling to the Royal Malewane since 2003 and it is always our favorite safari lodge in South Africa! This year it was just as special as our first visit in 2003. The staff is always professional, the rangers are the best in the world, the food is delicious and special, and the accommodations luxurious. Our guide, Ryan Jack is very special. He’s been with the Royal Malewane team for many years and still approaches every game drive as if it was our first game drive. If you want a world class safari, you must put the Royal Malewane on your bucket list!

Room tip: Add this to your bucket list!
Date of stay: June 2023
Trip type: Travelled with family
2  Thank Ljwinter
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Siebert, Marketing at Royal Malewane, responded to this reviewResponded 26 July 2023

Dear Larry,
Thank you for this wonderful review. It is always lovely having you with us at Royal Malewane!
It is wonderful to hear that our passionate and expert team were able to deliver another unforgettable safari experience - and make it feel like your first!
We are looking forward to seeing you again in the not-too-distant future for another memorable experience at Royal Malewane.
Laura (Marketing Team)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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