Lion Roars Story
The Story so far......
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.
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 them 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.
We started in Port Elizabeth (or “PE” as it’s known around here), with the development of Singa Town Lodge, an oasis in the city in Summerstrand beachfront area. Shortly afterwards, the simple, stylish and well-located Ibhayi Town Lodge was added to the portfolio in the tranquil, leafy suburb of Walmer in PE. Ibhayi is now home to 24 rooms, 5 conference rooms and the elegant Leo’s Bistro and Lounge.
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 about 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.
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 a short drive away 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”. Bush Lodge, Carnarvon Dale, Hillsneck, Quartermains Camp, Reed Valley Inn, Safari Lodge, Woodbury Lodge and Woodbury Tented camp 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!
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 Winelands experience to the mix: Hawksmoor is a superbly-located historic Cape Dutch country retreat, meticulously restored and beautifully decorated with exquisite antiques, which also offers the fabulous boutique Hawksmoor Wine label, now available at all properties.
Late last year, we were presented with an opportunity to include Cape Town, our favourite city, in our offering.
Because everyone who visits South Africa loves to come to Cape Town, we kept searching for great people and places to partner with in this beautiful part of the world. And last year we were rewarded with two great additions to the pride: The Three Boutique Hotel in Gardens, run by the powerhouse husband and wife team of Justin and Natalia Pearson, and The Hyde Hotel in Sea Point, run by Leon Knowtze and his tight-knit team.
Together, these two properties offer a superb Cape Town accommodation experience under the Lion Roars banner.
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.
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.
You can also get hold of Pete (he’s old and grey now, but still the guy I would go to war with). You can also tell us when things are great – we’re that shallow that we still thrive on compliments!
For Central reservations, please call +27 41 502 9400