Top 4 South African Luxury Safari Lodges

In South Africa, old and new cultures converge on a natural landscape matched by few locations anywhere in the world. The luxury accommodations available for business getaways, family vacations, or weddings put you in the heart of some of the oldest and most pristine wildlife on the continent.

Luxury safari lodges in South Africa remain some of the most coveted romantic and recreational getaways in the world. Their decadent accommodations are matched only by their nearness to the surrounding culture and wildlife.

Whether for their luxurious dining and living spaces or their educational and conservational efforts, South Africa’s safari lodges bridge old and new cultures, informing the future in order to preserve the past.

Here’s a short guide to some of the best that South Africa has to offer.

Thanda Safari

Voted the World’s Leading Luxury Lodge by the World Travel Awards in 2011, the Thanda Private Game Reserve in South Africa is a testament both to luxury and to cultural preservation.

Self-described as a “love story” with the continent, the Thanda game reserve puts its select guests at arm’s reach with the beautiful Zulu wildlife and diverse cultural surroundings.

Famous for its tented camps, which are self-sustaining, solar-powered luxury suites, Thanda Safari remains connected to the land of the Zulu people even while offering its guests accommodations fit for royalty.

Its renowned conservationists and photographers conduct safari tours that connect its guests to the beauty of the South African landscape. Its outreach programs create many educational and conservational initiatives to preserve its people and educate the future on the purity and diversity of the Zulu landscape and people.

Thanda is also a leading anti-poaching authority, whose flagship rhino conservation program works tirelessly to preserve the endangered rhino population.

Royal Malewane

The wilderness views of the six luxury suites at the Royal Malewane, tucked into the exotic Timbavati game reserve, are second to none. The resort provides experienced trackers to guide guests on their experience of the region’s most awe-inspiring game, including lions, elephants, and rhinos.

For an even more luxurious experience, the Royal Malewane offers extra cost excursions like hot air balloon rides, picnics on the Blyde River Canton Cruise, and luxury golf courses on the Leopard Creek Golf Estate, situated in the heart of the reserve.

For the chance to see all the Big Five Game (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino), the 32,000-acre Thornybush reserve offers you the Royal Malewane for a luxurious relationship with South Africa’s most coveted sights.


With gorgeous panoramic views from its 20 luxury suites, the Ulusaba Safari Lodge is a unique experience. Situated on a hill (or koppie) overlooking the bush, the Ulusaba accommodations provide the best view of the Sabi Sands Game Preserve and all its diverse inhabitants.

Its viewing decks and treehouse-style accommodations provide you a panoramic experience of nature, including the Big and Little 5 Game that drives through the reserve.

From its famous spa treatments to its second-to-none stargazing off the romantic viewing areas, Ulusaba offers a unique connection to the wildlife and scenery of South Africa.

They also provide volunteer opportunities for civic-minded guests to tour local villages and participate in hands-on activities with local people. Village tours and teaching opportunities provide you the chance to connect with the culture of South Africa in a way that you can’t achieve from a viewing deck.


Built around the Sand River in the early 90s, the Singita Boulders Lodge in the Sabi Sands wildlife reserve became famous immediately for its modern design.

Rather than aiming for a style that blends in with the local scenery, Singita is a splash of new architecture in the midst of untamed scenery. It opts for stone and glass constructions for a shocking contrast that makes modern use of light and flow.

Game drives conducted by expert guides allow you to get up close and personal with the local wildlife. For more relaxed accommodations, Singita also has a renowned wine tasting session that will allow you to sample some of the most valued vintage brands in all of South Africa.

The Takeaway

Whether you’re looking for luxury suites or hands-on cultural outreach, South Africa’s luxury safari lodges have something for you. Their decadent accommodations are matched only by their preservation and education efforts.

To become closer to the scenery, wildlife, and diverse people of the gorgeous South African landscape, book a stay at a luxury safari lodge. For business or pleasure, they are unmatched in the world.

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