We arrived at Maqueda Lodge in the heat of an Mpumalanga day. It was close to 40 degrees Celius and all I wanted to do was lay my burdens (suitcase) down and dunk my head into a freezer. Francois met us upon arrive with a smile, a smile that never seemed to leave his face for the duration of our stay.
He showed us their spa treatment room fit with its own splash pool, couches and light material acting as a shade cloth. We walked into the open-air lounge with treasures for the eye in every corner. White drapes seemed to sway ever so slightly behind two blood-red matching chairs. A piano stood beneath stairs leading up to the breakfast area and on every table was a set of wonderful wildlife books to browse.
I was completely taken with each step I took. It felt as if I’d been transported to a Moroccan chic bush lodge in a mystical place. White drapes were a common motif through the open-air lounging area. Lanterns and lavender decorated the cupboards and best of all; I spotted another splash pool set on a wooden deck looking out into the dense bush of Marloth Park (read our previous post here).
The couches beckoned you to sit in them and we did whilst going through a Kruger Park mammal’s book just to see the correct names of the all animals we had spotted whilst on a game drive. Once we had set down our bags in our bedroom upstairs and I had spotted gazing at the intricate wooden dividers behind our bed, we headed down to the pool.
Even in this stifling hot weather, the water was ice-cold. But once in, we relaxed and heated up instantly in the sun once out. It was truly a place where we felt we could relax and just be. Whilst they offered many tours and drives, we decided we needed the rest and found we wanted for absolutely nothing whilst there.
Dinner time was my favourite as it all began with pre-drinks around the fire. Either Francois’ brother, Etienne or their mom (who started the lodge 14 years go) would prepare the meals. These three course meals were heavenly affairs beginning with either a chicken salad and moving onto chicken or finely done steak with vegetables and potatoes.
I can honestly I was always stuffed by the time dessert arrived. Everyone would dine together at dinner and we were able to enjoy a dinner time or two with a lovely couple from Witbank and a friendly Australian couple with many great tales to tell.
Breakfast time involved bacon and eggs with ample fresh fruit and yoghurt and one morning we spotted a bush buck, which we believe is rather rare to see within the park.
All in all, we would’ve stayed way longer in this chic yet laid-back lodge which has been handled and looked after with so much love by the entire family. Francois’ Dad mentioned that they are so blessed and have given the lodge to the Lord so that glory may be his through the daily running of it.
Visit Maqueda Lodge:
Photographs by and © Vaughan McShane.