Grown up, art-filled, private home

Unnamed Road, South Africa


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At a Glance

Mateya is a private estate with large, art-filled rooms, discreet, white-glove service and a respect for privacy.

Indagare Loves

  • Fantastic tribal African art collection all around the lodge
  • Discreet and doting service
  • The spacious but intimate layout


The Out of Africa experience is a trope that safari-goers often seek in lodges, and in the dusty, semi-arid plains of Madikwe, Mateya is the closest you’ll come to that cinematographic fantasy. Still, it’s a disservice to its unique character to reduce it to a movie cliché. Mateya is a singular lodge in that it answers the question, “What if you had an eccentric relative who moved to the bush, built a home and filled it with tribal African art, and who then invited you to stay in one of the guest rooms?”

Mateya is a gem, not just because it was formerly a private home with five large, well-appointed rooms, but because it features the owners’ impressive (and continually growing) collection of sculptures sourced from all over the continent. Every room features intricately carved wooden doors, exquisite bronze statues of animals and tribal figures, hand-painted pottery and oil paintings of large cats. The library is filled with a rare collection of African literature. In fact, it seems as if every piece of furniture, china and silverware is a piece of art in this remarkable lodge.

The bedrooms are spacious and comfortable, with marble bathrooms, four-poster beds, and large plunge pools with views of a waterhole. Despite its abundance of art, the overall aesthetic is subdued, with earth tones and a timeless elegance. The rooms are all spread out, providing a sense of privacy and offering lovely views out into the bush.

Light pours into the main house from its floor-to-ceiling windows that open out to a large, wooden deck. At the far end of the deck there is a sunken fire-pit, a great gathering place for an aperitif at sunset, if you choose to interact with other guests. At Mateya, privacy is assumed rather than treated as a special request (and sometimes an imposition) and it’s possible not to dine with or meet other people during the course of your stay.

Its only drawback, if any, is its insistence that WiFi be limited to a small business center. This in keeping with the sense of repose that the lodge promotes, but in reality, it is impractical and inconvenient as guests still end up congregating in that tiny room for a connection to the world.

Who Should Stay

Travelers who seek some privacy and appreciate staying in a home with a lot of character and a high level of service will enjoy Mateya. Of the properties in Madikwe, it’s the one that most closely resembles an Out of Africa experience, albeit with less nostalgic pieces and more serious tribal art. With such a small number of rooms, the estate is also perfect for an extended family or group takeover.

Note: Mateya only takes children nine years old and up.

Written by Janine Yu

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