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Eco Chic | The Outpost Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa

September 25, 2011

The Outpost Lodge is located in the Makuleke region in the northernmost part of Kruger National Park. It is bordered to the north by the Limpopo and Zimbabwe and to the East by Crooks Corner and Zimbabwe. Guests are accommodated in 12 stand-alone en suite living spaces that are placed alongside a walkway on the side of a hill overlooking the Luvuvhu River.

The open-plan suites are spacious, sleek, with furnishing that gives a nod to everything eco-friendly. Foldaway panels provide uninterrupted views over the Luvuvhu River Valley, with sliding canvas screens for enhanced privacy or shade. Inside is a living area, bedroom and a large bathroom where – if you and the animals don’t mind – you can shower in full view of the valley below. Beds are wide and comfortable, and all fittings are of a high standard. All rooms are stand-alone, so you don’t have any neighbors in close proximity, both the human and animal kind.

The Outpost Lodge is an oasis of reserved, eco luxury; currently the first lodge to be built in the Makulele region, an area of over 59,000 acres. Constructed from steel, canvas, glass and aluminum, the surprisingly contemporary buildings are open and unaffected. Despite its remoteness, the lodge provides top-notch cuisine prepared in African-bush style. There is an excellent choice of wines, tantalizingly stored in a glass-walled wine-cellar.

The Outpost Lodge is in the Makuleke Region in the northernmost part of Kruger National Park. The Makuleke Region falls in the epicentre of the Great Limpopo Park which comprises Kruger National Park, the Gaza National Park in Mozambique and the Gonarezhou National Park in Southern Zimbabwe.

The Outpost Lodge celebrates its relationship with the Makuleke Community. The creation of the lodge is inextricably linked to the history of the Makuleke people, their forced removal from the region under the Apartheid laws of the old South African government and the subsequent return of title to the Makuleke people. The history of the Makuleke people is best explored by a visit to the Makuleke Village in the capable hands of a Makuleke guide. A visit to the Makuleke Village is a full day’s excursion.


Makulele Cultural Centre is a direct result of ecotourism collaboration between hotels in the area and the local Makulele tribe.

In 1996, with the return of democracy, the Makuleke tribes made a claim to repossess the land. They were successful on the conditions that they use the area for ecotourism.
Accordingly, the Makuleke people invested in eco-friendly tourist ventures in tandem with private-owned hotel groups. The Outpost Lodge was constructed on platforms to avoid damaging the soil with invasive foundations. The hotel groups pay 14% of their profits to the Makuleke community to lease the land, proceeds of which are used to build schools, roads, and bring electricity to the villages. The money is also used to provide academic scholarships to gifted young people.

As part of the agreement, the hotel is also obliged to train the members of the Makuleke community in the hotel trade. The locals are offered an apprenticeship of six months in a position of their choice and then a minimum 4-year employment contract. This program has proved successful. Since the beginning of the venture, 52 Makuleke people have been employed in The Outpost Lodge. Thirty of these went on to work in other aspects of the tourist industry – with some opting to work as Kruger Park tour guides.

This training and experience is an important starting point. Especially given the fact that in twenty years, according to the agreement, the two lodges will be handed over to the Makuleke community and they must have the necessary skills to run them profitably alone.

Inspiration: Kruger National Park, A Biotiful World

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