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Why did we hand pick Mbizi Bush Lodge?

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  • Incredibly intimate venue in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve
  • Big 5 wilderness, with game often seen at the lodge waterhole
  • Attentive service and all the traditional bushveld comforts

Mbizi Bush Lodge

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

26km from Phalaborwa


-24.0766, 31.0417


A highly personal, tranquil bushveld experience awaits guests who choose to stay at Mbizi Bush Lodge, which is the ideal place to unwind from frenetic modern life and explore the wonders of the nearby Kruger National Park. Elephants regularly visit the lodge’s lush grounds to feed on the trees and drink from the swimming pool, and the contemporary African-style chalets have verandahs that allow for armchair bird watching and game viewing.

Tucked away in the bush, there are just four of these thatched cottages, meaning that every guest is treated to privacy and individualised service from owners Mette and Michael Kristensen. Kept cool by air conditioning and ceiling fans, each cottage provides comfort in the form of plump double beds, tea/coffee facilities, hairdryers, spacious wardrobes and safes.

The private verandah is an idyllic setting to enjoy a sundowner from the mini-bar, looking out over the bush to the Northern Drakensberg mountains. The en-suite bathrooms have soothing showers and charming hand-painted basins. 

A short walk from the chalets, the main lodge is raised up on decks with spectacular views over the reserve. With a wide, furnished verandah and beautiful rimflow swimming pool surrounded by a deck with loungers, the lodge offers plenty of opportunity for guests to take advantage of the balmy subtropical climate and soak up the tranquillity of the bush. As a special bonus, a diverse array of wildlife is attracted by the private waterhole right in front of the lodge. 

Michael and Mette’s passion for the bush is evident, and Michael will often take guests on game drives through the reserve, during which there is a chance to see the Big Five, in addition to many other furry, feathered and scaly residents.

Mette happens to be an excellent chef, and ensures that food is another outstanding feature of a stay at Mbizi. Days are kicked off in fine style with an appetising cold and cooked-to-order breakfast. At sunset, cocktails can be sipped at the bar or on the verandah, before guests are treated to a sublime three-course dinner that balances African flavours with tastes of the Mediterranean. A carefully chosen selection of fine South African wines is on offer to enhance the meal. Served in the dining room overlooking the illuminated waterhole, or beside the crackling fire underneath the stars, this delectable feast will be something to be remembered. Light lunches can also be arranged to keep the energy levels up throughout the day. 

Before arriving, guests who want to explore the area more thoroughly can let the lodge arrange a self-drive itinerary at no extra cost, that will take them to some of Limpopo and Mpumalanga’s top attractions. Bookings for a variety of activities (both guided and unguided) ranging from safaris in Kruger, to elephant and cheetah interactions, hot air ballooning, golf and river cruises, can all be taken care of. This is just a small taste of what the region has to offer, and Michael and Mette are happy to tell you about what else there is to see and do.

Rates & Summary

4 Bush Cottages

Each sleeps 2 in double bed
En-suite shower
Verandah with bushveld views


  • For pricing detail, click on CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE above


Dinner, bed and breakfast
Light lunches available


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Situated in the Grietjie Private Game Reserve, part of the Balule Nature Reserve in Limpopo, Mbizi Bush Lodge offers owner-managed hospitality and comfortable accommodation in four thatched cottages surrounded by indigenous trees. Guests are treated to hearty food and have use of a swimming pool with views over the bush. The lodge has an exceptionally intimate atmosphere which allows a deep spiritual connection with the bush. Guests can get a close-up view of the elephants that regularly visit the lodge’s lush grounds, while the waterhole in front of the main building attracts a wide variety of game.


  • Incredibly intimate venue in the heart of the Balule Nature Reserve
  • Big 5 wilderness, with game often seen at the lodge waterhole
  • Attentive service and all the traditional bushveld comforts

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, golf clubs, mosquito repellent, binoculars for bird watching/game viewing.

Road Conditions

The gravel approach road is suitable for all vehicles, but slow driving is recommended.

Activities & Attractions

  • Game drives
  • Nearby: wildlife rehabilitation centres, Kruger National Park, elephant encounters, reptile park, Panorama Route,  golf courses, boat cruises, river rafting, tubing, quad biking, horse trails, hot air ballooning, silk farm.


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Verandah / patio
  • Ceiling fans
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Hair dryer available
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast & dinner
  • Restaurant
  • Licensed
  • Braai area available
  • Fridge or minibar


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • No television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi
  • Good cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Not wheelchair friendly
  • No babysitting
  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops further than 10km
  • Nearest fuel further than 10km


  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted


  • Personal safe







The Mopani region is a heady mix of mountain and bushveld, history and culture. Mopani includes the towns of Tzaneen, Giyani, Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit. It also includes sections of the northern Drakensberg mountains, parts of the Kruger National Park and an eastern chunk of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon. Think dramatic mountain scenery, ancient rivers and unspoiled wilderness reserves.

Mopani is named after an edible worm, of all things. The best way to discover the delights of the region is by exploring the Valley of the Olifants self-drive tourism route. This takes you through wilderness areas with excellent mountain views. It is this combination of mountain and bush that gives the Mopani region its special charm.

The route is named after the Olifants (Lepelle) River, which cuts its way through steep mountains and then flows through the Kruger National Park to join the Limpopo River.

From the quaint hamlet of Haenertsburg, north-east of Polokwane, the panoramic 40km-long Magoebaskloof Pass descends 600m in a series of dizzying bends to the subtropical town of Tzaneen. Every bend greets you with a different surprise: waterfalls, historic bluegum trees, lookout points, nurseries and roadside stalls.

Surrounded by blue-green mountains, Tzaneen is a laid-back centre of agriculture and farming. From here you can explore wilderness and mountains, visit the realm of the legendary Rain Queen, and see the country’s biggest baobab tree.

From Tzaneen it’s a pleasant drive through scenic bushveld to the towns of Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit. Phalaborwa was established in 1958 after the discovery of huge mineral deposits. It is the central gateway to the Kruger National Park via the Phalaborwa Gate. It’s a small but busy town that reaches scorching summer temperatures.

Apart from having the biggest opencast mine in the world, Phalaborwa’s other claim to fame is that it’s the closest town to the Kruger National Park. It’s a five-minute drive from the centre of town to the Phalaborwa Gate. Residents are used to the ‘Hippo Crossing’ signs and the odd warthog trundling down the high street.

Hoedspruit is a centre for surrounding wildlife reserves, private reserves, game reserves and conservation centres. The town is known for its bushveld beauty and conservation ethos and is a stepping stone to assorted bush adventures. These include game viewing, birding, hiking, river rafting and mountain climbing.

The Mopani region also includes the eastern part of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon, offering the essential ‘Kruger to Canyon’ experience that combines mountains and bush. Travellers from Mpumalanga to Hoedspruit will arrive via the scenic Abel Erasmus Pass, which descends 800m in its 24km length.

The highlight is the 133,5m-long Strijdom Tunnel where you emerge from cool darkness into bright sunlight nearly a thousand metres above the Olifants River valley.

Look out for

The northern Drakensberg & Wolkberg wilderness areas - he mountainous heart of Mopani is the Wolkberg Wilderness and Magoebaskloof. This is hiking, birding, fishing, strolling, rambling and botanising territory. If you’re into extreme stuff and adrenalin rushes, you can take a canopy tour, go kloofing, abseiling, river rafting, white water tubing and mountain biking.

The Realm of the Rain Queen - This is set in the village of Modjadji, in mountain foothills, near Tzaneen. It is said that Queen Modjadji settled here after fleeing Zimbabwe in the late 17th century. She brought with her special rain summoning powers, and started the matriarchal Bolobedu tribe. Modjadji is also home to the Modjadji Cycad Reserve, which has thousands of species of the rare endemic cycad (Transvenosus encephalartos) that dates back to the time of the dinosaur.

The country’s biggest baobab - The Sunland Baobab, as it’s officially known, is named after the farm where it has grown for over 4 000 years. This gentle giant is 22m high and has a 47m circumference. Get up close and personal with this giant at Sunland Farm, near Tzaneen. You’ll discover why the surreal baobab is a source of great legend, and the symbol of Limpopo province.

Kruger to canyon trip - The Mopani region’s hallmark is the combination of mountain and bush. The area between the central Kruger National Park and the eastern reaches of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon offers amazing nature and adventure opportunities. These include gentle sundowner cruises and tranquil bushveld walks, adrenalin-charged river rafting and gorge swinging. This part of Mopani has excellent views of lichen-clad cliff faces and dramatic kloofs and canyons.

The Lowveld and the Kruger Park - The Mopani region offers direct access to the central and northern parts of the Kruger National Park. It also leads to the Mpumalanga Lowveld, famed for its game-rich reserves. Just inside the Phalaborwa Gate is the Masorini Museum, a Late Iron Age archaeological site showing smelting furnaces, homesteads and historic implements. Another highlight is the Elephant Museum at Letaba Camp, which is an easy drive from Phalaborwa. Letaba is a pretty camp overlooking the river, where elephant sightings are practically guaranteed. In the northern Kruger Park, near Punda Maria, is Thulamela National Heritage Site. A significant archaeological site, with hillsides that are filled with stone ruins that tell the story of an ancient culture that settled here in the 15th century.

Bush to beach - It is now possible to take this route from the Phalaborwa gate all the way to the beaches of the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. Travellers drive through the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which includes the Kruger National Park and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. The border post is a Giriyondo, near the Massingir Dam.

Kruger to Canyon Birding Route - This route starts at the beginning of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon at God’s Window. It follows Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route and enters Limpopo via the dramatic Abel Erasmus Pass. From there it leads to Hoedspruit and into the central Kruger Park.

Hans Merensky Golf Course - Undoubtedly the best golfing experience in Mopani. This famous course, designed by Bob Grimsdell, is adjacent to the Kruger National Park. It offers players a unique opportunity to tee off amongst the wildlife.

Wildlife and conservation - Apart from being part of a massive transfrontier park, the Mopani region offers incredible opportunities for viewing wildlife. It’s also a conservation centre. In and around Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa are a variety of wildlife breeding and rehabilitation centres. There are also ranger training camps and guided wilderness experiences.

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To Do

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