Luxury safari lodges in South Africa are amongst the world’s finest. Where else can you enjoy five-star accommodations, with prime game viewing experiences? From family-friendly spots to ultra romantic, honeymoon suites, this list of luxury safari lodges in South Africa has it all.
1. Royal Malewane
Located in Greater Kruger National Park, Royal Malewane is not just one of the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa, it is one of the best in the world. Exuding the romance and beauty of a bygone era while offering every modern comfort, there are two accommodation options here, Main Lodge and The Farmstead.
The Main Lodge is a classic and luxurious safari lodge with six Luxury Suites, two Royal Suites (which each have two bedrooms), and Africa House – an exclusive villa with six bedrooms. The Farmstead is more intimate and contemporary in style. It has three Luxury Farm Suites, and The Farmhouse – a three and a half bedroom private villa.
This particular reserve is known for its spectacular game viewing and abundance of lions. The private safari experience will delight and surprise, as expert guides bring you thrillingly close to the Big Five. After your safari, indulge in sensual spa treatments, and enjoy nightly feasts under the African stars.
2. Singita Sabi Sand
Singita Sabi Sand is the oldest of South Africa’s private reserves. Bordering Kruger National Park, this area is renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings. Choose from three different luxury lodges here: Boulders, Ebony, and Castleton.
The 12 glass-fronted suites of Boulders Lodge offer utmost privacy, ultra-spacious interiors and heated pools. Handmade furnishings and soft, natural fabrics mirror the breathtaking scenery outside.
Equally luxurious, Ebony Lodge is inspired by the adventurous charm of old-world explorers’ camps. 12 luxurious suites open onto expansive private decks with plunge pools. Uninterrupted river views ensure continuous connections with the wilderness.
For larger groups, the beautiful stone-walled homestead and six double en-suite cottages of Castleton Lodge can accommodate up to 12. Exclusive facilities include a Bocce court, extensive wine cellar, kitchen and tennis court. Don’t miss a day of your workout with a fitness centre, yoga pavilion and massage treatment rooms. An outdoor boma with uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape allows magical fireside dinners under the stars.
3. The Outpost
The Outpost accommodates just 24 guests in 12 open plan, en-suite luxury spaces. They are built on a hillside, hidden from one another by the bushveld and wherever you are in the suite you get amazing views. Located in Pafuri, it is arguably one of the most scenic and diverse wilderness areas in Kruger National Park. Most tourists stay much further south, but here you’ll find a luxurious sense of remoteness.
The most impressive part about the luxurious rooms are probably the retractable walls of mesh and canvas on three sides of the room. At a touch of a button, they lift up, opening the whole space to panoramic views of the valley. Guests can take in the spectacle from their immaculate bed, daybed, or rounded bathtub.
Game drives leave at first morning light and late afternoon. For the adventurous, you can experience the wilderness on a guided walking safari. You’ll find the Big Five here, though you won’t be tripping over them as compared to in the south, making this area better suited for second-time safari-goers. After that, enjoy your evening meals under the stars alongside a crackling campfire. On your lay days, unwind with a luxurious spa treatment in the privacy of your room.
4. Madikwe Safari Lodge
If you’re seeking the ultimate in luxury within Madikwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Safari Lodge will not disappoint. Set within a malaria-free area, the reserve supports an incredible diversity of species. The guides are knowledgeable, navigating Madikwe’s extensive road network expertly, bringing guests up close and personal with the incredible wildlife that the reserve boasts of. Lodging wise, the camp is split into three areas: Lelapa, Kopano and Dithaba.
Lelapa, which is Setswana for ‘family’, is perfect for you and your loved ones. Four of the lodge suites are designed especially for families with young children. All Lelapa luxury suites offer stunning views of the Madikwe Game Reserve. It can be enjoyed from the comfort of your suite’s private deck, which includes an outdoor shower and plunge pool.
Tucked away in the savannah wilderness, Kopano Lodge offers a more personal experience of the reserve. Each suite has its own private lounge, viewing deck, open-air shower, and plunge pool. You can watch the vast plains from your viewing deck while indulging in an outdoor spa treatment, or just enjoy a “deckchair safari” and watch all the action without even leaving the camp.
The most blissfully secluded lodges, Dithaba Lodge offers an intimate experience of a game reserve getaway. Four hillside, luxury, private suites can accommodate solo travellers and couples. Enjoy reading by the fire, taking a bubble bath, yoga on the deck, in-room spa treatments, or simply sunbathing on the deck while taking in the views of the vast plains of the Madikwe Game Reserve.
5. Lion Sands Game Reserve
Set on the banks of the Sabie River, this luxurious resort straddles the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and the greater Kruger National Park. The 10,000 acres land comprises four lodges and two villas.
The running theme at River Lodge is simple and natural luxury living, where you can expect a sophisticated interpretation of the traditional safari lodge.
On the other hand, Narina Lodge has nine thatched suites perched on stilts under a canopy of 100-year-old trees. Offering a sense of remoteness and peace, it offers panoramic views of the Sabie River.
For the nostalgic, Tinga Lodge opens onto the riverfront with a camp-style look, reminiscent of the ‘Out of Africa’ era. Each has its own plunge pool and deck overlooking the water, making the most of a view that often sees wildlife passing through.
Ivory Lodge is for those in search of utter exclusivity. Eight water-side villas see the passage of much of the reserve’s wildlife, making it one of the best places to look in on Africa uninterrupted.
For the ultimate in private luxury and personalised service, the two-bedroom Fish Eagle Villa delivers. Here, you have your own pool and spa, a personal chef, field guide and game viewer vehicle. Bigger friend groups and families can book the Hi’Nkweni Villa for complete privacy and highly personalised service – including a dedicated hospitality team.