Lion Roars Hotels And Lodges Story About Us


The people behind Lion Roars

Lion Roars is a family-owned and run company, started by the Bailey family and friends about twenty years ago. Together, we own, operate and develop boutique accommodation in our favourite place in the world: Southern Africa. 

Early beginnings in Zambia

So, how did it start? Two brothers, with a passion for conservation and Africa, big dreams, and not a lot else (but for a supportive family) wanted to bring people to see the places they loved. We started offering personalised luxury travel to Southern Africa, with a particular focus on Zimbabwe’s wildlife. We loved the magnificent Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, on Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools border, and this inspired the development of Royal Zambezi Lodge and the progression to the unique Mwambashi River Lodge.

While we, sadly, left the great Zambezi behind (we had to grow up some time, and besides that, I think we needed to give the other fishermen a chance), the success of these lodges, not only as a family getaways, but also as a sought-after retreats, paved the way for the growth of the portfolio to the Eastern and Southern Cape of South Africa.

The move to the Eastern Cape, South Africa

We started in Port Elizabeth, with the development of Singa Lodge , an oasis in the city in Summerstrand beachfront area. Shortly afterwards, the simple, stylish and well-located Ibhayi Lodge was added to the portfolio. Set in the tranquil, leafy suburb of Walmer in PE, Ibhayi is now home to 24 rooms, 5 conference rooms and the relaxed and friendly Leo’s Bistro and Lounge.

Moving West - Plettenberg Bay

Our Mom and Dad’s long-term beach home (open to all comers as long as you said you were invited by a cousin) on Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay, has been our family gathering place for over twenty years. In 2007, we took over the neighbouring Cottage Pie Guest House, which allowed us an opportunity to share another of our favourite destinations with guests. Over the years, Cordovan Villa, Robberg House and Beachy Head Villa (the original home) have been added to the complex to create the unique Robberg Beach Lodge. 

In 2012, we refurbished and re-opened Redbourne Country Lodge  in Plettenberg Bay. We have close family ties at Redbourne in a partnership with Dale Bluett and Rebecca Griffiths - our cousins - who live and work in Zambia for 9 months of the year and return to offer their great services and expertise at the lodge over the festive season. 

Conservation: The Amakhala Game Reserve

Our love of wildlife and desire to undo some of the damage from man’s heavy-handed influence on our natural surroundings, led to acquisition of a large portion of the Amakhala Game Reserve. This allowed us to share our love of the rolling Eastern Cape landscape and further our commitment to conservation. Hlosi Game Lodge and Bukela Game Lodge were the first to join our Amakhala portfolio, offering warm hospitality, luxurious accommodation and a Big 5 game experience less than an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth. A few years later we joined forces with the inimitable Fowlds family, to add the charming Leeuwenbosch Country House to the Lion Roars stable. In another exciting development, all the families involved in the Reserve joined together to form a unified marketing umbrella and brand of “Amakhala Game Reserve: A Pride Member of Lion Roars”. In addition to Bukela, Hlosi and Leeuwenbosch , Quatermains Camp, Safari Lodge, Woodbury Lodge, Woodbury Tented Camp and Carnarvon Dale are all available through the Lion Roars portfolio, giving a fabulous choice of tented camps, country houses or luxurious game lodges in what was voted the Eastern Cape’s Best Private Game Reserve.
Along the way, our team grew (we wouldn’t be here without them) and we collected a fabulous group of people, combining an amazingly varied bundle of passion, drive and unique skills. The dedication, energy and skill of our wonderful team of people are apparent in every Lion Roars experience. Most people seem to stay with the family for a long time, adding credence to our philosophy that when you join Lion Roars, you become part of the pride for life!

And into the Cape Winelands and Cape Town 

In 2012, Lion Roars fulfilled a long-term dream of expanding to the Cape when we teamed up with Mark Borrie and Simon Olding to bring Hawksmoor House into the pride. This added an unsurpassed authentic Cape Winelands experience to the mix. Hawksmoor is a superbly-located historic Cape Dutch country retreat, situated in the farmlands outside Stellenbosch. Meticulously restored and beautifully decorated with exquisite antiques, Hawksmoor also bottles and sells the fabulous boutique Hawksmoor Wine label, now available at all our properties.

In 2013, we were presented with an opportunity to include Cape Town, our favourite city, in our offering. And we’ve been rewarded with two great additions to the pride: The Three Boutique Hotel in Gardens, owned by the powerhouse husband and wife team of Justin and Natalia Pearson, and The Hyde Hotel in Sea Point, run by Leon Knoetze and his tight-knit team. These two properties offer a superb Cape Town accommodation experience under the Lion Roars banner. 

2014 and 2015: twelve new members in the Lion Roars Pride

Once we’d made friends in the Cape, things moved quickly. In 2014-2015, we welcomed twelve new properties to the Lion Roars Pride. This means we can offer an unprecedented variety of locations, routes and star-grades to our guests under the Lion Roars umbrella.

New Garden Route accommodation: In addition to Robberg Beach Lodge and Redbourne Country Lodge in Plettenberg Bay, guests travelling the Garden Route have three new accommodation options: African Oceans Manor on the Beach and Bay Lodge in Mossel Bay offer direct beach access, in a gentle seaside town atmosphere. A further one and a half hour’s drive away the wood and stone suites of Elephant Hide Guest House in Knysna overlook the beautiful Knysna Lagoon and Outeniqua Mountains.   

New Mpumalanga Accommodation: In the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, 3* Nkambeni Safari Camp offers tented accommodation and a wide range of activities in and around the Kruger National Park. 

The result is a portfolio of venues that we love to be in and are proud to share with new-found friends. While each location has its own character, the portfolio is bound by a consistently superior experience in terms of comfort, attention to detail and warm, genuine hospitality. We hope you enjoy your stay. 

We're here to make your holiday exceptional

If there is anything we can do to make it better, our team live to make it happen. Please let them know. If we haven’t got something right please feel free to let me know (I have put my contact details down below) – I am often on a plane (sadly not my own anymore, but, to be fair, I wasn’t a great pilot!) or in my car, but I will get back to you as soon as I can - we don’t ever want anyone to leave our family not having been given the best in good old Southern African hospitality.

Warm regards

Kevin Bailey

Chief Lion

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