Holiday at Kwa
After spending New Year's Eve at home we then headed out to Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge, which means Place of the Rock, and is set in the Pilanesberg National Park. Admittedly, we have been coming to Kwa Maritane for the last decade, so the kids have basically grown up knowing the lodge and are really comfortable in getting around the lodge.
It's also always flattering to be greeted by all the staff who remember us. Located a mere 180 km from Johannesburg, and with a selection of hotel rooms and timeshare units (from one to four bedrooms), Kwa Maritane offers something to all, not the least of which is access to the Pilanesberg National Park, located entirely within the 2-billion-year-old volcano and home to the Big Five! Kwa Maritane is definitely a family-centric lodge. There are two swimming pools: a big pool situated near the bar and restaurant; and a smaller one with a water slide and kiddies pool. There is also a mini-golf course, trampolines and a tennis court.
In addition, Kwa Maritane offers the Junior Ranger course, where children can experience an educational and fun bush experience. Children are taught about the flora and fauna of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and watch snake demonstrations. The lodge offers both early morning and afternoon game drives, which is very convenient, especially considering that the rangers are in radio contact with rangers from other lodges, and share locations of specifically the Big Five. However, if one knows and can find your way around the park, self-drive game drives offer a lot more flexibility in where to drive and the length one spends on a game drive.
The heart of the lodge is definitely the restaurant, overlooking a small waterhole and an open stretch of savannah in front of the little mountains that surround the lodge. From here one can watch the animals of the park come and go while enjoying a lazy brunch, or sipping an ice-cold beverage on the veranda. One may even be lucky enough to spot the King of the bushveld leading his pride to the waterhole or the more solitary leopard (if you're REALLY lucky).
The man who makes it all tick over smoothly at the restaurant and bar is the very capable and ever-friendly Food & Beverage manager of the lodge, John Monageng. John has humble beginnings in the hospitality industry, having started out 14 years ago as a calamari cleaner in a fish restaurant in the casino resort Sun City. John recounts how he wanted to better himself, studying in the passage between shifts. One day the restaurant owner happened upon John and enquired what he was doing and why he wasn't working. John politely replied that he was studying in between his shifts as his duties for the past shift were completed. John attributes this chance meeting to his success and his rise in the industry as, shortly thereafter, having seen John's potential, the owner made John a chef.
He filled this position for a number of months before being made the barman of the restaurant. After a brief stint as a waiter to understand all areas of service in the restaurant John was promoted to a supervisor position, and ultimately a year later was made the assistant restaurant manager. John remained in this position for a further two years before moving over to the Santorini group as manager of a 250-seater restaurant, also at Sun City, for several years before moving to the Luna Bar at the Cascades Hotel.
Having cut his hospitality teeth in the restaurants of Sun City, and gaining many years of experience here, John decided he needed a change of scenery and a new challenge and was appointed in the position he still occupies to this day as F&B manager for Kwa Maritane.
All too soon our time at the Place of the Rock was over, also sadly signalling the end of our Great South African Holiday, and we were on the road back to Johannesburg and home. What a way to end our vacation! And we are truly blessed to have done so in the unspoilt South African bush and, In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, "I'll be back...”
Review written by valued customer Tony Coetzer. Make your memories here: lstyl.com/ALbx3M