The 7 Best
Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa
In a country as vast, bewildering and diverse as South Africa, no two experiences are ever alike—and fortunately for the discerning traveller, the same holds true for its best luxury safari lodges.
Below we’ve rounded up our seven favourite lodges – spanning six uniquely diverse areas of South Africa – whose safari activities exist to protect wilderness areas and benefit the communities around them.
Simply put, these are the best places in which to indulge in sundowners and commune with majestic wildlife.
SOUTH AFRICA’S BEST LUXURY SAFARI LODGES
Kruger National Park
This super modern lodge somehow manages to seamlessly fit into its stunning environment. The 15 loft-style suites, suspended above the N’wanetsi River, have an ethereal, light on the ground feel that resonates with its philosophy: “touch the earth lightly.” The design of the sophisticated steel and glass suites was inspired by the many eagles’ nests built into the cliff face of the river bank.
Kruger National Park
Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Singita Castleton is an exclusive use lodge set within 45,000 acres of private reserve. Steeped in history, this charming lodge captures the spirit of the original Castleton house, lending the property a historical and comforting feel.
Castleton has been designed to combine the best elements of a private safari lodge with the rustic charms of a country farmhouse, making it the perfect homebase for a multi-generational bespoke experience. Its luxuries include a vast garden, swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa treatment room.
Grootbos Nature Reserve
Situated on the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in the Gansbaai area, this award-winning reserve is home to the largest Milkwood Forests in the world. The lodge is set within the fynbos and forest-clad hills which overlook the whale-watching haven of Walker Bay. A perfect place for a family safari, where you can take in the ocean’s Big 5.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
The Lodge is set into the gently sloping aloe-studded hillside banks of the Great Fish River and is an unusual construction of stone-and-mesh gabion walls, sliding glass doors and corrugated iron roofing. Fresh farm cuisine is prepared in the interactive, open-plan kitchen, while the spacious lounge, dining and bar areas are airy and open, with almost invisible separations between indoors and the intriguing African bushveld.
Sabi Sand Reserve
An intimate luxury safari lodge, Dulini is located in the western sector of the Sabi Sand Reserve, which borders the Kruger National Park. A quiet retreat, Dulini rests under a leafy canopy of ebony trees on the banks of the dry Mabrak River and boasts views across the riverbed and bushveld.
Madikwe Game Reserve
Set amidst 75,000 hectares of the pristine Madikwe Game Reserve, Jamala Madikwe provides a quintessential safari experience. The lodge successfully brings opposites together, complementing its colonial style with African eccentricity. At Jamal they’ve perfected the “sofa safari,” with an amazing waterhole right in front of the lodge so you can watch all the animals come to drink while Rodney serves you gin and tonics.
Marataba Private Reserve
This 23,000-hectare private concession within the Marakele National Park (Limpopo, South Africa) offers a sanctuary where people can connect with South Africa’s stunning natural habitat. It offers breathtaking views of the dramatic Waterberg mountains, vast plains, rich animal diversity and winding rivers that cut through the landscape. It’s also one of the few lodges that truly allows you to get out and be active.