The wide open plains of bushveld north of Johannesburg stretch as far as the wide Limpopo River. The dramatic natural beauty of the Waterberg mountains rises out of these plains...
The wide open plains of bushveld north of Johannesburg stretch as far as the wide Limpopo River. The dramatic natural beauty of the Waterberg mountains rises out of these plains.
North of Johannesburg, the wide open plains of bushveld stretch as far as the wide Limpopo River and Zimbabwe. Rising out of these plains are the dramatic and beautiful Waterberg Mountains, only 2½ to 3 hours drive from Johannesburg. The Waterberg is known for its luxurious and romantic game lodges as well as a number of family friendly safari options. Further north the mystical rocky outcrops stand out around Mapungubwe National Park and the Soutpansberg.
This area comprises of 2 quite different areas. The mountainous Waterberg region and the Limpopo region to the far north.
The Waterberg is primarily a safari destination. Its attraction is that it offers malaria-free game-viewing within easy driving distance of Johannesburg. This is great for families who don’t want the hassle of flying to the Kruger or the more arduous drive to Madikwe.
The Northern Limpopo province is unspoilt Africa at its best. With sleepy country towns, ruins of ancient civilisations and the proud culture of the Venda people. In the far northern part of Limpopo lies a little known region of mountains, forests and holy ruins. Here you can enjoy adventurous safaris staying at community-orientated safari lodges. Or you can explore the ruins at Mapungubwe National Park, hiking in the Soutpansberg and Magoebaskloof. The northern Limpopo can also be combined with a visit to the Kruger Park to the east.
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Kings Walden is still our favourite place to stay in this relatively remote part of South Africa. Tzaneen is one of the most scenic places to stay as a stop-over between the Waterberg, Mashatu or the northern Limpopo area and the game lodges of the Greater Kruger Park.
However with Kings Walden, it may not suit everyone. The gardens reek of romance. And yet there is no denying that they have some maintenance issues to deal with. The new owner/manager Bridget as taken back ownership of her beloved family home, which has been operating as a boutique guest lodge under overseas ownership for some years. And she is keen to upgrade the rooms. (For example some areas need a fresh coat of paint. So for now, you get comfortable accommodation in an unarguably romantic setting.
The garden, which they are most famous for, does need some attention. But as it is in the style of a romantic English terrace garden,it is still a magical feature nonetheless.
At the moment they only offer 5 of their 6 rooms. As one of the rooms is being used by Bridget. Room 3 can take a triple and Rooms 5 & 6 are inter-leading. These two rooms overlook the garden and pool, whereas other rooms overlook the lawn and gardena.
They are known for their food. Dinner is a 4 course meal, with options changing on a nightly basis. (So pre-booking for dinner is essential). The dinner was good and very well presented and we especially thought their breakfast was very good as well.
Bridget is a lovely hostess and usually shares a bit of the property/family history with guests. Dining areas are swopped around, so depending on the weather, outside dining now offers a much better view, overlooking the iconic lightning tree. The table setting at dinner added a great ambience to our meal.
The rooms dont have air-conditioning, but this hilly area above Tzaneen is remarkably cooler, because of the elevation, than the heat that we felt in town. The ceiling fan was sufficient even in December (summer).
Conclusion - If you only want ultra-modern and all mod-cons then Kings Walden may not be for you. However if you like a little bit of romance and history and can trade this for a fresh paint of coat, then we recommend Kings Walden!
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