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The Top 10 Destinations for a Luxury Safari in South Africa

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Antoinette Booyse

Safari Travel Planner

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Antoinette Booyse

Author: Antoinette Booyse - 1 May 2023

Last Update: 8 May 2024

South Africa is a dream destination for travelers who want the thrill of a safari and the beauty of nature. The country offers a variety of options for luxury safari lodges, where guests can enjoy comfort, service, and wildlife viewing in style. Here are some of the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa, according to travel bloggers and experts.

1. Nottens Bush Camp

Nottens Bush Camp is one of the original game lodges in South Africa, located in the Sabi Sand Reserve, which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The lodge has nine exclusive, private suites that overlook an open area with a waterhole, where guests can watch animals such as zebras, elephants, antelopes, and hyenas from their porch. 

Rhino in Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
Rhino in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa.

There’s no fence and no electricity, so guests can experience the bush in an authentic way.

The lodge is known for its highly experienced rangers and its excellent leopard sightings. Guests can enjoy two game drives a day, as well as relaxing by the pool or at the Nature Spa. The lodge also offers romantic touches such as candlelit baths, rose petals, and champagne.

2. Phinda Mountain Lodge

Situated in the Phinda Game Reserve, in KwaZulu Natal, the lodge is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in South Africa. The reserve has seven distinct habitats, including forests, wetlands, grasslands, and mountains. 

Boma dinner at Phinda Mountain Lodge
Boma dinner at a luxury lodge in South Africa | Photo credits: Phinda Mountain Lodge

The lodge has 25 spacious suites that offer stunning views of the reserve and the Lebombo Mountains. 

Each suite has a private plunge pool, a fireplace, and a spacious deck. Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, boat cruises, and cultural visits to nearby Zulu villages. The lodge also supports conservation projects such as rhino monitoring and cheetah reintroduction.

3. Singita Boulders Lodge

Singita Boulders Lodge is one of the most luxurious and exclusive lodges in South Africa, located in the Sabi Sand Reserve. The lodge has 12 elegant suites that are inspired by the natural shapes and textures of the boulders that surround them.

Pool at a luxury lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Photo credits: Singita Boulders Lodge
Pool at a luxury lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Photo credits: Singita Boulders Lodge

Each suite has a private deck, a heated pool, a fireplace, and an outdoor shower. Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, mountain biking, archery, stargazing, and spa treatments. If you’re looking for a luxury safari in South Africa, look no further. 

4. Royal Malewane

Royal Malewane is a classic safari lodge that offers an unparalleled level of luxury and service in the Thornybush Game Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. The lodge has six spacious suites that are decorated with antiques and artworks.

Luxury lodge in Thornybush Ga,me Reserve | Photo credits: Royal Malewane
Luxury lodge in Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa | Photo credits: Royal Malewane

Each suite has a private deck, a pool, a fireplace, and a Victorian-style bath. Guests can enjoy game drives with some of the most qualified guides and trackers in Africa, as well as bush walks, massages, and yoga. The lodge also has a main pool, a library, a gym, and a boutique shop.

5. Londolozi Granite Suites

Londolozi Granite Suites are three exclusive suites that are located on the banks of the Sand River, in the Sabi Sand Reserve. Designed to blend with the natural environment the suites offer spectacular views of the river and the wildlife that frequents it.

Pool at a luxury Londolozi Granite Suites Lodge
Pool at a luxury lodge in South Africa | Photo credits: Londolozi Granite Suites

Each suite has a private deck, a heated pool, a fireplace, an outdoor bathtub, and an outdoor shower. Guests can enjoy game drives with expert rangers and trackers who have been working at Londolozi for decades. The lodge also offers bush walks, yoga classes, wellness treatments, and photographic safaris.

6. Tswalu Kalahari

Tswalu Kalahari is the largest private game reserve in South Africa, covering over 100 000 hectares of pristine wilderness in the Kalahari Desert. The reserve is home to some of the rarest animals in Africa, such as black rhino, black-maned lion, cheetah, and pangolin.

The lodge has nine luxurious suites that are designed to reflect the colors and textures of the desert.

Aerial view of a luxury lodge in South Africa | Photo credits: Tswalu Kalahari
Aerial view of a luxury lodge in South Africa | Photo credits: Tswalu Kalahari

Each suite has a private deck, a fireplace, an outdoor shower, and a star bed for sleeping under the stars. Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, horseback safaris, hot air balloon flights, and visits to the Tswalu Foundation, which supports research and education on the Kalahari ecosystem.

7. Madikwe Safari Lodge

Madikwe Safari Lodge is located in the Madikwe Game Reserve, one of the largest and most diverse wildlife sanctuaries in the country. Madikwe is home to the Big Five, as well as wild dogs, cheetahs, hyenas, and over 300 bird species. 

Suite at a luxury lodge in South Africa | Photo credits: Madikwe Safari Lodge
Suite at a luxury lodge in South Africa | Photo credits: Madikwe Safari Lodge

The lodge has three camps, each with its own style and character. The Lelapa Lodge is family-friendly and has 12 spacious suites with private plunge pools and outdoor showers.

The Kopano Lodge is more intimate and has four suites with fireplaces and private decks. The Dithaba Lodge is ideal for groups and has four suites with stunning views of the reserve. Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, stargazing, and cultural visits to local villages.

8. Ulusaba Rock Lodge

Ulusaba Rock Lodge is owned by Sir Richard Branson and is part of his Virgin Limited Edition collection of luxury properties. The lodge is perched on a hilltop in the Sabi Sand Reserve, offering panoramic views of the surrounding bush and mountains.

Suite at a luxury lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Photo credits: Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Suite at a luxury lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa | Photo credits: Ulusaba Rock Lodge

The lodge has 10 rooms and suites, each with a unique design and décor. Some of the rooms have private plunge pools, jacuzzis, or outdoor showers. Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, tennis, spa treatments, and wine tasting. The lodge also has a gym, a swimming pool, a library, and a viewing deck.

9. MalaMala Main Camp

One of the oldest and most prestigious safari lodges in South Africa, MalaMala Main Camp is located in the MalaMala Game Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park.

Luxury lodge deck | Photo credits: Mala Mala Camp
Luxury lodge deck in South Africa | Photo credits: MalaMala Camp

The lodge has 18 luxury rooms and suites that are decorated in a colonial style. Each room has a private deck, a minibar, and an en-suite bathroom with a bathtub and a shower.

Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, photographic safaris, and visits to the MalaMala museum. The lodge also has a bar, a lounge, a dining room, a library, a pool, and a safari boutique.

10. Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is an award-winning safari lodge that is located in the Lion Sands Game Reserve, which is part of the Sabi Sand Reserve. The lodge has nine contemporary villas that are designed to offer privacy and luxury.

Outdoor dinging at a luxury lodge| Photo credits: Lion Sands Ivory Lodge
Outdoor dining at a luxury lodge in South Africa | Photo credits: Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Each features a private deck, heated pool, fireplace, outdoor shower, and a star bed for sleeping under the stars. Guests can enjoy game drives, bush walks, treehouse experiences, wellness treatments, and visits to the nearby community projects. The lodge also has a lounge, a dining area, a bar, a wine cellar, and a gallery.

Conclusion

These are some of the top ten destinations for a luxury safari in South Africa. All share a common passion for conservation and sustainability.

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly safari, a romantic safari, or an adventure-filled holiday, you’ll find something to suit your preferences and budget in South Africa. Book your luxury safari today and experience the magic of the African bush.


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