We’ve had the good fortune to discover a new safari lodge, Makanyi, in South Africa’s Timbavati Reserve. On a recent trip, not sure what to expect, but knowing we’d already had some very happy clients there, we were excited to see one the country’s latest additions the safari scene. Our experience blew us away – this six-room lodge was somewhere we could have stayed for an entire week.
Give our late afternoon arrival, we were immediately whisked out into the bush to join the afternoon game drive, already in progress. The bush here looks like a lot of South African Lowveld – short trees, tall grasses and waterholes and dams around the area. It’s a Big 5 reserve, and an active one at that. On one of our game drives we were treated to elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino in the span of only 45 minutes. The reserve has a herd of roughly 500 buffalo (large by South African standards), and a pride of lions which has learned to take down these dangerous creatures, making for exciting cat viewing! Some of our sightings were so visceral the hair on our necks really did stand on end.
On Safari with a herd of 500 buffalo
Lions on a fresh buffalo kill
The Lodge and the rooms:
First impressions upon arriving at Makanyi are of being in a beautifully-designed home, owned by your brother. Rico and Carmen, the management couple, provided a warm welcome and a brief tour through the beautiful common areas. The vibe is contemporary with African accents, and is oh so appealing! We especially loved the living area and the bar – great places for curling up with a book or trading stories with fellow travelers. It has one of the better gyms we’ve ever seen in a lodge – quite large with up to date equipment for those who feel the need to sweat off some of the safari weight gain that is inevitable.
Contemporary cool at Makanyi Lodge
Hardly roughing it....
We had the good fortune to stay in a pool suite. Entering was impressive – the spacious room with oh-so-comfy king bed looked out onto the pool, the deck and the bush beyond. Our favorite part of the suite may have been the bathroom, with beautiful fixtures, earth-colored stone, and flawless construction. We wanted for nothing here – lighting was perfect, the minibar stocked to our tastes, snacks in case we get hungry. The owners were so thoughtful about the design, layout and use of the suite, it was if they had a way to know what we needed before we did. Given the absolute comfort of the accommodations, we could have stayed a week, part of it devoted to game viewing and another part to simply enjoying our beautiful surroundings.
Who would enjoy Makanyi?
Makanyi is an excellent option for those celebrating a special occasion such as a honeymoon or anniversary; the beauty of the suites and the lodge itself offers a true sense of romance to the experience. It’s also a wonderful place for photographers – their guides are all skilled and able to help, whether you are a novice or a master of the craft. They even offer a special photographic vehicle with all of the proper camera mounts for capturing the perfect wildlife shot. Finally, those who value a slower pace and being able to enjoy the bush over time (rather than hopping around lodges), will find a beautiful home-like setting that you may never want to leave.