Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge – Place of the Rock

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It is said that construction on Kwa Maritane began centuries ago…The lodge is built on the slopes of an ancient volcano in the area now known as Pilanesberg Game Reserve and is overlooked by huge granite boulders.

Kwa Maritane

Reception

I had been to the reserve for day visits before but had never stayed there. According to recent polls by the South African Tourism Board, the 55,000 hectare, malaria-free Pilanesberg Game Reserve is now the most popular game reserve in the country. Hollywood star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently visited the reserve for a game drive and was fascinated by his experience. He even posted a video about his encounter with an elephant on his Instagram account.

Kwa Maritane

Game Vehicle

Just over two hours away from Johannesburg, it is located next to Sun City. Kwa Maritane guests often go there for the day on the hotel shuttle, and Sun City guests often visit Kwa Maritane for some peace and tranquillity amid nature.

Kwa Maritane

Entrance

Set amidst spectacular scenery, Kwa Maritane is quite large for a bush lodge. With 90 hotel rooms, some self-catering chalets with private plunge pools and a host of entertainment activities, it feels more like a resort than a bush lodge. It is part of the prestigious Legacy Hotels Group, which also owns two other lodges in Pilanesberg – Bakubung Bush Lodge and Tshukudu Bush Lodge. You can earn Legacy Rands on your stays at all these lodges which you can spend at their other partners.

Kwa Maritane

The Lodge

Our family room was spacious and had two double beds and a sleeper couch in the lounge area as well as a small balcony shaded by huge trees. Thatched roofs and stone floors complemented the wooden furnishings and warm decor. The en-suite bathroom had a bath and a shower and very generously-sized amenities.

Kwa Maritane room

Our family room

Kwa Maritane

Lounge area

In addition to the usual beverages, our beverage station included delicious Hug-in-a-Mug sachets which I’d never tasted before and Ciro Iced Tea sachets which I’d never seen before. A delicious platter of fresh fruit, nuts and dried fruit awaited us in the room. At night, after turndown, special Kwa-Maritane chocolates with animal imprints were left on our pillows.

Kwa Maritane

Fruit

The resort has more than enough facilities and activities to keep the adults and more importantly, the kids, occupied. They include floodlit tennis courts, outdoor chess, huge swimming pools, a putt-putt course, a climbing wall, a gym and a spa, a curio shop and a children’s playground. Guided bush walks, bird and tree trails, and star-gazing activities are offered and there is a junior rangers program for the kids too. One could easily spend a week there without getting bored.

Kwa Maritane pool

Huge swimming pool

There is also a small wildlife information centre and snake museum that offers fascinating snake demonstrations with advice on how to protect yourself from snakes. Francois, one of the rangers, enthralled us as he showed us, individually, a lethargic puff adder, a hyperactive snouted cobra, and a boa constrictor – which we got to touch – and educated us on them. He was in a glass enclosure with the snakes so there was no chance of them escaping.

Kwa Maritane

Snake demonstration

A 150-metre long underground tunnel located next to the restaurant leads to an animal hide, which is at eye level with an active waterhole, frequented by the animals in the reserve. Webcams transmit the activity at the hide to a TV channel, so you can watch from the comfort of your room if you don’t feel like taking the long walk through the tunnel. We could hear the elephants trumpeting at the waterhole from our room. That and the chirping of birds were the only sounds we would hear there.

Our three-hour game drive was eventful. We set off on a huge game vehicle with a group of foreign tourists and saw herds of elephants, several rhinos, tsessebe and other plains game. The Americans with us were especially fascinated with the giraffes as they had never seen them in the wild before. We were more interested in the felines but we seemed to have just missed a leopard with an impala it had killed, and the lions were nowhere to be seen. But that is what the bush is all about. You never know what you’re going to see. At our sundowner break midway through the game drive, we were offered delicious vegetarian samosas and refreshing cool drinks near a hide, and then we continued our drive.

Kwa Maritane

Elephant amid the spectacular scenery

When night descended and the stars began twinkling in the night sky, our game drive ended at the lodge’s boma where we were welcomed with hot towels, a traditional ginger drink, the sound of beating drums, and a bush braai. The boma was lit by a roaring fire, burning torches and lanterns on the tables. A huge spread was laid out for us. Apart from the braai itself, there were more than sufficient vegetarian dishes served in cast-iron potjie pots waiting for us, freshly-baked garlic rolls, a salad station and a dessert spread that my kids were especially interested in. The talented musicians kept us entertained with traditional instruments while we ate. It was a traditional African meal in a traditional African setting and the ambience was amazing.  After a hearty dinner, we were driven back to the lodge for a good nights sleep.

Kwa Maritane

Bush Braai

Our breakfast was served on the deck of the Kwa Lefakeng restaurant, overlooking zebras and elephants. My husband and I had Salmon Eggs Benedict as we always do when its available while the kids went crazy over the pancakes made to order. There was a great cold and warm buffet selection as well.

Kwa Maritane

Breakfast

We only stayed for one night, which was way too short and when it was time to leave, we had to reluctantly drag ourselves away from Kwa Maritane and Pilanesberg, hoping to return soon.

For more information, visit Kwa Maritane or book here.

Click here for what to expect on safari .

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18 comments
Caitlin

I’ve always been soooo keen to explore Africa and see the native animals. I’ll have to check this place out if I ever make it. It definitely sounds like one night wasn’t enough for you with everything they offer!

Reply
    Sara

    Definitely Caitlin – a week would have been much better 😉

    Reply
Rosemary

Sounds like a very interesting lodge in South Africa. Can’t wait to visit the region and when I do, will certainly consider the lodge. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Rosemary. Hope you visit South Africa soon.

    Reply
Suzannah

What a gorgeous place! Looks like my perfect trip – a touch of luxury and some wildlife! Those zebras are so freaking cute – I want to cuddle one forever and keep one haha! The lodge is stunning and that pool is calling my name!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Suzannah. The zebras are quite cute but I think that they can kick pretty hard too, lol. One of them was heavily pregnant by the way 🙂

    Reply
Brenda

This lodge looks like an amazing place to actually get to live the African wildlife and also, that comfort that many luxury travelers are looking for! Great post!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Brenda. Yes, it was lovely and the wildlife sightings are great too.

    Reply
Leslie

Wow, what a beautiful location! I didn’t know this existed in South Africa. I’m dying to go on safari with my son, in fact, we’ve been talking about it since he was a toddler! Hopefully one day soon! Loved your photos too!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Leslie. I’m sure your son would love going on safari. You should definitely take him.

    Reply
Rosi C.

Wow.what a lodge. Wall climbing. Great fest 🙂 great pics.

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Rosi. It’s a beautiful lodge. I haven’t been brave enough to do the wall climbing but my kids love it.

    Reply
Priyanka Banerjee

Wow, wow and wow!! I never knew that this kind of lodging exists in South Africa..I would have always thought this to be a place in East Africa if I didnt read your post!! Such a lovely post, so much information and Johannesburg is definitely a dream for me. I will make it happen soon,,,Much love from Amsterdam
Priyanka

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Priyanka. South Africa has some stunning lodges and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit several of them. You should definitely make it happen soon! I’ll be happy to help with travel advice 🙂

    Reply
Laura

!Your resort looks so luxe! You are so lucky to have been able to see all of the exotic animals that you did. Thanks for sharing your story.

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Laura. Safaris are my favourite activity and I love being in the bush and seeing wild animals roaming freely.

    Reply
Erika Bisbocci

I’m surprised to hear that the Pilanesburg Game Reserve is more popular than Kruger, though perhaps its proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria explains why. The lodge looks beautiful and the animal-imprint chocolate is a nice finishing touch! The whole experience–from the room to the wildlife viewing to the braai–sounds wonderful!

Reply
    Sara

    Erika, I was surprised to hear that too. But like you said, it’s probably due to its proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as Sun City. And the lodges are great.

    Reply
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