Staying at Ekuthuleni Lodge: Family Safari Trip Near Johannesburg

September 8, 2017   /   bynatalie  / Categories :  Personal, Travel

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

ekuthuleni safari lodge welgevonden game reserve

Ekuhuleni Lodge shot on my WeFix DJI Spark drone, which really is small enough to take everywhere

ekuthuleni safari lodge welgevonden game reserve

Although it was only the first weekend of spring, the days were hot enough for swimming.

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!

ekuthuleni lodge welgevonden reserve

This mama was hunting and watching her communicating with her babies through body language was incredible!

welgevonden game reserve south africa

Hello little guy!

female lion ekuthuleni lodge welgevonden game reserve

Queen of the jungle – she was hunting while her mate was chilling in the shade.

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.

The Lodge

ekuthuleni lodge welgevonden game reserve

I was sharing with my sweet little 90 year old nana, so the lodge made our room a twin.

ekuthuleni safari lodge

Summer lovin’ in the first week of spring.

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.

ekuthuleni lodge lunch

The food was so good! Lunch of beef kofta and light and crispy tempura fish.

ekuthuleni lodge

I respect a good gin collection like this one.

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.

natalie roos family safari

The lodge can be booked for exclusive use, so basically we’re already planning our takeover (PS. this photo is what happens when you hand your camera to a stranger).

sunset ekuthuleni lodge

My little sister Jonti and her Aussie husband Nick watching the sun go down over the African bush.

welgevonden game reserve family safair lodge ekuthuleni

Bush sunsets are just unbeatable.

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!

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*My stay at Ekuthuleni was hosted in-part by the lodge. 

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