Mateya Safari Lodge, in North West province, draws inspiration from Queen Mateya's legendary ruined settlement. The story starts with a terrible drought in the queen's territory in the northern parts of South Africa, which saddened her so much that she decided to go in search of Modjadji, the Rain Queen.
Safari Review | Mateya Safari Lodge, Madikwe Reserve
by Carrie Hampton
The Legend of Mateya Safari LodgeAfter much travelling, Queen Mateya set up camp in the area now known as Madikwe, a wild land on the fringe of the Kalahari. After many months, she found the Rain Queen and presented her with an exquisite jewel-encrusted necklace, specially made by Queen Mateya's highly skilled smiths.The Rain Queen must have been impressed as rains started to flow in the land of Mateya. Unfortunately, according to legend, Queen Mateya never made it back to her people. Standing upon stone supports on a rocky outcrop of the Gabbro hills in Madikwe Game Reserve, Mateya Safari Lodge commands an expansive view of the surrounding grass plains. There is certainly something regal about the place.This is immediately apparent in the bronze bust of Queen Mateya, sculpted by Donald Greig, that greets you at the entrance. And in the stately, ancient Zanzibari elephant doors that open onto the elegant interior of the lodge.Mateya's reign as one of the most sophisticated grande dames of safari lodges in South Africa is assured by its inclusion of all things fine. This goes for table silver, haute cuisine, five enormous suites, marble bathrooms, walk-in dressing rooms, fine Egyptian cotton linen, mahogany furniture, tailor-made game drives and walks and, most notably, Mateya's art collection.Mateya's owner, Susan White Mathis, is a patron of African arts. Since the time she fell in love with Africa from her native Georgia, USA, she has collected one of the world's finest private collections of African books, art and artefacts.
Bronzes by Robert Glen, Donald Greig and Dylan Lewis represent many animal species, while woodcarvings come in the form of royal palace doors and expertly crafted figureheads.In fact, such is Mathis's passion that the spaces were built to accommodate the art, not the other way round. This explains why the large wildlife and landscape paintings by Paul Augustinus have ample hanging space and why Robert Glen's huge bronze of a lion hunting an impala, entitled Near Miss, holds centre stage in the living room.
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