Leaving the Whale Coast and Cape Winelands behind, you take the scenic drive back to Cape Town International Airport for your flight to Johannesburg. A charter flight then takes you to the renowned wilderness region that is home to the famed Kruger National Park, and the adjacent Thornybush Private Reserve.
Your guide will meet you at the airstrip and take you on a game drive to Royal Malewane. Set in a stunning location deep in the African bush, this lodge will simply take your breath away. Six palatial suites feature air conditioning, a rim-flow pool and private verandahs to enjoy the sights and sounds of the surrounding wilderness. Raised walkways link the suites to the impressively elegant main buildings and spa. No elements of comfort or modern amenity are spared here, and the level of service and cuisine are of a world-class standard, located in a wilderness setting like no other. The spa treatments feature hydrotherapy using mineral-rich waters drawn from the springs deep below the reserve, which is guaranteed to soothe and revitalize you while relaxing in the warmth of the midday hours. Coupled with exceptional cuisine and attentive service from the friendly staff, Royal Malewane delivers unrivalled big game encounters on your twice-daily game drives.
Venturing out in the cool air of early morning or late afternoon, you will encounter a plethora of animals and birds here. While the Big 5 are sought-after animals to spot, there is so much more to absorb and experience than a mere checklist of species. Allow the magic of the wilderness to embrace you, and you will find an altogether holistic experience that is quite unlike any other. Your guide and tracker will draw on their immense knowledge and experience of the area to show you the intimate secrets of the wild, sharing their expertise in a manner that is both informative and engaging.
Up close and personal encounters with a variety of animals are bound to happen, and thrilling experiences await you in this most special of reserves. The leopards here are renowned for their relaxed behaviour, where they regally go about their lives disdainfully ignoring the clicking of cameras with the practiced ease of Hollywood celebrities. Nothing can prepare you for the awe you will feel at your first sighting of a pride of lions: the sheer presence of these magnificent cats, coupled with rippling muscles and their haunting amber eyes, will send a shiver down your spine.Stopping at a scenic spot to allow you to stretch your legs, your guide will produce a hamper of ice-cold drinks and delicious snacks. In the last light of the setting sun, you gaze out over this spectacular wilderness, at peace with your surroundings as you toast the magnificence of an African sunset.
In the gathering dusk, you drive back to the lodge with the aid of a spotlight to seek out nocturnal animals as they emerge into the night. Glowing eyes reveal civets and genets moving acrobatically through the trees, while close to the ground the red eyes of a spotted hyena come into view. These often misunderstood animals are as fierce a predator as their competitors the lions, and with their easy loping stride they can tirelessly cover miles in pursuit of prey.Returning to the lodge, you find it ablaze with light from lanterns, and the sumptuous colours of the furniture and fabrics glow richly, welcoming you home.
An indulgent feast awaits you for dinner, accompanied by the best wines from the sensational offerings in the cellar. As the sounds of the African night serenade you from outside, enjoy a convivial evening listening to easy conversation and tales of adventures in the bush from your guide. Moving out to the fireplace for a final nightcap, marvel at the shower of stars above you before slipping off to your suite. Drifting off in blissful slumber, you are serenaded by the distant roars of lions and the whoops of a hyena echoing through the stillness of the night.