Resting on the banks of the Crocodile River in the heart of the Mjejane Private Game Reserve, Ukuthula House connects you to the rugged wilderness of the Kruger National Park, from the sublime comforts of its luxury, five-star lodge. Its long, wooden deck with swimming pool and sun loungers aplenty, its shady pergola and 12-seater dining table under the trees, its vast, open-plan living and dining space – that’s semi-exposed to the outdoors – its lavish suites – all with magnificent views of the river – its dreamy Moroccan inspired courtyard, its rooftop bar with a pizza oven, its library and little reading nooks, its yoga deck and gym, its inimitable style, grace and authenticity compound to deliver a unique safari experience with your favourite people.
For those treasured family holidays in the raw African bush, when you’d quite like to be at your leisure to fine-tune your own itinerary, Ukuthula House – which translates to ‘peace’ in Swahili – brings you home to an intimate, blissful existence in the wilderness. It’s up to you and your clan as to how you wish to spend the hours of the day, adjusting your own clocks to settle in sync with nature.
You’ll be up with the dawn chorus, courtesy of the flycatchers, doves and warblers and enjoy that first hot brew on your private balcony, witnessing the day arrive around the river. Some might venture out on a drive with Lebeko – the lovely resident game ranger – and learn all about the birds, the trees, the medicinal benefits of the flora, and marvel at each magical sighting of game. Others might opt for a bit of yoga on the deck and a slower start to safari life. A delicious, hearty breakfast will be prepared by the wonderful team of staff who are there to ensure your self-catering bush experience is effortless once the groceries have been stocked. As the morning moves towards afternoon, the swimming pool beckons, offering respite from the Kruger heat. Herds of elephant, antelope, giraffe and even the odd baby rhino flock down to the river to do just the same. A late afternoon tea or tipple of sorts, and some yummy bakes from Dumi and Cindy sets you up for another drive, into the evening, as the Mjejane nightlife puts on a spectacular show. Back to the lodge for some pizza feasting or gathered around the long table on the deck, overlooking the river. It’s likely the kids have gravitated to the play room where an abundance of games and a TV assists with winding down another action-packed day. Leaving the boma and the beautiful blanket of stars to set the tone for the rest.
What we love!
- Ukuthula House is a unique, family destination in the heart of the bush. Where families with children of all ages can enjoy a safari without being confined to stringent itineraries.
- Given that it is self-catering, you are also at your leisure to eat around your own appetites. It is also incredibly well-catered to those with young children, providing books, games, baby monitors, an electrical, retractable pool cover and a fabulous bunk room as their own hangout zone.
- Enjoying a morning coffee in the courtyard, prepared by the amazing resident staff – Dumi and Cindy – before venturing out on an early game drive. Add a splash of Amarula to your coffee, and you’re good to go.
- The game viewing is spectacular as the property is surrounded by over 4000 hectares of a private reserve, and more than 10km of riverfront to enjoy. You have access to every species of bird and free-roaming game without having to leave the concession.
- Enjoying an early evening sundowner on firefly bridge, as part of a game drive, stopping off at the bridge, feasting on the delicious snacks that have been prepared and watching the fireflies skim the surface of the river.
- Returning to the lodge in the evening and witnessing all of the lanterns lit up for your arrival home, with the fires going and sounds of the river gently lapping below.
What you need to know…
- The nearest airport from the property is the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, which is under an hour’s drive. Transfers can be arranged from all airports to the lodge.
- The nearest town of Malelane is a 20-minute drive from the lodge for all convenience stores and essentials.
- Ukuthhula House is a self-catering luxury lodge that offers five-star service to guests, including all housekeeping, meal preparations, stocking the fireplaces and keeping the pizza oven ready, babysitting and storytelling! You are required to bring all of your own ingredients, or kitchen stocking prior to your arrival can be arranged.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie