South African safari lodges are some of the most exquisite and luxurious in all of Africa – when it comes to the quality of the décor, food, and guides South Africa’s safari lodges have been way ahead for quite some time. We love traveling there since you have some of the most dramatic and best game viewing in the world, and also have access to some of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious safari properties. There are many to choose from but here we outline some of our favorite safari lodges South Africa has to offer
South Africa's high-end safari lodges are among the world's finest – and most expensive – hotels. They also offer some of the best game viewings in Africa.
Remote and intimate, these exclusive and eco-conscious lodges offer a true small-group luxury wilderness experience, with exceptional service. Rates include mouthwatering gourmet meals and most beverages, often served alfresco, as well as morning and evening game drives. Most also offer walking safaris.
A word to the wise: It's a good idea to split your time between two or more lodges into different areas to maximize the diversity of game viewing. Families will be pleased to learn that many of these camps welcome children.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is Africa’s most popular wildlife safari destination and is in the northeast of South Africa bordering Mozambique. It is home to more animal species than any other African safari destination including over 140 species of large mammal species and over 500 different bird species.
On the outskirts of Kruger National Park are some of the most luxurious safari lodges in the world. Luxury safari camps such as Simbavati and Moditlo await your arrival!
What is the difference between a Safari Park and a Safari Reserve?
The difference between these is quite straightforward. A national park is government-owned and managed and is usually a vast expanse of unfenced wilderness. A private game reserve is privately owned and managed with the land being fenced off.
Riverbeds are a favorite place for leopards to den their cubs, which means there are plenty of scopes for guests to spot cats from the comfort of their private deck. Simbavati Camp George has 8 ultra-luxurious suites, each kitted out with a private viewing deck overlooking the Klaserie’s varied terrain.
A beautiful garden with a swimming pool and well-built boma provides a few delightful spaces to relax. Guests can sit in the boma and watch wildlife filter down to the waterhole while enjoying a quintessential gin and tonic, the safari drink of choice.
Camp George offers an oasis of tranquillity within the wilds of the Klaserie Game Reserve. It is a classic safari escape, set alongside a dry riverbed and within lush indigenous gardens Designed for couples, family, and friends, this intimate lodge comprises eight luxury suites, each with its own private deck. One big advantage of Camp George is that it's fenced so you can walk also at evening freely around the property
This elegant safari lodge is the perfect mix of authentic tradition with a modern twist. The convivial and art-filled living areas lead out to expansive terraces. Beyond lies the mature indigenous garden which naturally evokes a sense of tranquillity and relaxation. Enjoy the serenity of the many huge fevers and baobab trees, read a book in the swing chair, or watch the game at the waterhole where animals come to drink through the day.
A safari is an amazing experience, for many people a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Simbavati truly goes the extra mile and includes so many extra touches to make it as special as possible. Pulling up at Camp George will bring you the warmest welcome from Inneke, She greets you with the biggest smile and ensures you are welcomed and comfortable throughout your stay.
Camp George’s rooms are probably the nicest I’ve ever stayed in during Safari. Beautiful open layout, private balcony, outdoor shower, beautiful bathtub. I was too overwhelmed when I checked in here and never wanted to leave. The property is also so beautiful and expansive, like a garden oasis, with a gym, pools, tons of areas for lounging and eating, and waterhole views It’s perfect if you are looking for an upscale experience, perhaps a romantic getaway, or just an incredibly entertaining stay. Game drives at Camp George brought me a couple of heart-pounding elephant encounters, the most hilarious close-up Leopard walk-by, and some magical sundowners.
River Lodge has a lovely view of you guessed it the river, where you will see hippos and crocs, I also saw beautiful waterbuck on the riverbanks, and well it’s the wild so you can see literally anything else. It has a nice large lounging area and the main building is beautiful and comfy, and the rooms are private spaces so you can enjoy the quiet to read, relax, enjoy another outdoor shower
This was my first game drive in the Timbavati Reserve, amended it brought me my first leopard of Kruger, It was in a tree at night and we actually saw it climb up the branches and then jump down and disappear into the night, which was pretty awesome. Also saw an adorable rhino cub and had a hippo walk through the camp, the animals are abundant in Timbavati!
Simbavati River Lodge offers visitors a luxurious family retreat with friendly and efficient staff in the heart of the world-famous Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Set under a canopy of Jackelberry trees, luxury chalets and tents stretch out along the river banks offering superb views.
Simbavati River Lodge is situated on the banks of the Nhlaralumi River in the heart of the legendary Timbavati Game Reserve offering guests 12 000 hectares of untouched wilderness. Simbavati offers privacy and exclusivity in a small and intimate lodge with family chalets and luxury safari tents. Simbavati offers a luxurious yet traditional African safari experience at an affordable rate. The lounge and deck area of Simbavati offers guests a peaceful environment to relax in and watch the surrounding vistas.
Moditlo River Lodge sits at the heart of the Blue Canyon Conservancy, a stretch of protected land close to the Greater Kruger National Park, and is home to an astonishing array of fauna and flora. Designed to combine the rustic nature of a bushveld retreat with the style and elegance of a lodge; Moditlo, meaning ‘place of the elephant, comprises 16 rooms. Each room features a coffee station, personal safe, and minibar as well as private facilities including a free-standing tub. Other amenities include a full-service restaurant that serves the very best in South African wines and cuisine; as well as an outside Boma that serves al fresco barbecues
Moditlo is a short drive away from Hoedspruit and the Eastgate Regional Airport, this Lodge lies with the Blue Canyon Conservancy in the Greater Kruger National Park at the foot of the Drakensberg range. Named for the elephants that traverse the property, the reserve is also home to a variety of wildlife, including leopard, cheetah, and rhinoceros with the occasional wide-ranging, critically endangered African Wild Dog.
The Lodge offers guests morning and evening safari drives; timed to coincide with the highest activity levels among the various species. These are led by a professional, qualified guide who will bring the many mysteries of the bush to your attention – while seeking out spectacular sightings of wildlife and landscapes.
The Main Lodge at Moditlo features verandas that lead to the different dining and entertainment areas of the lodge. It is here where guests find the outdoor swimming pool, the restaurant, a curio shop as well as the communal lounges and bar.
Thrilling safari drives make for an unforgettable safari experience during a stay at the Moditlo River Lodge. Relaxing beauty and spa treatments are available for guests who seek pampering and relaxation in a most tranquil and natural setting.
Each morning you will wake to the sun rising over the Blue Canyon Conservancy and at any given time of the day you may see Lions, Buffalo, Elephants, Leopards, or Rhinos, all from the comfort of your room, or even by the pool. Other creatures you may see during your stay include cheetahs and other wild dog breeds.
Of course, when traveling to South Africa the wild animals are the main drawcard and game drives are extremely popular activities, but one of the absolute most spectacular things that you can see from Moditlo River Lodge is the African sky at night. It’s safe to say that have probably never before in your life experienced such an extraordinary night sky view as this one, and what’s even better is that you can sip on a cocktail, or some of South Africa’s finest wines around a crackling fire while you indulge yourself in it.
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is one of South Africa’s most popular holiday destinations, with magnificent scenery including the Drakensberg Mountains to the west, the Lebombo Mountains to the north, and sensational Big 5 Safari Experiences.
Thanda Safari Game Reserve – 5-Star Luxury
Set in the heart of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Thanda Safari Camp is situated in one of the best game reserves in KZN if luxury and unparalleled wildlife viewings are what you’re after during your trip to South Africa.
Thanda Luxury Safari Camp boasts three different properties: Thanda Safari Lodge, Villa iZulu, and Thanda Tented Camp. I stayed at Thanda Lodge, which offers 9 bush suites, with their own plunge pool. The tented camp has 15 luxury safari tents right in the heart of the bush, each with a private sun deck. Every tent offers a ton of space from the one next to it, so you’ll get to feel as though you’re the only guest at the camp!
I chose Thanda for several reasons: One of them being their deep commitment to wildlife conservation and the fact that the entire camp is a privately-owned 14000-hectare reserve. The latter means that you won’t have to share any wildlife viewings with dozens of other people. Moreover, I loved how my experience was a combination of unparalleled luxury, cultural immersion, and mouthwatering food.