Bushveld and Makalali

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Bushveld and Makalali

Activities and Highlights
Region Map


"Surrounded by the sepia tones of savannah hills and hidden between the green bushveld’s tall acacia, marula, knobthorn and jackelbery leaves; there lay an avant-garde eco-sanctuary that has perfected the balance between its embedded pride and the respect it has for the African wildlife. Using the natural material of indigenous products like uncut thatch, raw timber and natural trunks, the Makalali Private Game Reserve has managed to exemplify the essence of being an eco-friendly institution. In the past, the private game reserve’s innovative design has been feature in Architectural Digest Magazine, was awarded Most Innovatively Designed Hotel in the World by Tatler/Cunard Travel Guide and was listed as a Top Ten Eating Establishment in South Africa by Penta/Monis Restaurant Guide. With such an outstanding track record, Makalali Private Game Reserve should, without a doubt, be listed as a must-visit destination on your African travel itinerary.

The reserve has an intense commitment to conserving the African wildlife, and because of this, many research programs involving lions, cheetahs, leopards and elephants have been created, which attracts many volunteers.

The thrill of experiencing wildlife from intimate distances is truly exhilarating and sneaking up on any of the four members of the African Big Five will certainly startle the bravest among us. Rhino and rare sable antelope have been reintroduced and the reserve boasts 213 bird species aflutter within its bushveld."

Access Details

The reserve may be accessed by scheduled flight to Hoedspruit or Phalaborwa from Johannesburg. Charted flights are offered to Makalali’s private airstrip as well.

Suggested Stay Details

To fully appreciate the beauty of Makalali and its wildlife, we suggest a 2 to 3 night stay combined with a visit to other areas such as Sabi Sands. If you are on a romantic safari then 4 to 5 nights in a bushveld lodge would be ideal.

Type of Experience

Makalali Private Game Reserve prides itself in the exceptional service that it provides for all visitors. Frequented by many for its romantic flair, VIP treatment is just a request away. Listen to the African drums beat to the rhythm of a nation while tribal dancers offer a glimpse into local tradition.

Enjoy the succulent award winning cuisines of Afro-infused flavours while dining beneath the starry sky. Thereafter, retire to your lodge and unwind in a bubble filled bath as its sweet fragrance fills the atmosphere.

Bask in the passionate surroundings with sparkling wine on ice, delicate bedcovers adorned with rose petals and the air of tenderness glowing with the heat of a candle light room.


Makalali Private Game Reserve is an award winning reserve, and as such, it offers exceptional services and exquisite infrastructure. Lodges are nestled within the bushveld and verandas are perched high, offering views of the Makhutswi River and game that congregate around it. Exclusivity, privacy and luxury are intertwined in nature’s beauty.


Makalali Game Reserve is largely covered by savannah grasslands and Lowveld acacia bushveld.


Makalili was the site of an old cattle farm in the early nineties. When it was sold to the current owners, re-establishing the presence of endangered wildlife was the aim, along with creating a lodge that embodies nature and its natural resources. With the help of the ingenious mind of Sylvio Rech and local craftsmen, the Makalil’s eco-lodge was born.

Activities & Highlights

GAME DRIVES: Makalali Private Game Reserve offers both morning and evening game drives. These scheduled drives in open 4x4 vehicles are the best time of day to view game. Explore the savannah plains that blending into bushveld and pass by prides of lion lazing in the heat of the African sun. Herd of elephant may be feasting on the fruits of marula trees or watch as antelope sprint across the landscapes away from hunting predators.

BUSH WALKS: Stroll into the African wilderness and learn about the efforts in place to re-establish ancient wildlife migration routes. A knowledgeable guide will teach you the skill of tracking animals and show you plants with various medicinal properties. Gain an appreciation for the smaller critters that roam these landscapes or listen to the staccato stutter of the vervet monkey.

ADRENALINE JUNKIES: A hop skip and jump away lays the rush of Olifants River’s flowing current. Here you can raft your way through cascading water and rapids varying between grades of 2 to 4.

PANORAMA ROUTE: Ideal as a self-drive destination, the Mpumalanga Escarpment is a short drive away from Makalali Private Game Reserve and boasts some of the most majestic sites in South Africa. It is by exploring the Panorama Route that you’ll undoubtedly marvel at the escarpment’s splendour, cultural heritage and surreal magnitude. Attractions such as the Pinnacle, which is a finger shaped outcrop of quartzite rocks, stretches out towards the heavens for 30m. A lookout through God’s Window and the highest point of the escarpment, Wonder View, is sure to take your breath away. Discover the thundering sounds of the escarpments highest waterfall, Lisbon Falls, or close your eyes, make a wish and toss a coin in the eroded cylindrical spectacle of Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

Season Travel Details

The area has a subtropical climate characterised by hot rainy summers and cool but dry winters. Rainy season sets in during the month of October and lasts up until March. Game is much more easily spotted during the dry season which starts round about April until September. These months are pleasantly warm with cold winter night.

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