Imagine a sanctuary where a dazzling array of wildlife wanders freely — and so can you.
Marloth Park is a nature and wildlife conservation area cradled into a horseshoe loop of the Crocodile River. It shares a 15-kilometre boundary with the Kruger National Park in the Land of the Rising Sun, South Africa’s captivating Mpumalanga province.
This special conservancy lies a short one-hour flight away from Johannesburg. You’ll land at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Mbombela, followed by a comfortable road transfer to a most beautiful bush base.
Warthogs, giraffe, ostrich, zebra, mongoose, francolin, wildebeest and impala rove freely inside the conservancy while the Crocodile River winds lazily by. This is one of the most biodiverse and productive regions of the Kruger National Park. Watch all the action from a bird’s-eye approach on an upper-story deck. To the left, a herd of elephants enjoying the splish-splash of cool water on a hot bushveld day, to the right, busy birds enjoying the ripened fruits of majestic riverine trees. Over 300 bird species have been logged across the conservation estate, which was named after the German botanist Rudolf Marloth. The Aloe marlothii, a succulent plant with striking red flowers found abundantly in the Lowveld, likewise bears his name.
Intimate wildlife encounters. The conservancy is unfenced, so the animals trot about without restriction across 1,500 hectares of indigenous bush. Antelope and other iconic African plains game, such as the curly-horned kudu, handsome nyala and the character-filled warthog meander through Marloth Park.
Here’s how to make the most of your stay.
Carefully mapped, the best cycling routes depart right from the door of the riverside lodge, Vida Nova Kruger and follow game-rich paths in the park.
The Green Route carries cyclists along a short but charming five-kilometre broad circuit around the lodge. The Blue Route is a longer 18-kilometre ride that straddles the border of the Kruger National Park. The Red Route is the longest trail at 30 kilometres and takes enthusiasts further along the banks of Crocodile River, overlooking the Kruger National Park and back along the border of Lionspruit Game Reserve (which is home to lions, buffalo and more).
Enjoy the unbeatable combination of golden sands and glorious safari with a trip to Mozambique. Marloth Park sits under an hour away from the border post.
Pair your Kruger trip with the snorkel hotspots and warm waters of magical Machangulo. An intoxicating mosaic of indigenous forest and tempting turquoise seas, Machangulo is a secluded peninsula in southern Mozambique. There is a playground of bountiful beaches, choice watersports, plus a delicious dose of local cuisine in one easy-to-access sanctuary.
Culture-vultures can also experience the vibrant delights of the capital Maputo with a day trip.
Last but not least, let’s look to the legendary Kruger National Park. Being based at Marloth Park presents fantastic game drive route variety because there are two easy-access entrance gates to the park. The Crocodile Bridge gate sits 14 kilometres away, and the Malelane Gate is just 35 kilometres. Vida Nova Kruger’s expert safari guides drive spacious Toyota Landcruiser safari vehicles with an expandable roof (ala East Africa) for better wildlife viewing that doesn’t compromise comfort during the 20-minute tar road transit.
Day trips into this iconic game reserve begin early in the morning. This way, guests get front row seats to the best action once animals start to stir in the cool of dawn.
This southern section of the Kruger is known for its excellent big cat sightings. It is famous for its concentration of different prides of lion with varying hunting techniques. In fact, there is an abundance of prides, herds, troops, packs and swarms. Loners too, if we look at creatures like the leopards, likewise seen regularly in the region. This southern circle is also home to the most significant rhino population, upping your chances of completing the Big Five.
After a few hours of ticking off sightings and settling into the bush rhythm, it’s time for breakfast at one of the pretty picnic spots — a sacred Kruger tradition. Coffee and rusks below the trees? Yes, please.
Vida Nova Kruger is a discreet bush retreat with glorious views of the Kruger National Park. Sip a cocktail while overlooking the Crocodile River at sunset or savour coffee with elephants at sunrise from the elegant deck. Professional hosts and guides will ensure you experience the very best of the bush.
Expect insightful advice on where to explore on your own two feet or relax and be piloted on a luxury safari through the Kruger National Park. Sunshine, superb dining, safaris, resting during the ample downtime. These are the spoils of your very own private bush home.