I love nothing more than a little getaway with my family. And considering the fact that we’re spread across Cape Town, Johannesburg and Melbourne, this doesn’t happen very often. So when we all had the opportunity to spend a couple of days together recently, we wanted to make the most of it. We found the perfect place to get away together and enjoy nature, just two and a half hours from Johannesburg. So happy to share my pictures from staying at Ekuthuleni Lodge for a family safari trip near Johannesburg with you.
Staying at Ekuthuleni: Family Safari Trip Near Johannesburg
Located within the 38 000 hectare Welgevonden Reserve, Ekuthuleni Lodge is just a two and a half hour drive from Joburg. It’s home to the Big 5 and within our first couple of hours, we’d spotted, elephants, zebras, giraffes, a mama cheetah with her 3 cubs and three lions.
There are pros and cons to smaller reserves (38 000 ha as opposed to the 1.9 million ha Kruger Park). A major pro of course, is the opportunity to see lots and lots of game in a short space of time. This was particularly great for my Australian brother-in-law, who hasn’t spent much time on safari and only had the weekend to tick the Big 5 off. Being able to see so much on every single game drive was super exciting!
A con would be not having the sightings to yourself, as there are other lodges in the reserve who are on drives too. Of course, once you’re right there, staring into the eyes of nature’s most powerful creatures, the excitement takes over and it’s just an amazing experience.
Once you arrive at the Welgevonden Reserve, you leave your car at the main gate and are driven to the lodge in a safari van. Along the way, you’re likely to spot antelope, giraffe, zebra, warthog and if you’re lucky, even predators. You’re greeted at Ekuthuleni with cold towels, a drink and a tour of the property. The lodge is small and intimate, with a deck where breakfast and lunch are served, a big porch for G&Ts and a pool overlooking the savannah plains where we often saw animals coming to drink from the small watering hole. Rooms come standard with views of the plains, crisp white bedding, baths with bush views and outdoor showers.
The lodge staff are incredible and were always one step ahead of us – tanning oil and sunscreen next to the pool, blankets at the ready as soon as the evening chill set in on the game drives. The food was some of the best I’ve ever had in the bush and we were consistently impressed with chef Steven’s cooking. Lunches are served al fresco on the deck, while three-course dinners are served by candle light next to a fire. I was also really impressed with the wine list, which has a great variety of South African wines at every price point.
The lodge is family-friendly, with a family suite that sleeps 4 people in a room with a loft. It can also be rented on an exclusive-use basis, which makes it the perfect place for a wedding or family break when everyone gets together.
Thanks so much for having us, Ekuthuleni!
*My stay at Ekuthuleni was hosted in-part by the lodge.