One of the ultimate tourist attractions for people who visit the African continent is the chance to experience the wild through the safari, and one country that stands out in this regard is South Africa. This country has some of the biggest and most amazing wildlife sanctuaries like the Kruger National Park and it is also the country with some of the best safari lodges in the whole world.
You get everything when you check into one of these elite safari lodges: there are magnificent safaris that you can experience in open-air safari vehicles and there are expert guides and trackers to help you enjoy these amazing experiences like you have never experienced them before. What helps make the experience memorable is the high possibility of sightings of all the 5 major game that inhabit the wilds here – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo, commonly referred to as the Big Five – along with the other animals that you will see.
These luxury safari lodges are the best place to check in for an exclusive experience. The stay is unforgettable because these lodges have almost everything you need for a fantastic guest-stay experience: great lodging, mouth-watering meals and beverages and excellent service. We list for you the top 5 safari lodges of South Africa on this page and then book them as space is scarce.
The Royal Malewane lodge is one of the finest lodges in South Africa and also one of the best hotels in the whole world. The lodge is very old school and gives you a taste of life from back in the day. The décor is totally colonial while having all the essential modern trappings including air conditioning – this lodge has 8 air-conditioned suites, of which 2 are fine Royal suites.
There are oriental rugs on the floor and thatch on the roof. For those that love water there are private plunge pools. If you are traveling with extended family or in a large group of friends you can book into Africa House, which is a 6-bedroom villa that comes with a private chef at your beck and call.
A popular distraction here is the bush-spa, which gives you one of the most relaxing spa experiences you can hope to have. This doesn’t take away from the primary objective of staying at a safari lodge, which is to go on a safari and enjoy spectacular views of the wildlife: Royal Malewane is one safari lodge where you find a range of animals in and around it. There are a significant number of lions that you can see when you go on a safari here. The guides and trackers are among the best and guarantee you sightings of the Big Five when it comes to game.
Royal Malewane is located in Thornybush Game Reserve which is situated along the borders of Kruger National Park. It can be found to the north of Sabi Sand. One thing to remember: book at the earliest because you may find bookings filled up almost a year in advance.
Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge
The Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge is owned by one of the most well-known figures in British industry, Sir Richard Branson. There is a spectacular amount of game to see here: and it is not just the Big Five we are am talking about; there are baboons, impala, wild dogs, cheetah and many more, including a wide range of birds.
The Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge is near Sabi Sand, towards the western side. There are 2 kinds of accommodation available here, which is where the name originates from:
- Rock Lodge: This is located right at the top of a koppie or rocky hilltop. The location is spectacular and the view from it below magical. The lodge has thatched roofing which gives it a very traditional African look. If you are traveling with family you can check into the Cliff Lodge suite, a two-bedroom suite. This is a great place for children of all ages.
- Safari Lodge: This is on a riverbank that is dry. This is a fantastic location to check into if you like watching the wildlife stroll past on their way to the waterhole. The entire setting is spectacular as there are rooms on stilts, making them look actually like treehouses. And there are some rooms that are connected to the common areas of the lodge by rope bridges. All the usual safari lodge accoutrements are there, including a spa, gym, swimming pool, tennis courts, and more. There are walking safaris you can be part of. This is a great place for children above 12 years of age.
Singita Sabi Sand
If you are game to stay inside one of the oldest game reserves in South Africa, Singita Sabi Sand is the place to visit. This is a delightful game resource that has a superb mix of the contemporary with traditional tribal motifs and is spread across 45,000 acres of the South African wild. The game that you get to see here include the Big Five. If you are lucky you could get to see leopards up close too.
Staying at Singita Sabi Sand is an experience. There are 3 kinds of lodges, all in the luxury category, to choose from. These include the following –
- Boulders Lodge
- Ebony Lodge
- Castleton Lodge
Boulders Lodge is considered to be among the best luxury game lodges in the whole world. It is located on the banks of the Sand River. Each suite in the lodge has glass windows from the floor to the ceiling, allowing you to view in totality the wildlife outside. It is an amazing way to experience the visuals that nature has for you as you lie in the lap of luxury. The open air rooms help you feel completely at home.
The next kind of lodge is the Ebony Lodge. This lodge gives you the experience of being at camp, only it is in the middle of the African wilderness. Each suite has a thatched roof – there are 12 suites in all – and a private plunge pool. If you are traveling with family the two-bedroom suite is the best thing you could stay in.
The third kind of lodge is Castleton Lodge and it has the ambiance of a farmhouse. There are communal living areas, tennis courts, a spa and also a swimming pool. Each guest gets a separate cottage and the entire place is completely child-friendly.
Things to do apart at Singita Sabi Sands include mountain biking safaris and visits to villages nearby to get an actual life of life in the African wild. There is also an archery range and the standard game drives.
This safari lodge is in the Sabi Sand game reserve. One of the things that this game reserve is known for – it has one of only 4 master trackers in the whole world. This means you are guaranteed a fantastic viewing of game at the lodge. There are also cool treehouses where you can sleep and watch the stars in the sky above. There are a number of different kinds of lodges here, which gives you a great range of options to pick from:
- Lion Sands River Lodge: This is the biggest of them all, with 20 thatched rooms.
- Ivory Lodge: The rooms are made of thatch, sand, steel and wood. There is also the Fish Eagle suite with its own private pool, gym, spa and yes, a Land Rover. This lodge is located by the Sabie River.
- Tinga Lodge: This lodge has a very contemporary feel to it and is located on the banks of the Sabi River.
- Narina Lodge: This lodge looks more like a treehouse. It has 9 villas high up and connected through walkways that are raised high up. You get all you can ask for here – a personal butler, private pools and sitting areas that come with a fireplace, outdoor showers and more. There is also a spa and you go on a chopper ride over Blyde River Canyon. Babysitting is available in select lodges only, however.
Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve
Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve is the biggest private game reserve in the whole of South Africa. It is spread across 1000 kilometers. Game here includes the black-maned Kalahari lion, meerkats, wild dogs, porcupines, aardvarks, aardwolves, cheetah and also the black rhino, which is on the list of endangered species.
For staying there are 2 locations available:
- The Motse, which is a set of 9 luxury suites with air conditioning and located at the base of the Korannaberg Mountains.
- Tarkuni, which happens to be the family home of the owner. There are 5 excellent suites here complete with a five-star chef, a butler and a private pool.