Morukuru Family Owner's House – an exclusive safari retreat

Morukuru Family Owner's House Review

For Africa infects the soul
And sets ones senses free
Its special gifts – sight, sound and smell
Pervade incessantly…
(Extract from a poem by E. Dibb)

What better place could there be to experience the magic of Africa than your own private bush villa overlooking the meandering river, in the magnificent Madikwe Game Reserve?

Morukuru Family Owner's House

Our bedroom which overlooked the river

The Morukuru Family Collection consists of three incredible safari homes: Morukuru River House, Morukuru Owner's House and Morukuru Farm House. Each one is offered on a sole-use basis and includes its own game drive vehicle, butler, personal chef, private game ranger, tracker, and nanny (if required). The houses are situated in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, one of my favourite reserves in South Africa, and one of the closest Big 5 game reserves to Johannesburg. Due to the complete exclusivity, kids of all ages are welcomed. I recently spent two nights at Morukuru Owner's House with my family and I can honestly say that it was one of the most exceptional safari experiences we’ve ever had.

Morukuru Family Owner's House

Our private pool

Perched on the banks of the Marico River and shaded by mighty Morukuru (Tamboti) trees, Owner’s House was originally built by the Dutch owners as their own private retreat. Expansive and opulent, yet intimate and exclusive, it features two spacious en-suite bedrooms separated by a living area, a formal lounge and dining room, a kitchen, a swimming pool with sun beds and winding decks surrounding the villa.

Morukuru Family Owner's House

Our private lounge

The wooden, stone and glass building is a beautiful blend of European and African decor, designed to blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors. Despite being in the dense bush, there are also modern comforts like a television with DSTV, a DVD player, a library, board games and complimentary speedy wi-fi.


Our dining room

The huge bathrooms feature indoor rain showers, outdoor showers, and bathtubs and are replete with Africology amenities.


Deluxe Bathroom

As we pulled up to the villa after the four-hour drive from Johannesburg, we were welcomed with a song by the beautiful team of staff members servicing our lodge. Mocktails in hand, we were shown to our private lounge (which was so big that my kids thought it was the reception lounge).

Morukuru Family Owner's House

Our staff team welcoming us

Paula, our private hostess, introduced us to our staff and briefed us on the essentials. Before our arrival, we had been asked to complete the Morukuru Wish List, where we had to specify finer details such as dietary requirements, beverage requests, bedding preferences, special occasions etc. These were confirmed with us too.

We then freshened up as our private chef, Monay, prepared an al fresco lunch for us, which we enjoyed on the deck overlooking the river.

Morukuru Family Owner's House

Our first lunch was here

Soon it was time for my favourite activity - the game drive. Madikwe Game Reserve is renowned for its excellent game-viewing, and Morukuru has its own private concession within the reserve as well as traversing rights in the rest of the reserve. This meant that we could spend as much time with wildlife sightings in the concession as we wanted to, without feeling constrained by other vehicles or having to make way for other vehicles. Shane and Boykie, our expert ranger and tracker, did a superb job of finding the animals for us. The kids were given interactive safari activity books to keep them engaged during game drives and Boykie showed them how to identify animal tracks.

Morukuru Safari

Our vehicle awaits

Shortly after leaving the lodge we found two of only four male cheetahs in the reserve. Then we rounded a bend and discovered two endangered African wild dogs. A short while later we saw a black-backed jackal followed by a pair of sleeping lions. All of this within just the first half of our first game drive! And that was only the predators. By the time the game drive had ended that day, we had seen all of Madikwe’s Super Seven (South Africa’s Big Five, as well as Cheetah and Wild Dog), besides the elusive leopard.

Morukuru Madikwe

Sleeping Lions

Back at the lodge, a sumptuous three-course dinner awaited us. The next morning, after another great game drive, we were surprised with breakfast in the bush. Meal locations were always varied, to incorporate an element of surprise. Mornay would consult with us after every meal regarding the menu for the next meal. Everything was tailored to our requirements and the food was always delicious and exquisitely plated. Isaac, our ubiquitous butler, was always at our beck and call.

Morukuru food

Some of the delicious food we enjoyed

Even the turndown goodies were a treat. One night, we were given sachets of Africology Sleep Gel to ensure a good night’s sleep and the following night, were given mugs with sachets of hot chocolate and marshmallows.


Lunch at the poolside

A visit to Madikwe is always special but at Morukuru you get so much more to make it extraordinary. Your own private boutique safari villa within the bush, a dedicated team of staff to look after your party only and a private concession to explore and view wildlife to your hearts content. Here, you are able to piece together your own bespoke bush fantasy where you can enjoy your African adventure at your own rhythm and pace.


Table overlooking the river

If you are looking for a romantic honeymoon destination, a private sanctuary in the bush where you can de-stress, or an opportunity to re-connect with your loved ones, then this is the quintessential place for you. We left with heavy hearts, fond memories and chocolate cookies for the road. Once again, we were bid farewell with a song from the staff expressing their wish to meet us again.

Morukuru Family Owner's House

Bathtub overlooking the river

Until next time, dear Morukuru Family…

Read about our experience at Morukuru De Hoop.

For more information, visit Morukuru Family.


African Wild Dog


Cheetah relaxing

Disclosure: 7

17 comments on “Morukuru Family Owner's House – an exclusive safari retreat”

  1. Wow, what a fantastic choice for safari! Ever since we got a taste of Africa a few months ago we have been dreaming of going back. This looks like a wonderful option!
    I am envious that you got to see the rare African wild dog! That's awesome! And I love your shot of the sleepy lions 🙂
    The food also looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. This safari retreat looks so stunning. This would be an ultimate experience. When's the best time of the year to go there?

  3. Firstly, AMAZING pictures! They are incredible! Secondly, I have always wanted to go on Safari and this luxury choice looks fantastic; may need to book a trip in the near future!

  4. What an incredible safari experience! The house, pool, and terrace are all beautiful, it's hard to believe it's in the middle of the safari. I love how a tracker/ranger are provided to help see wildlife and how overall everything is so personal and private.

  5. Madikwe Game Reserve has an advantage of being malaria-free. I had heard about Morukuru (Tamboti) trees but couldn't visit the reserve when I was in South Africa. Game drive is fun and you got really lucky with the sightings. Morukuru Owner’s House looks cozy.

  6. What a lovely property! The private pool and bathroom are one of the best parts of the accommodation I think, it just looks amazing. And the meals looks equally enticing! The turndown service is yet another amazing part with sleeping gels and hot chocolates with marshmallows, it’s perfect!

  7. The Morukuru House looks like the perfect place to base yourself whilst going for a safari. The range of foods you photographed all look delicious. Staying here makes it so convenient to go on safari, perfect!

    1. Thanks James. Morukuru Family Owner's House is a great base for a private safari, especially if you want the whole place all to yourself 😉 The food was as delicious as it looks.

  8. Morukuru house seems so perfect for a family vacation away from the city life. I am glad they allow kids of all ages. The ambience is so good and so is the architecture. Good to hear that you were able to spot lions; they seem like cute soft toys in the picture. Great write up

    1. Thank you FS Page. Everything was perfect. Those lions look like they want to be tickled on their tummies, don't they?

  9. Wow, I love places like these which offer you privacy and proximity to nature. I like all the safari homes. I like the dresses of staff. I am sure it is the local attire. I am a fan of al fresco dining and I am glad you could do it here.

    1. Thanks Abhinav. These are my favourite types of places too. The beautiful staff uniforms are inspired by the local culture.

  10. I've been looking at kid-friendly safari experiences and this is topping my list! How cool that your kids got activity books, too! And chocolate chip cookies?!? Mmmmmm

    1. This would be an excellent choice, Marcie. Your kids will love all the space, the personal attention and the goodies. And you will love the food, the views, and of course the safari.

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