Bongani Mountain lodge is nestled in the shadows of the Malelane Mountain range and surrounded by beautiful mountain views in the Mthethomusha Game Reserve on the south-western border of the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.
The entrance gate is just a 15 minute drive from the N4 highway, between Nelspruit and Malelane. Guests are collected from the parking area near the gate and taken by 4x4 to the lodge, which is 7kms from the gatehouse.
Bongani Mountain Lodge was burnt to the ground by members of the community that depended upon the lodge for their livelihood! R9 million damage and the police just stood there while the lodge was being burnt. Insanity at it's best!
If you want to find out why the world seems to get madder by the day go here.
Steps lead down through a rocky cove to the main lodge entrance. The main area has a large dining room on the left with a bar, outdoor seating area and a small covered area. We stayed in December so there was an unusual Christmas tree in the reception area...
More steps lead down to reception; the suites, two swimming pools a view point and the Mandela Room.
The Mandela Room has a Library, boma area and has some nice photographs of Madiba (Nelson Mandela) to commemorate his stay at the lodge.
The front swimming pool has an amazing view over the waterhole below and surrounding veld...
while the second pool (the one closest to the main lodge) has a lovely view of the mountains behind.
The lodge is unfenced so walking around at night is done with a security guard.
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"...the majority of images are really impressive, each chosen for a practical reason, sometimes annotated to stress a point.
- Craig Rix, Editor,Travel Africa Magazine, UK
The main dining area is covered and has great views of the mountains through large glass windows or you can sit on the covered area, which has open sides, giving you a nice overall view.
The bar is across from the dining area and in between is the covered veranda where you can sit and enjoy your surroundings.
We had some really nice meals; the best for us were the lunches - a variety of salads are served with two or three meat dishes.
These are two lunch menus:
Salmon, beef medallions and crispy chicken strips with mini Pavlova’s and fruit for desert.
Crispy fried hake, pork ribs, game carpaccio, and savory rice with coleslaw - desert was chocolate brownies.
Dinners are served in the dining-room, out in the bush or at the Mandela-Room boma, weather depending of course.
These well designed suites are both spacious and comfy - each suite has a king size bed with mosquito net, tea and coffee station, complimentary water in the bar fridge, both indoor and outdoor shower (we had a bath in our suite plus indoor and outdoor showers) and a private wooden deck with magnificent views of the waterhole below.
Not all suites have views of the waterhole; some have mountain views while others have a view of the lush gardens.
Animals walk freely through the Lodge grounds and we often saw nyala outside the suites.
There is a spa offering awesome soft tissue massages and the twice-a-day guided game drives.
We had 6 super game drives with our enthusiastic guide, Fourine. We got to see many different birds, elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, rhino and lions with three cubs.
Fourine also took us to see the many wonderful viewpoints...
waterfalls and rock art...
and we got some great wildflower pics...
"It's 768 pages of the most amazing information. It consists of, well, everything really. Photography info...area info...hidden roads..special places....what they have seen almost road by road. Where to stay just outside the Park...camp information. It takes quite a lot to impress me but I really feel that this book, which was 7 years in the making, is exceptional." - Janey Coetzee, founder of CAROK (Camps and Roads of Kruger) South Africa
"Having a passion for the region itself and having to know about all dynamics, water holes and ideal roads for a period of 6 years - I wish I had this guide on my first trip already!" - Morkel Erasmus, Secunda, South Africa
"Mario and Jenny take you to places that are not always visited, and their descriptions of the more remote camps will allow you to make an informed decision without wasting time and money" - Bob & Sherry Shepardson, DeBary, Florida, USA
"Your time and money are valuable and the information in this book will help you save both." - Don Stilton, Florida, USA
"I highly recommend the book to anyone visiting Etosha National Park to photograph the animals - or anyone considering an African photography safari in the future." - Anne Darling, Cognac, France
"As a photographer and someone who has visited and taken photographs in the Pilanesberg National Park, I can safely say that with the knowledge gained from this eBook, your experiences and photographs will be much more memorable." - Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada
"This work is so much more than an eBook, because it is also a guide, a tutorial, an inspiration and a must-have for anyone interested in wildlife photography" - Findtripinfo.com, USA