History of the Lodge

As I am asked regularly how Idube started, I thought I would write a brief history of the lodge and the family that built and owns it.  So here goes:

In 1983 Louis and Marilyn (Mal) Marais sold their property in the Klaserie and bought a piece of land in the Sabi Sand on the farm Wallingford. There was nothing on the land at all, no houses, no water and not many animals. Before any building was done, drilling started to find a suitable well. Eight of the holes drilled were dry and Louis told Mal that if the ninth did not produce water, they needed to sell. They were on holiday at the time and on Christmas Eve, they got a phone call that water had been found and exactly where Louis wanted to build.

Being a master builder and having run a successful contracting company for many years, Louis was able to design and build the Lodge himself. The bush is his passion. Idube is designed and built to perfection. Nothing is removed from the land, he builds around existing termite mounds and rocks and incorporates these into his designs.

After the dams were built, construction started on the swimming pool while the family lived in a caravan. The pool has no steps, so if an animal should fall in, it can walk out easily. Bush maintenance and upkeep has always played a major roll in Louis’ life. He is well versed on bush management. After the devastating fire in 1998, once he had established the damage, he started major soil reclamation and erosion work and replanted the damaged areas with indigenous grasses. After the rains, the bush was unrecognisable from what it had been.

Being the perfectionist that he is, the lawn around the lodge is a source of pride for Louis. It is always lush and green. During the drought of the eighties, there was not enough water to irrigate and the grass was dying off. Louis had been thinking about a water recycling scheme for some time but had not reached a final decision about how this should be done.

He then implemented the present water recycling scheme whereby all the water used in the lodge is pumped into a holding tank. The solids are kept back and water is then pumped into a seep line near the lodge. It is purified naturally through rocks, rhino, elephant dung and reeds and flows into a holding dam. The water is so pure that we have fish living there and a small crocodile has been seen there on numerous occasions. This water is used for irrigation and the lawn became green again. In fact it was the lawn that kept our resident herd of nyala and the warthogs alive after the fire destroyed the grazing. This nyala herd has grown to such an extent that as many as 80 have been seen round the lodge at the same time.

Nyala near Deck

The new Makubela suites were completed in 2011. These two luxury suites are totally private and each has its own splash pool. They are ideal for honeymooners or people who just want to get away from everyone and everything. In June this year, the Leadwood suite joined the Makubelas with its own private splash pool. And the new outside lounge, The Gazebo, was added. This modern area is glassed on 4 sides and is a popular place to relax and see the view of the whole area, right down to the river bed. This area is made cosy in winter with a double sided fireplace to the lounge. A firepit outside the boma make the lounge entertainment area complete. Next to the swimming pool, the deck has been completely rebuilt and is now more spacious than it was before. The old lounge deck has been removed, opening up the space in front of a room making it an even nicer room than previously. The gym is now air-conditioned and some new equipment added.

The chalets are designed and built in such a way that they are cool at all times. The ceilings are high and steeply pitched to keep the rooms cool. Our rooms are not thatched, although thatch has been retained for the welcoming bar. The rooms have bathrooms en suite and all have an inside and outside shower. Idube is not a large lodge, it hosts a maximum of 23 guests. It is a small, family run lodge and the atmosphere is one of peace. You can actually feel the love the Marais family has for both the land and the Lodge. Idube is proud of the friendliness of the staff and the personal service guests receive from the moment they make their first enquiry, until the final farewell at the Lodge.

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