Royal Malewane is situated in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve which forms part of the Greater Kruger Area. Typical of Kruger Park lodges in this vicinity, the reserve boasts an astounding number of species of mammal, including the so-called ‘Big Five’, as well as more than 500 species of birds. The incredible biodiversity of the Kruger Park area makes it a special destination for the serious nature-lover. In addition, there are plenty of striking trees and beautiful flowers to delight the eye and satisfy the keenest botanist. The surrounding landscape has a rough, wild beauty that captivates and exhilarates; the Drakensberg Mountains loom large on the horizon. A sense of timelessness pervades. Leave civilisation as you know it and experience the liberation of the wilderness.
To view game is to lose yourself in a powerful and startling drama. During a game viewing excursion, your senses sharpen, excitement grows, you draw close to the most remarkable animals as they hunt, play and sleep. Game drives at Royal Malewane are tailored to suit your interests, so you can track your favourite animal or see the birds, flowers or trees that you love most. To engage with the landscape even more intimately, explore the bush on foot with our expert guides and trackers at your side. Game drives at dawn and dusk form the basic rhythm of the day and to be out in the fresh air as the sun rises and sets is to be realigned with a pattern of deep and ancient significance. In addition, no matter what the time of year, each season has something special to offer in terms of game viewing and game drives. The dry, gold-brown winter bush makes for excellent sightings but the lush green foliage of the summer months brings with it migrant birds and newborn animals. Embrace the unique opportunities of the moment, for nature is generous in her bounty.
Adding to the photographic experience, Royal Malewane has a state of the art photographic vehicle which has been fully customized to suit both amatuer and professional. The vehicle has been designed with two swizel armchairs for the utmost comfort, and adjustable camera gimbles allowing you to get the perfect shot. The vehicle can be booked on a request basis.
All our game rangers hold the highest FGASA qualifications, including SKS-DG (Special Knowledge and Skills – Dangerous Animals) as well as advanced rifle handling certificates. These qualifications ensure guests an exceptional game experience; not only from vehicles, but also on foot. As guest safety is a priority, all our safari guides and game trackers receive ongoing on-site wilderness emergency training from experts in the field.
Photography is a passion for all the game rangers at Royal Malewane and they have numerous awards amongst them. They understand the joy of capturing the beauty of the bush in a photograph and are always happy to assist guests with their photographic requirements. In addition, they have extensive knowledge of the constellations of the African night skies.
Here are the game ranger/game tracker teams at Royal Malewane:
Juan has worked in the guiding industry since 1993. Together with his game tracker Wilson, they are arguably the most experienced and knowledgeable game ranger team in Africa. As Head Ranger and Head Game Tracker respectively, Juan and Wilson have created an ethos that is followed by the other teams at Royal Malewane. Juan is a FGASA (Field Guide Associate of Southern Africa) Scout (a combination of the SKS-DG and Senior Tracker qualifications). Juan also holds the SKS- Birding specialist qualification. He is unique in having these qualifications and is often involved in the evaluation and education of other safari guides and game trackers.
Wilson, a Master Game Tracker, has spent his entire life in the bush and his interpretations and insights are uncannily accurate. Wilson and Juan are using their skills in the community to evaluate and educate game trackers. The soon to-be-opened game tracking school at Royal Malewane will be named in honour of Wilson Masiya.
Highly experienced and knowledgeable, Craig started safari guiding in 1990 after spending his early years with his father’s safari company. Having worked extensively in Zambia and the Lowveld, he joined Royal Malewane in 2001. Craig holds the FGASA SKS-DG, as well as a Tracker level 2 qualifications. Craig has also completed his SKS Birding Course and looks to continue specializing in this area of the bush. His game tracker Patrick grew up in the Sabi Sand game Reserve, on the border of the Kruger National Park and has worked in this area for many years, where his tracking skills and keen eyesight quickly became legendary. Patrick has also worked as a game ranger, and holds a level 2 Tracker qualification. He joined the Royal Malewane team in 2008.
Ryan is an experienced and knowledgeable field guide. He was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and having grown up in the outdoors on many a fishing trip. He started working in the guiding industry in 1999. He completed a Diploma in Game Ranch Management before starting guiding. Ryan is also has a passion for photography and holds a Diploma in Photography. Ryan joined Royal Malewane in 2004 and has achieved a FGASA SKS-DG and Game Tracker level 2 Guide. In 2011, Ryan had successfully completed the FGASA SKS Birding Qualification (both a Theory and Practical Assessment) and plans to continue studying Birds to achieve the FGASA National Birding Qualification.
Jonathan has been working in the game ranger industry since 1995. He is a FGASA SKS-DG safari guide who also holds a Diploma in wildlife management and has substantial wilderness experience which was gained through his interest in the country’s flora and fauna. Jonathan joined Royal Malewane in 2005 when he teamed up with Jonas.
Jonas grew up in the bush with his best friend Wilson Masiya where his skills were used for everyday living. Jonas is a Senior Game Tracker (one level below Master Tracker) and with almost 20 years experience is considered one of the top trackers in the country.
Riaan entered the industry in 1999. He holds a National Diploma in Nature Conservation and is a FGASA level 3 safari guide with Trails guide and tracker qualifications. He worked as an ecologist in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and as a Game Ranger in the Sabi Sands and the Karoo area. He joined Royal Malewane in 2006 and is a highly skilled and entertaining guide.
Shadrack is Wilson’s first protégé at Royal Malewane, having honed his game tracking skills under Wilson’s guidance from the time he started as a swimming pool cleaner at Royal Malewane in 2001. Shadrack is currently a level 3 tracker.
Nik completed his apprenticeship in 2009. He is an enthusiastic and committed guide who has his National diploma in Nature conservation, FGASA level 2, Trails Guide Theory, Tracker level 2, Advanced Rifle Handling and First Aid qualification. He is also a FGASA Birding Specialist of Multiple Biomes. Solly was born in Mozambique and came to South Africa in 1979. Having grown up in the bush he has an excellent knowledge of which plants and trees are edible or medicinal in their use and understanding of the cultural beliefs of the Shangaan/Tsonga people. Solly joined Royal Malewane in 1999 as a member of the Maintenance team and driver. He began working as a relief tracker early on, then finally made a permanent move into the Tracker/Rangers department from 2007. With 11 years game tracking experience behind him and a FGASA LEVEL 2 TRACKER qualification, Solly aspires to becoming a game ranger.
Royal Malewane supports the practice of training guides. We have a 2 year Apprenticeship programme, a first for the industry. Nicola Jooste is the current apprentice safari guide. Prior to Nicola’s joining the apprenticeship programme she had already attained a 3 year Nature Conservation Diploma. She will complete her rigorous 2 year training programme at the end of 2012, by which time she will have attained 1000 hours of training under her mentors at Royal Malewane. She will become a fully qualified FGASA level 2 Trails Guide along with Game Tracker and Birding qualifications. The apprenticeship aims to equip the individual with a full spectrum of knowledge on every aspect of field guiding.