We are Wiebe and Melanie Hofstra. We are the proud owners of Xongile Lodge.
Wiebe is 45 years old and Melanie 31. We met on Queensday in the Netherlands in 2011. In 2016 we got married and we have two dogs (George and Kloenie) and three cats (Paris, Toulouse and Charlie).
Two days after our wedding we went on our honeymoon to South Africa and Mozambique. The travel agency warned us with a smile: be careful, because you might just fall in love with this country. At that moment we thought it was a nice commercial comment, but it took us litteraly 5 minutes to fall in love. Head over heels. After the Panorama Route we had our very first experiences in the bush in the Sabie Sands a private game reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park. After 10 minutes our hosts referred to us as 'the enthusiastic couple'. We stayed enthusiastic and did not want to leave. After we returned we continued our search for a home in the Netherlands and Melanie made a joke about looking for a property in South Africa. Wiebes reaction was: oh well, oke, let's do that! That was the start of our search for a property in South Africa and the start of our emigration.
In November of that year we went back to check if we loved it as much as we thought or that it was just the effect of all the champagne during our honeymoon. It was refreshing to experience South Africa again on our own pace. At this moment we were still a bit hesitant to make the big leap, because leaving everything behind is not something you do easily. However in the months that followed we realized it was our path to make this journey in life. Different from all the expectations, but we literally found ourselves in South Africa. There are many ways to pull this off, but if we do it we do it our way and that means: well thought through and well prepared.
In November 2018 we found the area where we wanted to settle down: South of the Kruger National Park. If we would be able to buy a vacant stand, build our lodge and home with a view on the park; well that would been amazing. However: we are realistic and we thought (after many calculations) that it was going to take too long before we could emigrate if we were going for plan A. We created plan B. We viewed many houses we could change into a lodge, but it never felt perfect.
In April 2020 we found a vacant stand located on the banks of the Crocodile River, with a view straight into the park, where the wildlife is able to get so close you would not believe it and because we were well prepared and had our plan in mind we were able to shift straight away and knew this was the wellknown ‘once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity’ and we took it! Now we are the proud owners of a gorgeous plot where we are going to build Xongile Lodge and our future home. It is going to be a challenging path, but it is our path and we hope that someday we might share this beautiful place on earth with you guys.
Currently Wiebe is working as a lawyer and Melanie works both as a psychologist and in the care of the disabled. Hobbies include animals, nature, traveling, photography, diving, board games, watching and reading movies and series. At the moment we still live in the Netherlands, but in a couple of years we will emigrate to South Africa. We will make a big carriere change and open Xongile Lodge. Our lodge is yet to be build, but it will be located in Malelane on the banks of the Crocodile River with a stunning and always changing view on the Kruger National Park.
Follow our journey on this website, on facebook, youtube and instagram.