Top 10 Safari Lodges In South Africa

South Africa is home to some of the finest safari lodges on the continent. Here are a handful that we consider above bar.

The plush interior of a safari lodge in South Africa.

South Africa boasts some of nature’s most captivating jewels. To ensure that guests can enjoy these adventures to the fullest, there are amazing lodges scattered all across the country with plush facilities to make guests' experiences even more memorable.

Tau Game Lodge

Tau Game Lodge is a private lodge situated towards the northern border of South Africa, in the North West province. It is located in a malaria-free area which allows guests to enjoy a care-free stay. It is in the Madikwe Game Reserve, which is home to a variety of unusual animals. Therefore, visiting Tau Game Lodge will give you an African experience paralleled by few. The décor and furniture at the luxurious chalets at Tau Game Lodge are inspired by the beautiful African surroundings. All rooms have air conditioning, an en suite bathroom and an open shower as well as a viewing deck so that guests do not even have to leave the privacy of their rooms to spot wild animals and enjoy the view. Tau Game Lodge also has a spa, so that guests can relax in between game drives. During these game drives, guests can expect to see a variety of animals, which include the Big Five. There are also 250 different bird species. If you are traveling with your family, Tau Game Lodge makes it easy for you with their children’s program, which keeps children busy with a variety of fun activities.

Mala Mala Game Reserve

For guests on the lookout for a luxurious photographic safari, Mala Mala Game Reserve is the ideal destination. Tucked away in between the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, it is a wildlife mecca. At this game reserve, respect for the animals is the top priority, and it is maintained while allowing guests to view wildlife up close. Mala Mala Game Reserve is home to the Big Five, and guests should be able to see these animals with minimal effort as the strict sighting protocol makes the animals feel at ease and less likely to hide. The lodge consist out of three ‘camps’, but don’t let the word 'camp' mislead you. All three camps are extremely luxurious. Guests can expect lavish en suite bathrooms, comfortable beds, African décor, dining rooms, bars, infinity pools and the best part – the viewing decks. From these decks, guests can enjoy game viewing while relaxing with a drink, and savor the African sun setting over the grasslands. It is safe to say that at Mala Mala Game Reserve, guests will be able to thoroughly enjoy topnotch game viewing as well as living in the lap of luxury.

A leopard wanders past a safari vehicle in the Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is situated in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. This five-star holiday destination is not only accommodating towards the many happy guests that come and go every year, but also prioritizes the wildlife that makes Shamwari Private Game Reserve the amazing place it is. Conservation is extremely important at Shamwari Private Game Reserve. Not only are the animals well taken care of, but Shamwari also employs over 300 locals as staff. This ensures a local touch on a truly African experience. Shamwari Private Game Reserve has six separate five-star lodges, each with a different take on the nature that surrounds the lodge – be it massive glass windows to let in the spectacular view, luxury tents or a homestead in which Shamwari can accommodate an entire family. For every taste, there is luxury accommodation at Shamwari Private Game Reserve. These extravagant lodges have facilities like air conditioning, large beds, en suite bathrooms and outdoor showers. This is the ideal way to experience South Africa's natural wonders – taking part in the many activities that Shamwari has to offer, from birding to game drives to conservation experiences, and relaxing with a great view at your well-appointed lodge afterwards.

Lukimbi Safari Lodge

The spectacular Lukimbi Safari Lodge is situated in the southern part of the Kruger Nation Park – South Africa’s largest national park. Guests can not only expect to catch a glimpse of the Big Five, but also numerous other mammal and bird species. Here, guests can experience their beautiful natural surroundings by enjoying game drives and even bush walks, where guests are accompanied by professional game rangers. Lukimbi Safari Lodge also has a dining room and bar with amazing food and drink, but nothing as good as the magnificent view it has over the African landscape. There is an open-air boma and outdoor fireplace for guests to enjoy. The experience moves past the safari, as Lukimbi Safari Lodge also has first-class accommodation.

The exterior of Lukimbi Safari Lodge lit up at night.

There is everything from private pools to a gym and babysitting services. The Classic Suites have air-conditioning, romantic mosquito nets and mini bars as well as high windows, en suite bathrooms and outdoor showers. The two Premier Suites at Lukimbi Safari lodge are named the King Cheetah Suite and the Giant Eagle Owl Suite. In these suites, guests are treated to a separate bedroom, a dining area, a large bathroom as well as an outdoor shower and a private pool on the deck. From this deck, guests often spot elephants on their way to enjoy a sip of water. All in all, a remarkable experience.

Lion Sands Game Reserve

Home to four amazing lodges, Lion Sands Game Reserve is without a doubt one of the finest options for a safari in South Africa. It is situated in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, and the lodges are located in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park. It is easily accessible as it is a mere one-hour flight from Johannesburg. Guests are able to immerse themselves in the beautiful natural surroundings by taking part in game drives through the game reserve as well as bush walks – an extra special way to experience this beautiful landscape. There are also babysitting facilities and activities to specially accommodate children at Lion Sands Game Reserve. Apart from the four Lion Sands Game Reserve Lodges, there is also an extra special experience in the form of treehouses for guests to sleep in. These treehouses are in the bush and under the stars, and bound to be a night guests will never forget. Facilities at the lodges include various villas, all of which come with bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, as well as outdoor showers in an indigenous garden forest, a private lounge with a fireplace and a private pool and spacious viewing deck, as well as a covered patio.

Arathusa Safari Lodge

Arathusa Safari Lodge is also located in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. The lodge is situated right next to a large watering hole, which guarantees guests frequent sightings of wildlife. There are animals in abundance surrounding the lodge, with all of the Big Five calling Sabi Sand their home and Arathusa Safari Lodge being especially known for frequent leopard sightings. The Arathusa Safari Spa is a pampering spot, allowing guests to relax and become rejuvenated after eventful days of game viewing under the African sun. The lodge is open plan, with décor that blends in with the natural surroundings. With an infinity pool overlooking the watering hole, guests usually find it hard to leave the paradise that is Arathusa Safari Lodge, as it allows intimate experiences with the wilderness. There is an open air boma, where guests can enjoy their meals while breathing in the fresh African air. There are also nine suites facing the watering hole, which allow guests to see wildlife from the comfort of their own personal space. These suites are spacious, with en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. The other suites are remotely located in the bush, with plunge pools and verandas. These suites are extremely private. With the variety of suites, guests are bound to be extremely satisfied with their stay at Arathusa Safari Lodge.

Elephants wander past Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge.

Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge

Situated in the North West province of South Africa, bordering Botswana, guests are assured to have nothing short of an adventure during their visit to Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge. The lodge itself is an investment into the African continent by its Ugandan owner, and it aims to give guests a true African experience. It is the ideal location to come for a safari with luxury accommodation – where guests are left wanting for nothing. There are various types of suites available at Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge, which accommodates guests with every kind of need. Suites have splendid views over the African landscape, so that not a minute of game viewing or merely breathing in the fresh air goes to waste. The suites are kitted out with en suite bathrooms, air conditioning and lovely plunge pools so that guests can cool off and relax after their adventures around the game reserve. These adventures include game drives, bush walks, Zulu dancing, drumming lessons, star gazing and enjoying the Marimba band. There are twice daily game drives at dawn and dusk to guarantee that guests can see as many animals as possible, and experience the wildlife up close and personal. To further make sure that guests leave Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge feeling better than ever, there are also massage treatments available.

Royal Malewane

Royal Malewane is a luxury safari lodge located in the Greater Kruger National Park area of South Africa, spread out mostly across the Mpumalanga province. This is an area of South Africa known for its wilderness and wildlife, which means there are many opportunities for guests of Royal Malewane to immerse themselves in nature. There are several opportunities daily to venture out into the game reserve to view game and learn more about the surroundings. Guests are accompanied by game rangers in the game viewing vehicles, and there are family-specific game viewing experiences as well. Then there is The Waters of Royal Malewane Bush Spa, which was voted the best South African Safari Spa in 2016. Here guests can take some time out to just relax and enjoy the variety of treatments that are offered. There are several suites as well as the manor – Africa House - available. The suites are extremely luxurious, and offer ‘colonial refuge’ in the heart of the Greater Kruger National Park. Guests are treated to king-size canopy beds, air conditioning, luxurious en suite bathrooms as well as patios from where they can enjoy the spectacular views. Africa House is both exotic and luxurious, with furniture imported from all over the African continent. Staying here will give guests an authentic African feel to make sure the experience is nothing short of magical.

Tuningi Safari Lodge

Tuningi Safari Lodge is located in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, home to the Big Five and a place where guests will have a truly African experience. The lodge can accommodate 16 guests in several luxurious suites. The ‘Colonial African Chic’ lodge offers guest a spacious lounge area to relax in, dining area as well as a fully stocked bar. There is a swimming pool on the wooden deck overlooking a watering hole with constant traffic of animals that come to take a drink. Tuningi Safari Lodge prides itself on the memorable safaris it has to offer. Parents can enjoy game drives around the game reserve while children enjoy activities at the lodge. There are morning and afternoon game drives, as well as bush walks. The guests can expect to see all the Big Five animals during these adventures. Tuningi Safari Lodge is also one of the only lodges that specializes in introducing children to this specific landscape, and they do so with great care. The accommodation at Tuningi Safari Lodge consists of four luxury suites and two family suites, all of which are connected by wooden walkways but just far enough spread out to allow privacy to all guests. All the suites are decorated in the African chic style. The suites have spacious bedrooms, en suite bathrooms, wooden decks, gas fireplaces and air conditioning – so guests are assured to always be extremely comfortable.

The patio area at Notten's Bush Camp in the Sabi Sand.

Notten's Bush Camp

Notten's Bush Camp is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, right next to Kruger National Park. This area is home to a vast amount of animals and guests are sure to be stunned by the sheer abundance. To ensure that guests can make the most of this truly African experience, Notten's Bush Camp offers game drives twice daily, as well as daily bush walks.  Various ventures into the game reserve guarantee guests to see more wildlife than they could have dreamed of. Other activities at Notten's Bush Camp include relaxing by the pool with a drink in hand, and enjoying the evening in the open-air boma under the African stars around a blazing fire – a unique African experience. There is also a spa where guests can enjoy massages to unwind. There is spectacular cuisine at Notten's Bush Camp, which guests can enjoy while looking out onto the beautiful landscape and a watering hole. The accommodation consists of nine luxurious suites, elegantly decorated to suit the African surroundings, with an en suite bathroom and air conditioning. There is mosquito netting on windows and doors to ensure the safety of the guests. Each suite has a private game viewing deck, which allows guests to have the optimal experience with the minimum amount of effort.

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