Lion Roars is a family-owned and run company, started by the Bailey family 21 years ago. Together, we own, operate and develop boutique accommodation in our favourite place in the world: Southern Africa.
So, how did it start? From humble beginnings, with a passion for conservation and Africa, big dreams, and not a lot else (but for a supportive family) we wanted to bring people to see the places we 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 getaway, 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, with the development of Singa Lodge , an oasis in the city in Summerstrand beachfront area, only a stone’s throw from the ocean. Simple, stylish and well-located, Singa offers a quiet retreat with an eclectic mix of African and Eastern decor, with conference and function facilities.
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.
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. 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 and Hlosi, 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!
In 2013, we were presented with an opportunity to include Cape Town, our favourite city, in our offering. And we’ve been rewarded with a great addition to the pride: The Three Boutique Hotel in Gardens, owned by the powerhouse husband and wife team of Justin and Natalia Pearson. This property offers a superb Cape Town accommodation experience under the Lion Roars banner.
2019 saw us opening a remarkable new property in the warm heart of the Cape Winelands, Franschhoek Boutique Hotel.
Franschhoek Boutique Hotel offers 12 bespoke rooms with views of the towering Franschhoek Mountains. Its central location offers unparalleled access to the high-end boutiques, fine dining restaurants and wonderful art galleries of Franschhoek’s historic Main Street. With a bounty of South Africa's top Wine Estates on your doorstep, be sure to savour and stock up on some of the regions finest wines.
December 2020 saw us opening one of the largest properties in our portfolio, the 4-star Kloof Street Hotel . As the name suggests, it is situated in the trendy and vibrant Kloof Street, surrounded by an eclectic mix of trendy bars, artisan eateries and shops. This hotel is ideal for leisure and corporate travellers who enjoy the freedom of exploring their surrounds and panoramic views of Lion's Head, Table Mountain and Devil's Peak. Located in Kloof Street Hotel, is the ever-so-trendy Sanctuary Restaurant ; offering alfresco dining, natural in décor & vibrant in personality.
Our 2021 vision has us looking forward to the opening of the historical Old Bank Hotel in the heart of Cape Town's vibrant city centre. Built in 1902 by renowned architects Black and Fagg, Old Bank Hotel is ideally situated next to the buzzing St George's Square, a historical square filled with African market stalls, eighteenth century architecture, cosmopolitan bars and top restaurants. The elegant Old Bank is an eclectic mix of timeless Victorian details fused with modern industrial design situated in one of the most central spots in Cape Town.
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.