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There’s a reason why we are all yearning for the simpler, more serene ways of life right now. The call of nature, and the wilderness in particular, beckons like a bossy nurse, urging us to do what’s only right for our souls. Where the skies are vast and ever-changing, the smells are that of the rich soil and all that grows and grazes from it, the sounds are primal and pacifying, and the air is crisp and clear with an invigorating waft of optimism. Being immersed in the beauty of bush life is the tonic of the times. It’s escapism in its healthiest existence, to where the wild things are.

Perfectly positioned along the southern border of The Kruger National Park, overlooking the Crocodile River that meanders the plains of the Mjejane Reserve, Ivuba River Lodge – which means Kingfisher in Zulu – discreetly declares its contemporary character to the rugged wilderness that prevails. Set on one level of expansive open plan living, dining and reclining spaces, this bush hideaway has been gently planted amongst the Mahoganies, the Marulas, the Acacias, and the Leadwoods, allowing their leaves to dapple the walls and surfaces from an abundant source of natural light. The u-shaped, double ensuite lodge is as connected to its modern luxuries and refined symmetry, as it is to the essence of the natural world that surrounds. Though the Mbombela architect, Tom Hattingh, has managed to retain the build’s small print in the Kruger sand, not much can be done about the resident antelope and birdlife from maintaining the wild garden as their own too. And just as it should be, according to the South African owner. She wished for her bush retreat to be simply lowered from the African skies and embedded into the beauty of the land it occupies. Yet with all of the necessary luxuries and amenities that come with modern-day safari living. Fine furnishings, luxury linens, modern appliances, decadent bathrooms, outdoor showers, massive glass doors and windows, screed cement floors and that delightfully inviting swimming pool make life very easy in such a remote location. Impressive 2.5-metre canvases of Ross Couper’s wildlife photography adorn the otherwise naked walls, alongside some Kingfisher pencil drawings by Andre Olwage, with a collection of a local sculptor’s work making the odd statement, and the bushveld doing the rest.

Throughout the hours of the day, the views over the Southern Kruger transform as different herds traverse the plains and drink from or wade about in the river. Hippo happily grunt away, as the elephant take their turns to drink and bath, as the giraffe saunter by and the buffalo take shelter from the sun under knob thorns. The area is a wonderland for any avid birdwatcher with its prolific birdlife. Fish eagles swoop in and out of the river and hang about the branches watching over, as resident kingfishers, spoonbills, sacred ibis, and wagtails occupy their reeds and river branches. Even a rare spotting of a Senegal lapwing has been noted. 

Tuning into nature becomes habitual at Ivuba River Lodge, where all of the finer things are taken care of. The night’s feast is on the flames of the boma as the evening sky is changing from dusk to darkness and the stars begin to reveal themselves. Elephant are gently breathing as they graze alongside the banks and the swallows take one last flight before night. The tonic joins the ice that joins the lemon that accompanies the gin, and the orchestra of the night cues optimism. Another day awaits that’s full of promise.

What we love!

  • The openness of the build and its high 7.5 metre pitch, for the abundance of light and air to come flooding in to the living and entertaining spaces.
  • Morning, afternoon and evening swims in the pool as one mimics the hippo, bobbing about in the river right below.
  • The beautiful 500-year-old giant Leadwood tree that frames the verandah’s view of the river.
  • Sitting around the blazing boma at night, listening to the sounds of the bushveld, watching the stars shoot around the sky and settling in for a still evening.

What you need to know…

  • The property is protected by an electric fence for safety from the wild animals that roam the 4000-hectare Mjejane Reserve.
  • You are able to arrange guided game drives and walking safaris with the rangers that operate independently from Ivuba River Lodge, within the reserve. You are not at liberty to do any self-drives or excursions through the reserve. 
  • The lodge is only an hour’s drive from Nelspruit and a 5-6 hour drive from Johannesburg. 
  • It is important to always follow the Game Reserve protocol of never leaving your vehicle when self-driving to the property, or walking beyond the property’s boundary at night. 
  • This is a Malaria area.
  • Although the property is set on one level, it is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible.

Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie



  • 2 x Bedroom (king) (extra length) open plan en-suite with bath
  • Apple TV (log in to own account)
  • BBQ Built-in (wood)
  • Beach towels provided
  • Boma braai (wood)
  • Coffee plunger
  • Dishwasher
  • Fireplace (wood)
  • Fridge (double door fridge/freezer)
  • Microwave
  • Nespresso machine (a small quantity of pods provided)
  • Netflix (log in with own account)
  • Outside shower
  • Oven (Electric)
  • Pool (lap)
  • Servicing (weekdays)
  • Smoking outside only
  • Stove (Gas)
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • TV & DSTV Now
  • Washing line
  • Washing machine
  • Wifi


Sleeps 4, no children under 12

Check-in time

3 PM

Check-out time

10 AM

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Mjejane Private Game Reserve

There’s a reason why we are all yearning for the simpler, more serene ways of life right now. The call of nature, and the wilderness in particular, beckons like a bossy nurse, urging us to do what’s only right for our souls. Where the skies are vast and ever-changing, the smells are that of the

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Peak - R7600 per night
Off-Peak - R6300 per night
Minimum 2 night stays.
Long weekend 3 - 4 nights
Peak 4 nights.