North West
Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge

Just two hours from Gauteng, in malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park, is Kwa Maritane Lodge, aka ‘Place of the Rock’, positioned on the slopes of an ancient volcano. Larger than most it is more akin to a resort-in-the-bush than a typical game lodge so it will especially appeal to families looking for an easily accessible first safari experience who want to keep costs in check. There’s a huge amount to entertain younger guests and Sun City is just 10 minutes away.

Of course, the main appeal is the wildlife-viewing on offer. The 55, 000 hectare Pilanesberg National Park is in the transition zone between the dry Kalahari and the wetter lowveld bushveld zones, so there is a stunning diversity of fauna and flora on offer, including the Big Five, rare species like brown hyena, sable antelope and black rhino – not to mention over 350 bird species! Its great appeal is that it allows self-drive as well as guided safaris. You don’t have to go far to witness some exciting close-up encounters with game – the lodge is famous for its waterhole hide.

Facilities & Activities

At the lodge itself you can be as active or lazy as you want. There’s plenty to keep even the most restless occupied; with two pools, tennis court, gym, putt putt, a wildlife museum and a welcoming spa for that all-important post safari pampering the lodge has most things covered. As a larger lodge, they have a great range of children’s activities such as a play area, rock-climbing wall, pool table, table-tennis and of course the wonderful Junior Ranger’s Programme where children aged 6-12yrs can learn all about the wonders of the bush (fee payable locally). Guests of all ages will surely love the waterhole hide for which the lodge is famous – linked to the lodge by a 180m long underground tunnel, you can relax and enjoy a front row seat literally metres from the animals as they come down to drink at the waterhole. There’s also a permanent webcam set up, so if you’re feeling too lazy to take the walk down the tunnel, you can relax on your bed and watch the feed on the dedicated TV channel!

Of course, the varied attractions of Sun City are also just a 10-minute shuttle drive away. A casino resort, there is huge range of activities on offer for families from zip-lining, crocodile farm, to elephant interaction, Valley of the Waves, horse-riding and hot-air ballooning.

Game Drives

The Reserve’s roads are open to the public, making self-drive safari a viable option that is attractive to those looking to keep costs in check, but we strongly recommend joining one of the organised lodge game drives led by an experienced field guide. Your guide will drive you into the park in the cool air of the early morning or late afternoon to evening when the animals are more active and hopefully out and about, to ensure that you won’t be disappointed. The Lodge has 3 x 10-seater game vehicles, 3 x 18-seater trucks and 4 x 22-seater trucks. They also offer game walks and star-gazing.

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Dining

Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be enjoyed buffet-style at the Kwa Lefikeng Restaurant with a lovely terrace overlooking the waterhole – most dietary requirements are catered for. A wonderful experience, not to be missed is the twice-weekly Kwa Potokwe Bush Boma. Head to The Deck for drinks, game-viewing or a snack. There is also the Kwa Mazout Bar with a big screen television. A Fisherman’s Catch seafood evening takes place every Friday, with a traditional lamb on the spit for Sunday lunch.

Rooms

The resort has 90 thatched hotel rooms located through the grounds. Unlike smaller traditional game lodges, the rooms here are located in larger blocks – they are pleasant and well-appointed but obviously more “resorty” than your typical small game lodge. There are a range of room types, ranging from standard doubles to family suites and executive rooms. Standard rooms consist of 2 double beds – a great option for families with children who are happy to share. The rooms offer en-suite facilities, air-conditioning, hairdryers, television with select satellite channels, minibar fridge stocked on request, tea and coffee facilities and limited daily complimentary WiFi. All rooms look onto the bush with a fence keeping the game out, however a few inquisitive animals find their way in, such as warthog which you might spot grazing outside the rooms.

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Family

There are no age restrictions on the game drives and the lodge usually try and group together families with children of a similar age where possible.

Sustainability

Kwa Maritane along with the Legacy Hotel Group have implemented a variety of procedures to reduce their hotels impact on the environment, these include:

All cardboard and glass is collected and recycled by specialist recycling companies.
Low energy lighting has been fitted wherever possible in the hotels.
Thermostatic control valves have been fitted on all bedroom radiators to reduce energy usage.
Hippo bags (a saver flush device) have been installed in all toilet cisterns to reduce water usage.

Location

The lodge is just 3 hours’ drive from Johannesburg. For those who aren’t making the most of the self-drive reserve, transfers can be arranged. There is a local airport, just 3km away but the flight schedule can be unreliable so Johannesburg is a safer bet.

During your stay, you might want to take advantage of the shuttle service to Sun City Resort.

It’s worth noting that the lodge works well as a stop-over en route to Madikwe Game Reserve, so if you’re looking to experience both parks but want to keep on top of costs you might consider 3 nights in Pilanesberg and then 3 nights in Madikwe.

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