Qwabi, meaning ‘African Wild Cat’ in the Sesotho language, stretches across 11 000 hectares of the Waterberg, a region world-famous for its natural beauty, biodiversity and wildlife. The lush reserve is already home to three standalone lodges, all of which are set to undergo an extensive refurbishment and architectural redesign, reimagining the safari experience for guests.

“Qwabi is an extraordinary slice of the African bushveld. My team and I feel very privileged to have been appointed as co-custodians of Qwabi and to turn the reserve into a world-class destination,” says Neil Markovitz, CEO of Newmark Hotels & Reserves, a South Africa-based turnkey hospitality company. “We very much look forward to introducing these three lodges to travel markets around the globe, and to hosting both our international and ever-important domestic guests.”

Leading the five-star rejuvenation of the lodges will be Francois du Plessis of Francois du Plessis Interiors, whose keen eye was also responsible for the striking aesthetic of the Queen Victoria Hotel in Cape Town, as well as the considered décor of the historic Dock House Boutique Hotel.

The largest lodge on the property is the first to be refurbished, and guests can look forward to 57 Afri-chic rooms offering a stylish sojourn amidst the wilderness. This includes 10 luxury suites with private plunge pools; ideal for a multi-generational family safari.

To enhance the family-friendly credentials, the lodge will include an immersive kids’ club offering explorative adventures, alongside a padel court and two swimming pools, one of which overlooks a waterhole frequented by wildlife. The lodge will offer various dining options, ranging from the elegant main restaurant to intimate dining spaces for couples, and a vibrant outdoor boma. A rejuvenating spa will boast multiple treatment rooms and relaxation spaces, adding to the lodge’s appeal as a wilderness wellness retreat.

With the first lodge planned to welcome guests from December 2022, two more intimate safari destinations on Qwabi are expected to reopen in the first quarter of 2023.

The second lodge to be unveiled will be exclusively for adult guests, offering a serene bushveld escape defined by its fine food, luxurious accommodation and polished service. Here, the accommodation will offer 25 rooms, ranging from premium accommodation to suites boasting private plunge pools, alongside an opulent presidential-style suite for guests seeking additional privacy. The lodge will offer extensive facilities for guests, including a large swimming pool, dedicated wellness spa, fitness centre, restaurant, bar, vinoteque and boma.

The final lodge to reopen will feature 24 guest rooms, as well as a swimming pool, boutique spa, restaurant and bush bar; making it ideal for group bookings and corporate getaways.

Guests at all three lodges on Qwabi Private Game Reserve will be able to enjoy the remarkable wilderness of the Waterberg, proclaimed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its ecological diversity. The 11 000 hectares of Qwabi Private Game Reserve were once agricultural land, but have since been set aside for conservation in a bid to rewild and restore this sensitive ecosystem. On daily game excursions guests will be able to head out in search of the ‘Big Five’, and other wildlife including the brown hyena and species of the critically endangered hornbill. Set roughly three hours by road from Johannesburg, Qwabi Private Game Reserve is easily accessible for self-drive visitors, although guests may also fly into the reserve via helicopter.

Qwabi joins the select Newmark portfolio of conservation-first privately owned game reserves that includes Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati, neighbouring the Kruger National Park; Nkomazi Private Game Reserve in Mpumalanga; and Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. The portfolio also includes Serengeti Sojourn, a luxury mobile camp that follows the annual migration in East Africa.

About NEWMARK Hotels & Reserves 

Newmark’s portfolio includes a curated collection of luxury hotels and reserves in South Africa, East Africa, including Zanzibar, as well as the island of Mauritius.  NEWMARK’s Cape Town portfolio includes the signature addresses of the Victoria & Alfred Hotel, the deluxe Dock House Boutique Hotel, the five-star Queen Victoria Hotel & Manor House, La Splendida in Mouille Point, the newly renovated and reopened The Winchester Hotel in Sea Point as well as the Onyx Boutique Hotel and the Rockefeller Hotel, both on the city’s rejuvenated Foreshore. Further into South Africa’s interior, the collection includes the Eastern Cape’s historic Drostdy Hotel in Graaff-Reinet as well as the nearby legendary Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve. Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve of Limpopo Province and Nkomazi Private Game Reserve in Mpumalanga Province complete the private game reserve collection. NEWMARK recently cemented a presence in South Africa’s financial capital, Johannesburg, with the launch of The Catalyst Hotel situated in Sandton.

Beyond South Africa’s borders, NEWMARK Hotels & Reserves represents and manages the boutique hotels of La Maison d’Été in Mauritius, Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge in Zanzibar, Tanzania as well as Serengeti Sojourn, a mobile tented camp that follows the annual migration in East Africa.

Current new projects include the much-anticipated Blue Amber property development on an idyllic tranche of Zanzibar’s sun-washed northern coastline that encompasses the beach-chic Shirazi Resort & Villas; set to open in early 2025. The company recently announced a project in collaboration with SANParks to restore the Apostle Battery located on the lower slopes of the Table Mountain National Park that will also include the development of a retreat-style mountain lodge.

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