Intimate and remote, set in the pristine wilderness of the African bushveld, the best safari lodges in South Africa embodies ethical and ethnic luxury.Steeped in conservation with eco-conscious hearts beating in unison to be custodians of the natural environment, these lodges give you an exclusive front row seat to experience South Africa’s free roaming big five – the lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino – in its natural habitat. And on top of extraordinary wildlife sightings, there is the warm hospitality, personal service and exclusive outdoor activities that leaves travelers speechless, touched and in a constant sense of awe and surprise.Here are 10 of the Best Safari Lodges in South Africa, a collection of sumptuous spaces, each with its own inspiration and style, for one unforgettable journey through the African bushveld.
The Best Safari Lodges in South Africa
Singita Boulders Lodge, situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to world-renowned Kruger National Park, is a place filled with wonder, even its name directly translates from Shangaan to “places of miracles”.Sink into the environment in one of the twelve luxury glass-fronted suites meticulously built along the boulder-strewn banks of the Sand River, all in complete in harmony with the elements of nature with an outdoor shower, fireplace, private deck and heated pool. Singita is not only one of the best safari lodges in South Africa, but it is also recognized as one of Africa’s most influential collectors of wine. Connoisseurs can wine and dine with gusto after a day of spotting the likes of cheetah, lion, hippos, wild dogs and elephants on game drives – or during guided safari walks – with professional guides and trackers.
Lion Sands Game Reserve is the only private reserve sharing access to the perennial Sabie River with Kruger National Park and it boasts splendid views and exceptional wildlife viewing from all corners of the lodge, its luxurious rooms and suites.Get on board with nature’s agenda as you go on daily game drives in search of the big five in an area famous for its record number of leopard sightings. Color the hours between the morning and afternoon game drives with a sundowner in the lounge, or attend a wildlife lecture, visit a local school, spend time at the pool or get pampered at the spa. With Boma dinners and outdoor safari lunches, the aromas of Africa will linger not only on your taste buds, but also in your memory, long after your stay.Lion Sands River Lodge also welcomes and accommodates Jewish guests with kosher cuisine made in a separate kitchen, and for traveling families there is the Mack & Madi kids’ program to keep the young ones entertained.
Ulusaba Rock Lodge is the epitome of style and comfort, and as one of Sir Richard Branson’s collection of lodges with Ulusaba Private Game Reserve being his private safari ‘home away from home’, you can be certain that it is one of the best safari lodges in South Africa.Wrap yourself in the expansive dramatic environment and the free roaming wildlife at Ulusaba with uninterrupted panoramic views over the bushveld. Situated on a hilltop, each room and suite, individually decorated, exudes a sumptuous atmosphere. Get in touch with nature, and within arm’s reach of the big five, during an early morning and afternoon safari, or on a bush walk, with knowledgeable guides. Guests can also relax by the pool, get a bird’s eye view of the area from a helicopter and visit a local village for an authentic Shangaan experience. For the ultimate romantic dining experience take a seat in the wine lounge for a private dinner.
An intimate lodge, with only six suites set in a serene environment between ancient ebony trees, Dulini speaks of a deeply personal wildlife adventure in the renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve sharing a fenceless border with Kruger National Park.With peace and serenity abound on the banks of the Dulini River, the big five reserve is well-known for its leopard population. Apart from Dulini’s signature safari experience with passionate, expert guides on morning and afternoon game drives and guided bush walks for an interpretive experience, the lodge’s viewing deck lends itself for some exceptional wildlife sightings as well.
The natural environment played a pivotal role in the concept of Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge within the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve. Regarded as one of the most unique, most environmentally sensitive and one of the best safari lodges in South Africa, it blends in with the landscape and nature’s restoring sense of tranquility while offering undisturbed views of the unending bushveld.Guests are invited to fully indulge in each unique offering, from the meditation garden to the underground wine cellar with over 6000 bottles of rare wines, to the spa with its holistic treatments and the uniquely designed outdoor boma. Highly trained guides and Shangaan trackers whisk guests away into the wilderness daily on game drives and guided walks for an unforgettable authentic African safari.
Allow nature to embrace your whole being whilst sinking into the one-of-a-kind affordable luxury at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, in Sabi Sand Game Reserve next to Kruger National Park, where the big five, other game and a myriad of bird species take centre stage.Personal service, attention to detail and warm hospitality draw visitors back time and again, and alongside mouth-watering cuisine, an on-site wine cellar, a health spa, curio shop and a swimming pool, every moment spent at Elephant Plains Game Lodge turns into a memory. Experience nature, from the stars above to the soil below, with skywatching excursions and two daily guided safaris, and a bush walk, with experienced rangers for engaging and informative wildlife sightings. The area is well-known for the big five and what adds to the experience is the high concentration of leopard sightings, one of the continent’s most elusive animals to spot.
The simply spectacular, serene and secluded Tintswalo Safari Lodge is adjacent to Kruger National Park in the pristine wilderness of Manyeleti Game Reserve, home to teeming wildlife and the big five. Each suite, fitted with its classic 19th century charm, creature comforts and a private plunge pool, also offers a view of the waterhole for unique animal sightings.With one of the lowest vehicle densities in the Greater Kruger National Park, Tintswalo boasts an exclusive safari experience of uninterrupted game viewing under the guidance of professional rangers and local trackers, who never shy away from sharing fascinating wildlife insights and traditional anecdotes. Guests can also do game walks, turn to the night sky for stargazing, go on a hot air balloon and see the natural wonders of South Africa’s panorama route.
Often described as an African Eden, the privately owned Kapama Game Reserve with the Klaserie River criss-crossing through its pristine environment is home the big five, a plethora of game as well as more than 350 species of birds.Each of Kapama’s four luxury lodges – Buffalo Camp, Southern Camp, River Lodge and Karula – radiate exclusivity, elegance and a warm welcoming atmosphere against the backdrop of the lush riverine bush and sprawling savanna.Catch the first light of the day on an early morning game drive and bid the bushveld adieu on an afternoon game drive guided by highly skilled and experienced rangers and trackers. There is also the opportunity to engage with the environment on foot, relax in the spa or attend a photographic workshop and learn from a leading South African wildlife photographer.
Hoyo Hoyo Safari Loge blends luxury and traditional Tsonga character together in the heart of the Kruger National Park on the banks of the Mluwati River. Offering an intimate African bush experience, hosting a maximum of 12 guests at a time, its hospitality is top notch with spa treatments on offer on your own private deck and freshly prepared toothsome treats and delectable three-course dinners under the African sky.Conservation and sustainability lie at the heart of the Mluwati Concession, one of the first private concessions in Kruger National Park. During morning and afternoon game drives you will be treated to a wide variety of wildlife, including the big five; walking safaris are also available where you can get closer to the smaller creatures, and for birders it is a haven with over 500 species of birds.
Having trouble to choose one of these best safari lodges in South Africa as the perfect fit for your holiday? Let us help you plan.