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We are a 50–50% partnership with the local Mdluli Community. The lodge was developed with the purpose of sustainably improving the lives and infrastructure of the 45,000-member Mdluli Community, who live across 4 villages – Makoko, Bhekiswayo, Salubindza and Nyongane.
How does it happen that there is non-state-owned land inside the borders of the Kruger National Park?
In 1968, the Mdluli Community were forcibly removed from their land near Numbi Gate, by the then Apartheid government, due to their policy to expand the Park’s borders. After a long battle for land restitution, in 1998 the Community were granted freehold title of their land. This area is now known as the Mdluli Reserve, and is located seamlessly within the borders of the Kruger National Park. Today the Mdluli Community has freehold title of 850 hectares of land inside the borders of the Kruger National Park. The Community receives direct and indirect social and economic benefits from the lodge’s operations.
“I am really excited about this project which was started 20 years ago by our late father, Inkhosi MZ Mdluli.
It was his vision to see the Royal Family and the entire Mdluli Community benefiting through education and community development. I took over where he left off and I am committed in ensuring that under my leadership and guidance, his vision becomes a reality.
Through this project, I undertake to bring stability and social cohesion in the Community, and I also remain convinced that the children of the royal family and the Mdluli Community shall go to universities. Schools, roads and clinics shall be upgraded, and poverty shall be eradicated through the creation of skills and employment opportunities”.
– Inkhosi MI Mdluli | Senior Traditional Leader, Mdluli Royal Family & Mdluli Traditional Council.
In a country with such high unemployment, we believe it is our responsibility to play a significant part in sustainable job creation and skills development.The construction of the lodge employed nearly 200 laborers, both men and women from the Mdluli Community. Many of them, who has never worked before, gained both financial and skills benefits.
Today, nearly 90% of our lodge team comes from the Community, most of whom are women.
Our lodge experience pays homage to Siswati culture and tradition, and this is brought to life for guests to explore the deep significance of the story of this land.The connections between the lodge and Community are broad and deep. Each one demonstrates an ongoing commitment to our partnership. The initiatives made possible by the lodge’s operations have a multiplier effect – they collectively realise our long-term vision of uplifting the lives and enhancing the infrastructure of the Mdluli Community.
In 2023, we sponsored the development of a borehole in the Mdluli village of Makoko, with over 3,800 inhabitants.
The borehole has been drilled to more than 80m, yielding over 2 litres of water every second, which delivers up to 60,000 litres of water each day to Community members.The system includes a 10-metre tower, solar panels, an alarm system, solar-power water pump and it provides water to distribution points throughout the village.The borehole was built by Innovation Africa. The multiplier effect of a project of this scale has no limit. This water generates its own ecosystem of possibility and opportunity, be it in agriculture or small business, with consequence job creation.The opening of the taps is a literal stake in the ground of the lodge’s positive impact
View media related to our newly unveiled borehole community project ...
A catalyst of change for the people of Makoko Village ...
“Award winning service. The best place to go when you need a break from the busy city life. Tranquility at its best. Definitely planning another trip. Recommend it to friends and family. You get value for your money and experience South Africa like never before. A community based business that has the best service.”
“Mdluli Safari lodge is hands down the best lodge experience in the Kruger National Park. The staff were phenomenal, the tented accommodation was 5 star and the food and overall lodge experience was fantastic.”
“Relaxing and comfortable with beautiful views. Friendly staff and the food is great with big variety. Tents are beautiful and clean and perfectly located. Great location to enter the Kruger. Good value for money.”