Located within the border of Kruger National Park––one of Africa’s largest game reserves at 7,523 square miles––the site of the hotel commemorates the park’s first visitors in the 1920s.
The Kruger Shalati Train Lodge sits on the exact spot where the original train parked at night for guests to retire in the evening before heading to the next destination the following day. Though parts of the land were protected in 1898, it officially became South Africa’s first national park in 1926. It is one portion of an area UNESCO considers an International Man and Biosphere Reserve. Filled with prides of lions, herds of elephants, crocodiles and giraffes, the Kruger is an ideal park for safari.
Aside from the spacious rooms––which have glass walls for unobstructed views of the river and grasslands beyond––the Shalati Lodge also boasts a custom deck. Here, guests can lounge and order a drink from the bar or go for a swim in the modern pool with Africa’s natural wildlife teaming just meters below.
“This is our opportunity to revitalize and recapture an important part of Kruger’s history, while at the same time increasing both the range and quality of product on offer in the park. The product design is largely the differentiator in this project—not only have we not seen anything alike in our country, but neither is there anything similar in the world,” Barnes said in a release.
Originally announced to open in December of 2019, the hotel is expected to begin welcoming guests in September of this year.