15 Best Safari Lodges in South Africa
Updated: Jan 6
We've found 15 of the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa. If you're looking for an African safari experience that is luxurious, authentic, and unforgettable, then you need to check out our list of the 15 best safari lodges in South Africa. These properties are some of the most beautiful and well-equipped in the country and offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Africa's unique wildlife up close. Whether you're a seasoned safari goer or this is your first time exploring this amazing continent, we guarantee you won't be disappointed with our selection!
Kapama Karula - Kapama Private Game Reserve:
This luxurious private game reserve is located in the heart of the Big 5 country in South Africa and offers guests a truly exceptional safari experience.
Kapama Karula has 12 exclusive luxury suites perched on the banks of the seasonal Klaserie River, providing some stunning views. Each suite comes with its own outdoor plunge pool, double-sided fireplace, and private balcony overlooking the riverbed. Guests can also enjoy activities like game drives, bush walks, nature walks and guided tours to ensure they get the most out of their stay.
Royal Malewane – Greater Kruger:
Experience the wild heart of the African bush in comfort, style and privacy at Royal Malewane’s three luxury safari lodges and private bush villas, each one embodying an exquisite vision of design and ultimate hospitality. Their highly qualified guiding team in Africa delivers an unrivalled wildlife experience with conservation at the centre.
This luxurious lodge has a variety of private suites, each with its own plunge pool, outdoor shower, air-conditioning and modern amenities. Guests here can enjoy twice daily game drives, and guided bush, walks to spot Africa’s wildlife up close.
Lion Sands Ivory Lodge - Lion Sand Game Reserve (Greater Kruger):
Located on the banks of the Sabie River in South Africa’s famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is an exclusive and luxurious property that offers a unique safari experience. The lodge consists of five luxury suites with private decks overlooking the riverbed, while the main building features a swimming pool, gym and spa facilities for guests to enjoy.
They took their cue from Mother Nature to build a lodge ‘of the earth’, using natural materials that complement the surrounding bush environment and an open design that draws your attention outside. Décor is rich yet minimal, lighting is ambient, and African design accents subtly pick up on the African safari theme.
Ivory Lodge impresses with natural and simple beauty, enhanced only by breathtaking river scenes.
Singita Lebombo -Kruger National Park:
Singita Lebombo is located on the edge of South Africa’s iconic Kruger National Park, offering guests a stunning view of the African wilderness below. This luxurious lodge has 13 exclusive suites, each with its own private pool and outdoor shower overlooking the bushveld. Guests here can enjoy twice daily game drives as well as guided walks to get up close and personal with the wildlife in this region.
Singita Boulders Lodge - Sabi Sands
Singita Boulders Lodge is a luxury safari lodge located in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa. The lodge has received positive reviews from travellers for its luxurious accommodations, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, and exceptional service.
Located on the banks of the Sand River, this Luxury Lodge offers 12 spacious suites that are elegantly decorated with African-inspired furnishings and locally sourced materials. Each suite has a private deck with stunning views of the river and surrounding landscape. The lodge also has a swimming pool, spa, and fitness centre.
In terms of wildlife viewing, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve is known for its high density of big game, including the Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo). Singita Boulders Lodge offers guided game drives and walking safaris led by experienced rangers, as well as bush dinners and sundowners in the reserve.
Overall, Singita Boulders Lodge is a highly rated safari lodge that provides a luxurious and authentic safari experience in the heart of the African bush.
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is situated in South Africa’s wild and vast Northern Cape province, offering guests an unparalleled safari experience within a remote country. Guests here have exclusive access to the reserve’s private game drives, bush walks and star-gazing activities, as well as an array of luxurious amenities and facilities including a swimming pool, spa and gym.
Londolozi Lodge - Londolozi Private Game Reserve:
This luxury resort is situated within South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve and offers guests breathtaking views across the bushveld from its six exclusive villas. Guests can enjoy twice daily game drives, as well as guided bush, walks to get up close with nature, while each villa comes with its own outdoor plunge pool and modern amenities like air-conditioning and Wi-Fi.
MalaMala - MalaMala Game Reserve:
Located on the border of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, MalaMala Game Reserve is a premier safari destination. This luxurious property has six exclusive lodges, each with its own plunge pool and outdoor shower overlooking the bushveld. Guests can enjoy activities like game drives, guided walks and bike tours to get up close with the wildlife in this region
Andbeyond Mountain Lodge – Phinda Private Game Reserve:
Situated within South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve, this luxury lodge offers guests an incredible view of the surrounding game reserve from its seven private suites. Each suite has its own outdoor shower, air-conditioning, and modern amenities to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Guests here can enjoy activities like game drives, bush walks and guided tours to get up close with the wildlife in this region
Cheetah Plains - Sabi Sands Game Reserve:
Home of the exclusive-use luxury safari experience in South Africa’s most celebrated wildlife area, the Sabi Sand. Cheetah Plains is the epitome of a sophisticated, innovative eco-luxury safari experience for the modern age, indulging you in a refined, personalised and private sustainable safari experience of a lifetime.
Cheetah Plains Private Game Reserve is a privately-owned game reserve located in South Africa's Lowveld region. It is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which is adjacent to the Kruger National Park.
The reserve is known for its diverse array of wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo) as well as a variety of other species such as cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, and a variety of antelopes and birds.
Makumu Private Game Lodge - Klaserie Private Nature Reserve
An exclusive oasis situated within the expansive and unpredictable African bushveld, Makumu Private Game Lodge is an intimate paradise in South Africa's largest privately owned nature reserve. With only twelve guests accommodated at a time in six luxurious suites, this private escape offers unmatched comfort alongside unique glimpses of unspoiled wildlife.
The Safari Hide pictured above is a great place to get low-angle wildlife safari photos.
Makanyi Private Game Lodge – Timbavati Game Reserve:
Makanyi Private Game Lodge is situated in the heart of South Africa’s Timbavati Game Reserve, offering guests a luxurious safari experience. The lodge features eight private suites, each with its own plunge pool and outdoor shower overlooking the bushveld. Guests here can enjoy activities like game drives, night drives and guided walks to get up close with the wildlife in this region.
Where is the Timbavati Game Reserve?
Timbavati Game Reserve, situated on the western fringe of Kruger National Park's lush 2.4 million hectares, offers an unrivalled safari experience thanks to its exclusive accessibility and dearth of lodges and properties. Free from distraction or disruption by other tourists in vehicles, travellers are granted a private glimpse into this arresting natural habitat for an intimate - yet wholly authentic - escape unlike any other!
Ngala Safari Lodge - Ngala Private Game Reserve by AndBeyond
Ngala Safari Lodge is a luxury safari lodge located in the Ngala Private Game Reserve, South Africa. The lodge has received positive reviews from travellers for its comfortable accommodations, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, and exceptional service.
This Luxury Safari Lodge offers 20 spacious and elegantly decorated tents, each with its own private deck and en-suite bathroom. The lodge also has a swimming pool, spa, and fitness centre.
In terms of wildlife viewing, the Ngala Private Game Reserve is home to a wide variety of African wildlife, including the Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo). Ngala Safari Lodge offers guided game drives and walking safaris led by experienced rangers, as well as bush dinners and sundowners in the reserve.
Overall, Ngala Safari Lodge is a highly rated safari lodge that provides a comfortable and authentic safari experience in the heart of the African bush.
Ulusaba Virgin Limited Edition Safari Lodge - Sabi Sands
Ulusaba is a luxury safari lodge located in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa. It is owned by Sir Richard Branson, a British business magnate, investor, and philanthropist who is the founder of the Virgin Group. Ulusaba is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio, which consists of a collection of unique and exclusive properties owned by Branson. Ulusaba is managed by a dedicated team of professionals who are committed to providing exceptional service and a luxurious safari experience to guests.
When is the best time to go on a safari in South Africa?
The best time to go on safari in South Africa is between mid-May to late October when animals are abundant and the climate is dry. During this period, you will find plenty of large game such as lions, leopards and rhinos. This is also the ideal time to encounter some of South Africa’s rarer species like cheetahs and wild dogs. The temperature during this period ranges from mild to hot with an average daily temperature of 23°C (73°F). You can expect short rains in late November or early December while summer months are usually very dry. This prime season for safaris lasts until February when temperatures become cooler. To enjoy a more intimate wildlife experience, visits during the springtime (August - October) are recommended. During this period, you can enjoy a beautiful landscape with fresh vegetation and newborn animals. No matter when you plan to go on safari in South Africa, you can expect an unforgettable wildlife experience.
Best Safari Lodges in South Africa to see African Wild Dogs
There are several excellent safari lodges in South Africa that offer good opportunities to see wild dogs, also known as African-painted dogs. These lodges are located in private game reserves or national parks where wild dogs have a stable population and are frequently seen by travellers.
Here are a few options:
Singita Lebombo Lodge: Located in the Kruger National Park, Singita Lebombo Lodge offers luxurious accommodations and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Wild dogs are frequently seen on game drives in the reserve.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Located in South Africa's Lowveld region, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is known for its high density of big game and good opportunities to see wild dogs. There are several luxury lodges located in the reserve, including Singita Boulders Lodge and Ngala Safari Lodge.
Overall, these lodges offer excellent opportunities to see wild dogs in their natural habitat and provide comfortable and luxurious accommodations. It's worth noting that sightings of any wildlife, including wild dogs, can never be guaranteed, as animals are unpredictable and their movements can vary.
What amenities can I expect on a luxury Safari?
1. Private Swimming Pool
2. Air Conditioning
3. Spa and Gym Facilities (Fitness Centers)
4. Guided Game Drives
5. Guided Bush Walks
6. Star-gazing Activities
7. Private Outdoor Plunge Pools/Showers
8. Wi-Fi Connectivity
9. Modern Amenities in the Lodges
10. Bike Tours
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is South Africa's premier destination for luxury safaris. Located in the northeastern part of South Africa, this 19,485 square kilometre (7,523 sq mi) park is home to some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife, including lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards. Guests can enjoy a variety of activities here, such as game drives, guided bush walks and bird watching.
The lodges in Kruger National Park offer luxurious accommodations, with amenities like air-conditioning and Wi-Fi to ensure a comfortable stay. Visitors can also take part in special activities such as night drives and star-gazing to get up close with the wildlife in this region. With its vast expanses of wilderness, Kruger National Park is an ideal destination for a luxury safari experience
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Situated on the border between South Africa and Botswana, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the world’s premier safari parks. This 37,000 square kilometre (14,280 sq mi) park is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, cheetahs and wildebeest
At Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, you will find luxurious lodges with modern amenities like air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. Guests can also enjoy game drives, guided bush walks and star-gazing activities to get up close with the wildlife in this region. With its pristine landscapes and abundant wildlife, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is an ideal destination for a luxury safari experience.
Kruger national park private concessions?
Private concessions in Kruger National Park are a unique and exclusive way to experience the wonders of South Africa's premier wildlife destination. These private concessions are privately owned areas within the park that offer an unparalleled level of luxury and privacy, allowing visitors to explore game-viewing hot spots with limited competition from other safari-goers
In Kruger National Park, private concessions refer to areas of the park that are managed by private companies under contract with the park. These concessions allow for a more exclusive and personalized safari experience, and often offer luxury accommodations, guided game drives, and other amenities.
Private concessions may have different rules and regulations than the rest of the park, and they may also charge higher fees for their services. The proceeds from these fees help to support the park and its conservation efforts. Private concessions in Kruger National Park are typically smaller in size than the rest of the park, and they are often located in prime wildlife viewing areas.
Kruger National Park is divided into a number of private concession areas, each with its own set of activities tailored to meet the needs of its guests. Those staying in the concessions can take part in specialized ranger-led activities such as night drives, bush walks, stargazing safaris, bird-watching trips and game-viewing experiences on open vehicles
The lodges in these private concession areas also offer high levels of comfort and luxury, with air conditioning, modern amenities and private outdoor plunge pools or showers in each suite. Guests can also expect Wi-Fi connectivity for those looking to stay connected throughout their stay
Kruger National Park is home to an incredible variety of animals including lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos – all visible on game drives through the reserves. At select times throughout the year, you may also be lucky enough to spot some rarer species like cheetahs and wild dogs while on your game drive .
Private concessions provide guests with an intimate wildlife experience away from crowded tourist hotspots within the park – allowing you to truly soak up the wonders of nature during your stay. With excellent facilities and activities tailored specifically for guests looking for a one-of-a-kind safari experience at Kruger National Park, private concessions are perfect for those looking for a luxurious African adventure without compromising on quality or safety standards. Private concessions within Kruger national park
An Exclusive Safari Experience
If you are looking for a more exclusive experience, then look no further than the private concessions within Kruger National Park. Here, guests can stay in high-end lodges with luxurious amenities and enjoy activities such as game drives, bush walks, guided safaris and even star gazing. The best part about these private concessions is that they offer an intimate wildlife experience as the crowd levels are much lower compared to the main park areas. Guests here also get to enjoy special treats like breakfast baskets on game drives and romantic dinners under the stars. There really is no better way to explore Kruger National Park!
Are Safari Lodges with Private Concessions worth the higher cost?
Whether or not a private concession in Kruger National Park is worth the higher cost is a matter of personal preference and budget. Private concessions generally offer a more exclusive and personalized safari experience, with luxury accommodations and guided game drives. They may also offer additional amenities such as dining options and spa services. If these types of experiences are important to you, and you are willing to pay the higher fees, a private concession might be worth it for you
On the other hand, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly safari experience, or if you prefer to have more flexibility and independence in your travels, a private concession might not be the best choice. There are many other options for accommodations and activities within Kruger National Park that may be more affordable and offer a similar wildlife viewing experience. It's important to consider your own priorities and budget when deciding whether a private concession is worth the higher cost.
From luxury tented camps to sophisticated lodges, South Africa offers some of the best wildlife experiences in the world.
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