When we visited Royal Malewane its new sister property The Farmstead at Royal Malewane had only been open a few months. This spectacular new addition to the Royal portfolio is just what the area needed, a serene lodge that still offers the same caliber of service, has Liz Biden’s eclectic whimsical style but stands out on its own with a very California ranch house vibe about it.
Where Royal Malewane delivers the classic safari lodge experience, The Farmstead delivers a new take on the safari stay with three glorious California ranch-style villas and The Farmhouse, a three-and-a-half bedroom house that accommodates up to 14 guests and is perfect for families or couples!
Each villa boasts their own natural spring pools, which was not only relaxing but since we had a small herd of cudo come drink from the pool it was such a fun spot to be – a completely different vibe and environment from what you get at The Royal Malewane Lodge.
Every bit of your stay at The Farmstead is what Royal Malewane is known for, the caliber of service – the staff are genuinely the nicest, most accommodating group I’ve had the pleasure of staying with – the staff’s attention to detail is unsurpassed.
We mentioned it at lunch to the Farmstead team and they came up with one of the most amazing meals I’ve had – a true south African BBQ was set up for us that evening outside overlooking the watering hole with a sky filled with stars. Complete and total perfection.
On the safari front, what I love about The Farmstead is that you get the same expert guides you have at Royal Malewane. This was so important to us because we truly built a special relationship with our amazing guide Rudi.
The entire guide team are said to be the most qualified safari guides in Africa and I 100% believe this. I can’t imagine experiencing our safari with anyone else! For the full breakdown on the safari experience, see this post!
The drive starts and ends in a far more glamourous setting than at a classic safari lodge you pull into a u-shaped drive that’s deep and dramatic lined with chandeliers and a big fountain in the center. Simply put it’s a magical drive any time of day.
The Farmstead’s décor is very much its own distinct glamourous style – setting it apart from Royal Malewane. Of course everything is centered around outdoor living – lots of deep bucket hanging chairs can be found set up outside on the decks, perfect for long afternoons watching the animals at the watering hole or evenings by the big fire pit.
Poolside at your villa are beautiful, bright hanging daybeds. If I could ship this back to NYC for my Brooklyn apartment I would in a heartbeat. The pops of color complimented the environment exceptionally well – especially in the drier season – it gave it more life.
Liz Biden did a phenomenal job marrying a fresh California cool contemporary style with the classic safari – think jewel tone velvet sofas paired with antique doors from Zanzibar. She also managed to uncover an old African banking station that she repurposed in the kitchen! She decorated the space with art from the Royal Portfolio’s private collection which I truly love because it honors African artists.
What to do in between the safari drives while at The Farmstead?
Visit the spa – this beautiful albeit small luxury spa is a great wind down after your morning drive. The space is perfectly sized for couples services too and exudes an immediate sense of calm.
Spend time in your private pool, this felt more like a retreat than a safari in the middle of Kruger National Park. The pool was by far one of my favorite spots and so relaxing after being on the morning drives – all you want to do after the morning drives is zen out and embrace your inner lazy self!
One of the greatest things that the Royal Portfolio is known for is how they ensure they are giving back to the local communities in which they have properties in. Both Royal Malewane and The Farmstead work to conserve the land they sit on and staff locals to work on the properties. By bringing in and ensuring tourism continues in the area means a financial boost to this community. Plus the Biden family has created The Royal Portfolio Foundation to give back to the local communities by contributing towards various upliftment and conservation projects within our Three Crowns sustainability framework.
More snaps from the trip:0