Every month, the Bush Telegram embarks on a “Jeep Wonderboom Adventure” – a trip in search of unique adventure destinations our readers are sure to love. Our bright yellow Bush Mobile – sponsored by Jeep Wonderboom in Pretoria, paid a visit to Manyatta Rock Camp in Kwa Madwala Private Game Reserve, Hectorspruit . It is the ideal family getaway that offers more than just a little luxury in nature. Manyatta is a wildlife lover’s dream come true, a child’s perfect playground and fine destination for foodies.
A father of three encapsulates a visit to Manyatta on Tripadvisor impeccably: “This was the greatest family experience! We travelled with our children aged 9 (son), 15 (daughter), and 17 (son). We were up early and in bed tired…There was plenty of time to just ‘soak it all in’ in between the safari’s (early morning, late evening, night and walking), Horseback riding, although we were not in the Big 5 area due to our youngest, and the elephant interaction. The full day Kruger journey was a definite highlight. We visited in early September and the weather could not have been any better. Light jacket in the morning, no insect issues, but that could have been from the fantastic lizard families that kept us company. The entire staff was knowledgeable and friendly. Of interest of how you never know when the right time is…We visited a few weeks after their male lion had been poached, and missed seeing their females…Only to find out a couple weeks later that they both were birthing their new cubs!! We certainly hope to find our way back someday.”
A first time visit to Kwa Madwala and staying in Manyatta Rock Camp, almost always leads to repeated visits, or at least a deep yearning to do so. Manyatta Rock Camp sprouts between two towering granite rocks that reach towards the sky to provide a dramatic setting for this comfortable, yet leisurely camp. In comparison to most safari lodges, Manyatta offers a very flexible approach to tailor make your holiday to suit you and your family’s needs.
The rooms at Manyatta Rock Camp are unique. Looking like giant rocks, the domed shaped bedrooms are scattered across the rock outcrop, designed to blend in with the surrounding, almost peculiar, natural environment. Comfortable and elegant without being fussy, Manyatta is praised for its relaxed charm, unique design and stunning hilltop location. All 27 rooms are air conditioned and are furnished with two twin or a queen sized bed and have a fabulous private wooden decks with deckchairs, an en-suite bathroom with his and her basins and a bath, there is an additional outdoor open air shower. In addition there are tea and coffee making facilities, a mini fridge (stocked as a bar on request).
Six of the units feature a separate living room and are well suited to families with children. Maximum room occupancy in two of these units is three adults or two adults and two children 12 years and under and in the four Triple units of the rooms two adults and one child 12 years and under. There is also a beautiful appointed Honeymoon Suite featuring a large bed, private deck and shower and the unit is ideally located for maximum privacy.
Subtle efficient lighting around the camp and footpaths connect all rooms to the swimming pool, Boma, dining decks, bar, and viewing lounge deck. On a stroll to the restaurant, visitors are bound to encounter warthogs, buck, monkeys and interesting insects that will open children’s eyes to the magic that is Mother Nature.
For children and parents alike, the elephant encounters are a highlight…an a memory of a lifetime. Kwa Madwala strives to create the most natural and authentic elephant encounters possible. They have restructured their elephant experiences so that their elephants can act like elephants at all times – albeit under human supervision. The interaction takes place in the bush, where the elephants are most comfortable. This is in line with Nature Conservation’s vision to grant Tswali and Modjadji (Kwa Madwala’s two tame elephants) as natural a lifestyle as possible. Morning elephant encounters are conducted between 06:00 and 09:00 in summer and between 07:00 and 10:00 in winter. Afternoon encounters are between 15:30 and 14:30 in summer and between 14:30 and 17:30 in winter. Sessions end with an opportunity to feed the elephants. Pellets can be purchased on site from the elephant stable master or his assistant at R20 a bucket. There are four Elephant Safari options. The one-hour Elephant Walk incorporates a walk through the bush where guests can interact with the elephants in their natural environment.
The one-hour Elephant Back Safari entails a game viewing experience through the bush. It includes an opportunity to interact with the elephant, ride on its back and view game from way up high. The two-hour ride is generally more rewarding in terms of animal sightings in comparison to the one-hour session and includes either morning coffee and rusks or afternoon sundowners. The three-hour Elephant Back Safari is the ultimate elephant experience Kwa Madwala has to offer, combining interaction, ride and game viewing. Quite a distance is covered and the chances of seeing a variety of game are good. Guests will get close to impala, kudu, waterbuck, giraffe, warthog and sometimes even rhino and other elephants. The experience includes either early morning coffee and rusks or late afternoon sundowners and snacks. The 30-minute or one-hour Interaction Experiences offer guests the opportunity to touch the elephants and “talk” to them. A general talk on elephant history, anatomy, training techniques and behaviour is conducted. Games are played with the elephants to demonstrate how they use their sense of smell and memory.
All in all, a visit to Kwa Madwala and a stay at Manyatta Rock Camp is a must – any time of the year. Echoing the sentiments of the dad on Tripadvisor: Once you’ve visited, you “certainly hope to find our way back someday.”
HOW TO GET THERE:
From Johannesburg take the M12 which becomes the N4 towards Maputo through the town of Nelspruit. From Nelspruit drive towards Malelane/Komatipoort (N4). You will drive through the Nkomazi Tollgate, which is about 50km from Nelspruit, and then to the town of Malelane. Continue east on the N4 from Malelane. One kilometre before the town of Hectorspruit, take the second turning right onto the R570 towards Jeppes Reef, signposted Kwa Madwala/Low Hills and Inkuba Game Farm. Continue for 4.5km to the sign for Kwa Madwala and Strydomblok Road, on your left. Turn left and continue for a further 4.5km until you see the Kwa Madwala turnoff on your left clearly marked by the lion’s head logo.
HOW MUCH: South African citizens pay a reduced rate. Readers can contact Tania Cilliers on 082 826-2106 and ask about a special tariff for Bush Telegram readers. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, 082 779- 2153, 082 779- 2153, www.kwamadwala.net