Royal Malewane - Africa House | Thornybush Private Game Reserve

Personal Impression

This is a little slice of heaven in the African bush. A very personal experience where a person feels more like a part of a family than a guest. Luxurious surroundings, incredible rooms and expansive decks. The service is friendly, warm and you feel at home immediately. Royal Malewane has a lot of repeat guests, one couple had been there 10 times. They had been all over South Africa, Botswana and Kenya and this lodge is where they always return. There is a special ambiance here that is hard to put into words. I can highly recommend Royal Malewane.



This is like a La Residence in the bush; stunningly beautiful. It is a brand new lodge built for exclusive use only. All the rooms are off a central enclosed courtyard which is totally private and very luxurious. No cost is spared in the decor of this private lodge. I went to see it at the end of a 2014 safari and fell in love with it. I think that this is a wonderful place to stay for large groups instead of the standard Royal Malewane rooms. It is a very special experience.

These suites come with a private butler, private chef, private game driver vehicle with a private ranger and tracker.

These are just a few of the pictures of the unique rooms and decor of Africa House. For more photos, please visit our photo album.

bedroom bathroom bathroom

plunge pool sitting area living room


The spa is a short walk from the main lodge. The most elaborate spa that I have seen anywhere in South Africa. Just sitting by the pool in this wonderful place is so relaxing. Of course, many treatment options are available for an additional charge.

Internet Access

Wifi is available in all of the guest rooms.

Game Drives

The area around Royal Malewane is dense and full of thorn bushes. It is not as diverse or as attractive as the Sabi Sands private reserve. The fences have been removed and now Royal Malewane is open to the full Thornybush Game Reserve.

We witnessed a remarkable event with the elephants. They were climbing on and destroying a huge termite mound. Those large animals kneeling as they literally crawled to the top. Then they started to move off the mound and down the road. One big bull elephant was "checking out" all the female elephants as they passed. Even the tiniest female was backing into the male to be "checked". Later on, another male turned up and we had the classic standoff by the two bulls. I felt like I had experienced something truly special and will never forget this herd going through their normal social behaviors.

(Pictures below - a little hard to see but the big bull in the front of the picture has his trunk straight up in the air.) Monkeys are all over Royal Malewane and play on the decks of the lodge and in the trees.

The Guides

The guides at Royal Malewane have been there since the lodge opened. There seems to be a real family like atmosphere here. On our game drives, they seemed to be very aware of the animals, the behaviors and how to give each guest the best possible experience.

Dining and Wines

This is a Liz Biden property and she knows the art of good food and hospitality. The entire dinner experience is very personal. Very good South African wines accompanied dinner. Lunch on arrival was also quite an experience. The smoked salmon salad was followed by the most delicious chicken dish and there were fresh berries with raspberry sauce for dessert.

Getting to Royal Malewane

Direct flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town daily to Hoedspruit airport. Royal Malewane also has a smaller airstrip for charter flights directly into Thornybush Game Reserve. Road transfers are of course available if you do not wish to fly.

Local Village Tour

You can visit Nyani Tribal village. This is an authentic Shangaan village that is reliving the tribal life of 50 years ago. The village serves to both preserve the culture of the Shangaans of the area as well as to educate visitors with the traditions and customs of the community. All the vistors are guided by Axon who is from the lineage of Chief Kapama. There is an additional cost if you choose to visit the village.

Other Tours

There are many other tours available.

Bombyx Silk Factory — Discover Bombyx Mori silk on this visit to one of only two producers of this silk in the country.

Hoedspruit Research and Breeding Center — A two-hour tour that begins with a video presentation and then you see cheetah, African wild dogs, and many other rare animals in their natural habitat. The project also focuses on rehabilitation camps for both the Barbary Lion and the Rhino.

Moholoholo Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center — Brian Jones and his team nurture the injured, poisoned, orphaned animals for release back into the wild. The center contributes to the conservation of endangered species and facilitates a number of successful breeding programs.

Helicopter Flights - Mpumalanga Helicopter Safaris — Private flights over the area with incredible views of the bush, waterfalls, and a 1000 meter deep canyon. Topped off with a picnic lunch with a spectacular view.

Hot Air Balloon Flights — The flight will be one hour over the bush. If weather conditions do not allow the flight there are full refunds.

Golf- Hans Merensky Golf Estate — A challenging 18 hole, par 72 Championship Golf Course where the animals add a little spice to the hazards of a good round of golf.

Website: Villas of Africa House - Royal Malewane