14 Top-Rated Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa

Written by Becca Blond and Karen Hastings Updated Jan 19, 2024 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Imagine sitting in an open-topped Land Cruiser on a morning safari drive, watching the sun rise beyond a line of elephants clomping their way through the bush. Or falling asleep to the not-so-distant roar of a lion from a mosquito net-draped bed in the most luxurious canvas tent you've ever slept in. Both are experiences you'll likely encounter while staying at one of South Africa's most exclusive luxury safari lodges. These are some of the very best resorts in Africa.

Photographing a lion on safari in South Africa

South Africa has safari lodges in national parks and private reserves scattered across much of the country. But many of the most luxurious lodges are in the private game reserves bordering Kruger National Park , such as Sabi Sands, with abundant wildlife and few other tourists. Expert guides and trackers take you right to the action in open-air safari vehicles, with regular sightings of the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos), as well as an astounding diversity of other wildlife.

Luxury safari lodges are also found in other parts of South Africa including the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve at the edge of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa's northwest on the border with Botswana. The Northern Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces are also home to fantastic lodges.

Remote and intimate, these exclusive and eco-conscious lodges offer a true small-group luxury wilderness experience, with exceptional service. It's a good idea to split your time between two or more lodges in different areas to maximize the diversity of game viewing. Families will be pleased to learn that many of these camps welcome children.

Note that all of these safari lodges are all-inclusive . Rates include your meals and game drives.

1. Singita Sabi Sand

2. royal malewane, 3. ulusaba rock lodge and safari lodge, 4. singita sweni and lebombo, 5. londolozi, 6. lion sands, 7. jaci's lodges, 8. sabi sabi, 9. &beyond ngala safari lodge, 10. tswalu kalahari reserve, 11. cheetah plains, 12. jamala madikwe, madikwe game reserve, 13. &beyond phinda vlei lodge, 14. shamwari private game reserve.

Photo Source: Singita Boulders Lodge

Bordering Kruger, in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, the oldest of South Africa's private reserves, Singita Sabi Sand oozes safari chic. You can choose from three different luxury lodges here: Boulders, Ebony, and Castleton.

Singita Boulders Lodge , on the banks of the Sand River, is one of the world's best lodges. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows encase each luxurious suite, with decor inspired by the tones and textures of nature. Think rustic elegance, with tribal motifs, stone accents, sculptural tree trunk supports, and open-air rooms that bring the outdoors in.

Equally elegant, Singita Ebony Lodge has a tented camp feel with exposed thatch roofs and beige canvas accents. Each of the 12 suites here come with their own private plunge pool, and the two-bedroom suites are perfect for families.

Overlooking a water hole, Singita Castleton recalls a country farmhouse with communal living areas, albeit one with a swimming pool, tennis courts, and spa treatment rooms. Guests here sleep in separate cottages sprinkled around the grounds, and children of all ages are welcome.

The property covers 45,000 acres of wilderness with a high concentration of game, including the Big Five, and frequent close-up leopard sightings.

As well as the twice daily game drives, the lodge offers mountain biking safaris, walking safaris, visits to local villages, and archery for those so inclined. A fitness center with beautiful bush views is also on-site.

Photo Source: Royal Malewane

In Thornybush Game Reserve, bordering Kruger National Park, Royal Malewane is not only one of South Africa's best safari lodges, it's one of the top all-inclusive resorts in the world .

A classic old-world feel sets the scene here for a safari that could come right out of Hemingway's journal. Animals roam freely around camp, and this particular reserve, north of Sabi Sand, is known for its spectacular game viewing and abundance of lions.

Decorated in an eclectic colonial style, the eight air-conditioned suites (including two separate two-bedroom Royal Suites ) exude a seemingly effortless elegance. Jewel-toned oriental rugs cloak the floors, thatch peeks out between ceiling beams, private plunge pools beckon on expansive decks with views over the bush (and sometimes visiting elephants), and you can wash off the African dust in private open-air showers.

Africa House, a six-bedroom, exclusive-use villa with a private chef, is also available for families and groups.

Expert teams of trackers and guides scour the bush to bring you Big Five action. When you're not watching animals, you can enjoy a pampering treatment at the award-winning bush spa , or work out at the fully equipped gym.

Many guests like to combine a stay here with one of the lodges farther south, such as Singita Boulders Lodge, but book as early as possible, as Royal Malewane often fills up a year in advance.

Children aged 10 years and older are welcome in the luxury suites, and children of all ages are welcome in the Royal Suites and Africa House.

Photo Source: Ulusaba Rock Lodge

Owned by Sir Richard Branson, Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge lie in spectacular locations at the Western end of Sabi Sand. Game viewing is excellent, with all the Big Five in abundance, as well as wild dog, baboons, impala, cheetah, and many species of birds.

Ulusaba offers unique accommodations in two dramatic settings: Ulusaba Rock Lodge sits high atop a koppie (rocky peak), with breathtaking views over the sweeping wilderness below. Its conical, thatched roofs jutting up from the peak of the koppie evoke a whimsical African-style palace.

Each of the eight rooms is uniquely decorated with textural tribal elements and natural materials, and some are split between multiple levels and come with their own private infinity pools. Rock Lodge also includes deluxe Cliff Lodge suites , which are ideal for families. Book them both, and you score your own private chef, safari vehicle, spa, and gym.

Ulusaba Safari Lodge nestles in a canopy of trees on a dry riverbank, where a parade of animals wanders past to drink at a nearby waterhole. At Safari Lodge, some of the rooms are built like treehouses, perched high on stilts among the leaves. Rope swing bridges connect some of the rooms to the common areas, creating a sense of adventure as soon as you step out the door.

Spa treatments, tennis, workouts at the gym, and pool time fills the post-safari hours. Guided walking safaris are also available, and guests with a social conscience also have the option of volunteering at local schools and villages.

Children aged 12 years and older are welcome at Safari Lodge, and kids of all ages are welcome at Rock Lodge.

Photo Source: Singita Lebombo Lodge

Near the border with Mozambique, Singita Sweni Lodge and Singita Lebombo Lodge are, like their sister lodges in Sabi Sand, eco-sensitive and extraordinarily beautiful.

The lodges occupy a 33,000-acre exclusive concession on the southeastern side of Kruger National Park, meaning the density of guests here is extremely low. The area spans four different ecological zones, creating fantastic opportunities for diverse game viewing. All the Big Five are in abundance, as well as four big prides of lion.

The two lodges here occupy spectacular locations. Suspended in the canopy along the Sweni River, Singita Sweni Lodge is a series of light-filled luxury treehouses wrapped in glass for prime viewing of the animals along the river below. The interior tones and textures blend seamlessly with the environment, and expansive decks jut out into the wilderness. The main lodge includes an inviting pool, spa, gym, and the Singita Boutique & Gallery.

Perched on a mountain above the N'Wanetsi River, and inspired by the eagles' nests found up high here, Singita Lebombo Lodge overlooks the magnificent wilderness below. It has a contemporary yet textural and earthy feel and offers 13 open-plan suites and a fully-staffed villa on the riverbank. Perfect for groups, the villa comes with two interlinked two-bedroom suites that share a pool and kitchen.

Other highlights at Lebombo include a panoramic roof terrace with a library, an espresso bar, help-yourself deli, inviting pool, and expansive indoor/outdoor decks.

As with all of Singita's lodges, conservation is paramount, and the company strives to leave the lightest possible footprint on the Earth. Children 10 years and older are welcome.

Photo Source: Londolozi Private Granite Suites

Set along the Sand River in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, family-run Londolozi has welcomed guests for almost a century and is one of the most famous safari lodges in South Africa. It lies within the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a wilderness area of six million acres that also incorporates Kruger National Park.

White rhino and lion live here in some of the highest concentrations found anywhere in Africa, but Londolozi is best known for its leopards, one of Africa's most elusive predators. Londolozi is a Zulu word meaning, "protector of all living things," so it's not surprising that conservation is a focus here, with features like open-air, electric safari vehicles.

You can choose between five different camps, all of which boast prestigious Relais & Châteaux status. The adults-only Londolozi Private Granite Suites is the most luxurious, while Londolozi Tree Camp and the nostalgic and romantic Londolozi Pioneer Camp are not far behind. Stylish decor, abundant glass, large living rooms, spa-like baths, and private heated plunge pools, are typical features.

Londolozi Founders Camp , along the banks of the Sand River, and the venerable Londolozi Varty Camp are larger and more family-orientated with features like thatched roof bungalows, interlinked "skywalk" rooms, and private outdoor pools.

Besides game drives, other activities available here include walking safaris, yoga classes, massage therapies, and workouts at the fitness center.

Both of these camps, as well as Pioneer Camp, welcome children six years and older.

Photo Source: Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

The only lodge with access to the perennial Sabie River, Lion Sands, in the Sabi Sand game reserve, offers a collection of sumptuous safari lodges, each with its own inspiration and style.

Game viewing is excellent in this game-rich area, and the lodge boasts one of only four master trackers in the world to help you find the best sightings.

A unique feature at Lion Sands is the opportunity for guests at the lodges to combine their visit with a romantic overnight stay, sleeping under the stars in one of their luxurious treehouses . Guests snuggle up in plush four-poster canopied beds on towers raised high above the wilderness.

Each of the luxurious Lion Sands lodges has a unique personality, from organic chic to mid-century modern, so you can choose a lodge that matches your style.

Lion Sands River Lodge is the largest, with 20 thatched rooms dressed in soothing textures and tones of creme and white.

Overlooking the Sabie River, the villas of Ivory Lodge are grounded in an eco-minded, mid-century-modern aesthetic, incorporating tribal touches and natural materials such as thatch, steel, wood, and sand. Light streams in through the walls of glass, and the two-bedroom Fish Eagle suite comes with its own private Land Rover, pool, spa, and gym.

Tinga Lodge on the Sabie River has a "contemporary colonial" theme, and Narina Lodge has a treehouse feel, with nine villas suspended high in the canopy and linked by raised walkways.

Typical features at all the lodges include personal butlers; luxury bathrooms, some with outdoor showers; sitting areas with fireplaces; and private pools.

Post-game-drive activities include pampering treatments at the Africology Spa, helicopter rides over the Blyde River Canyon, and trips to Hippo Pools.

Children aged 10 years and older are welcome here, but only select lodges offer babysitting services.

A Safari Lodge at Jaci's Lodges

Jaci's Lodges in the spectacular Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa's North-West Province are a collection of family-owned boutique properties that offer guests an intimate, highly personalized safari experience. Madikwe, which sits on the border with Botswana and the edge of the Kalahari in a malaria-free area, is known for its thriving wild dog population.

The second most endangered carnivore in Africa after Ethiopian wolves, seeing a wild dog on safari is a rare experience anywhere else in South Africa. But in Madikwe there are three hunting packs roaming the park, and it's not uncommon to see these enigmatic pups here.

A bathtub at Jaci's Lodges

If you don't have a DSLR camera with a wildlife photography-sized lens, don't worry. You can still capture the wild dogs and all the other animals (the park also has healthy lion and rhino populations) you see in crisp, close-ups by renting a Nikon from Jaci's for the duration of your trip (highly recommended).

Jaci's is comprised of two adjacent camps, each offering a slightly different sleeping experience .

At Jaci's Safari Lodge , there are six tented suites, including two that are suitable for a family or a small group of friends. The tents have thatched roofs, hardwood floors, and canvas side panels that can be completely rolled up. The interior design features bright African colors and patterns as well as bathrooms with soaking tubs and indoor and outdoor showers.

Starbed Suite at Jaci's Lodges

There are also two Starbed Suites at this camp. The lodge's newest builds, these have a more contemporary look and are a good choice for people who want to sleep within walls instead of the more exposed canvas tents. The suites are two-level affairs with the second level being an open-air rooftop deck where you can sleep in a proper king-sized bed under the stars.

Rooftop bed with the Starbed Suite

Downstairs you'll find a second king bed in case you prefer sleeping indoors (or it rains). The Starbed Suites are especially popular with honeymooners and couples on romantic getaways .

Jaci's Tree Lodge is the adjacent property. Here you'll find eight treehouse suites built on stilts and connected by elevated walkways that offer fabulous views of the surrounding forest and glimpses of the Marico River. Guests here also have access to a hide for photographing animals without their knowledge and a public treehouse space with a hot tub facing an active waterhole.

Photo Source: Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

As the name suggests, Sabi Sabi is also in the Sabi Sand game reserve, abutting the southwestern border of Kruger National Park. This area is famous for its diversity and density of wildlife, including the Big Five and up to 350 species of birds.

Each of the four separate lodges here exudes its own personality. Steeped in colonial charm, Sabi Sabi Selati Camp is the most romantic, with a style inspired by the movie, Out of Africa .

Family-friendly Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge and Little Bush Camp are more contemporary in feel. Bush Lodge has a children's center and spa, and at the intimate Little Bush Camp , each room comes with a private terrace and hot tub.

True to its name, the more minimalistic Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge has won accolades for its environmentally-sensitive design. It blends effortlessly with the surrounding landscapes, with plenty of neutral tones and sleek lines. All the lodges come with swimming pools, but Earth Lodge suites come with private plunge pools, and the lodge has its own library, art gallery, meditation garden, and spa.

Day and night safaris are available here, as well as walking safaris with experienced guides and trackers.

Children are welcome, though only those older than six years are allowed on game drives unless a private vehicle is reserved.

Photo Source: &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge

On a private game reserve inside Kruger National Park , &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge offers superb Big 5 game-viewing and warm and welcoming staff members who treat guests like family.

Nostalgic safari elegance sets the tone in the 20 thatched-roof cottages. Bush views bleed into the interiors through floor-to-ceiling windows, and private verandahs offer popular spots to watch the passing parade of animals. Still can't tear yourself away from the wilderness views? Every room comes with an alfresco shower.

Families are welcome and are comfortably accommodated in three spacious cottages with interconnecting rooms, as well as in a family suite with a private swimming pool. Interactive kid-focused activities and childcare also provide parents with some alone time.

Besides twice-daily game drives and walking safaris, guests here can relax with a spa treatment; paddle in the pool; or sign up for a conservation experience, working directly with some of the wildlife.

Honeymooners should opt for a romantic evening in the magical Ngala Treehouse .

Eco-conscious guests will be pleased to know that &Beyond works collaboratively with local groups and communities on conservation initiatives and sustainable business practices.

Photo Source: The Motse

Covering 1,000 square kilometers in the less-visited Kalahari region, family-friendly Tswalu is the largest private game reserve in South Africa. Conservation is key here, and the owners' mission is to restore newly acquired lands back to their natural existence and fund multiple conservation and community-minded projects.

Hauntingly beautiful landscapes of red sand, golden grass, and wind-sculpted acacia trees characterize this region, and the wildlife is uniquely adapted to the harsh environment. Among the many animals here are the magnificent black-maned Kalahari lion, endangered desert black rhino, meerkats, sable and roan antelopes, wild dogs, porcupines, aardvarks, aardwolves, honey badgers, and cheetah.

Safaris are tailored to each individual party, with no set schedule. Best of all, this lodge lies in a year-round malaria-free zone .

Adorned with natural earthy materials and an abundance of textural elements, the freestanding thatched villas blend beautifully with their surrounding environment. You can choose from two locations: The Motse , a "village" of nine air-conditioned luxury suites overlooking a waterhole at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains, and Tarkuni , the owners' family home, with five impeccably furnished suites, a pool, personal host, and a private five-star chef.

At Motse , the cottages mix modern comforts with an African feel. Thatched roofs and walls of stone, red clay, and desert sand echo the surrounding environment. Other features include spacious bedrooms with open fireplaces, indoor/outdoor showers, and large decks with sweeping vistas of the vast desert. Three two-bedrooms cottages, are perfect for families, with large living rooms and two bathrooms.

At the communal area here, you can take a dip in the infinity pool, curl up with a book from the library, or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment. Other things to do include hikes to nearby attractions such as ancient rock art; horseback safaris; and sleeping under the stars at The Malori, a raised platform with weather-proof blinds.

Tswalu hosts children of all ages, and offers a nanny service and Junior Ranger program to keep the little ones engaged.

Staying at Tswalu, with its contrasting landscapes and unique species of wildlife found only in this region, is a great complement to visiting the lodges near Kruger National Park.

Photo Source: Cheetah Plains

In Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Cheetah Plains offers a sustainable, ultra-luxe safari experience catering to multi-gen families or groups of friends . This is the lodge to book if you want a very private and personalized holiday. There are just eight elegant sleek villas, each of which can accommodate up to eight people in four bedrooms and must be rented exclusively regardless of your group size .

These villas have a modern look with lots of glass window walls that are far removed from the canvas-tented camp vibe found at many lodges. All are luxuriously appointed with curated art collections, a chef's kitchen, indoor and outdoor living and dining spaces, and a private swimming pool on a large deck.

You'll be assigned a personal hospitality team upon check-in. This includes a personal chef, spa therapist, and expert guide and tracker that will be dedicated to your villa for the length of your stay, allowing for an extremely personalized experience.

Cheetah Plains also prides itself on being carbon-negative. Your twice daily game drives take place in electric Land Cruisers for a completely silent ride.

Photo Source: Jamala Madikwe

Set around a game-rich waterhole in South Africa's North West Province, Jamala Madikwe is known for its superb wildlife viewing, luxurious lodgings, and friendly staff.

It lies in the Madikwe Game Reserve , a malaria-free area along the Botswana border that once consisted mainly of cattle farms before it was transformed into a wildlife reserve in the early 90s.

Today, the reserve supports an incredible diversity of species due to the fact that it lies in an ecological transition zone, between the Kalahari and lowveld wilderness. Game drives regularly bring sightings of the Big Five, as well as brown hyena, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, oryx, African wild dogs, and even the rare aardwolf.

Best of all, the lodge's orientation around the waterhole means you can enjoy a "Sofa Safari" here and watch all the action from the villas and common areas, without even leaving the camp.

Accommodation is in five air-conditioned, freestanding villas that blend a colonial feel with African artifacts. Typical features include four-poster netted beds, crisp linens, outdoor showers, spa-like indoor bathrooms, living rooms with fireplaces, dining areas, and expansive decks with rim-flow plunge pools.

When you're not out on game drives, you can enjoy a luxury treatment at the Royal Spa, look for wildlife from the watchtower perched above the waterhole, or relax at the main lodge with a book from the library.

Photo Source: &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge

In South Africa's diverse northeastern province of Kwazulu Natal, family-friendly &Beyond Phinda offers a winning combination of private and spacious villas, superb service, and fantastic Big Five game viewing. Cheetah and antelopes such as nyala are also plentiful here. This is one of several &Beyond lodges in Phinda Reserve, an area of rehabilitated farmland now brimming with wildlife.

Tucked amid trees on the edge of a vlei (wetland), the six freestanding thatched villas at &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge could easily be at home in Bali if it weren't for the parade of African animals wandering past.

Louvered windows and large glass doors slide open to create seamless indoor/outdoor living areas, and each villa has a sitting room with a fireplace and a rambling deck with a private plunge pool. Elephants sometimes come to drink from the pools, and antelope graze on the lush grass.

Walking safaris and river cruises are other fun ways to explore the wilderness.

One of the bonuses about choosing a safari at this lodge is that you can complement your bush experience with several day trip adventures, such as a scuba safari at Sodwana Bay, about an hour's drive away; swimming with whale sharks; a Zulu village tour; black rhino tracking; and visits to an endangered wild cats project.

Kids are welcome, and the lodge offers a fun children's program and special family safaris tailored to the ages of each child.

Photo Source: Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Considered one of South Africa's most successful private conservation initiatives, Shamwari Private Game Reserve is a favorite with celebrities and has hosted everyone from Brad Pitt to John Travolta and Tiger Woods.

Away from the main safari areas, it is located off the N2 in a malaria-free area of the Eastern Cape between the cities of Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown. It can be reached easily by private vehicle with just 7 kilometers of driving on a gravel road. If you prefer to arrive by plane, there is also a private airstrip.

One of South Africa's largest private game reserves, it is home to the Big Five as well as cheetah. The reserve hosts six luxury lodges , each of which offers a different style. Long Lee Manor is a newly redesigned lodge with elegant Edwardian-styled suites and a beautiful rim-flow swimming pool.

Sindile is Shamwari's newest luxury tented camp in a secluded locale. It has nine very posh, free-standing tents elevated above the surrounding bush that offer stunning views and dark night skies for stargazing. These tents are designed to leave as minimal of an environmental footprint as possible.

For something even more adventurous book Explorer Camp. Open only during the summer season (between October and May), the wilderness bush camp is located on a granite and basalt plateau and has lodging in tents that truly make you feel you are staying in the bush – expect to hear lots of animal sounds at night (the camp is, however, discreetly fenced for safety). Guests staying here do guided walking safaris that allow you to get up close and personal with wildlife.

Whichever accommodation you choose, expect twice-daily game drives led by guide and tracker teams that will get you very close to the animals. There are also spa treatments (extra fee) available at many of the lodges.

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The 25 Best Safari Lodges in South Africa


To go on safari is to experience one of life’s greatest adventures but finding the best safari lodges in South Africa, can be a journey in itself. Whether a 4x4 safari is on your bucket-list or you're a budding conservationist at heart, from the Western to the Eastern Cape, up to the plains of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the Kruger Park we’ve hand-picked the best safari lodges in South Africa for spotting 'The Big 5'. Looking for a family stay, a couple’s retreat, a five-star stay, or a spa-fari experience? We've got it covered! Our collection of the best safari lodges in South Africa ensures that all you have to worry about is keeping your eyes open for one of Mother Nature’s most incredible performances.

For a family stay

Kapama Southern Camp

  • Kwandwe Private Game Reserve , located in the Eastern Cape is a refuge for endangered animals, not to mention travellers with children! A luxurious private game reserve, five different lodges are dotted amidst 54,000 hectares. Choose between exclusive-use villas and stylish suites – whatever suits your families needs. Without a doubt one of the best safari lodges in South Africa for families.
  • Excellent family safari lodge, Kapama Southern Camp is ideal for exploring the Kruger Park. Plenty of activities and flexible accommodation (including catered villas with pools) ensure it’s perfect for a get-together. A great choice if heading on safari with all the family.
  • Family-owned, family-led, Madikwe Safari Lodge is a five-star stay suitable for all ages. It offers lots of activities including walking and driving safaris, as well as bird-watching. Alternatively grown-ups can indulge in a spa treatment. A well-recommended family safari experience.
  • Priced for families, Khaya Ndlovu Manor House is filled to the rafters with antiques and local curios. It feels more like a home than a hotel. All of the rooms are cosy with sink-into-sofas, antique books, quirky artwork, and plenty of board games to keep all ages entertained.
  • Kids will love waking up at Gorah Elephant Camp , without a doubt one of the best safari lodges in Addo Elephant National Park for families! Relax in the cosy setting of your colonial-style tent as these gentle giants pass by, en route to the watering hole. Bask in your very own watering hole, in the form of a glistening infinity pool.

For a five-star luxury lodge

Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve

  • One of South Africa’s best safari lodges, Jabulani Safari is a favourite amongst honeymooners and well-heeled travellers. A “homage to the elephant”, it is located just outside the Kruger National Park and is on the front doorstep for spotting The Big 5. Stunning suites include four-posters, roll-top baths, and sprawling views. For total privacy, the Zindoga Villa is available on an exclusive basis.
  • An award-winning lodge, Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve , located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve provides a five-star stay with private pools, an impressive wellness menu, and opulent suites with four-poster beds and luxurious bathrooms. Sample your choice of 'bush cuisine' or Western flavours, paired with an excellent wine list.
  • With numerous awards under its belt, Royal Malewane does not disappoint. The safari lodge of dreams, its recently added Farmstead provides unrivalled luxury and total privacy. Colourful rooms are designed by the owner herself, Liz Biden. Though it bears a hefty price tag, once you’re there it’s an all-inclusive stay.

For sustainability

Gondwana Game Reserve

  • Set amidst 26,000-acres of private reserve, Gondwana Game Reserve provides the ultimate Out Of Africa experience, all in a convenient location – just a 4-hour drive from Cape Town. Committed to conservation, this is one of the best safari lodges in South Africa for an environmentally friendly stay. Their mission is to use education, training, and community involvement to create employment for the local community while actively protecting the endangered flora and fauna within the region.
  • Boasting excellent value as well as commendable conservation efforts, Hitgeheim Country Lodge & Eco-Reserve is a collection of 16-cottages just a short drive from Addo Elephant National Park. In particular, their Cheetah Project and Elephant Conservation offers educational guided tours and contributes to the preservation of these beautiful animals.
  • A lifelong project for the Tompkins family, at 1.3 million acres, Samara Private Game Reserve is South Africa's third-largest protected area. Home to all of The Big 5, they are committed to preserving the local ecosystem. Very luxurious, it’s also one of the best safari lodges in South Africa for families.

Sleep under the stars

Klaserie Sands

  • Total romance at Motswari Private Game Reserve . This stunning family house turned safari lodge - with interiors by famed designer David Strauss and artwork by Marion Geiger-Orengo is an aesthete's haven. And the very best bit? You can sleep out in the wild.
  • Spa, dining, and sumptuous interiors, Klaserie Sands is a grown-ups only lodge amidst the Kruger Park. Made for romance, it's loved by honeymooners, many of whom opt to try their ‘Star Bed’ experience. One of best safari lodges in South Africa for couples.
  • A five-star stay with commendable conservation efforts, immersive spa treatments, and a long list of activities, but what sets Tswalu Kalahari is the opportunity to sleep al fresco, under the Milky Way, in The Motse camp. An unforgettable stay.
  • Voted one of Condé Nast Traveller’s ‘Top 20 safari lodges in Africa’, there’s a lengthy list of reasons that make Lion Sands Game Reserve . Its prime location amidst The Kruger Park, restaurant quality dining and five-star spa treatments are all up there, but the piece de resistance has got to be their treehouse stay – the ultimate romantic sleepover.

For a couples stay

Tanda Tula

  • A much more modern setting than most safari lodges in South Africa, Kapama Karula Camp offers 12 suites, including private pools and indoor-outdoor living, as well as an impressive wellness menu and fine dining; it truly is one of South Africa’s most romantic safari lodges.
  • Roll-top baths, al-fresco showers and candle-lit bush dining, Tanda Tula wows with design-led interiors and tents with private sit-outs. Set in the heart of the Timbavati Game Reserve there’s no better place to experience wildlife with romance, and service to match.
  • Nestled amidst the Kruger Park, Hamiltons Tented Camp is an adults-only safari lodge and unforgettable couples’ stay. Choose from candlelit dining served alongside a colonial setting and fine wines or indulgent spa treatments or why not opt for both!
  • Set amidst the stunning Sabi Sands Reserve, Nkorho Bush Lodge is great for couples, but also one of the best safari lodges in South Africa for families (and adults looking for some alone time)! Babysitting services are available, whilst you dine by candlelight or indulge with a spa treatment.
  • All-out luxury, Kariega Settler's Drift is a contemporary, architecturally beautiful lodge, providing chic accommodation in a rugged setting. Sprawling rooms boast sink-into bathtubs and epic views. Utterly romantic.
  • Camp Ndlovu is a very intimate stay with just three suites – the best boasting private pools. Adults-only, their offering includes pampering spa treatments, sophisticated interiors and capacious four posters. A very romantic experience.

For a spa-fari experience

Bushmans Kloof

  • With its award-winning spa, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is a sanctuary in itself. Utterly romantic, enjoy an open-air massage in the Riverside Gazebo, perched alongside the tranquil waters of the Boontjes River. Using signature B|Africa products, facilities include crystal steam room, heated outdoor pool, health bar, fitness centre and tranquillity lounge – all the hallmarks of a five-star spa set amidst the African wilderness.
  • With a more contemporary feel than most lodges in Limpopo, Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa has an excellent wellness offering, including juice cleanses and yoga breaks. It’s also reasonably priced, compared to other safari lodges, and provides excellent children’s facilities, including a kid’s club and babysitting services. Highly recommended.
  • Light and airy interiors abound at Esiweni Luxury Lodge , off-the-beaten-track in Nambiti Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal – home to all The Big 5, without the safari footfall of The Kruger Park. A member of the Relais & Chateaux collection, gourmet dining is guaranteed, but what sets it apart from the rest is the comprehensive spa menu, including immersive outdoor treatments, overlooking the reserve.
  • Boasting an extensive Africology wellness programme (as well as a fully-fitted gym) Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge has all the facilities of a five-star hotel, in the privacy of its very own reserve. Superb conservation efforts ensure guests look after themselves, as well as the local environment.


  • Expand your search to include all our recommended safari lodges in the Kruger Park, Addo Elephant National Park , Sabi Sands, and The Karoo
  • or widen the net even further and take in all the best safari lodges in South Africa including the Western , Eastern , and Northern Cape , the Free State , KwaZulu Natal , the North West Province , and Limpopo and Mpumalanga (for the Kruger Park).
  • Alternatively you can contact one of the gurus for advice .

Hitgeheim Country Lodge & Eco-Reserve Addo 16 rooms from $133

Hitgeheim Country Lodge & Eco-Reserve

Traditional African style huts, with thatched roofs, concealing luxurious interiors and quirky bathrooms. Each includes its own private sit out from which to watch the birds and wildlife pass by. There's a pool, excellent safari opportunities, as well as a strong environmental ethos. See More

Khaya Ndlovu Manor House Hoedspruit,, Limpopo 8 rooms from $423

Khaya Ndlovu Manor House

Filled to the rafters with antiques and local curios, all of the rooms are very cosy with sink-into-sofas, antique books, and quirky artwork. Bask in the panoramic views from the infinity pool and decking area. An excellent breakfast is served each morning; lunch and dinner à la carte. See More

Samara Private Game Reserve Graaff-Reinet,, Eastern Cape 9 rooms from $441

Samara Private Game Reserve

Surrounded by thousands of acres of wild terrain, with 360° views across the Plains of Camdeboo. Choose from cheetah tracking to walking safaris, and picnic out in the wild. With admirable sustainability efforts, this property is passionate about conservation. Beautiful suites and fine dining. See More

Gondwana Game Reserve Western Cape 28 rooms from $547

Gondwana Game Reserve

A four-hour drive from Cape Town airport, this 26,000-acre private game reserve provides the ultimate Out Of Africa experience, in a convenient location. Rustic luxury lodges are perfect for couples and the family. There's a spa, fine dining, as well as enough activities to keep you busy for weeks! See More

Motswari Private Game Reserve Mpumalanga 15 rooms from $733

Motswari Private Game Reserve

Stunning family house turned safari lodge - with interiors by famed designer David Strauss and artwork by Marion Geiger-Orengo it is an aesthete's haven. Each of its suites boasts a private sit-out where you can listen to the sound of the bushveld. Superb dining, infinity pool, plus daily safaris. See More

Hamiltons Tented Camp Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga 6 rooms from $765

Hamiltons Tented Camp

Nestled amidst the Kruger Park, this adults-only safari lodge boasts luxurious suites and superb wildlife opportunities. An utterly romantic stay choose from candlelit dining and indulgent spa treatments. Delicious freshly baked cakes and pastries are served - as are gourmet dishes and fine wines. See More

Nkorho Bush Lodge Limpopo, Mpumalanga 7 rooms from $769

Nkorho Bush Lodge

Beautifully appointed suites nestled amidst the private Sabi Sands reserve. Great for couples and families. Babysitting services are available as are indulgent spa treatments. A buffet feast is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus there's a great wine list. Excellent safari opportunities. See More

Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa Limpopo 6 rooms from $797

Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa

Luxurious hotel providing excellent wellness packages and family facilities. Billowing four-poster beds gaze out across the wilderness, some rooms include private pools. Gourmet dining makes for a very romantic stay. From kids' clubs to juice cleanses, there's something to keep everyone happy. See More

Kapama Southern Camp Hoedspruit (R40 Klaserie River) 22 rooms from $840

Kapama Southern Camp

Excellent family accommodation boasting private pools and your choice of activities. Flexible accommodation and dining mean it's perfect for children, whilst adults will love the spoiling spa treatments. Modern suites include stylish accommodation with private sit outs and some have private pools. See More

Camp Ndlovu Limpopo,, Limpopo 3 rooms from $880

Camp Ndlovu

This adults-only hotel provides the ultimate romantic stay. Private terraces look out across the bushveld (the best include their own private pool). Daily guided safari drives allow you to soak up the local wildlife. Superb dining, opulent suites, and pampering spa treatments - a spoiling stay. See More

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat Clanwilliam,, Western Cape 16 rooms from $883

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat

An utterly immersive experience. This hotel is committed to its conservation efforts, from protecting the local wildlife to ensuring that almost all of your cuisine comes straight from their organic garden. Boasting an indulgent wellness centre, a long list of activities, and stunning suites. See More

Gorah Elephant Camp Addo 11 rooms from $937

Gorah Elephant Camp

Five-star stay amidst the famed Addo Elephant National Park. Relax in the lavish setting of your colonial-style tent to the sound of the plains. Candle-lit dining is the height of luxury - every creature comfort is taken care of. There's an inviting pool (the guest's own watering hole) to unwind. See More

Klaserie Sands Mpumalanga 5 rooms from $942

Klaserie Sands

This five-star stay, nestled amidst the Kruger Park provides lavish interiors in a very grown-up setting. Choose between lounging by the pool, head out on an expertly led safari drive, or relax with a spa treatment - you can even 'sleep under the stars'. Superb dining. A great stay. See More

Esiweni Luxury Lodge Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal 5 rooms from $1007

Esiweni Luxury Lodge

Utterly luxurious safari lodge in the heart of the Nambiti Game Reserve. This five-star stay provides guests with a romantic and indulgent base from which to head off in search of the Big 5. All inclusive, two safari drives are included in your stay. Modern and opulent suites are very romantic. See More

Madikwe Safari Lodge North West Province 20 rooms from $1043

Madikwe Safari Lodge

A family-owned lodge that welcomes yours. This five-star stay is suitable for all ages and offers luxurious rooms and bathrooms alongside plenty of activities. Gourmet dining, al fresco and by candlelight is an unforgettable experience. A lavish and well-recommended stay. See More

Kariega Settler's Drift Kenton-on-Sea,, Eastern Cape 9 rooms from $1063

Kariega Settler's Drift

All out luxury this contemporary, architecturally beautiful lodge provides chic accommodation in a rugged setting. Sprawling rooms provide a lavish stay with sink into bathtubs boasting epic views. Superb dining, an inviting bar, and a picture worthy infinity pool. See More

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve Grahamstown,, Eastern Cape 26 rooms from $1235

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Private game reserve comprised of five different properties, all different, all equally as luxurious. Choose between exclusive use villas and stylish suites. Superb wildlife opportunities, gourmet dining, spa treatments, and plenty to keep the little ones busy. Excellent eco credentials. See More

Tanda Tula Limpopo,, Mpumalanga 12 rooms from $1602

Tanda Tula

Five star stay in the midst of the Timbavati Game Reserve provides opulent interiors with colonial style tents filled with antiques. Each includes a private sit out with unparalleled views and bathrooms with roll-top baths. Fine dining plus excellent activities. An indulgent stay. See More

Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge Madikwe Game Reserve,, North West Province 10 rooms from $1855

Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge

Luxurious ten bedroom lodge boasting extensive wellness menu. Rooms juxtapose organic materials, stone and wood, with capacious four-posters and white linens, opening out onto a private terrace and pool. Restaurant quality dining in the middle of the African bush. Superb conservation efforts. See More

Lion Sands Game Reserve Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga 12 rooms from $2095

Lion Sands Game Reserve

One of South Africa's finest safari lodges guests are pampered beyond imagination. Gourmet dining, indulgent spa treatments, there is even treehouse accommodation for the ultimate romantic sleepover. Suites boast impressive views, indoor-outdoor living and enormous baths. Divine. See More

Kapama Karula Camp Hoedspruit 12 rooms from $2424

Kapama Karula Camp

Modern safari lodge providing separate suites nestled in the heart of the African bush. Boasting private pools and indoor-outdoor living, it's a truly wild stay. Enormous suites spill over into luxurious bathrooms. An impressive wellness menu, fine dining, and excellent game drives. Wonderful. See More

Jabulani Safari Hoedspruit 7 rooms from $2474

Jabulani Safari

Sumptuous five-star suites boasting private pools, opulent four-poster beds and baths that are meant for lingering - with views out across the savannah. Gourmet dishes are on the menu, from a hearty breakfast spread to candlelit dinners. Immersive spa and plenty of activities. Sublime. See More

Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve Hazyview,, Mpumalanga 8 rooms from $2501

Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve

Award-winning lodgings, located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve provides a five-star stay with private pools, an impressive wellness menu, and opulent suites with four-poster beds and luxurious bathrooms. Sample your choice of 'bush cuisine' or Western flavours, paired with an excellent wine list. See More

Tswalu Kalahari Northern Cape 15 rooms from $3340

Tswalu Kalahari

Five-star lodge with excellent conservation efforts and immersive spa treatments. Choose from riding, walking, or 4x4 safaris to spot the local wildlife. Rooms are very romantic, and there's even the option to sleep under the stars. The full package, an unforgettable stay. See More

Royal Malewane Hoedspruit 6 rooms from $3459

Royal Malewane

Winner of countless awards, Royal Malewane is one of, if not the most luxurious stay in South Africa. With a hefty price tag it's one to truly spoil yourself, though once you're there, it's all included. Colourful rooms are designed by the owner herself, Liz Biden. Gourmet dining. A sublime stay. See More

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Written by Megan Lambert

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Top 10 most luxurious safari lodges in South Africa

Monday newsletters  always feature  top 10 travel lists  to inspire.

Today: Top 10 most luxurious safari lodges in South Africa

Whether you are a safari virgin hoping to catch your first glimpse of the Big Five or a safari aficionado with a specific sighting in mind, South Africa will rarely disappoint. Although the country is a year-round destination, the extended Southern African winter (April to October) is the best time for a safari, because the shrinking vegetation and wildlife converging on waterholes make for better sightings.  Kruger Park is South Africa’s most famous safari destination and even allows visitors to hop around in their own car, although spotting the Big Five on a self-drive safari involves a lot of luck. South Africa’s private game reserves – such as Sabi Sand – offer a far more superior safari experience though since there are no restrictions on access or driving times, only specialized safari vehicles with guides are permitted (and they can go off-road in search of the wildlife) and a maximum of two vehicles at a time are permitted on a single sighting, allowing fantastic photographic opportunities. On top of that, the private fame reserves offer exeptional accommodation that matches the exceptional wildlife experience. Here’s my selection of the 10 best ultra-luxury safari-lodges in South Africa.

There is more information (with reviews & Youtube videos) below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite South African safari lodge in the comments section .

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Permanently stationed on the historically-rich Selati Bridge above the Sabie River in Kruger National Park, Kruger Shalati offers the most unique luxury accommodation in a re-envisioned train which pays homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago. The train celebrates where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s: the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati is positioned. The hotel offers 31 rooms, consisting of 24 carriage rooms and 7 Bridge House rooms, all of which provide a deeply visceral experience, tailored for immersive comfort. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, an enthralling break or to simply immerse yourself in earth’s finest creations, Kruger Shalati welcomes you on a journey of discovery with nature in the most extraordinary way imaginable.

  • Hotel website : Kruger Shalati – The Train on the Bridge
  • Review : read my review of Kruger Shalati here .


Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, member of Virgin Limited Edition’s award-winning collection of retreats, is Sir Richard Branson’s safari lodge located in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. Ulusaba means “place of little fear”, so named because the koppie, or hill, on which Rock Lodge sits provided the ancient Shangaan tribal warriors with the perfect lookout point. Ulusaba has 20 rooms and suites spread over two lodges: Rock Lodge, including the beautiful Cliff Lodge, and Safari Lodge. Rock Lodge has the best view in the Sabi Sand: perched high on the summit of a koppie, with panoramic views over miles of bush, you should grab a pair of binoculars to see what you can spot. Ulusaba’s other resort, Safari Lodge, is built along the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed and some of the rooms are built treehouse-style and you really get the feeling of being in the heart of life in the bush. Safari Lodge’s rooms provide fascinating views of the animals as they stroll past on their way to the nearby watering hole.

  • Hotel website: Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
  • Travel tip : get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD gift shop or spa credit).



With a name that means “love” in isiZulu, Thanda Safari offers an authentically South African wildlife experience matched with sincere commitment to the Zulu culture and passionate conservation of the environment. Located in northern Zululand in KwaZulu Natal, Thanda is home to abundant wildlife, including Africa’s magnificent Big Five. Visitors spend their days on game drives or bush walks and are encouraged to engage in a selection of conservation and cultural programs. Evenings are reserved for fine dining, enjoying wines from the well-stocked cellar, relaxing around the bonfire and star gazing. The luxurious accommodations range from Thanda’s flagship product, Thanda Safari Lodge, which encompasses 9 bush suites, to the exclusive-use Villa iZulu and the ruggedly elegant and utterly romantic Thanda Tented Camp, comprising 15 luxury tents.

  • Hotel website : Thanda Private Game Reserve



Set on the banks of the perennial Klaserie River, Kapama Karula is the flagship five-star lodge of Kapama Game Reserve. Meaning ‘place of peace’, this ultra-luxurious and prestigious lodge exudes calmness and depicts the pinnacle of elegant safari accommodation, with wraparound views of the African bush enhancing the overall sense of tranquillity. Modern whitewashed wood and vast sections of glass, complemented by a neutral colour palette, give Kapama Karula a contemporary African feel. The open-plan lounge and bar are spacious yet cosy, with skylights drawing in natural daylight and moonshine. Kapama Karula has twelve suites, each exquisitely decorated and with generous private space. Each suite has its own outside deck area, full-sized heated swimming pool and sun loungers for relaxation.

  • Hotel website :  Kapama Karula
  • Review : read my review of Kapama Karula here .


Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest and most remotely loctaed private game reserve, now protecting over 110,000 hectares of spectacular grasslands and mountains. The owners, the Oppenheimer family, take conservation as their absolute priority and have a vision to “restore the Kalahari to itself.” No more than 30 guests at a time can discover the beauty of this arid savannah, its diverse wildlife and the serenity of what may well be South Africa’s last great wilderness. You can choose to stay at either Tswalu Kalahari’s main property, designated “The Motse”; the nearby personal home of the Oppenheimer family, so-called “Tarkuni”; or one of Loapi’s six ultra-luxury tented homes. At all three camps, a private safari vehicle, guide and tracker is guaranteed with each booking. The total number of beds across the three camps represents the lowest ratio of guests to space in a privately protected area in South Africa.

  • Hotel website :  Tswalu Kalahari



Royal Malewane is a luxury safari lodge with only seven one- to six-bedroom villas, located in Thornybush private game reserve on the western border of the Kruger National Park. The lodge, which has Bill Gates, Bono and Elton John among its repeat guests, exudes the romance and beauty of a bygone age while offering every modern comfort and convenience. Besides exhiliriating Big Five safaris, guests can also indulge in relaxing treatments at the tranquil waters of Royal Malewane’s bush spa and enjoy nightly feasts under the African stars. Royal Malewane also operates two other luxury lodges within the same private game reserve – Farmstead and Waterside, each one embodying an exquisite vision of contemporary design and ultimate hospitality.

  • Hotel website :  Royal Malewane
  • Travel tip : get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD gift from Royal Malewane).
  • Review : read my review of Royal Malewane here .


Londolozi Game Reserve, Member of Relais & Châteaux, is one of the original safari camps in South Africa. Four generations of family-run hospitality and 40 years of experience hosting ecotourism have culminated in an entirely unique and transcendent bushveld experience for the discerning guest. Guests can choose from one of four small camps or stay in one of just three exclusive Private Granite Suites, each built with nature in mind and designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding habitat. Londolozi offers some of the most spectacular game viewing in an ideal setting, with the some of the highest densities of wild leopards in the world. The Londolozi Healing House experience also offers guests to combine the core safari excursions with artful resting, curated bodywork and yoga in the surrounds of the expansive wilderness presence of Londolozi.

  • Hotel website : Private Granite Suites



Singita Lebombo Lodge is a celebration of cutting-edge design in an African context where everything defers to nature. This dramatic lodge comprises 13 suites and one villa that give guests a front row seat to the Kruger National Park with bold, contemporary open plan suites suspended above the N’Wanetsi River. The exclusive concession is a richly diverse habitat, teeming with game, beneath endless African skies. Other highlights of the lodge include a roof terrace and wine studio (a multi-level retreat which boasts a library, multi-media room, wine studio and rooftop viewing area), an interactive kitchen, and a lovely lap pool. All communal areas of the lodge have been pushed out to ensure that the outside bursts in, offering elegant, calm and meditative spaces immersed in a dramatic landscape of giant euphorbia trees.

  • Hotel website :  Singita Lebombo Lodge



Set along the banks of the Sabie River and attracting abundant “big five” wildlife from Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park, Lion Sands has four luxurious lodges: River Lodge, Ivory Lodge, Tinga Lodge, and Narina Lodge. Ivory Lodge, which was complety renovated in 2017, is the understated jewel in the Lion Sands crown and the most exclusive safari lodge of South Africa. The ultra-luxe lodge is all about elegance, with an aura of sophistication yet simplicity, boldness yet balance, ebony and ivory, perfect harmony, exclusivity, sensitivity and complete privacy. The 8 one-bedroom Villas and 1 two-bedroom Fish Eagle Villa have their own private rim flow plunge pools with magnificent views over the Sabie River, allowing guests to cool down from the hot African sun while watching animals as they quench their thirst a mere stone’s throw away.

  • Hotel website :  Ivory Lodge Lion Sands
  • Other accolades : Ivory Lodge Lion Sands also features in my top 10 lists of the  world’s most amazing outdoor hotel rooms , the world’s best honeymoon resorts , the  best hotels in South Africa , and Africa’s most insanely beautiful safari lodges .
  • Review : read my review of Lion Sands Ivory Lodge here .


Situated in a perfect position on the banks of the Sand River – in the heart of the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve – lies &Beyond Tengile River Lodge. The magnificent lodge features nine enormous, air-conditioned, secluded suites, dotted in the dappled shade of the bushveld, each with panoramic river views. In addition to a master bedroom, bathroom and outdoor shower, there is a lounge, dining area, fully-stocked bar, coffee station, and an outdoor deck with private lap pool. For families, two of the lodge’s suites are joined by a covered walkway to create a family suite. The lodge’s guest area offers a mixed selection of open, interactive and private places.  Bespoke furniture, lights and unique décor pieces have been created from skilled local artists and striking fabrics have been masterfully hand-painted.

  • Hotel website : &Beyond Tengile River Lodge
  • Review : read my review of &Beyond Tengile River Lodge here .

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Oh wow, these places look incredible. I’ve actually visited the Leopard Hills lodge before with my partner a few years ago. This made us to want to book another safari for our 11th anniversary. Last week, we booked a trip to the Mateya Safari Lodge via a luxury travel company called Berkeley Travel. This is where we are staying: – Has anyone booked with them before? I’ve heard really good things so I hope it lives up to its expectations. Thank you everyone. – Evie

I’ve been to them all but the best is Tintswalo Safari Lodge

I’ve never been to a safari before but these places sound like a dream 😌

Can’t believe Singita Boulders didn’t make the list. We loved Lebombo for the rugged safari experience but believe Boulders had the edge for the lodge product.

Thanda is definitelty the best Safari Lodge in South Africa!

This is definitely the best list. Check out Monwana Game Lodge in Thornybush. I believe it is also one of the best in South Africa.

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  • The Safari Hotels of South Africa

South Africa’s parks and private game reserves are not only filled with the country’s “Big Five” wild animals, they also boast some of the world’s most respected and remarkable safari hotels.

Hotels Travel Africa Safari

south african safari hotel

The hotels below are part of the MICHELIN Guide hotel selection . Each of the 5,000+ hotels in the selection has been chosen by our experts for its extraordinary style, service, and personality — and each can be booked on the MICHELIN Guide website and app.

The safari as we know it today was developed in Africa throughout the 1900s. But it was only toward the end of the century, on the land in and around South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park, that the modern luxury safari began to take shape. That area, along with other game reserves in the country, are a haven for Africa’s Big Five — elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo — and a breeding ground for the types of hotels we like to see protected and cherished nearly as much as those amazing animals: unique, purpose-built, slightly indulgent accommodations that exist best in the place they were born. On a safari, you get up close and personal with exotic wildlife. How much you’d like to maintain that intimacy back at your safari hotel is entirely up to you. Intrepid travelers might relish being roused in the middle of the night by a rustling of leaves and scraping of canvas as an unknown creature saunters by. Others might opt for taking a few steps back from all that realness, preferring to slumber a little higher off the ground. You know what we’re going to say next: the MICHELIN Guide has options to meet either taste.

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Fig Tree Lounge

Welcome to JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge

Addressing the recent flooding at jw marriott masai mara.

Although the tents are elevated & reinforced 6 meters above the ground, 3 were damaged due to riverbank erosion. Our team are restoring their entirety to ensure the highest quality our guests expect. The remaining areas are structurally sound, requiring minimal repairs. Guests were escorted from their tents and transferred via helicopter to the airstrip. Chartered flights were organized to Nairobi. The local community faced substantial challenges, with several homes destroyed and access to amenities restricted. In response, we’ve provided essential supplies and our associates planted 100 trees as part of our ongoing commitment to the environment. Our rebuilding efforts will include safety measures such as riverbank stabilization, the installation of lifeboats, life jackets and an alarm system will be activated if the water level rises above the designated meter, and a safe haven constructed. Our proactive measures aim to ensure the safety and comfort of all who visit and work at JW Marriott Masai Mara.

Rooms & Suites

Featured amenities on-site, hotel information.

Check-in: 2:00 pm

Check-out: 10:00 am

Pets Not Allowed

Service animals only

Complimentary On-Site Parking

Sarabi Lounge

Sarabi Restaurant

Savour diverse, locally-inspired cuisine freshly prepared to suit your own distinctive tastes in a breathtaking setting. A culinary journey awaits al fresco at the veranda. It's a wonderful place to experience breakfast or dinner during your Mara visit.

Morning Shamba

A nourishing and relaxing outdoor space that fosters authentic connections while striving to honor the surrounding natural environment.

Sarabi Breakfast

Indulge in a delightful spread of freshly baked pastries, hearty omelets, and gourmet coffee at Sarabi Restaurant.

Fig Tree Lounge and Deck

Be inspired by the simple beauty of the world around you as you sip on meticulously crafted drinks infused with fresh ingredients at our Fig Tree Lounge and Deck.

More Ways to Enjoy Your Stay


Enjoy an unforgettable experience at our luxury spa. We understand your need to regenerate holistically and offer locally rooted organic products and treatments for the Whole You experience.

Sunrise Yoga

Fitness Center

Enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness while still focusing on your fitness at our hotel gym.

south african safari hotel


Talek River, Masai Mara Reserve, Masai Mara, Kenya, 00100

Safari land cruisers;on request


Local Shuttle Complimentary

Property Details

Accepts: Credit Cards

Concierge desk service

Languages spoken by staff: English

For more information about the physical features of our accessible rooms, common areas or special services relating to a specific disability please call +254 797-222999

Accessible on-site parking

Van Accessible on-site parking

Accessible Entrance to On-Site Pool

Entrance to On-Site Fitness Center is Accessible

Entrance to On-Site Spa is Accessible

Main Entrance is Accessible

Meeting Spaces are Accessible

On-Site Restaurants are Accessible

Accessible Vanities

Adjustable Height Hand-Held Shower Wand

Bathtub Grab Rails

Bathtub Seat

Deadbolts on Guest Room and Suites Doors

Electronic Room Key

Guest Room and Suites Doors Self-Closing

Lever Handles on Guest Room Doors

Lowered Electrical Outlets

Mobility accessible rooms

Non-slip Grab Rails in the Bathroom

Roll-in Shower

Toilet Seat at Wheelchair Height - Toilet for Disabled

Transfer Showers in Guest Rooms

Guest Room Recycling

Frequently Asked Questions

The check-in time at JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is 2:00 pm and the check-out time is 10:00 am.

The pet policy at JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is:

Pets Not Allowed (Service animals only)

The parking options at JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge are:

The property amenities at JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge are:

Yes, JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge has free Wi-Fi available to hotel guests.

Unlock your stay with the Marriott Bonvoy™ App


Talek River, Masai Mara Reserve,

Masai Mara, Kenya, 00100

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Sabi sands is the best place in the world for a safari..

south african safari hotel

A little bit about Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Spanning 65,000 hectares, the Sabi Sands Nature Reserve is a testament to the vision of local landowners in the 1950s. It stands proudly adjacent to the globally acclaimed Kruger National Park, forming a vast wilderness teeming with wildlife.

The legacy of these founding families, now in their third and fourth generations of stewardship, resonates in the successful conservation of South Africa's richest density of big game. A unique feature of Sabi Sands is its 50-kilometer unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, creating a harmonious coexistence that allows wildlife to roam freely. This has led to remarkably close encounters with the local fauna, including prolific sightings of the elusive leopard. The dynamic landscape is further enriched by the Sabi and Sand Rivers, weaving their way through the reserve, enhancing the rich biodiversity of this extraordinary habitat.

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Going on safari in Sabi Sands

Embark on an incredible journey to Sabi Sands Nature Reserve in South Africa, but before you go, there are some important details you should know.

Curious about the travel duration? Wondering if this destination is accessible to everyone? Intrigued by the unique aspects that make this place truly special? And what essentials should you pack? In the following sections, you will find answers to these queries and more. If there's a question left unanswered, feel free to reach out to us using the contact form below, and our team will be thrilled to assist you!

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About Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of those very special places in the world and is the ultimate African safari destination.

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Sabi Sands special offers

Searching for that one special offer that makes all your safari dreams come through? Our Sabi Sands special deals offer excellent value for money. We hope to see you soon!

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Getting to Sabi Sands Reserve

The Sabi Sands is one of South Africa's best accessible game reserves. We have multiple daily flights, three access gates and a lot of world-class roads leading right to us.

So incredible, we started to plan a return trip during the flight home!
The food was spectacular - budget on gaining a kg or 3! Good, fresh South African food, prepared and served in style. You will love it!
...the highlights being following a pack of wild dogs and watching a leopard and her cub jumping from branch to branch high up in the trees.

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Sabi Sands Game Reserve lodges

Set off on a journey to Sabi Sands Nature Reserve, a captivating destination that offers a unique safari experience. After a day filled with discovery and exploration in the African bush, you'll appreciate a tranquil haven to relax and recharge.

Sabi Sands caters to every taste and budget with its varied accommodations. From cozy bush camps tucked away in the wilderness to luxury options beneath the stunning African night sky, there's a unique experience for every traveller. A stay in the Sabi Sands not only promises unforgettable moments, but also fosters a lasting bond with the pulsing heart of the African bush, leaving an enduring memory long after your journey is over.

  • Price $$$$$

View Chitwa Chitwa Lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Chitwa Chitwa Lodge

lodge style Art-inspired African

Chitwa Chitwa Lodge overlooks one of the largest lakes in the Sabi Sands. It is designed as a spacious yet intimate camp - presenting sophistication in a relaxed atmosphere. The eight very spacious suites all have plunge pools.

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from ZAR 26,550 per person per night

View Ulusaba Rock Lodge information

Ulusaba Rock Lodge

lodge style Tranquil hill & trees

Ulusaba Rock Lodge is built high on the summit of a small hill overlooking the South African bushveld. The rooms and suites offer views over a waterhole in front of the lodge, allowing you to view wildlife from the privacy of your room.

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from ZAR 14,159 per person per night

View Nottens Bush Camp

Notten's Bush Camp

lodge style Down to earth elegance

Notten's is one of the original family run lodges in Africa, and a true gem within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. As one of the original lodges, it has a magical bush atmosphere and offers a truly authentic safari experience.

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from ZAR 9,975 per person per night

View Lion Sands Game Reserve in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Lion Sands Game Reserve

lodge style Riverside serenity

The award winning Lion Sands is the only private reserve to have access to the perennial Sabie River, which it shares with Kruger National Park. You will find five beautiful lodges here, so there's always one that suits your taste!

from ZAR 23,800 per person per night

View Sabi Sabi Game Reserve information

Sabi Sabi Game Reserve

lodge style Present, past & future

Within the Sabi Sands Reserve, Sabi Sabi has created three unique worlds through its four first-class camps: one of yesterday's vintage romance; today's classic bush experience; and tomorrow's African renaissance.

from ZAR 15,969 per person per night

View Singita Sabi Sands

Singita Sabi Sand lodges

lodge style A very private affair

At the Singita lodges, guests share the privilege of experiencing this wonderful part of Africa. Spanning more than 45,000 acres, Singita is renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings.

from ZAR 39,954 per person per night

View Dulini in Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Dulini Game Reserve

lodge style World class luxury

Dulini boasts several extraordinary safari lodges, including Dulini River, Dulini Leadwood, and Dulini Moya, where sumptuous accommodations offer a strikingly elegant contrast to the rugged bushveld.

from ZAR 26,800 per person per night

View Elephant Plains Lodge information

Elephant Plains Lodge

lodge style Bushveld simplicity

Elephant Plains Lodge offers comfortable style and affordable luxury. This lodge is family owned and sleeps a maximum of 24 guests. As such, you can be sure to expect personal service and a warm atmosphere.

from ZAR 5,500 per person per night

View Arathusa Safari Lodge

Arathusa Safari Lodge

lodge style classic lakeside safari

Arathusa offers an affordable wildlife and Big 5 Safari experience in a traditional safari camp. In front of your chalet is a lake that attracts lots of game throughout the day: perfect for game viewing from your lazy chair!

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from ZAR 9,200 per person per night

View Tengile River Lodge information

Tengile River Lodge

lodge style Tranquil river views

Tengile River Lodge is the latest addition to the Sabi Sands. Extremely spacious suites offer incredible views over the river in incredible luxury. Of course the sounds and views of the African bush are best enjoyed from the privacy of your own plunge pool.

from ZAR 34,799 per person per night

View Jaci's Sabi House information

Jaci's Sabi House

lodge style Group and family home

This is the ideal bush retreat for small groups and families alike. Jaci's Sabi House accommodates six guests only in a completely private setting. Explore the Sabi Sands from the comfort of your private safari vehicle and take home some unforgettable memories.

from ZAR 48,174 (sleeps four)

View Ulusaba Safari Lodge

Ulusaba Safari Lodge

lodge style Under a canopy of trees

Sir Richard Branson's Ulusaba Safari Lodge overlooks a dry riverbed and is shaded by ancient trees. The nearby waterhole guarantees great game viewing. The eleven luxury rooms provide a luxurious safari experience in complete privacy.

View Leopard Hills Lodge information

Leopard Hills Lodge

lodge style Hilltop splendour

Expect to enjoy some amazing views over the African bush when staying in Leopard Hills Lodge. Eight luxury suites offer only the best safari accommodation. Enjoy the sunset from your viewing deck or plunge pool.

from ZAR 22,714 per person per night

View &Beyond Kirkmans Kamp information

&Beyond Kirkman's Kamp

lodge style Victoriana delight

Kirkman's is a well known historic camp which was originally built in the 1920s. It airs a feeling of an early rural homestead, with a vintage style and gracious ambience. All cottages have a deck overlooking the Sand River.

from ZAR 24,000 per person per night

View Nkorho Bush Lodge

Nkorho Bush Lodge

lodge style stylish modesty

To ensure travellers of the best possible attention, Nkorho only sleeps a maximum of twelve people in six stylish thatched chalets. The spacious rooms have en suite bathrooms, contemporary interiors, and offer complete privacy.

from ZAR 9,379 per person per night

View Londolozi Game Reserve in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Londolozi Game Reserve

lodge style Magical lodge collection

Londolozi is one of the pioneering Private Game Reserves of the ecotourism industry in South Africa and an unashamedly family run, stand alone operation. There are five beautifully appointed lodges to choose from.

from ZAR 22,564 per person per night

View Savanna Game Lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Savanna Game Lodge

lodge style Classic semi-tented savannah

A longtime favourite and much loved true South African safari lodge. Savanna Lodge is situated in an area where 'Big Five' sightings are so common that it is not unusual to see all of them during a single safari activity.

from ZAR 16,015 per person per night

View Idube Game Lodge

Idube Game Lodge

lodge style affordable african safari

Idube is situated in prime game area. Many animals are seen close to the lodge on a daily basis. The lodge is family owned and offers just ten luxury suites. Each suite has its own private wooden deck, great for wildlife viewing!

from ZAR 11,500 per person per night

View Inyati Safari Lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Inyati Safari Lodge

lodge style Classic bush experience

Inyati Game Lodge is situated on the banks of the Sand River, providing stunning river views. All chalets have been refurbished recently, now offering perfect luxury safari accommodation in the midst of the Sabi Sands Reserve.

from ZAR 12,584 per person per night

View Silvan Safari information

Silvan Safari Lodge

lodge style Luxury safari redefined

An innate understanding of the bush and a deep love for Africa: these two elements define Silvan’s story. Book yourself a stay in this new, luxury lodge and leave with an uplifted spirit and a firmly rooted love for this land.

from ZAR 29,129 per person per night

View Cheetah Plains Lodge

Cheetah Plains Lodge

lodge style Ultrachic retreat

Characterised by modern design, this three-villa lodge offers privacy and exclusivity, accompanied by superb service. The ideal setting to relish in the untamed wilderness, and unparalleled wildlife encounters.

from ZAR 243,924 (sleeps six)

View Umkumbe Safari Lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Umkumbe Safari Lodge

lodge style Affordable elementary Bush

Umkumbe Safari Lodge is owner-managed and run; ensuring guests enjoy a personal, rustic and real South African safari experience. The lodge consists of six chalets with most overlooking the Sand River.

from ZAR 5,145 per person per night

View Mala Mala Game Reserve information

Mala Mala Game Reserve

lodge style Classic family owned reserve

Many years of superb service -and experience- has resulted in the satisfaction of many guests. Relax in the unpretentious elegance and style of one of the finest safari experiences in Africa at MalaMala Private Game Reserve.

from ZAR 20,000 per person per night

View Simbambili Game Lodge

Simbambili Game Lodge

lodge style moroccan style Lakeside

Simbambili Game Lodge is a destination for the discerning traveller. Sophisticated yet simple, each suite has spectacular views whether from the unique en-suite bathrooms and salas or individual plunge pools.

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from ZAR 18,895 per person per night

south african safari hotel

Sabi Sands Video

The best way of getting an idea what the Sabi Sands Game Reserve is about is by seeing some incredible footage from the area. We went out with our video camera and spent a lot of time outdoors to get you some of the most beautiful shots of the reserve imaginable.

Visit our Sabi Sands videos overview page for more videos and get inspired for your Sabi Sands safari.

We were off road and moving with the animals or quietly sitting watching them playing or feasting....magical.
The staff went out of their way to make our wedding and honeymoon as special as it could ever be. We were blown away.
Great place for viewing big cats!

Send your enquiry

We hope you have found all information needed to decide that the Sabi Sands Game Reserve is the perfect place for your next travel adventure. Still have questions? Or perhaps you would like more specific information about one of the topics on this page? Please fill in the contact form and we will get back to you soon!

Kruger Gate Hotel

View Map  |  +27 13 735 5671

south african safari hotel


A unique Kruger Safari experience

Discover a unique kruger safari experience.

Ideally located at the Kruger National Park

The Kruger Gate Hotel with its tree-top ambiance is ideally located on the bank of the Sabie River, less than a minute’s drive from the Paul Kruger Gate – a safe access point to the Kruger National Park that offers proximity to the Skukuza Airport. The beauty of your stay at Kruger Gate Hotel is your incredible access to the game-rich reaches of the southern Kruger Park. We offer exhilarating morning, all-day and afternoon safaris in open vehicles, as well as private game drives.

south african safari hotel

Lodge-style hotel

Set in a tranquil riverine woodland of immense African trees, Kruger Gate Hotel offers a range of luxury accommodation in Mpumalanga near Kruger National Park for couples, families, and groups. There’s a choice of Deluxe, Deluxe Family and Luxury rooms, as well as Executive Suites and the exclusive Nkanyi Suite for private groups. With contemporary African Safari-inspired décor and plush furnishings, all rooms have en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, complimentary wi-fi and smart TV. Other features include a lounge area, comfortable workstation, room safe, coffee and tea-making facilities, bar fridge with bottled water and in-room dining service. For the best rates guaranteed, always book directly through our website.

Memories are made at the Pool Bar & Viewing deck with its infinity pool overlooking the Kruger

Kruger Gate Hotel’s stylish Pool Bar is the gem set in our extensive game-viewing deck along an exclusive stretch of Sabie riverbank, with endless views into Kruger Park. From the Pool Bar & Viewing Deck you can watch wildlife coming down to the river while floating on your back in the infinity pool or having dinner in a private pod overlooking the riverbed.


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Couples African Safari & Spa package

A blend of luxury, adventure and the pampering you deserve, this special is ideal for a romantic weekend or a besties getaway.

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Kruger Big 5 Safari

The beauty of your stay at Kruger Gate Hotel is your incredible access to the Big 5 animals and game-rich reaches of the southern Kruger Park.

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African Dining Experience

Enjoy authentic African hospitality and delicious cuisine at our Kruger Restaurants, Coffee Shop & Bars.

Featured Amenities

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south african safari hotel

Outdoor Pool

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Fitness Centre

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Meeting Space

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Spa in the Wild

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Kids Activities

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Convenience Store

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Dry Cleaning Service

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Generator Power

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Room Service

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Wake Up Calls

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Daily Housekeeping

Power generator.

On the Sabi River at the Paul Kruger Gate, R536, Kruger National Park, Skukuza, Mpumalanga, South Africa, 1350.

For your own safety, please avoid using the Numbi Gate. We recommend entering and exiting the park via the Paul Kruger, Malelane and Phabeni Gates.

– Directions from Skukuza Airport

– Directions from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport

– Directions from Mbombela (Nelspruit)

– Directions from Johannesburg

–  Directions from Pretoria

Hotel Information

View hotel fact sheet

Check in: 14:00pm

Check out: 11:00am

No pets allowed

Our Stories

south african safari hotel

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south african safari hotel

Celebrating Self-Care Day 2024 with a Kruger safari

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Everyday heroes: Easy ways we can all protect the environment

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Bird parties and predator stand-offs

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Big 5 & special encounters on an All-Day Kruger safari drive

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What today’s travellers want from their Kruger stay

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Prioritise time out in nature this year: Here’s how

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Relax and reminisce at Kruger Gate’s Shilovo Bar

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Kruger Gate Hotel charts new path, changes name and operates independently

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Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa

South africa’s best luxury safari accommodation.

Looking for the best luxury Safari lodges in South Africa ? There aren’t many travel experiences that come close to spending time in the African bush spotting wildlife on safari.

And if you’re looking for luxurious safari lodges and super-indulgent places from which to take it all in for a night or two, you could do a lot worse than check yourself into one of the luxury safari lodges in South Africa below.

There is no shortage of luxury safari lodges on offer in South Africa and we haven’t tried them all, so we’ve asked travel bloggers from around the world to help us out, and nominate their favourite luxury South African safari lodges.

The below list is made up of travel blogger nominations, plus lodges we’ve stayed at ourselves and can vouch for as providing ultimate safari luxury.

If you find that they’re a little over budget, find out how to organise your own cheap safari holiday .

So read on below for our collection of the most indulgent South African luxury safari lodges:

Luxury safari lodges in South Africa…

Nottens Bush Camp

Sabi Sands, South Africa

Nottens Bush Camp exterior shot

If you are looking for a really special stay during your safari in South Africa, you should consider Nottens Bush Camp in Sabi Sand Reserve. It is one of the most luxurious safari lodges in South Africa.

The lodge has, unlike many others, no fence and no electricity so you are really staying in the bush (in one of the nine exclusive, private suites).

A guard brings you to your room after dark and we experienced why they do so. One night we almost stumbled over a hyena on our way to our room.

We were so shocked and happy that we had a guard with us. Another night my parents woke up and heard a strange noise in front of their room.

They got out of bed to take a look and there was an elephant eating the plants that stood on their porch.

From your room in African style, you are overlooking an open area with a waterhole, so sit on your porch and enjoy the panoramic views and the wildlife passing by. You will see zebra, elephants, antelopes, and many other animals pass by.

Nottens Bush Camp is one of the original game lodges in South Africa and is known for its highly experienced rangers. and the area is great for spotting leopards.

This family-owned lodge goes the extra mile. After our first safari, we entered our room. All the candles and lanterns were burning, the bathtub was filled, rose leaves everywhere and a bottle of South African Vonkelwijn (champagne) was waiting for us.

In the evening all the guests are sitting at a big table to share the most thrilling stories about their safari.

They organize two game drives a day. One at 05.30 in the morning and one at 15.30 in the afternoon. In between those safaris you can relax beside the pool or enjoy a massage at the Nature Spa.

Sabi Sands is also home to Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge which is one of the most family-friendly safari lodges in South Africa .

Phinda Mountain Lodge

Phinda Game Reserve, South Africa

luxurious private pool at phinda mountain lodge

Phinda Game Reserve , in KwaZulu Natal, is home to some of the most beautiful, luxurious lodges in South Africa.

The best by far is Mountain Lodge. As the name says, this is located in such a way as to afford beautiful views across the bushveld to panoramic mountains.

The lodge is blissfully isolated on top of a hill. Once there, you will walk to the common areas where you will find the dining area, where a decadent breakfast and lunch, as well as afternoon tea are offered every day.

So much care is taken in the selection of the ingredients that you even have a choice of several types of coffee and roasts. The common area is also where the bar is located, with a seating area directly facing the mountains, for incredible views.

On the way to your room, you will find the beautiful pool and the spa, perfect for a relaxing afternoon – before you drive away on one of the game drives.

Rooms are incredibly comfortable, with large beds with a pillow menu; a sitting area with a fridge and all sorts of drinks and snacks.

There is a deck with a plunge pool – a favorite of local wildlife which is free to roam the grounds. It is not uncommon to spot nyalas and at times even elephants drinking from the pool!,

There is also a very spacious bathroom with a large shower and a Victorian-style bathtub.

At Phinda Mountain Lodge you will feel welcome, pampered and you will be able to fully relax while enjoying nature and the unique wildlife of this part of the country.

Singita Sweni Lodge

  • Kruger National Park, South Africa

Contributed by sustainable travel bloggers Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel

Singita sweni luxurious safari lodge

Singita Sweni

Located in Kruger National Park,  Singita Sweni Lodge  epitomizes the definition of a lux eco-safari stay.

The lodge is located on 33,000 acres of exclusive concession land on the banks of the Sweni River. This meant that hippos, crocs, elephants, and other wildlife can often be spotted meandering past the lodge.

Singita Sweni Lodge offers an intimate setting far away from the crowds associated with Kruger National Park .

There are only seven large luxurious suites on-site and each one is designed to bring the outdoors in.

They have large floor-to-ceiling windows, big wooden decks, and modern decor with natural elements incorporated into the design.

For us, one of the highlights of staying at Singita Sweni was their strong focus on sustainability.

They have an ethos of “touching the earth lightly” and their efforts were visible in every element of our stay. All meals are crafted with seasonal produce and sourced from local suppliers.

Plus, Singita Sweni Lodge is involved in a number of conservation and social initiatives in the community. One such project was the creation of their solar power plant. Its implementation has meant the lodge can save close to 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Of course, we also loved the morning and afternoon game drives. We had many wonderful sightings of lions, giraffes, zebras, elephants, buffalos, hippos, waterbucks, and other antelopes.

Plus we came across the most unique sighting of them all – a unique white lion, spotted only in this part of Kruger National Park!

If you are looking into a safari in Africa we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Singita Sweni Lodge for an eco-lux experience. It’s a truly one of a kind destination.

Zebra Hills Safari Lodge

Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Zebra Hills Safari Lodge - super luxury safari lodge

Zebra Hills is nestled in the private game reserve of Manyoni in Zululand, and is a sure shot delight for wildlife enthusiasts.

Being part of a private reserve gives the lodge owners and guides a lot of flexibility in terms of game-watching and safari hours.

This is one of the highlights, alongside the spectacular zebra-themed decor in the bedrooms, common areas, bar, and dining room.

The perks of living in a private reserve are aplenty, but my favorite bit was enjoying traditional braai in the evenings whilst you wait for the lions to come for a refreshing sip of water in the adjoining water hole.

This is the only place where I have watched lions on foot. Yes, that’s right. The waterhole is just across the swimming pool/barbeque area and if you stay put, it is easy to spot a few thirsty beasts loitering around to quench their thirst.

With no restrictions on safari hours, the night safaris offered umpteen nocturnal sightings with our top game sightings of the day being three cheetah cubs on a kill followed by a charging black rhino.

Such sightings are a dream for true wildlife lovers and Zebra Hills, with its ultra-luxury sleeps and skilled naturalists, made our dream vacation come true.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Male lion strolling through Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

A male lion strolls the bush of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Big 5 destination Kwandwe Private Game Reserve covers 54,000 acres of private wilderness area. The reserve includes 30 kilometers of the Great Fish River, meaning a diverse landscape and varied wildlife sightings.

The reserve has some great family-friendly safari options offering child-focused wildlife activities such as making plaster casts of animal footprints and visits to animal orphanages, to help make your safari more meaningful.

It is one of the best places to go on safari in South Africa with kids .

Accommodation at Kwandwe: There are four properties in the reserve with 22 beds in total, meaning not too many other people or safari trucks around when you’re doing your game drives. Melton Manor and Uplands Homestead are exclusive-use lodges for families or small groups. Find prices & book >>

Samara Private Game Reserve

Eland herd in long grass looking at camera

A herd of Eland at Samara, South Africa, looking for danger

Set among wildlife-rich rivers, mountains, and open plains, luxury private game reserve Samara offers guests some of the most breathtaking landscapes in South Africa.

Home to a very successful cheetah regeneration program, the reserve gives a good chance of spotting these beautiful cats, alongside the big 5 and large herds of eland.

Accommodation at Samara: Samara offers two exclusive onsite lodges – the Karoo Lodge and Manor House. Find prices & book >>

Amakhala Game Reserve

Safari jeep on a game drive with two giraffes approaching

Giraffe-spotting on a game drive

The Amakhala Game Reserve is an 18,000-acre joint conservation effort where a former farming area has been rewilded.

Wildlife likely to be encountered on game drives in the reserve includes the big five, as well as cheetah , giraffe , zebra, wildebeest, and plenty of antelope species.

Accommodation options: There are 10 owner-managed properties across the reserve, ranging from restored country homes to tented camps, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

An all-inclusive safari experience and a range of wildlife-focused activities are offered at each property. Find prices & book >>

Kariega Game Reserve

Three safari lodges at Kariega semi-hidden in the bushveld - one of our favourite luxury safari lodges in South Africa.

Three luxury safari lodges at Kariega, South Africa

Kariega is a family-owned and run big five reserve incorporating 10,000 hectares of pristine African wilderness and two large rivers – the Kariega and the Bushmans rivers – giving access to the sea.

The reserve offers abundant game viewing, and in addition to the big 5, game to spot at Kariega includes hippo, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck and a variety of other antelope, as well as a myriad of bird species.

Kariega is a particularly family-friendly game lodge offering a daily children’s programme at the Kids on Safari center.

Accommodation at Kariega Game Reserve: The reserve offers five safari lodges at a variety of price points, though all are at the high end, with quality and service to match. Find prices & book >>

Shamwari Game Reserve

Exterior shot of thatched lodge at Shamwari, view across the lake

One of Shamwari’s waterside lodges

Big five reserve Shamwari prides itself on being both friendly (the name means “my friend” in Shona), and child-friendly.

Childminding services are available on request, along with a host of kid-specific activities to keep them occupied – including the conservation focussed ‘Kids on Safari’ program.

What’s particularly nice (and somewhat unusual) about Shamwari for young families is that children from four upwards are permitted on game drives. Just a 2-hour drive from Port Elizabeth, Shamwari is easily accessible.

Accommodation options: Shamwari has seven lodges and one explorer camp, each with a distinct vibe. From exclusive tranquillity, effortless family enjoyment, or the back-to-nature appeal of a luxury tented camp. Find prices & book >>

Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve

Swimming pool at sunset, with mountains in background.

The pool area at Tswalu, South Africa

Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa – 100,000 hectares located in the Southern Kalahari, close to the Botswana border.

Although the reserve is huge, visitor numbers are kept to just 30 at a time, with all guests enjoying a private guided experience to optimise their time there.

Aside from the excellent game drives, activities include horse riding, habituated meerkat colony walks, sleep-outs under the stars, and black rhino walking safaris.

Children of all ages are welcome, and for families, Tswalu makes for a truly unique and memorable (malaria-free!) safari experience.

Accommodation options: Accommodation is luxurious with a choice of two lodges, the secluded Tarkuni (a private home with 5 suites), and The Motse (a spacious lodge with nine suites). Find prices & book >>

Madikwe Game Reserve

safari lodge exterior at sunset, with view over green mountains

Views of the bush from a Madikwe balcony

Located on the Botswana border a 3.5-hour drive from Johannesburg, Madikwe is a wild and remote reserve that’s home to the big five, and is famous for its thriving population of wild dog, as well as gemsbok, springbok, zebra, giraffe and over 340 species of birds.

It is a great option if you are looking for a safari in a non-malarial area .

Accommodation options: The reserve has a large selection of camps and lodges, including the lovely Jaci’s Lodges, Mateya Safari Lodge, Madikwe Safari Lodge, and Little Madikwe Hills. Find prices & book >>

The Ant Collection

Four horseriders approaching two giraffes on dusty road

Horseback safari at the Ant Collection, South Africa

Two family-owned and operated lodges – Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill – located in their own spectacular private game reserve.

The reserve is a real haven for animals (over 40 species) and people looking for a wonderful, malaria-free safari. As well as game drives, there’s horse riding, elephant safaris, and swimming available, amongst other activities.

Accommodation options: The Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill offer very family-friendly, luxurious accommodation that is intimate and homely. Find prices & book >>

Entabeni Safari Conservancy

rhinos grazing in sunshine in front of rocky outcrop

Three of Entabeni’s rhinos grazing in front of a signature rocky outcrop

Entabeni means ‘place of the mountain’, a private reserve spread over five ecosystems including wetlands, grass plains, craggy escarpments, and cliffs.

Large animals such as elephants and rhinos are plentiful, along with leopards, cheetahs, and buffalo.

There’s a choice of activities other than game drives to keep you entertained, such as bush walks, sunset lake cruises, horse riding, and helicopter air safaris.

Children are welcome but must be six or over to join a game drive.

Accommodation options: Lodging includes Lakeside Lodge on the shores of Lake Entabeni and Wildside Safari Camp. Find prices & book >>

Leobo Private Reserve

View from safari lodge interior to green forest beyond

Bush views from open lounge area at the Leobo lodge

Leobo Private Reserve  is encompassed by rugged rocks, mountains, bushveld savannah, rivers, gorges, and an abundance of wildlife.

It is one of only a handful of sole-use private reserves in Africa – allowing guests full access to the entire estate and all its facilities.

Teeming with plains game, as well as hippo, there’s also a wide array of activities for all ages including paintballing, quad bikes, shooting, fishing, and more.

Accommodation options: The lodge has luxury 9 chalets with views over the Palala valley – and a stunning swimming pool built into the side of the mountain.

It’s fully staffed and rented exclusively, so is perfect for families or groups of friends. Find prices & book >>

Mabalingwe Nature Reserve

Main Mabalingwe lodge at sunsetThe Mabalingwe biome , made up of 8,500 hectares of bushveld, provides wonderful game-viewing opportunities year-round.

The reserve is very family-friendly, and the rolling grasslands make game-viewing a breeze. Home to the big five, and also hippo, giraffe, hyena, and sable, the reserve has a variety of family and child-friendly activities to go alongside their day and night game drives.

Accommodation options: There are many types of accommodation available including chalets, campsites, and bush lodges. Find prices & book >>

Welgevonden Game Reserve & Marakele National Park

elephant drinking from swimming pool at luxury safari lodge

Drinks time at Welgevenden’s pool area

Adjoining areas Welgevonden Game Reserve  and Marakele National Park are in the process of removing their fences to allow the game to roam in a larger area.

Both parks are home to the big five, as well as 30 more mammal species and over 250 species of birds.

Marakele is more for intrepid safari-goers than luxury safari seekers – you’ll definitely need your own four-wheel-drive car, whilst Welgevonden as a private game reserve has a focus on high-end luxury.

Accommodation options: Are plentiful and varied inside the reserve, with a host of luxurious and extremely hospitable lodges and camps to choose from. Find prices & book >>

That’s your lot for luxury safari lodges in South Africa. Have you stayed at one of these lodges, or know of any others that should be on the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Top countries for safaris

  • Botswana safaris
  • Kenya safaris
  • Namibia safaris
  • South Africa safaris
  • Tanzania safaris
  • Uganda safaris

Safari basics

  • Safari animals
  • How to find the right safari company
  • When to go on safari
  • What to take on safari
  • Safari clothing – what to wear
  • Safari rules & etiquette
  • Wildlife spotting tips

Most read articles

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  • 17 Epic hybrid animals
  • The world’s ugliest animals
  • Why are flamingos pink?

Africa’s best game reserves

  • Chobe National Park, Botswana
  • Etosha National Park, Namibia
  • Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
  • Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
  • Okavango Delta, Botswana
  • Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Experience exceptional accommodation and thrilling safaris.


The epitome of luxury and adventure.

Located within the renowned Skukuza Rest Camp in Kruger National Park. Our lodge is your gateway to the ultimate bush escape, where you can immerse yourself in the untamed beauty of the African wilderness while enjoying luxurious comforts and unrivalled biodiversity.

With 128 remarkable rooms, including family rooms and opulent suites, our lodge epitomises luxury and offers an unparalleled experience for every guest. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or on a solo adventure, we have the perfect accommodation to suit your needs.

During your stay, embark on exhilarating game drives and guided safari tours that allow you to explore diverse landscapes and encounter captivating wildlife.

After your adventures, indulge in our finest amenities. Unwind at the elegant bar, where you can savour your favourite drink and share stories with fellow travellers. Delight your taste buds with exquisite cuisine at our restaurant, offering a range of delectable options. And when you need to cool off and relax, take a refreshing dip in our inviting pool, surrounded by the tranquil atmosphere of the lodge.

Our dedicated team is passionate about providing exceptional service and ensuring that every aspect of your stay exceeds your expectations. Experience the epitome of luxury and adventure at Skukuza Safari Lodge. Book your stay now and prepare yourself for an unparalleled safari experience that will leave you with cherished memories of your time in Kruger National Park.


Kruger national park.

Witness the raw beauty of the African wilderness up close and create memories that will last a lifetime.

map of how to get to the lodge



Skukuza lodge.

Green building initiatives have been incorporated to ensure the greenest lodge possible within the framework of international best practice. The lodge also aids community beneficiation through economic opportunities in the construction and operation of the lodge.

91 Standard Rooms

22 Family Rooms

7 Universal Rooms

8 Luxury Suites


From a safari vehicle.

Every turn in the road brings a new delight: a leopard that melts into the bush, warthog piglets trotting behind their mother, a whole herd of elephants at a waterhole.

Kruger’s game drives are for guests who want to get closer to the wildlife side of nature and experience the Park’s fauna up close.


Indulge in a dining experience that embodies the essence of South African hospitality and cuisine. From a la carte to buffet options, we offer a variety of culinary delights to satisfy your palate. Under the starry skies, enjoy our braai nights where you can savour the smoky flavours of grilled meats and vegetables.

delicious burger and chips


delicious chicken burger and chips



Enjoy unique close-to-nature experiences, such as a game drive to get closer to the wildlife, or a round of golf on our scenic golf course amidst hippo, impala and warthog or a relaxing massage at the AM Spa.

Guest on Game Drive



Golf clubs and Cart in the background


women enjoying a drink in a spa robe


women on an exercise bike in the gym


nursery plants


Immerse yourself in nature, secure payments.

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The oldest game reserve in Africa

Mindful luxury and space in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Capturing the suspension between earth and sky, this glass wrapped lodge rests on a ridge overlooking Africa’s oldest game reserve. Down below a waterhole, frequented by a diversity of wildlife, pulls your eye away from the extraordinary views, as you slow down and connect with the earth.

home of the rhino Rooted in Rhino Conservation

A big 5 wilderness reserve.

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is proud to be associated with the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and its historical success story of rhino conservation in Southern Africa. We are honoured to call the “home of the rhino” our home too. We are the first luxury safari lodge to be established within this world renowned Big 5 game reserve which is also home to thriving populations of African wild dogs, lion, elephant and multitudes of other species.

“ The wilderness is our original home that still lingers in every human”

- Nunu Jobe | Isibindi Africa Trails


A bold contemporary space created in response to a dramatic setting

Pure and simple luxury, a natural celebration of light, shape and form

As our seasons change


Treat yourself

A celebration of utmost privacy and earthy luxury

A journey to renewal


Sink into your seat as you set off for a few hours of unscripted adventure

In step with nature, a morning exploring and sharing untouched spaces in an iconic game reserve


A spectacularly scenic game reserve with a wealth of animals and habitats

A prime birding destination, home to over 400 bird species

Explore the beauty of the Zulu Kingdom and the KZN coastline

Community tours and Cultural Visits

Visit a Zulu Family and experience authentic African hospitality


Isibindi Africa is built on community-minded conservation, which means that the people, flora and fauna of a place, are an inherent part of the beauty and the sustainability of that place.

IAL MAPS - Southern Africa_Individual Lodges

Experience a luxury safari in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, situated in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park has an interesting history as it is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa and the former hunting grounds of the Zulu Royal family. The park is made up of two game reserves previously known as the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and uMfolozi Game Reserve.

The park has three entrances, making it easily accessible from Swaziland in the north, Richards Bay Airport 1.5 hours east and an easy 3.5 hour drive north from King Shaka International Airport situated near Durban.

Connecting to our eco-conscious community

Our purpose drives us all at Isibindi Africa Lodges, and so we are committed to incorporating eco-conscious systems and initiatives wherever possible, this includes:

Removing single use plastics which includes replacing plastic water bottles with a reusable bottle for each guest

Investing in large solar energy farms

Creating micro-economies in neighbouring communities to supply our lodges

Recycling unused lodge food into feeding schemes for neighbouring creches

Refusing to serve seafood that is not ethically harvested

Fair Trade - Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge



“One of the best places I have ever visited in my life”

September 2022


“We felt like royalty”

“it was all perfect!”

There is nothing to improve - it was all perfect!! I loved the lodge - every detail was carefully thought out from the drinks on arrival, the lemon towelettes after each game drive, the AMAZING food, the beautiful rooms, and the friendly staff.

Stayed June 2022

“If you are umming and aahing about going. Stop, and book”

This is the kind of stay that leaves you wanting everyone you know to go and experience! From the moment you arrive to fresh wet face cloths to the minute you leave with padkos in hand, every detail, every interaction, every meal leaves you feeling like you’re a favourite family member who has come to stay. Staff greeting you by name with smiles! But for me, the icing on the gluten-free cake was the meal planning around being gluten free. Not once did I look at anyone else’s food and feel I was missing something. Every meal was delicious. Malva pudding and carrot cake? What more could a girl ask for? Please extend my thanks again to the chefs! If you are umming and aahing about going. Stop, and book. Have i mentioned the fantastic accommodation, great game drives and the wonderful spa? Loved it!

November 2021

“The perfect honeymoon”

After an exhausting rollercoaster of a year re-planning our wedding twice we eventually made it to our perfect honeymoon. Rhino Ridge and all the staff were absolutely fantastic and we could not stop raving about it to friends and family. The service 10/10. The accommodation (Villa 6) 10/10. The food 10/10. The feeling of relaxation and pure luxury was priceless. Thank you to everyone at the lodge who made it a magical experience.

(South Africa) Stayed May 2021

“the best bush experience we have ever had”

Truly one of the best bush experiences we have ever had (and we have had many). Would not change a thing. Superb staff, incredible lodge and truly a memorable amazing experience in every respect. 10 / 10

Brett Yeatman

Stayed november 2021.

“Very special and memorable”

We stayed at the lodge for 2 nights and experienced exceptional service from the moment we arrived. The family unit was very clean and convenient. The game drives are unforgettable (Thulani is a great guide!), the food was excellent and all staff are very helpful and friendly. It was my husband's birthday and to our surprise a delicious cake was baked and presented at our dinner table which was absolutely amazing! As a result of my exciting stories at work about the whole experience, one of the colleagues travelled to the same lodge a week later and was even more excited! Thank you to all staff for making our visit a very special and memorable!

“Gem on planet earth”

I’ve visited many game lodges in South Africa, without a doubt you stand out. your hospitality is on another level. the game drives with well equipped and knowledgeable ranger (Simo Buthelezi you taught me so much ). This is now my new home for every bush visit. well done on keeping your doors opened and having the lodge fully functional during these trying times. well done to this gem on planet earth ….wow

October 2021

“I loved their professionalism and warm spirit”

On arrival at Rhino Ridge, we received a very warm welcoming from Bryce, Precious and Zanele. I loved their professionalism and warm spirit. The Lodge is magnificent with the views to die for! We arrived just in time for a delicious high tea and again the staff at the restaurant were amazing, especially Themba. I felt at home to the point that I remember everyone by their names. 

South Africa Stayed August 2021

“Out of This World”

Early january 2020, we spent two nights at this lodges within the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi NP. The rooms and food were excellent, and the views from the lodge and infinity pool are top! What a view on the rolling hills of Zulu land. Having experienced the game drives in the private reserves of Kruger, the games drives here were somewhat less exiting as the cars cannot leave the roads in search of animals. This being said, the safari walk is a MUST DO. Highly recommended in the morning. We got up at 4:30am and were walking at 5:00am. The experience of the silence and the sun rising behind the hills is unforgettable. Sitting within 50 metres of rhino's is out of this world.


Beringen, belgium stayed january 2020.


Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

south african safari hotel

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Your sanctuary on safari in the wild of Africa


Your sanctuary on Africa's best Big Five waterhole


Your sanctuary in the city with easy access to all of Cape Town's best attractions



Your sanctuary in South Africa's gourmet capital right in the heart of the village

Long Beach

Your sanctuary right on the beach with the best view in Cape Town

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Cape Town, Winelands & Safari

Our acclaimed 5-star luxury boutique hotels and safari camps, located in South Africa's most legendary locations, are serene sanctuaries filled with lovely people and kindness.

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We have it all

Experience 'beyond boutique' accommodation at our secure, exclusive residences in the iconic Greater Kruger, storied Cape winelands and celebrated Cape Town. Here, pleasingly different luxury hideaway accommodation and warm South African hospitality play host to your dreams of thrilling safaris, memorable fine dining, and rare discoveries that remain uniquely yours - a place of belonging.  

luxury safaris in South Africa

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Adventure & Luxury

Spacious, secure guest rooms, sumptuously appointed with crisp linens and thoughtful touches complemented by our intuitive service, awaits you.

Guest reviews

"If I could give it a 6 I would! What a fantastic retreat!"

John_England78, Southampton

"If I could give it a 6 I would! What a fantastic retreat!"

"I do not want this hotel to become so popular that we would be unable to return. Disclaimer aside this property is fabulous."

Geoffnewcastleuk, Newcastle UK

"I do not want this hotel to become so popular that we would be unable to return. Disclaimer aside this property is fabulous."

"Thank god for this place. After a long flight from London via Joburg I was utterly grateful to have been recommended this place to stay."

Fat Tony, Greater London

"Thank god for this place. After a long flight from London via Joburg I was utterly grateful to have been recommended this place to stay."

"We stayed four days, loved every minute and are already looking forward to coming back."

Frenchjerry, London

"We stayed four days, loved every minute and are already looking forward to coming back."

At all our locations, our hospitality

Envelopes you

Our people are at the heart of the Last Word brand. Our team is a diverse collective of passionate Africans, and each holds your stay in their hands. At Last Word Intimate Hotels, you will experience world-class boutique hotel accommodation infused with an unmistakable South African accent. Add to that our team's in-depth local knowledge and unbridled passion for delivering enriching experiences, and you have the makings of a life-changing visit.


Nature Trail

Nature Trail

A private on-foot trail within our fences where guests can take an incredibly intetresting tour or wildlife and other sights

Photographic Hide

Photographic Hide

This is the original Madikwe photographic hide right on the edge of the watering hole, classic pictures guaranteed

Ancient WaterHole

Ancient WaterHole

Meters away from our manicured lawn, the watering hole teems with life all day and night

Let's Frite

Let's Frite

Let's Frite - Our mission is to provide you with a high quality menu at affordable prices. Each component was carefully developed in house and is 100% “homemade”.

Bush drinks

Bush drinks

Stop for a relaxing glass of bubbly while on safari

Helicopter Flips

Helicopter Flips

Scenic and conservation flips are both available to guests


Evening drinks in a river bed or location with a view

Bush Breakfast

Bush Breakfast

Breakfast, in the wild during your morning safari

Boma dinner

Boma dinner

The British Officers Mess Area - A theatrical evening awaits dinner in the boma featuring traditional South African cuisine and tribal singing and dancing.

Slangkop Lighthouse

Slangkop Lighthouse

One of only a few left - The winding road that slithers along the Atlantic coastline leading to Kommetjie has been described as a snake like drive. This curving coastal carriageway leads to Slangkop (Snake head) Lighthouse which has been burning brightly since 1914, becoming fully automated in 1979. The tower's light shimmers 33 nautical miles out to sea from its 33 M circular construction.

Three course seafood dinner

Three course seafood dinner

Cape Town's best setting for an intimate dinner - Enjoy a seafood feast overlooking the ocean after an exciting day on the beach. Our dinner menu was designed especially for The Last Word Long Beach in order to highlight the tranquility, beauty and freshness of its surrounds.


Right in front of the hotel - Get out the boards and enjoy the break at one of Cape Town's favourite surf spots.

Harbour House

Harbour House

5 star dining in a working harbour - Situated on the water’s edge in the picturesque harbour of Kalk Bay, this branch boasts exquisite views of the working harbour, False Bay and the Hottentots Mountain Range. Harbour House Kalk Bay specialises in corporate functions, tour groups and wedding receptions – offering world-class cuisine and wine, beautiful décor and friendly, professional service.

The Wine Tram

The Wine Tram

The best way to discover the Cape Winelands - Hop on board and discover the beauty of the Franschhoek Valley in the best way possible! We can’t wait to share this unforgettable journey with you.

Le Lude

Unforgettable Cap Classique - Le Lude, a wine farm in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley of South Africa’s Western Cape, follows an ethos committed to its founding family and the crafting of naturally bottle-fermented sparkling wines, known as Cap Classique.

Haute Cabriere

Haute Cabriere

Live Beautifully at Haute Cabrière - Haute Cabrière has been part of the DNA of the South African wine lover since its inception, inspiring supporters to live and enjoy the art of life. Situated on the Franschhoek Pass, Haute Cabrière has been creating wines from Burgundian cultivars for the past 25 years. Founder and proprietor Achim von Arnim’s passion for these varietals has always been the inspiration behind both the Pierre Jourdan and Haute Cabrière wine ranges.

La Petite Colombe

La Petite Colombe

A meal at La Petite Colombe restaurant is like doing the tango with a stranger. - La Petite Colombe is the sister restaurant of the widely acclaimed La Colombe in Constantia, both are positioned amongst the top restaurants in the world. Visitors to Franschhoek can now look forward to experiencing the same level of service excellence and exquisite cuisine, but with a fresh new twist.

La Motte

Experience the finer things in life. - Situated in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley in South Africa’s Cape wine lands, La Motte is home to some of South Africa’s finest wines, recognised internationally for their exceptional quality. The estate boasts four national monuments, a state of the art tasting room, the Pierneef art museum, and the new restaurant, Pierneef à La Motte.

Steenberg Golf Course

Steenberg Golf Course

Just 5 minutes from Last Word Constantia - Located in the beautiful Constantia Valley, with the spectacular icon of Table Mountain as its backdrop, and close proximity to tourist attractions and the airport, Steenberg Estate is a must-visit destination with a must-play golf course. When you arrive at the gates and drive past the vineyards and ancient oaks, you are entering a world that goes well beyond golf. Even if you’re spending just a few hours here, you can be sure that our aim is to make those hours memorable.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

One of the great botanic gardens of the world. - Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Home to a wide selection of indigenous plants, some are found only in South Africa.

Cape Point Vineyards

Cape Point Vineyards

A world class winery by the sea - A unique farm in Noordhoek where vines are lazily nestled between mountains and ocean. Cool breezes from the sea make for a slow growing season, with a late harvest that results in a truly unique Sauvignon Blanc that is recognised across the globe for it’s rich minerality, structure and tone. Picnics on the lawn and evening wine tastings are both a great way to experience this stunning location.

Boulders beach Penguins

Boulders beach Penguins

Interact with African Penguins - The beautiful Boulders Beach is one of Cape Town’s most visited beaches and the only place in the world where you get close to African Penguins. In 1982 a couple of these little crowd-pleasers settled on the soft white sand between the large granite boulders that protect the beach from wind and large, stormy waves, and currently the population is estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 birds.


A locals favourite since 1993 - A landmark since 1993, Peddlars has become one of the most recognised and beloved destinations in Constantia. Its casual upscale ambience permeates throughout the venue, which comprises versatile dining in the restaurant, garden and bar areas.

Constantia Glen

Constantia Glen

A picturesque boutique wine estate producing ultra-premium, cool climate wines - Constantia Glen is ideally located just a few minutes from the hotel, moments from the bustling Cape Town city centre. It is a picturesque boutique wine estate producing ultra-premium, cool climate wines. Steeped in history, Constantia is the oldest wine producing region in South Africa dating back to 1685.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

A natural wonder - Table Mountain, which is home to the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth, was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2011. Whether it is covered in a blanket of moody clouds or showing off against a crisp cloudless blue sky, Table Mountain is always spectacular. Cape Town locals are pretty fond of the mountain that looms over their city, and with good reason!

La Colombe

Recognized as one of the top restaurants in the world - This is one of South Africa’s most iconic and internationally acclaimed fine dining establishments. Located on the picturesque Silvermist Organic Wine Estate at the top of the Constantia valley, with breath taking views overlooking the valley. The menu is inspired by a fusion of Asian and French cuisine, combined with the pursuit of excellence and perfection.

Reservations & enquiries

+27 021 794 2036

+27 021 794 2058

+27 021 794 2069


+27 021 794 6561

[email protected]

Find your hotel

Postal: Spaanschemat, River Road Constantia, 7806

+27 021 794 7657

Madikwe Bush House

Wonderboom Gate, Madikwe, 2840, Zuid-Afrika

+27 83 379 6912

Spaanschemat River Road, Constantia, 7806

68 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek, 7690

+27 021 876 4723

1 Kirsten Road Kommetje, 7975

+27 021 783 4183

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The ultimate, luxury South African safari

The iconic MalaMala Game Reserve is the safari industry’s blueprint for the luxury safari.  In existence since 1927, this massive, thriving tract of land offers the most exciting and consistently exceptional wildlife experience this side of the equator.

MalaMala was the first private game reserve in South Africa to recognise the importance of  prioritising conservation of the land and protecting the fragile ecosystem by prohibiting hunting and making the transition to photographic safaris. 

MalaMala Game Reserve is one of the largest private Big Five game reserves in South Africa. It shares an unfenced boundary with the world-renowned Kruger National Park and lies strategically sandwiched between the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve.

Discover Exclusivity

Benchmark for the luxury safari industry.

MalaMala Game Reserve is the benchmark for the luxury safari industry in Southern Africa.

Location, Location, Location

MalaMala shares a 19 km unfenced boundary with the world-famous Kruger National Park.

Lowest density of human and highest density of wildlife

It's all about the wildlife, keeping our human impact on the environment to a minimum

Protecting the environmental integrity

Preserving and protecting the environmental integrity of this special piece of Africa.

No time limit on sightings

There is no shared traversing on 70% of the MalaMala property allowing guests to enjoy exclusive, uninterrupted game drives. There is no time limit on sightings and no “queue-to-view” on this enormous tract of land.

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Read our latest blogs on wildlife, game drives etc.

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Weekly sightings, photography, it’s all about the wildlife.

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  • Indian Ocean Islands
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The landscapes of South Africa are world-renowned – home to no less than 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Not only does the country boast highly acclaimed Big Five wildlife reserves but travellers are treated to flourishing winelands, with some of the best wines in the world. Idyllic beaches, craggy mountains, forested slopes, and hilly countryside give way to awe-inspiring canyons and gorges that are host to a multitude of adventure activities. Trendy nightlife, thriving cafe culture and dazzling cities, including Cape Town, are a major drawcard showcasing a cosmopolitan beauty and diversity.

Discover South Africa’s iconic destinations

Our favourite reasons to travel, from exceptional offers to not-to-be missed tours and experiences, here are our favourite reasons to explore south africa that matched your preferences, discover the best time to travel to south africa.

We’ve curated a ‘when to go’ calendar to help your guests decide when is the best time to explore vibrant South Africa. With so much on offer, every month boasts an array of happenings waiting to be discovered and explored. 

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Our selection of south africa stories from the bateleur magazine, our travel specialists, we're on hand to make your tailor-made adventures come true, leaving our world a better place for years, discover the impact legacy that your travel with &beyond is driving. just as the un’s sustainable development goals have been a touchstone for our vision 2020 group-operation sustainability audits, so they continue to guide and underpin our ambitiously scaled vision 2030 goals., we're sorry but this site doesn't work properly without javascript enabled., please enable it to continue., privacy overview.

Secret Africa

The Top 10 Luxury Safari Lodges In South Africa

South Africa has some of the most amazing safari lodge experiences in the world. The photographic safari model started in South Africa and has spread through the rest of Africa, India and Sri Lanka. Many of the luxury safari lodges in South Africa and specifically the Kruger National Park win the best hotel in the world awards as voted by guests and travels authors. There are so many amazing lodges each with their own character and feel. Here are just some of them that make up the top 10 luxury safari lodges in South Africa.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa

Singita Boulders Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Singita is world renown for its luxury lodges throughout Africa. Started in South Africa, their Boulders Lodge is one of their favourites. Singita Boulders Lodge is a luxury safari lodge in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The lodge is located along the Sand River, which provides an ideal vantage point to view local wildlife and relaxing in the pristine wilderness.

The lodge takes its name from the ancient boulders that mark the terrain and inspired the property’s design and construction. The contemporary African style of Singita Boulders Resort Lodge blends well with the natural setting while providing an extraordinary degree of luxury and comfort.

The lodge has 12 rooms, each with its own private viewing terrace and heated plunge pool, giving visitors exceptional seclusion and a personal connection to the African bush. The suites include floor-to-ceiling glass windows that provide breathtaking views of the river and surrounding wildlife. Natural materials such as wood, stone, and leather are used to adorn the interiors, providing a sophisticated yet relaxing atmosphere.

Singita Boulders Lodge offers a range of activities for guests to enjoy during their stay, including game drives, bush walks, stargazing, wine tastings, and visits to adjacent community development projects. The lodge has a spa, gym, and boutique, providing guests with a variety of services and experiences.

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The Sabi Sands Game Reserve

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is a privately owned wildlife reserve in South Africa, located near the famous Kruger National Park’s southwestern border. The reserve, which covers around 65,000 hectares (160,000 acres), is known for its exceptional animal and plant life which creates amazing game viewing opportunities. It is part of the Greater Kruger National Park, which protects approximately 20 million hectares of African wilderness.

The name Sabi Sand comes from the two rivers that flow through the reserve, the Sabie and the Sand rivers. The area between these two rivers are among the most productive hunting habitats for predators like lions, leopards, cheetah, caracal, African wild cats and wild dogs in the world. Due to this there is a high concentration of hunting cats and other carnivores in the area which creates an unbelievable viewing opportunity for visitors staying in the reserve.

The beautiful landscape along the rivers, the rugged terrain away from them, numerous antelope species, other smaller animals, The Big 5 and an impressive variety of bird species makes this an unbelievable wildlife safari location and the home of many of the best luxury safari lodges in this list.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - Malewane Safari Lodge

Royal Malewane, Greater Kruger National Park

Royal Malewane is a small premium safari lodge in South Africa’s Thornybush Private Game Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The lodge provides an intimate and exclusive safari experience, combining opulent suites, world-class cuisine, and unparalleled wildlife sightings.

Royal Malewane’s three luxury safari lodges and private bush villas, each reflecting an exquisite vision of design and supreme hospitality, allows you to experience the African wilderness in comfort, style, and seclusion. Royal Malewane boasts about having the most experienced and qualified guiding team in Africa. They take great care in selecting their guiding staff which includes both safari guides and expert animal trackers.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - Malewane Safari Lodge - Luxury Suite at Waterside

Royal Malewane offers three lodges – Malewane Lodge, The Farmstead and Waterside.

  • Malewane Lodge has six exquisite suites, two Royal Suites, and Africa House, an exclusive-use home for up to 12 guests. Each suite is charmingly decorated, with classic colonial-style furnishings, four-poster beds, and huge windows with views of the surrounding bushveld. All suites include a private deck, a heated plunge pool, and an outdoor shower, allowing visitors to experience the African wilderness in comfort and seclusion.
  • The Farmstead is designed in a contemporary African style that complements its natural surroundings. The design combines traditional features and local craftsmanship to create a warm and welcoming setting that represents the region’s rich cultural heritage. The Farmstead offers three Luxury Farm Suites and The Farmhouse, a private home that can sleep up to six people. The Luxury Farm Suites are stylishly equipped and spacious, with a large bedroom, en-suite bathroom, private outdoor shower, and a private veranda with a heated plunge pool. The Farmhouse is a beautiful and exclusive-use property with its own dedicated crew, which includes a private chef, butler, housekeeper, and a safari guide with a private game-viewing vehicle.
  • The aesthetic effect of a stay at Waterside, with its very striking design, dramatically redefines the typical safari experience. You’ll feel the energizing energy of the African bush the moment you step through the floating entrance bridge and arrive in the warmth of Waterside. The scene is reminiscent of Eden, with a lively waterhole surrounded by fever trees and wildlife. It is minimalist in design and anticipates every requirement for a wonderful modern safari.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - Malewane Safari Lodge - The library at Waterside

The Thornybush Private Game Reserve is home to a diverse range of animals, including the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinoceroses) as well as cheetahs, wild dogs, giraffes, and zebras. The area’s different habitats sustain a diverse birdlife, making Royal Malewane an ideal site for birdwatchers.

In addition to great game watching, Royal Malewane provides guests with a variety of leisure activities and amenities to enjoy throughout their stay. The Waters of Royal Malewane Wilderness Spa is a serene hideaway where visitors can engage in calming treatments, while the lodge’s dining experiences provide the greatest local and foreign delicacies prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - Londolozi - Founders Camp

Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Londolozi was established in 1926 and is well-known for its devotion to conservation, eco-tourism, and community empowerment. The name “Londolozi” comes from a Zulu phrase that means “protector of all living things,” reflecting the reserve’s deep commitment to protecting African wildness and assisting local communities.

The reserve encompasses around 16,000 hectares (40,000 acres). Londolozi is especially well-known for its remarkable leopard sightings, and it has been the focus of numerous films and publications as a result of its exceptional wildlife encounters.

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Londolozi is made up of five luxury camps, each with its own ambiance and level of luxury:

  • Pioneer Camp: With only three suites, Pioneer Camp is ideal for families or small parties looking for a private safari experience. Pioneer Camp is known for its personalized service and specialized activities. The camp’s staff caters to each guest’s personal needs and interests, ensuring a unique and unforgettable experience.
  • Varty Camp: The original Londolozi camp has ten chalets that represent the reserve’s rich history while offering modern facilities and elegance. The camp has ten chalets, each decorated in the classic safari style that is synonymous with Londolozi. The chalets have spacious rooms with en-suite bathrooms, private decks, and outdoor showers, allowing guests to connect with nature while remaining comfortable. For added luxury, some chalets offer private plunge pools.
  • Founders Camp: This camp offers seven chalets along the Sand River’s banks, offering a classic safari experience with a touch of modern luxury. The camp has seven chalets, each of which has been deliberately crafted to strike the perfect blend between classic safari elegance and modern luxury.
  • Tree Camp: Tree Camp is an adults-only camp with six magnificent apartments perched on stilts, affording stunning vistas and a romantic environment. Tree Camp offers a romantic and elegant setting among the trees on the banks of the Sand River, providing a calm and personal experience for people seeking a premium safari escape. Tree Camp has six elevated suites that are built on stilts and are designed to fit in with the surrounding canopy.
  • Granite Camp is Londolozi’s most private and luxury camp, with only three suites and a personalised safari experience tailored to clients’ desires.The suites are designed with a refined blend of organic and modern features, resulting in a magnificent ambiance that matches the surrounding natural environment. Each suite has a large bedroom, an en-suite bathroom, an outdoor shower, and a private heated pool. The suites also have floor-to-ceiling windows and a private deck with breathtaking views of the Sand River and the surrounding nature.Granite Camp’s exclusivity allows for a highly personalized experience, with a specialized team of professionals catering to each guest’s individual wants and preferences.

Londolozi focuses a great deal of attention on their guide and tracker training programs. They have a rigorous guide selection program that includes specialist trainers that upskill the guides in more than just wildlife knowledge but also tracking, hosting and storytelling skills. This is because Londolozi wants to create a unique highly sophisticated guiding experience that connects with nature around it rather than simply observes it.

Londolozi is also home to the Tracker Academy. The Tracker Academy was formed in 2010 by Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo in collaboration with the SA College of Tourism and the Peace Parks Foundation. The academy is located in South Africa’s Londolozi Private Game Reserve and is dedicated to conserving traditional wildlife tracking techniques while also providing employment opportunities for people from rural communities. Read more about the Tracker Academy here.

Londolozi has received international recognition for its conservation efforts, eco-tourism projects, and commitment to elevating local communities through education, healthcare, and business development programs. Guests that visit Londolozi contribute to these initiatives, helping to conserve the African bush for future generations.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - On Safari at Londolozi - Varty Camp Exterior

The Leopards of Londolozi

Londolozi’s leopards have become iconic emblems of the reserve, attracting wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and researchers from all over the world.

The Londolozi area’s unique combination of the Sand River, diversified vegetation, and plentiful prey populations makes it a great home for leopards. Leopards have thrived in their natural surroundings thanks to Londolozi’s conservation efforts and long-standing policy of minimum human involvement.

Londolozi has earned a reputation for providing exceptional leopard watching opportunities, with numerous generations of these elusive cats becoming accustomed to the sight of safari vehicles. Guests may view leopards up close and witness their normal habits, such as hunting, mating, and raising their young, thanks to this habit.

The skilled rangers and trackers at Londolozi work closely together to locate and track the leopards, ensuring that guests have the best possibility of seeing these majestic animals during their stay. The heavy emphasis on ethical wildlife viewing techniques guarantees that the leopards’ well-being remains a key priority, and that human presence does not interrupt their normal activities.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - On Safari at Londolozi - Leopard

Lion Sands Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve

The MORE family, who have a long history of offering great safari experiences, owns and manages Lion Sands .

The reserve is located along the Sabie River, which attracts a wide variety of animals, including the Big Five and many other species. Like the rest of the Sabi Sands, the area is noted for its amazing leopard and lion sightings.

Lion Sands Game Reserve has a variety of excellent lodgings, including four lodges and several treehouses. Each lodge offers great service, comfort, and amenities to visitors, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding environment. The treehouses provide a unique and exciting way for guests to experience the African wilderness, allowing them to sleep under the stars while being surrounded by nature.

Spa treatments, bush dining experiences, trips to nearby communities, and stargazing are all available at the lodge.

The MORE group operates several luxury lodges and hotels across South Africa, these include:

  • Marataba Safari Lodge and Marataba Mountain Lodge can be found in the Limpopo Province’s Marakele National Park.
  • Madikwe Safari Lodge is located in North West Province’s malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve.
  • The Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel and the More Quarters Hotel are both nestled in the dynamic metropolis of Cape Town.
  • Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel: Situated near Zimbabwe’s famed Victoria Falls.
  • Pel’s Post is set in the Kruger National Park’s northern section.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - River Lodge Luxury Room

Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

Phinda Private Game Reserve is a distinguished game reserve in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Phinda, which encompasses over 70,000 acres, is noted for its various ecosystems, spectacular wildlife observations, and dedication to conservation and community development. andBeyond, a prominent premium experience travel business known for its high standards of service & sustainability, manages the reserve.

Phinda is distinguished by its broad range of habitats, which includes woodland, grassland, marsh, forest, and hilly regions. Because of its diversity, the reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife and plant species, making it an attractive location for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

There are several beautiful lodges to select from in Phinda, each with great service, comfort, and amenities, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness. The lodges are meant to fit in with the natural environment, minimizing environmental effect while offering visitors with an immersive and realistic safari experience.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa -Lelapa Lodge at night

Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Safari Lodge is a luxurious and stylish lodge in South Africa’s North West Province’s malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. The reserve, which covers roughly 150,000 acres, is South Africa’s fifth-largest game reserve.

The MORE group operates Madikwe Safari Lodge, which has three distinct lodges on the property, each catering to different preferences and travel styles:

  • Lelapa Lodge: Our family-friendly and hospitable lodge features 12 spacious rooms, each with a private plunge pool, outdoor shower, and spectacular views of the surrounding bushveld. The lodge offers a variety of family-friendly activities and services to ensure a memorable and engaging experience for guests of all ages.
  • Kopano Lodge: Built for couples and small groups looking for a more private safari experience, Kopano Lodge has only four suites, creating an exclusive and tranquil environment. The architecture of the lodge emphasizes privacy and romance, making it ideal for honeymoons or special occasions.
  • Dithaba Lodge: Located on a hill with panoramic views of the reserve, Dithaba Lodge is ideal for family or group bookings. The lodge provides four spacious suites as well as a variety of tailored services to guests to customise their safari experience to their preferences.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - Madikwe Safari Lodge

Madikwe Safari Lodge, particularly Lelapa Lodge, is dedicated to offering a family-friendly safari experience. Madikwe Safari Lodge offers a variety of family-friendly activities and facilities, including:

Family game drives: These game drives are specifically created for families with children, catering to the interests and attention spans of younger guests, offering a fun and educational wildlife experience for the entire family.

  • Eco House: The Eco House is a dedicated children’s entertainment area that offers a variety of fun and educational activities such as arts and crafts, games, puzzles, and wildlife-themed toys.
  • Bush orientation and tracking: These activities teach children about the African bush and its inhabitants while also teaching them practical skills like animal tracking, plant identification, and navigation.
  • Children can take part in interactive cooking workshops where they will learn to prepare simple dishes and taste the flavors of local cuisine. This enjoyable activity fosters an interest in culinary arts as well as an appreciation for diverse cultures.
  • Family dining alternatives: The lodge provides a variety of family-friendly dining options, such as early lunches for younger children, customized menus, and flexible mealtimes.
  • Madikwe Safari Lodge provides professional babysitting services, allowing parents to relax or partake in activities that are not suitable for younger children.

Madikwe Safari Lodge’s emphasis on family activities ensures that each member of the family has a memorable and engaging experience during their stay, encouraging a love of nature and a respect for the necessity of conservation.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - Baking with our enthusiastic chefs in the making

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, Northern Cape

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is a large, privately owned game reserve in South Africa’s Northern Cape area. It is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, covering over 110,000 hectares, and is dedicated to wildlife protection, sustainability, and providing unique and unforgettable experiences for its guests. Tswalu is in the southern Kalahari region, which is known for its dramatic vistas, rich flora and fauna, and renowned red sand dunes.

The reserve is home to a diverse range of animals, including the iconic Kalahari black-maned lions, cheetahs, leopards, African wild dogs, and over 240 bird species. Tswalu is also a haven for rare and endangered animals in South Africa, including the pangolin, aardvark, and desert-adapted black rhino.

Tswalu has two luxurious lodge choices, both of which provide great service, comfort, and amenities:

  • The Motse: This lodge is made up of nine spacious and stylishly furnished legae (Tswana meaning “small house”), each with its own bathroom, outdoor shower, and private sundeck. There is an infinity pool, jacuzzi, gym, library, and wine cellar in the main lodge area. The Motse combines authentic African style with contemporary luxury to create an immersive and comfortable experience.
  • Tarkuni: This villa is ideal for families or small parties seeking a more private and personalized experience. Tarkuni features five deluxe suites, a private chef, a specialized game drive vehicle, and a variety of customized services and activities.

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During their stay at Tswalu, guests can participate in a number of activities, including:

  • Game drives: Led by experienced rangers and trackers, game drives in Tswalu provide guests with one-of-a-kind wildlife encounters that are tailored to their interests and preferences.
  • Bush walks: Learn about the Kalahari ecosystem’s vegetation, animals, and smaller species that are typically ignored during game drives.
  • Horseback safaris: Get a different viewpoint on the Kalahari environment and wildlife by riding well-trained and well-cared-for horses.
  • Junior Ranger program: An instructional program for children that incorporates bushcraft skills and the opportunity to participate in wildlife conservation efforts.
  • Stargazing: The Kalahari’s pristine skies and little light pollution provide excellent stargazing possibilities, which may be experienced at Tswalu’s professional observatory.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - Ngala Private Game Reserve 2

&Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge and &Beyond Ngala Tented Camp, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

The Timbavati Private Natural Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, is home to two luxury lodges: &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge and &Beyond Ngala Tented Camp. The Timbavati reserve, known for its spectacular wildlife sightings, including the Big Five, provides travelers with a remarkable and authentic safari experience.

&Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge: This magnificent lodge has 20 elegant thatched cottages, three family cottages, and one family suite that blend harmoniously with the surrounding bushveld. Each cottage is thoughtfully constructed to provide comfort, solitude, and stunning views of the reserve. The primary rooms of the lodge include a large dining area, a cozy lounge, an outside boma for dining under the stars, and a swimming pool. The lodge also has a dedicated WILDChild program for children, ensuring that younger guests have a stimulating and instructive experience.

&Beyond Ngala Tented Camp: &Beyond Ngala Tented Camp provides nine deluxe tented suites located on high platforms overlooking the seasonal Timbavati River for those searching for a more intimate and immersive safari experience. Each suite at the camp is meant to provide an authentic yet comfortable experience, with an en-suite bathroom, outdoor shower, and a private terrace. The main camp area features a chic lounge, dining area, and a swimming pool with a view of the riverbed.

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Tanda Tula, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

Tanda Tula is a luxury safari camp in the midst of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with South Africa’s world-famous Kruger National Park. Tanda Tula, known for its spectacular animal sightings and warm, welcoming ambiance, provides an intimate and unique safari experience.

The camp provides two types of lodging:

  • Tanda Tula Safari Camp: This traditional tented camp has 12 beautiful and spacious tents, each with its own bathroom, outdoor shower, and private balcony overlooking the Nhlaralumi riverbed. The main part of the camp features a lounge, dining room, bar, and swimming pool, all with breathtaking views of the surrounding forest. Tanda Tula Safari Camp, which accommodates a maximum of 24 guests at a time, focuses on giving a genuine, intimate, and personalized safari experience.
  • Tanda Tula Field Camp: Tanda Tula Field Camp offers a unique walking safari excursion for those looking for an even more exclusive and immersive experience. This private-use camp has four custom-designed tents that can sleep up to eight people. The Field Camp is dedicated to providing an authentic, back-to-nature experience, including guided walking safaris conducted by skilled rangers and trackers.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - MalaMala Camp Deck

MalaMala Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve

MalaMala Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s oldest and most established private reserves. It is part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The reserve has more than 13,300 hectares (33,000 acres) of pristine wilderness and provides a really authentic safari experience.

MalaMala Game Reserve has three luxury camps that cater to all categories of visitors:

MalaMala Main Camp: The reserve’s first camp, MalaMala Main Camp, has 18 luxury rooms and suites, all with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies overlooking the Sand River. The main part of the camp features a dining room, lounge, bar, library, and a swimming pool. The accommodations and facilities combine modern design elements with traditional African elements.

Sable Camp: Sable Camp is a more intimate and exclusive choice, with 5 luxury suites and 1 two-bedroom suite. The camp has a maximum capacity of 14 people, making it suitable for small groups and families. The main area includes a dining room, lounge, bar, library, and a swimming pool with views of the Sand River.

Rattray’s on MalaMala: Rattray’s is the MalaMala Game Reserve’s most private and opulent camp. It has 8 spacious and private khayas (Zulu meaning “homes”), each with a heated plunge pool, outdoor shower, and private terrace. The main part of the camp features a dining room, lounge, bar, library, spa, gym, and swimming pool.

The Top 10 Luxury Game Lodges In South Africa - MalaMala Camp Suite

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Top 10 Best Luxury African Safari Resorts & Lodges

Top 10 Best Luxury African Safari Resorts & Lodges

Heather Richardson is an award-winning travel writer, based in South Africa. She is interested in conservation stories, emerging destinations and adventure travel.

From classic Big Five safari camps to sumptuous riverside retreats, the range of five-star African safari lodges and resorts is nothing short of extraordinary. In no particular order, these are 10 of the continent’s best.

1. Singita Ebony – Sabi Sands, South Africa

Singita Ebony Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa

The original Singita safari lodge is in the private Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with Kruger National Park . Overlooking the Sand River, the lodge’s design is a comfortable take on traditional safari style. Ebony has 12 beautiful suites with glass walls, and plunge pools overlooking the river.

  • When to go: May to September, the Dry season, is best for wildlife.

2. Time + Tide Chinzombo – South Luangwa NP, Zambia

Chinzombo, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia

Located along the banks of the Luangwa River, Time + Tide Chinzombo consists of six luxury safari tents, each with its own plunge pool – ideal for those seeking privacy. It is also a great option for families, as one of the villas is designed for up to five guests.

  • When to go: The Dry season months of July to November are best for wildlife.

Chinzombo Tours

3. Londolozi – Sabi Sands, South Africa

Londolozi, Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa

One of the first best African safari lodges and still one of the best, Londolozi is made up of five separate lodges in its private reserve. The three Granite Suites are the most opulent options, with plunge pools and outdoor bathtubs in which you can soak whilst watching the world – or maybe just a herd of elephants – go by.

  • When to go: The best time to see wildlife is May to September.

Londolozi Lodge Tours

4. Matetsi River Lodge – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Matetsi River Lodge, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

One of the reasons Matetsi is amongst the best African safari resorts is because it presents an opportunity to spot elephants, lions, hippos and buffalo just an hour outside the famous Victoria Falls. The suites and villas overlook the Zambezi 40km/25mi upstream of the falls, and lie in a large private pristine reserve that incorporates 15km/9mi of river frontage.

  • When to go: The best time to spot animals is August to October, when it’s driest. Less spray means the falls are visible and attractions such as Devil’s Pool are accessible.

Matetsi River Lodge Tours

5. Sasaab – Samburu NP, Kenya

Sasaab, Samburu National Park in Kenya

In remote northern Kenya, Sasaab is a lavishly appointed tented camp in the Samburu NP. Each of the Moroccan-influenced tents has its own alfresco bathroom with private plunge pool overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River.

  • When to go: Wildlife viewing is best in the Dry months, June to September and January and February.

6. Sabi Sabi – Sabi Sands, South Africa

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa

Sabi Sabi has four camps: Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp, Selati Camp and Earth Lodge. The latter is the most high-end, with a contemporary design that aims to blend in with the environment. Earth Lodge’s Amber Suite, with its grand tree-trunk headboard, is a honeymooner favorite.

  • When to go: The best time to see wildlife is in the Dry season, May to September.

Sabi Sabi Lodges Tours

7. Chief’s Camp – Okavango Delta, Botswana

Sanctuary Chief’s Camp, Okavango Delta in Botswana

The Chief’s Camp is in one of the most wildlife-rich areas in the Delta – and in Africa. Exploration in game vehicles, on foot and in mokoros (traditional dugout canoes) are on offer. Spacious rooms have private plunge pools and floor-to-ceiling windows, and the camp is in keeping with its bush setting.

  • When to go: The dry months, July to October, are best for wildlife.

Chief’s Camp Tours

8. Angama Mara – Masai Mara GR, Kenya

Angama Mara Lodge, Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya

In one of the most popular safari areas in Africa, Angama Mara won a host of style awards when it opened. On the site of the famous ‘Out of Africa’ picnic scene, the lodge has sensational views from its escarpment perch. The two camps of 15 tents each have floor-to-ceiling windows and bright fabrics inspired by Masaai dress.

  • When to go: June to October for wildlife; September and October for great migration river crossings.

Angama Mara Tours

9. Singita Faru Faru – Grumeti Reserve, Tanzania

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Grumeti Reserve Tanzania

In northern Tanzania, Singita Faru Faru is one of the best African safari hotels, especially for experiencing the great migration. Faru Faru has seven suites, a family unit and a two-bedroom villa, with infinity pools overlooking the waterhole and surrounding plains.

  • When to go: June to September for general wildlife. Wildebeest river crossings are best in June and July at the Grumeti River and in September and October at the Mara River.

10. Jabali Ridge – Ruaha NP, Tanzania

Jabali Ridge, Ruaha National Park in Tanzania

In this seldom-visited park in southern Tanzania, Jabali Ridge has eight suites and a stunning infinity pool that all look out over the baobab-spotted landscape. Jabali Ridge is one of the top-end lodges in Ruaha, which is home to one-tenth of the world’s lion population, alongside wild dogs, cheetahs and sable and roan antelopes.

  • When to go: June to October is best for wildlife.

Jabali Ridge Tours

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3-Day Masai Mara Mid Range Private Tour

$792 to $913 pp (USD)

Kenya: Private tour Mid-range Tented Camp

You Visit: Nairobi (Start) , Masai Mara NR, Nairobi (End)

Africa Marvel Tours

5.0 /5  –  90 Reviews

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7-Day Chobe NP, Okavango Delta & Victoria Falls Luxury

$4,995 to $7,810 pp (USD)

Botswana & Zimbabwe: Private tour Luxury Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Victoria Falls (Start) , Chobe Riverfront (Chobe NP) , Okavango Delta, Maun (End)

Wayfairer Travel

4.8 /5  –  155 Reviews

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10-Day Tailor-Made Holiday & Tour in Uganda –Big 5 Safari

$3,040 pp (USD)

Uganda: Private tour Budget Lodge & Guest House

You Visit: Entebbe (Start) , Entebbe Airport (Entebbe) , Murchison Falls NP, Kibale NP (Chimps) , Queen Elizabeth NP, Bwindi NP (Gorillas) , Lake Mburo NP, Entebbe (End)

Home To Africa Tours and Travel

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12 once-in-a-lifetime african safari vacations.

Cross this must-do activity off your bucket list.

Top African Safari Vacations

Lewa Safari Camp animal sightings with Expert Africa.

Courtesy of Expert Africa

Safari vacations in Africa are just as diverse as the continent itself, though these types of trips typically require a large sum of money. Whether you want to spend a few days gorilla trekking in Uganda or a couple weeks spotting the "big five" – lions, leopards, African elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalos – in South Africa, you'll find an array of experiences to suit your needs. To help you narrow down your options, U.S. News compiled a list of 12 can't-miss African safari tours. Read on to find your once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Note: Some of the African countries visited by tours in this article may require travelers to get an entry visa and certain vaccinations (particularly yellow fever) in order to visit. Jump to the list of visa and vaccination requirements by country for more information.

&Beyond: Kings of the Jungle Tour

Seeing a lion on an &Beyond safari.

Courtesy of &Beyond

Length: 10 days Starting price: $14,265

Visitors who don't want to sacrifice creature comforts while on safari will appreciate &Beyond's diverse offerings across numerous African destinations. For a classic safari, consider the tour operator's 10-day Kings of the Jungle tour, where travelers will see breathtaking natural wonders like Ngorongo Crater and the Maasai Mara savannah with its elephants and cheetahs. Arguably, the highlight of this journey is its four-night stay at Tanzania's Serengeti National Park .

After watching animals like wildebeest and zebras partake in the great migration while also spotting lions, giraffes and more, vacationers retreat to high-end tents and lodges with private bathrooms. Prices start at $14,265 per person, but are higher around the peak season of June to October.

Wild Rwanda Safaris: Bwindi Gorilla Safari

Gorilla as seen on a safari with Wild Rwanda Safaris.

Courtesy of Wild Rwanda Safaris

Length: Three days Starting price: $1,450 for two people with lowest-cost lodging

Adventurous travelers sticking to a more conservative budget should consider Wild Rwanda Safaris' Bwindi Gorilla Safari. The three-day package features a full day in southwestern Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (a haven for gorillas) and adjacent Batwa Pygmy communities. Wild Rwanda Safaris offers a choice of midrange, luxury and super luxury accommodations, allowing you to keep costs down if necessary.

The company's packages include the $700 permit required to visit the gorilla park. The round-trip journey by safari vehicle to and from Kigali, Rwanda, as well as English-speaking guides are covered in all rates. The tour can begin from Kampala, Uganda, as well, although you'll spend a lot longer on the road to the park. Contact the safari company for pricing information.

Nomad Tanzania: Southern Tanzania

Lodge room with Nomad Tanzania.

Courtesy of

Length: Eight days Starting price: $6,055

Sign up for Nomad Tanzania's Southern Tanzania safari and you're bound to get an up-close look at Tanzania's diverse wildlife. Offering eight days of activities, including game drives and boat trips in Ruaha National Park and Nyerere National Park, this safari gives you prime opportunities to spot lions, cheetahs, leopards and elephants, among other species.

You'll get around the parks with the company's custom-built vehicles, ideal for catching a glimpse of that spectacular wildlife. What's more, the package rates include lodging at the company's campsites; select meals; and the short, scenic flights to and from Dar es Salaam as well as to the parks. Prices are only available upon contacting the company; they vary depending on the time of year, and the tour isn't offered in April and May.

Micato Safaris: The Micato Grand Safari

Hot air balloons with Micato Safaris.

Courtesy of Micato Safaris

Length: 15 days Starting price: $29,500

If you want to explore multiple destinations while on safari with plenty of comfort (but a price tag to match), book the 15-day Micato Grand Safari. This extraordinarily thorough itinerary from Micato Safaris starts with a two-day visit to bustling Nairobi, Kenya, before continuing to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, and the Amboseli and Serengeti national parks. You'll be treated to wildlife-viewing excursions that just might check every animal off your bucket list, from lions and cheetahs to rhinos, hippos and more. During your trip, you'll get to see Mount Kilimanjaro as zebras, gazelles and more roam in the foreground.

The package costs at least $29,500 per person (based on double occupancy rates) and includes activities like a sunrise hot air balloon ride and a camel tour led by members of the Samburu tribe. Lodging at upscale properties like the Serengeti's Four Seasons Safari Lodge and glamorous safari camps with en suite bathrooms is also included. The company also offers various extensions allowing you to explore other parts of Africa, from the island paradise of Zanzibar to the deserts of Namibia.

Rothschild Safaris: Essence of Tanzania

Seeing elephants with Rothschild Safaris.

Courtesy of Rothschild Safaris

Length: Nine days Starting price: Contact company for pricing details.

If your ideal safari vacation consists of customizing your trip from start to finish, consider an outing with Rothschild Safaris. The company offers itineraries in locales like Zambia and Ethiopia, but if you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the "big five" animals, the Essence of Tanzania safari is a good bet.

This nine-day experience, which embarks from Arusha, Tanzania, and returns there by plane, includes game-viewing drives spotting animals like ostriches, zebras and impalas in Tarangire National Park, plus accommodations like luxurious tents and farmhouse lodges. You'll also have the opportunity to go on a nighttime safari to spot nocturnal wildlife. If you time your safari right, you may also be able to see the famed wildebeest migration, when more than a million animals move between the Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya and Tanzania's Serengeti plains.

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Lion World Travel: The Best of Cape Town & Botswana

Pool at lodge with Lion World Travel.

Courtesy of Lion World Travel

Length: 10 days Starting price: $4,899

As the trip name implies, the 10-day Best of Cape Town & Botswana vacation package from longtime safari operator Lion World Travel combines a few days of sightseeing in Cape Town, South Africa – where you'll visit the iconic Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula – with a classic safari in Botswana. During the latter half of the itinerary, visitors will explore Botswana's Okavango Delta, home to cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos and more; you'll have the option of a helicopter flight to spot wildlife from above for an extra fee. Then, you'll visit Chobe National Park, which is believed to have the world's largest African elephant population.

Prices start at $4,899 per person based on double occupancy. Rates cover game drives; many of your meals; and stays in a four-star hotel in Cape Town as well as luxury tents in Botswana. You'll need to pay an extra charge for the flights within the tour (from Cape Town to Botswana and from Botswana to Johannesburg ).

Discover Africa: Botswana – Chobe, Okavango & Makgadikgadi

Two adult elephants as seen on a safari.

Matthys Van Aswegen | Courtesy of Discover Africa

Length: Nine days Starting price: $4,800

For an inside-out trip through the natural wonders of Botswana, Discover Africa's nine-day trip through the country's sprawling game reserves and national parks is a formidable option. You'll start out at a riverside lodge on the Chobe River – a great location for spotting elephants – before moving on to the marshy Okavango Delta, a wildlife-rich area where you can spot a huge range of animals like leopards, rhinos, hippos and more. The safari ends at the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, a good place to admire wildlife such as zebras and buffalo on the savannah as well as the ethereal white salt pans from a former lake.

You'll stay in upscale lodges and camps within close reach of the wilderness. All meals and transport along the tour are included in the price tag (which starts at $4,800 per person and varies by time of year), but international flights to get to Botswana are excluded.

Wild Wings Safaris: 8 Day Battlefields, Bush & Beach Safari

Family kayaking on Lake Sibaya with Wild Wings Safaris.

Onne Vegter | Courtesy of Wild Wings Safaris

Length: Eight days Starting price: About $4,160 for self-drive option

If you're looking to have a broader experience that mixes in some local history and beach time, consider Wild Wings Safaris' eight-day Battlefields, Bush & Beach Safari. With an itinerary focused on the east of South Africa, you'll start off visiting some of the country's historic sites from the Boer wars, including locations where local Zulu warriors defeated the British, before moving on to Phinda Private Game Reserve. This park doesn't allow day visitors, so you should be able to look out for the "big five" without too many crowds.

The tour wraps up at Thonga Beach Lodge, where you can snorkel or scuba dive near coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Kayaking and walks through coastal forests are other activities on offer here. As far as safaris go, this one is a somewhat more affordable option, starting at about $4,160 per person with all meals included as well as a rental car; for the cheapest price, you will need to drive yourself between the destinations, but it's possible to pay an additional fee for a driver to guide you instead.

Cuckoo Safaris: 4-Day Discover Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park and Hwange National Park

Aerial of Victoria Falls with a large rainbow over the falls.

Getty Images

Length: Four days Starting price: $1,015

This tour company kicks off many of its tours from the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, with a host of safaris that range from three to nine days, across Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, including some family-friendly choices. For an affordable option, consider the four-day Discover Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park and Hwange National Park safari. It will take you on two full-day tours to Chobe National Park in Botswana and Hwange, Zimbabwe's largest national park, where you should keep your eyes peeled for lions, elephants and more, while also visiting rural villages. This safari includes a wildlife spotting boat cruise on the Chobe River as well.

The price starts at $1,015 per person, which includes the tours plus breakfast, lunch and well-rated lodging in Victoria Falls. Travelers will need to pay for their own travel to Victoria Falls. Dinners aren't included, although you'll be staying in the town of Victoria Falls, with access to restaurants.

Compass Odyssey: 8-Day Namibia Wildlife Safari

Seeing elephants in a field at sunset on a Compass Odyssey safari.

Courtesy of Compass Odyssey

Length: Eight days Starting price: Contact company for pricing details.

Explore the savannah and deserts of southwest Africa with Compass Odyssey's eight-day Namibia Wildlife Safari. You'll visit a community-based conservation area in Damaraland – known for its desert-adapted elephants, oryx, giraffes and other wildlife – while staying in the rustic-chic Doro Nawas Camp. Travelers will also spend two days in Etosha National Park, seeking wildlife like giraffes, zebras and elephants at the park's bustling waterholes by day and embarking on an evening game drive with a knowledgeable ranger as well.

The company provides prices on request. The tour includes most meals and all park entry fees, but not flights or the optional "Cheetah Walk." Compass Odyssey allows the tour to be customized on request.

Expert Africa: Big Cat Fly-in Safari

Lewa Safari Camp animal sightings with Expert Africa.

Length: Nine days Starting price: $5,010

Expert Africa offers safaris and other tours in a host of African countries. For a relatively classic tour, consider the Big Cat Fly-in Safari. It offers two different looks at Kenya's stellar wildlife. Firstly, you'll fly north for four nights at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a sanctuary that channels all its profits into protecting the wildlife in its roughly 100-square-mile reserve. You'll stay in classic tented rooms and enjoy three-course dinners, with the option of going on horse- or camelback safaris for an extra fee.

Despite the tour name, you're most likely to see elephants, giraffes, zebras and rhinos here. In fact, you're more likely to see big cats at the tour's second stop, when you fly south to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The tour company reports a high success rate for travelers spotting lions (and a decent chance of spotting leopards or cheetahs too). Here, you'll spend four days in upscale tents and have the option of soaring over the plains in a hot air balloon. The tour starts at $5,010 for eight nights, with all transport within Kenya included – although Expert Africa customizes most of its tours, so you can likely adjust your safari to your preferences.

Volcanoes Safari: 7 Day Gorilla and Chimpanzee Safari

The Deluxe Room at Bwindi Lodge from Volcanoes Safaris.

Courtesy of Volcanoes Safaris

Length: Seven days Starting price: $8,430

If you're looking to spot some great apes, Volcanoes Safari focuses exclusively on primate tours within Rwanda and Uganda – and with partnerships with the Jane Goodall Institute and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, they're responsible too. One of its signature tours, this seven-day itinerary kicks off in Uganda, taking travelers to the famed Kyambura Gorge to spot chimpanzee communities, as well as on a trek through the Bwindi Forest to look for gorillas.

But it's not all about monkeys: The tour also includes chances to see lions on the Ugandan plains and to meet locals engaging in cooperative work raising bees and roasting coffee. Along the way, guests stay in stylish lodges with views of Uganda's mountains and forests. The tour starts at $8,430 per person based on double occupancy in the low season, with all meals included.

Vaccination and visa requirements for African countries

Some popular safari destinations may require you to have received certain vaccinations in order to enter the country as a tourist. Although COVID-19 vaccination requirements no longer exist, it's not uncommon for countries to require you to be vaccinated against illnesses such as yellow fever before departing on your trip. Be sure to bring proof of vaccinations with you. If you are transiting through another country en route to your safari tour, you must check that you also meet immunization requirements for the stopover location.

For many destinations, there are a number of other vaccinations that aren't mandatory but are still recommended, such as for cholera or rabies. Consult with a doctor and ensure you're up to date and fully protected before you travel. In addition, many safari locations are prone to malaria; you should consult with your doctor about potentially bringing anti-malaria medication on your trip.

Safari countries have varying visa requirements for travelers from the U.S. – these are detailed below. Depending on your itinerary, you may need a single- or multiple-entry visa, and some visas require you to apply in advance of traveling and/or have a certain number of blank pages in your passport. Regardless of destination, your passport should be valid for at least six months before you leave for your trip.

Here are the vaccine and visa requirements for major safari destinations as of July 2024:

Botswana: If you have recently visited or transited through a country where yellow fever is common, you will need to be vaccinated against this illness. This does not include the U.S. but does include a number of countries in Africa as well as Central and South America. Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, including Kenya and Uganda.

U.S. citizens and nationals can stay in Botswana for 90 days per year without a visa.

Kenya: Kenya is a country where you'll be at risk of yellow fever transmission; it also requires those traveling from other places where yellow fever is endemic to be vaccinated against it. The CDC recommends that you protect yourself against yellow fever before your trip here.

Americans need an eVisa to enter Kenya. You should apply online at the eVisa government website no less than two weeks before your trip, as visas are not available upon arrival in Kenya. See more on the U.S. Department of State's website .

Namibia: Those traveling from a country where yellow fever is common need to be vaccinated against it. No visa is required as long as you're staying for 90 days or less per year.

Rwanda: If you're coming from a country where yellow fever is endemic, a yellow fever vaccination is required before departure.

U.S. citizens and nationals can be issued a 30-day visitor visa on arrival in Rwanda or through the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, D.C. A single-entry visa costs $50 for a single entry or $70 for multiple entries, and it's recommended you bring sufficient cash in U.S. dollars to pay for this (although credit card payment may be accepted at Kigali International Airport). Consult the State Department website for more information.

South Africa: A yellow fever vaccination is required if you're traveling from a country with a risk of transmission, including transits of 12 hours or longer in such countries. No visa is required for stays of 90 days or less.

Tanzania: Yellow fever vaccines are mandatory if you're traveling from a location where yellow fever is present – including if you spend more than 12 hours in transit in such a country. The vaccine should be administered 10 days or more before arrival

Visas are required for tourism in Tanzania. You can apply for a single-entry, 90-day visa online for $50 or a multiple-entry, one-year visa for $100. Be sure to print a copy of the approval (called a "grant notice") to bring with you. The processing period takes up to 10 days. You can also obtain a single-entry visa on arrival in most cases, although the Tanzanian government still recommends the advance online application. Find more Tanzanian visa information on the State Department website .

Uganda: Like Kenya, Uganda is a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. All visitors must show proof of vaccination against yellow fever to enter Uganda, regardless of where you're traveling from.

American visitors to Uganda must apply online for an electronic visa before departure. The processing time is around seven days, but the Ugandan government recommends applying 30 days before you travel; arriving in Uganda without completing this process could result in your detainment. A single-entry visa costs $50. Visit the State Department website to learn more.

Zambia: Yellow fever vaccines are only required if you're coming from an area considered at risk, including long transits (12 hours or more) through such countries. Visas are not required for U.S. citizens visiting Zambia. Check the State Department website for more details.

Zimbabwe: As with other countries on this list, visitors from countries with yellow fever outbreaks require a vaccine against this illness. This includes long transit stopovers of 12 hours or more.

U.S. visitors can obtain a 30-day, single-entry visa upon arrival in Zimbabwe for $30. If you're taking a tour that requires you to leave and reenter Zimbabwe, be sure to get a double-entry visa for $45. You can learn more from the State Department website .

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cape town elle escapes

ELLE Escapes: Cape Town

The South African city is known for its rich history and amazing attractions.

Below, what to see, where to stay, and more in Cape Town.

What to See

Robben island.

the buildings of the abandoned prison on robben island,now listed as a world heritage site

You simply must devote time to absorb South Africa’s rich history, and a World Heritage Site is a great place to start. A quick ferry ride will get you to Robben Island, the site of the prison where former president Nelson Mandela was held during apartheid. Guided tours can be booked through the Robben Island Museum .

Aunty Nita’s Tours

vintage car in the historic bo kaap neighbourhood, cape town, south africa

Dig deeper into history by booking an experience with Anita Hermanus of Aunty Nita’s Tours . You can choose from a selection of outings, like The Forgotten Heroes, where you’ll learn about anti-apartheid activists such as Dulcie September and Ashley Kriel. You also have the option of enjoying a traditional Cape Malay meal at the home of a local “aunty,” an endearing term for older women in the community—I had the most delicious lunch prepared by chef Faldela Tolker . Nita’s welcoming nature will leave you with a true understanding of her tagline: “Come as a client, leave as family.”

Aquila Safari

elephants in the wild

It’s roughly a two-hour drive from the city center, but a trip to Aquila Safari is well worth it. You’ll be able to spot and learn about the big five—lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, and leopards—on an unforgettable guided experience.

Bit-O-Honey Mohair Knitted Jersey

MoLuv Bit-O-Honey Mohair Knitted Jersey

Linen Waistcoat Natural

Coise Linen Waistcoat Natural

Reclaimed Silk Sculpted Signature Shorts

Viviers Studio Reclaimed Silk Sculpted Signature Shorts

Where to eat, gold restaurant.

a table full of food

A thrilling and immersive African dinner is waiting for you at GOLD Restaurant . The minute you step through the door, you’ll feel the electric energy of the space and its staff. A drumming tutorial and performances are interspersed throughout a multi-course meal.

Salon Cape Town

a plate of food

The ambiance at Salon is ideal for an evening of fine dining. The 10-course Journey menu draws inspiration from South Africa, France, Japan, and other countries that award-winning chef and restaurateur Luke Dale Roberts has spent time in. The duck suzette left me at a loss for words in the possible best way—pure bliss and deliciousness on one plate. Opt for a wine pairing, or alternatively, the tea pairing.

FYN Restaurant

a bowl of food

FYN recently made its fourth appearance on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and there’s a good reason for that. Perfectly located in the center of the city, chef Peter Tempelhoff’s fine-dining restaurant features a South African-Japanese fusion menu. Whether you make a reservation for lunch or dinner, trust that your time will be well spent.

The Zuri

Udo and Harmony The Zuri

The Amari

Udo and Harmony The Amari

Leather and Suede Ballet Flats

Jil Sander Leather and Suede Ballet Flats

Where to drink, one&only cape town wine studio.

one and only cape town wine tasting

Discover up-and-coming boutique wines and classics with Luvo Ntezo, head sommelier at One&Only Cape Town . Featuring one of the most diverse collections in Africa, guests will taste the best of what South Africa’s thriving wine community has to offer.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia

a glass of liquid with a banana

The setting at Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia alone will have you thinking you’ve landed in some kind of dreamscape. The unique, glass-encased restaurant is located on the idyllic Beau Constantia Wine Estate, and chef Ivor Jones’ four-course menu comes with a tantalizing wine pairing. Well-informed staff will be able to walk you through an extensive drink menu, too.

cape town, south africa january 28 south africans enjoy a glass of wine and a jazz jam session at the openwine wine bar on january 28, 2024 in trendy downtown cape town, south africa the country's energized cosmopolitan wine culture, spanning gender, age, ethnicity and more, is a reflection of the innovative and inclusive local wine industry which has bridged the gaps that existed during the apartheid generation photo by david silvermangetty images

Openwine is the place to be if you’re looking for a fun wine bar with live music and dancing. A wide selection of beverages are available to order, so prepare to try something new.

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The Sling Bag

LM x Thalia Strates The Sling Bag

Where to stay, one&only cape town.

a bedroom with a large window

Since my itinerary was jam-packed, One & Only Cape Town was the respite I needed at the end of a long day. The resort has it all—luxury rooms, an infinity pool, great dining options (including the only Nobu in Africa!), fitness classes, and amazing views. What’s more, the resort’s private marina and Table Mountain can be seen from all guest rooms and suites. Book a treatment at the spa if you’re in need of some R&R. I tried the African Journey Experience, and it revitalized my body after a long flight. Above all else, the staff will go the extra mile to ensure you have a great stay, whether that be planning experiences or, speaking from personal experience, inquiring about your pet back at home.

POD Camps Bay

a living room with a couch and a table

Find tranquility at POD Camps Bay . The boutique hotel is just steps away from the beach, and sits at the center of the Camps Bay strip. After a day of sight-seeing, retreat to one of the property’s 17 spacious, high-end rooms. Facilities include a cocktail bar, gym, and lap pool for a quick workout.

Compass House

a bedroom with a large window

Wake up to stunning views of the ocean at Compass House . The boutique hotel is a great choice if you’re craving a cozy and intimate environment. Its interiors, inspired by African, Mediterranean, and Asian designs, are meant to create a relaxing space for you to unwind in. What’s not to love?

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Beauty picks.

Desert Date Cream Multistick Lip and Cheek Tint

AMI COLÉ Desert Date Cream Multistick Lip and Cheek Tint

Why lug your entire makeup bag abroad when you can pack a multi-purpose formula that makes getting ready a breeze? While intended mainly for your cheeks, the Desert Date Cream Multistick can also serve as a lipstick, and can even be dragged to the outer edges of your eyes for a more dramatic, summery look to match the opulent South African scenery.

Lemongrass Shea Body Butter

Hanahana Beauty Lemongrass Shea Body Butter

Sweltering heat doesn’t mean you should skip moisturizing your body from head to toe. Hanahana Beauty’s fan-favorite shea butter melts into the skin effortlessly and leaves a subtle sheen in its wake.

Natural Cleansing Oil

Epara Natural Cleansing Oil

After a day of exploring, there’s no better feeling than massaging away every trace of your outdoor excursions. Epara’s cleanser harnesses the power of marula oil to improve elasticity as it reduces sebum production, brightens dull areas, and softens the skin.

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Travel + Leisure Readers’ 20 Favorite Safari Lodges and Safari Outfitters in Africa of 2024

Readers voted for their favorite African lodges and safari outfitters in our annual "World’s Best Awards" survey for 2024.

south african safari hotel

How Voting Works

What readers loved about africa safari lodges, safari lodges winner, safari lodges full list, what readers loved about africa safari outfitters, safari outfitters winner, safari outfitters full list.

Travel + Leisure readers’ votes this year proved that people are essential to the best safari experience, in regards to both lodges and outfitters. From warm, welcoming on-the-ground staff to a reliable and knowledgeable travel specialist pulling all the trip details together, readers highlighted how a great team can make all the difference — in addition to epic wildlife sightings and transportive accommodations.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Over 186,000 T+L readers completed the 2024 survey. A total of more than 700,000 votes were cast across over 8,700 properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

Hotels were classified as either resort hotel, city hotel, inn, or safari lodge based on their location and amenities, and they were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Rooms/facilities

Tour operators and safari outfitters were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Staff/guides
  • Itineraries/destinations
  • Accommodations

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.

Courtesy of MORE Family Collection

South Africa was the most popular country this year, with three lodges in the top ten. Coming in at No. 1, Monwana Game Lodge is a solid all-rounder, overlooking a waterhole in a wildlife-rich safari reserve, supported by a compassionate team.

Asilia Namiri Plains (No. 2) in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park garnered plenty of praise for its team, too. “The staff were kind and made this a trip of a lifetime,” wrote one reader. The tents were also a highlight: “The rooms were huge, comfortable, and gorgeous, and the outdoor tub overlooking the Serengeti was unbeatable.”

But it wasn’t only lodges in famous Big Five destinations that T+L readers loved. Uganda’s Mount Gahinga Lodge, Volcanoes Safaris (No. 4) with direct access to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Kyambura Gorge, Volcanoes Safaris (No. 6) — where chimpanzee trekking is the big draw — reveals the popularity of primate safaris.

Monwana Game Lodge: Thornybush Nature Reserve, South Africa

In Thornybush Nature Reserve — part of South Africa’s Greater Kruger area, one of the best regions in Africa for Big Five sightings — Monwana Game Lodge is located by a waterhole frequented by elephants, lions, and other key wildlife. The lodge was the top choice for T+L readers this year, with one reporting “an amazing experience throughout, from staff to game viewing.” With just six suites, and a private residence for up to five guests, Monwana is ideal for honeymooners or families with kids over age 10. As well as twice-daily game drives, guests can go on bush walks, take a massage at the spa, or head out after dark for stargazing.

1. Monwana Game Lodge : Thornybush Nature Reserve, South Africa

Reader Score: 98.90

2. Asilia Namiri Plains : Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Reader Score: 98.73

3. Finch Hattons : Tsavo West National Park, Kenya

Reader Score: 98.67

4. Mount Gahinga Lodge, Volcanoes Safaris : Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda

Reader Score: 98.37

5. Mfuwe Lodge, The Bushcamp Company : South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Reader Score: 98.26

6. Kyambura Gorge, Volcanoes Safaris : Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Reader Score: 98.00

7. Lion Sands Game Reserve : Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

Reader Score: 97.89

8. Singita Grumeti : Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Reader Score: 97.87

9. Thornybush Game Lodge : Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Reader Score: 97.83

10. Angama Mara : Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Reader Score: 97.47

T+L readers valued expert teams with enthusiasm and reliability in their favorite safari outfitters this year.

2024’s No. 1 winner — Alluring Africa — scored perfect marks, making it readers’ top choice for the second year in a row.  Vegas-based Dazzle Africa (No. 2) is also no stranger to high scores from T+L readers, one of whom said they’d discovered the Zambia specialist through our 2021 World’s Best Awards — after an initial call with a “helpful and committed” trip planner, they “didn’t need to look any further.”

South Africa-based Go2Africa (No. 9) earned praise for going above and beyond — for example, one reader reported their coordinator “got us into Kenya’s Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage after they had sold out.” The word “dream” came up repeatedly as guests described their Go2Africa vacation — “We can't wait to plan another dream trip to Africa!” one concluded.

Alluring Africa

Sunit Sanghrajka/Courtesy of Alluring Africa

Last year’s winner retained the top spot for 2024, with a perfect score of 100 — up from 99.21 in 2023. Alluring Africa is a Florida-based agency, specializing in travel to Africa and the Middle East. The type of experiences they book for their clients include tracking desert rhinos in Namibia, watching wildebeests’ dramatic Great Migration in Tanzania and Kenya, and meeting mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. A strong database of repeat customers suggests the team really knows how to deliver a trip of a lifetime.

1. Alluring Africa

Reader Score: 100.00

2. Dazzle Africa

Reader Score: 98.82

3. Asilia Africa

Reader Score: 98.66

4. Micato Safaris

Reader Score: 98.56

5. Piper & Heath Travel

Reader Score: 98.31

6. Extraordinary Journeys

Reader Score: 97.91

7. Rothschild Safaris

Reader Score: 97.60

8. Thomson Safaris

Reader Score: 97.38

9. Go2Africa

Reader Score: 96.22

10. Deeper Africa

Reader Score: 94.91

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south african safari hotel

Visit Shamwari Private Game Reserve for a 5-Star Luxury Safari Experience In South Africa

O f all the experiences people seek when visiting South Africa , going on safari easily ranks at the top of the list. While a one-day safari may be best for shorter trips, the best way to enjoy the full safari experience is during an overnight stay. There are several game reserves to choose from, but Shamwari Private Game Reserve is by far the ultimate luxury choice.

In Eastern Cape near South Africa’s sixth largest city, Gqeberha, Shamwari has operated as a game reserve since 1992. Nearly 62,000 acres of land are available for the many species of animals, birds, flora and fauna that once called the land home.

7 Luxury Lodge Experiences To Choose From

Shamwari offers guests a choice of seven luxury lodges, each with its own distinct character and appeal. The options range from intimate seclusion to family-friendly accommodations. For more adventurous guests, there is also a tented Explorer Camp, set around a koppie, deep in the bush.

Long Lee Manor is a redesigned lodge with spacious high-end luxury suites, an infinity pool and several dining spaces on the property. Riverdene is the top pick for family-friendly safari stays with a kids on Safari program available. Bayethe, Eagles Crag and Sindile are all fitting for couples, solo or friends getaways, each offering a different luxury outdoor experience. Sarili Private Lodge, a five-bedroom accommodation, is the premium luxury pick for special occasions with small groups of family and friends.

The Luxury Is In The Details

From your greeting upon arrival to your suite’s amenities, no expense is spared in this 5-star stay. Warm hand towels and savory warm shooters await you and your guests as you step into your lodge of choice. The staff at Shamwari ensures you don’t have to lift a finger.

Game drives are also designed for maximum comfort. Early morning game drives can be chilly depending on the time of year, but the team has plenty of accessories to make sure you stay warm. Heated water bottle pouches and blankets for each guest are provided by your game ranger. Spotting the Big 5 just got a lot fancier. Whether you want morning coffee in the bush or a proper sundowner following an afternoon game drive, the Shamwari team can oblige your request.

Each lodge also has a spa for wellness services with the exception of Riverdene and Sarili. Guests in all lodges have access to in-room treatments or the option to indulge in self-care services at Long Lee Manor Spa.

The best part of this luxury safari experience is the many perks that come inclusive with your stay. All meals including the famed Boma Dinner and locally selected beverages are a part of your experience. With activities, such as game drives and bush walks, included, there’s plenty to do on any given day at the reserve. You can also enjoy a complimentary visit to the wildlife rehabilitation center or Big Cat Sanctuary, Born Free.

Boma Dinners: The Culinary Highlight of Shamwari

Boma dinners are one of the best dining experiences you’ll have during your visit to Shamwari. Every third night, with favorable weather conditions, lodge guests gather for dinner under the African night sky. Around a fire pit surrounded by lanterns, the Boma dinner is South Africa’s braai experience. Known as a South African BBQ, a braai entails grilling food over hot coals and is the perfect way to end a day of exciting game drives.

Enjoy your preferred evening cocktail or beverage as the Shamwari culinary team serves a multi-course menu of fresh, unique dishes. From starters to dessert, you’ll explore local flavors in the cozy Boma setting as the fire crackles in the background, an undoubtedly dreamy safari night.

Resorting Wildlife Native To The Area

Once an area abundant in wildlife, the migration of man resulted in the killing of most of the original wildlife in the area. Shamwari is on a mission to restore the wildlife native to this region, bringing back Cape vultures and spotted hyenas.

Anti-poaching teams patrol the reserve to secure the land and more importantly the safety of animals that call its borders home. Ultimately, Shamwari aims to ensure its wildlife population has sufficient space, food and water to thrive while managing the balance between predator and prey species.

Unlike some private reserves, Shamwari maintains its standard of not interfering with the natural order of the plants and animals on the property. That means you’ll never go off-roading in the pursuit of an animal spotting which is good news for the animals and the flourishing flora and fauna within their habitat.

A Safe Haven For At-Risk Wildlife

Aside from the luxury amenities and services available upon request, Shamwari is actively working as a safe haven for rescued and injured animals of varying needs. Two sections of the property house its rehabilitation and sanctuary facilities. Born Free Big Cat Sanctuaries is where you can find animals that should have been born in the wild, but because they weren’t, can never be released into the wild. Animals from circus entertainment, for example, may end up calling Born Free home one day.

Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, on the other hand, provides aid to animals from the wild who need assistance getting back on their feet. The rehab center helps to rehabilitate and care for sick, injured, abandoned or orphaned animals under the care of a professional veterinary team. Once these animals have been nursed back to health, they are released back into their natural habitat.

Shamwari is as much wildlife conversation as it is a luxury vacation, making it a feel-good option for safari experiences in South Africa. Every detail of this private safari is more than a cut above anything you’ll find at larger national parks. You can not only avoid the crowds of other reserves, but also dine and explore the outdoors with premium amenities only a request away.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve - Long Lee Manor common area

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south african safari hotel

Spotlight on Botswana and South Africa: These Art-Filled Resorts Elevate the Safari Experience

Indigenous craft and regionally inspired design bring new dimension to lodges in africa’s most adventurous destinations.

David Collins Studio-designed interior at Delaire Graff Estate in South Africa.

David Collins Studio-designed interior at Delaire Graff Estate. Photo : CHARLES RUSSELL

Fro m the towering Stellenbosch Mountain of South Africa to the infinite grasslands of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Africa’s picturesque terrain and majestic wildlife are without rival. However, this unsurpassed beauty presents the region’s resorts with a unique challenge—how to create an interior as awe-inspiring as the landscape.

Such was the dilemma David Collins Studio faced when it was tasked with a refresh of the prestigious Delaire Graff Estate , situated in the vaunted Cape Winelands in South Africa and owned by diamantaire and art collector Laurence Graff. “The architecture is amazing, and the location is just exquisite on every level,” says Simon Rawlings, chief creative officer at David Collins Studio.

A Nelson Makamo artwork overlooks the renovated lobby at Delaire Graff Estate in South Africa.

A Nelson Makamo artwork overlooks the renovated lobby at Delaire Graff Estate. Photo : CHARLES RUSSELL

Updating the estate to bring more attention to its award-winning wine program, the firm introduced a clubby tasting room that doubles as a gallery for Graff’s private collection of African sculptures. In the lobby, guests encounter newly acquired works by Nelson Makamo, Jean Boghossian, and Kendell Geers. Commissions by regional artisans, such as an ethereal swirl of 1,300 swallows by André Stead, elevate both public and private spaces.

“The level of care and attention that goes into the art placement is like what you would find in somebody’s home,” says Rawlings, citing specifically the Cyrus Kabiru photographs, which feature the artist wearing tribal masks he made from found objects and are displayed in the guest suites. “The client-designer relationship here really makes for something unexpected because I don’t think I would have chosen that artist to hang in these rooms, but the presence that they have in the spaces is just like another world.”

Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana is immersed in the landscape of the Okavango Delta.

Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana is immersed in the landscape of the Okavango Delta. Photo : COURTESY OF XIGERA SAFARI LODGE

Art serves both to establish a sense of place and enliven the interiors at Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana. Nestled in the Moremi Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site where elephants, leopards, and impalas are routinely just steps from the open-air main lodge, the location boasts a dynamic array of works by Zizipho Poswa , Andile Dyalvane , and more, curated in collaboration with Cape Town, South Africa, gallery Southern Guild.

Upon arrival, visitors encounter Porky Hefer’s Behd, a cocoon of woven kooboo cane that nods to the African fish eagle. Nearby, plinths spotlight bronze busts by Otto du Plessis of the safari “big five”—lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo. “My father gave me the brief, which was no beige, no khaki, and create something that has never been done before,” says Toni Tollman, director of design and projects at the family-run Red Carnation Hotel Collection, which includes Xigera.

Go Inside Botswana’s Most Jaw-Dropping Hotel Suite

south african safari hotel

Interior of the Baobab Suite at Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana. Photo : COURTESY OF XIGERA SAFARI LODGE

To that end, Tollman filled the reception lodge and 12 suites with exceptional design pieces from more than 80 artists, such as Adam Birch, who spent months on-site carving the swooping wishbone-shaped wood chairs seen throughout the camp. Du Plessis cabinets sport brass doors etched with topographic maps of the Moremi Reserve while Atang Tshikare side tables glow with gestural marks and symbolic forms. “This idea started with one artist and just grew,” says Tollman. “I wanted to break boundaries.”

More than 80 artists contributed to the overall aesthetic, crafting everything from small works on view in the library to a towering metal sculpture by Conrad Hicks that serves as the centerpiece of the boma, an outdoor dining area and fire pit. “I wanted to make it matter from the very tiniest thing to the biggest thing,” says Tollman. “From every teaspoon, cup, or tote to the boats, bars, chairs—it is all art.”

Aerial view andBeyond’s Phinda Forest Lodge, set in the sand forest of South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve.

Aerial view andBeyond’s Phinda Forest Lodge, set in the sand forest of South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve. Photo : COURTESY OF ANDBEYOND

A similarly immersive experience can be found at andBeyond’s Phinda Forest Lodge , set in the sand forest of South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve, which just unveiled a redesign by Fox Browne Creative in December. Looking to capture the intersection of nature and culture, studio founders Debra Fox and Christopher Browne preserved the contemporary glass frames of the accommodations, then layered in texture by way of beadwork mirrors, a custom woven wrap that encircles the deep soaking tubs, and handmade Limesite tiles in subtle shades of gray, taupe, and ecru with raised tribal patterns.

“This lodge actually gave us the best opportunity to showcase Zulu craft in its simplicity and true raw beauty” Christopher Browne

A collection of Cecil Skotnes woodcuts animates the library at andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge in South Africa.

A collection of Cecil Skotnes woodcuts animates the library at andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge. Photo : COURTESY OF ANDBEYOND

Fox Browne Creative renovated suite at andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge in South Africa.

Fox Browne Creative renovated suite at andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge in South Africa. Photo : COURTESY OF ANDBEYOND

Much of the hotel’s art collection is housed in the library, where a cluster of grass-covered pendants illuminates a vast dining table laden with vitrines of fossils, Zulu baskets, wood carvings, and books. On exhibit is a gallery of limited edition woodcuts by Cecil Skotnes that tell the story of the assassination of Zulu king Shaka alongside a series of poems by Stephen Gray. “This lodge actually gave us the best opportunity to showcase Zulu craft in its simplicity and true raw beauty,” says Browne. “Sometimes, as designers, we can overdecorate a space. We felt we didn’t need to do that at Forest Lodge and let the space and the nature speak for itself.”

While breathtaking vistas are more than enough to enchant travelers, designers celebrating the region’s gifted artisans with installations of culturally significant craft demonstrates southern Africa is glorious inside and out.

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2024 Summer Issue under the headline “Natural Beauty.” Subscribe to the magazine .

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Safari tourist crushed to death by elephants after leaving car ‘for a close-up’

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African Elephants in Pilanesberg Nature Reserve walking, with Elephant Calf

A man has been crushed to death by a herd of adult elephants after he got out of a car to take photos of them.

The Spanish tourist, 43, was warned not to leave the car by his three other passengers who were not harmed on Sunday at the Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa .

A 3.5 ton adult female protecting her young charged towards the man before two other adult elephants joined in with the chase.

He ran back but was overtaken by the elephants who completely crushed him within 30 seconds.

The incident happened in front of his fiancé and all that was left was his body crushed into the earth and his blood-soaked clothing.

A North-West Parks & Tourism Board spokesperson said: ‘The elephants moved away immediately from the scene without any aggression towards the nearby vehicles and disappeared in the bushes.

‘Park officials were alerted and immediately rushed to the scene to aid the affected persons and secure the scene and assist with the investigation.

‘Statements by witnesses who observed the whole incident further suggest the female elephant that charged and attacked might have done so to protect the herd and young ones.’

A herd of african elephants in a green and grassy landscape

The acting conservation chief for the park Pieter Nel said the case had been handed over to police.

He said: ‘The Board is very saddened by this tragic accident and would like to express their sincere condolences to the deceased’s next of kin and friends.’

A park ranger who wished to stay anonymous said: ‘It was a very stupid thing to do and the tourist was literally shouted at to get back in his car but wanted to get photographs of the herd.

‘He had walked too far away off the road to be able to make it back to the car in time when he charged. His friends were in a hysterical state and needed immediate expert counselling.

‘There was not much left to identify. The victim had been trampled into the ground. Sadly despite all the warnings people still get out to take photos but most are lucky enough to get away with it.

‘The herd were not to blame and were acting entirely as normal when they felt a threat to their young. Indeed they passed right past the car with the three of his friends in when they left.’

This is not the first time somebody has been killed by an elephant during an African safari.

view of an elephant in the african wild

An American woman was killed when an elephant charged at a truck she was in.

The killing happened at the Kafue National Park in Zambia in April and the horrible moment was filmed on a 45-second video.

The lone five-ton bull elephant can be seen in the distance running towards the vehicle before the unthinkable happens.

Just last month another tourist from America was trampled to death after she was thrown out of her vehicle by an elephant.

Juliana Gle Tourneau, 64, was watching the elephants in Zambia when one of them attacked the vehicle.

During the time Zambian officials warned tourists to be wary of observing wildlife like elephants.

In countries like Zambia and South Africa elephant populations are on the rise and they come into closer contact with humans as they search for food.

The main reason an elephant will attack a human on a safari is if humans get too close to them when they are guarding their babies.

Other reasons elephants could attack include provocation or perceived threat, habitat encroachment and captivity related issues.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

For more stories like this, check our news page .

MORE : British couple’s ‘limbs sold to witch doctor’ after being killed in South Africa

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