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Babanango Game Reserve unveils Madwaleni River Lodge

This year has seen significant milestones for Babanango Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, and Love Africa has been lucky enough to work with this team in documenting and releasing their news and updates to the world. 

The latest update is their newest ultra-luxury tented lodge, Madwaleni River Lodge which is set to open in September 2023. This addition marks the fourth and most prestigious lodge in the 20 000 hectare Game Reserve and is perfectly positioned along the banks of the iconic White Umfolozi River.  

Madwaleni River Lodge features 12 luxury tents, accommodating a maximum of 24 guests. Located in the middle of the reserve, far from any signs of development, the lodge allows you to completely escape the modern world and immerse yourself in its unspoiled environment. These luxurious safari tents, which set a new standard for comfort and style, have received award-winning distinction for their unparalleled design. 

“It is a beautiful lodge that makes the most of the it’s position on the river with large open plan main areas and luxury tents to highlight the sweeping views and rolling valleys of the landscape. Our team is proud to support the Babanango team in launching this luxury lodge, a significant addition to the safari industry and to the hidden gem that is KwaZulu-Natal.” – Nicola Gerrard, Founder and Director of Love Africa Marketing.

The lodge takes its name from the isiZulu phrase meaning “The place of the rock,” paying homage to the picturesque granolithic mountains found in the reserve. Madwaleni River Lodge possesses a wealth of history, not just through the individuals who have traversed its grounds, but also within the very essence of the land it occupies. The landscape surrounding the lodge boasts some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, with some rocks dating back 3.4 billion years.

The Lodge

Each luxury tent features a private heated plunge pool, with indoor and outdoor lounges boasting breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness. The air-conditioned rooms, along with the custom-made beverage cabinets, are complemented by elegant copper fixtures in the bathrooms. The lodge includes a fine-dining area, bar, lounge, library, gym and large infinity pool – each positioned with sweeping views of the rolling valleys of Babanango.

The library offers a tranquil retreat furnished with large leather couches and shelves adorned with captivating old photographs, maps, and history books. In addition, Madwaleni River Lodge boasts a magnificent 2000-bottle wine cellar with a curated selection of the finest, rarest, and most unique wines from the Cape region of South Africa.

In the pre launch phase, we visited the lodge to capture the intricate details of the architecture and design in film to form part of our teaser marketing campaign. The stills shoot, with photography captured by team member, Sven Musica, was done in such a way so as to thoughtfully highlight the interior design and architectural features of the lodge.

The Design

The architecture and interior of the lodge have been thoughtfully crafted to encompass the diverse array of cultures that have walked the land on which the lodge stands.

The architectural design, created by Luxury Frontiers, skilfully transforms cultural symbols into modern interpretations. Drawing inspiration from the Zulu warrior shield, the design incorporates elements such as the slender yet robust spear, the bold yet graceful curvature of the shield, and the rhythmic movements of the river.

“Covering the launch of this new ultra-luxury lodge has been a privilege for us at Love Africa Marketing. Not only is Madwaleni River Lodge a true example of unique and intricate architecture and design, but more importantly to us is the role the lodge plays in the larger Babanango Game Reserve story. The story of how a reserves commitment to conservation and community can lead to a great example of responsible tourism that is able to drive change and make a lasting impact.”

– Kirsty Baker, Key Account Manager.