An African Safari is the kind of trip people spend a lifetime dreaming about. It’s the Morukuru Family’s mission to make those dreams come true.
Of all the exotic destinations on earth, nowhere is more captivating than the wild animal reserves of Africa. And of all the wild animal reserves, none can compare with Madikwe. This small corner of the world offers second-to-none wildlife viewing opportunities, from the majestic bull elephants, to the lightning-fast leopards to the jewel-like butterflies. It is a place that fascinates even the most experienced of travelers for weeks, months, even years.
Named after the Morukuru trees that dot the reserve, the Morukuru Family has focused its efforts on spoiling the families who come here from all over the world. They offer their luxurious homes, 5-star services, and private safari guides in order to exceed every guest’s expectation and satisfy even the smallest of desires.
It all started with a love for South Africa between two dreamers: Ed Zeeman and his wife Anka. Ed is a brilliant businessman with a passion for land, architecture, and their combined possibilities. The pair excel at understanding the world travel market and the unique tastes and desires of discerning guests. They fell in love with South Africa and the malaria-free Madikwe reserve, but saw a serious need for luxurious accommodations and the comforts of their European homes. Together they decided to create a real “home” that draws people in and gives them privacy and pleasure, and access to the impressive creatures of the Reserve.
To meet this need, they created the Owner’s House, a private home tucked under an ancient Morukuru tree on the banks of the Marico River. As the reserve’s Marketing Director, Manon Van der Veen describes, “Family began coming out, and they brought their friends and loved ones, and suddenly the house was full! It was hard to have to tell people they couldn’t come stay, so we began to build another villa next to it, the River House.”
The houses have a very special place in the hearts of those who visit. Though each home is entirely private and they are served separately, they are connected by an intimate walkway which allows multiple families to enjoy Madikwe together. Another villa, the Farm House, provides even more accommodation for larger groups. Over the years, families return again and again, bringing new generations to their African retreat to make treasured memories together.
Each home has been created to provide lavish delights. From the beautiful commissioned art on the walls to the heated floors underfoot, everything is rich and comfortable. The design is a colorful South African classical style, with a touch of European flair (note the splashes of orange – a nod to Ed & Anka’s roots in the Netherlands). Guests enjoy high-quality furnishings and appliances, similar to what they might have in their own houses, and the chef on staff creates delicious meals based on each family’s desires.
The Morukuru Freedom Concept is what truly sets these homes apart from every other home near the reserve. It is the pleasure of doing “whatever you want, whenever you want.” The typical safari experience requires that guests rise at dawn to meet a company of jeeps and guides. The crowds of strangers jostling for the best line of sight and proximity to the guides or animals can really diminish the experience. “Families come here looking for a dream to come true. They want to go on a safari, and they want to have their relatives around them to share this experience of a lifetime. But you cannot tell a baby they have to wake up at 5 am for a safari,” Manon explains. The Morukuru Freedom Concept eliminates all of the frustrations, and allows guests to completely personalize their stay.
Imagine waking whenever you like, and having an al fresco breakfast catered to your tastes by the master chef on staff. You tell the butler you’d like lobster for dinner, and he sends a helicopter rushing off to get it. Meanwhile, you take the kids for a game drive during which your private guide tells stories about the animals and answers every question. When you return, you leave the kids with the nanny and go for a boat ride on the river, a private swim, and a romantic dinner in the bush. In the evening, you take a bottle of champagne down to the outdoor hot tub. The night falls around you, and you listen to elephants playing in the river nearby. As you lean back and look up at the star-filled sky, it’s hard to believe the day wasn’t just a dream.
As the Morukuru Family has grown, so has their reputation. In fact, they have only ever had five-star reviews! Celebrities and even royalty from all over the world come here to see the wildlife, to be pampered, and to take advantage of the rigorous privacy standards. Everything is privately owned and staffed, so guests have exclusive access. The staff of each house is efficient and professional, and they care. There are 7-8 staff members per house, including your own chef, butler, hostess, nanny (if needed), housekeeper and a private safari guide and tracker. They listen carefully, and remember their guests’ preferences in order to tailor each experience and make every individual feel at home.
As you might suspect of a place so focused on personalization, the variety of activities available to visitors of Madikwe is greater than you find at a typical lodge. “Rangers are highly skilled and know the area inside out. They’ve been trained through many generations, and have a passion for protecting the natural environment and wildlife of the reserve.” In addition to the traditional safari experience there are options such as a walking safari, or “Bushwalk”, a fishing safari, and birdwatching opportunities as well. Or you can go waterskiing for the day and come back to a massage and entertainment by local dancers. For a truly unforgettable experience, spend a magical night sleeping in the Hide, a protected spot at the water’s edge where the animals roam freely around you.
If an African safari is what you dream of, this is the best way to do it. With every detail taken care of by the Morukuru Family, your only job is to slip into the dream and watch it unfold.