My Travel Blog

Royal Malawane – The Best For Last

Jane Lee with Town and Country Travel likes to save the best for last, and that would be the Royal Malawane. Though it was our last safari camp it was not the end of our trip. We had already talked to friends that had stayed there, and they couldn’t say enough. Their guest list includes royalty, Hollywood stars, and Wall Street tycoons. This amazing safari camp is located on a private game reserve bordering Kruger National Park.  Our Africa trip was a package, so I don’t know what it cost to stay there, and I’m glad.

Because it was so expensive to stay at the Royal Malewane it did not make sense to arrive at night, and lose a full day. We flew from Zambia to South Africa where Jane Lee had booked us into what she referred to as a quaint little family run hotel for one night. Well Oliver’s is not quite what she had described.  (She does like to surprise us.)  The place was beautiful and our room was amazing. Of course we did have an uninvited guest just as we were getting ready to leave, but hey, we were in Africa.

An uninvited guest.


A tub with a view at the Royal Malawane.

Lunch on our private terrace at the Royal Malawane.

We had a visitor during lunch.

The Royal Malewane lived up to its reputation. Everything about it was superior especially the staff. Something I never realized was how important it was to have highly qualified guides and trackers.  The Royal Malewane has the best in Africa. These men and women have spent years honing their skills.

We had had so many wonderful encounters with every kind of animal except the rhinoceros. So when we were asked what we would like to see these endangered animals went to the top of our list. There are two kinds of rhinoceros in Africa black and white.  Depending on whom we asked there are only 2,500 or 4,500 black rhinoceros left in the world.  At the rate they are being poached they will be extinct in less than ten years. We also learned that black and white has nothing to do with the color of the animal. When the Dutch first arrived in Africa and saw rhinoceros they noted that the White Rhinoceros mouth was much wider than the Black Rhinoceros. The White Rhinoceros grazes on grass where as the Black Rhinoceros is a browser, and eats the bark and limbs off the trees and brush.  Because the White Rhinoceros is a grazer its mouth is much wider. Therefore, the Dutch called them wide mouth rhinoceros. When the British finally arrived and heard the Dutch talking about wide mouthed Rhinoceros the Dutch word for wide sounded like white to them. If the one species of Rhinoceros was white than the other had to be black.

A white rhinoceros with child.

Note how wide the white rhinoceros ‘s mouth is.

Two White Rhinoceros.

A very rare Black Rhinoceros. They look prehistoric!

The White Rhinoceros are significantly larger than the black.  There horns on the black market are worth roughly $500,000.00. It is the Chinese that value them so much as they believe they have magical healing powers, and can cure anything from cancer to impotence. You can imagine with one animal being so highly valued, in a country with such extreme poverty, trying to save them is almost impossible.  One possible method that has been discussed, but to our knowledge never implemented, was to inject their horns with hoof and mouth disease.  It would not harm the animal, but it would kill anyone that ingested the horns.  I’m sure that as soon as the word got out that Rhinoceros horns were infected with hoof and mouth disease the demand would plummet.

Lunch Royal Malawane style in the bush.

Lunch Royal Malawane style in the bush.

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.