A Trio of World-Beating Safari Lodges Are Africa’s Finest

If you’re planning an African safari trip for 2017/18 then don’t just limit your research to Kenya’s legendary conservation parks. South Africa and Tanzania’s wildlife is every bit the equal of that to the north as we show with our pick of some beautiful southern safari destinations.

South Africa, Sunrise and sunset
Magical South African landscape at sunrise and sunset

South Africa is the most diverse country in Africa – in both landscape and lifestyle – throwing sophisticated city life, sparkling resorts, and some of the world’s best vineyards into the safari mix. Alongside some wonderful opportunities to see the mythical Big Five (the lion, elephant, cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) you can experience some of the most beautiful flora in the world, the origin of many plants that have gone on to become garden favorites in Europe and North America.

Singita South Africa, Boulders Lodge, swimming pool
Singita Boulders Lodge – Private lodge pool

The Singita Sabi Sand Game Reserve, on the fringes of the world-famous Kruger National Park, is a wonderful location from which to discover South Africa’s natural wonders. This private game reserve is home to a collection of stunning lodges: Boulders Lodge, Ebony Lodge and Castleton Camp.

South Africa, Singita, Ebony Lodge
Singita Ebony Lodge – Bedroom with a view

The park is named for its two rivers – the Sabi and the Sand River, Singita means “Place of Miracles” – that help to bring its 65,000 hectares to such vibrant life. An accent on sustainable and low-impact tourism helps keep guests and natural residents in fabulous condition.

Dining pleasures at Singita's Castleton Lodge, South Africa
Singita Castleton Camp – Dining room

The numbers of species here are huge: 500 birds, 145 animals, more than 100 reptiles, nearly 50 types of fish. Among those are the fabled Big Five as well as big cats like the cheetah; the hippo, giraffes, hyenas and many more.

Wildlife wonders in South Africa
South Africa’s wildlife wonders

Singita Sabi Sand is one of South Africa’s last true wildernesses but is amazingly accessible. Flights come in via Johannesburg, or Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to a local airport close to the lodges at Ulusaba.

Elsewhere in Sabi Sand you’ll find that the facilities at Ulusaba Private Game Reserve are everything you would expect from Sir Richard Branson’s private African safari reserve. Traditional colonial style is traded in for the latest in luxury facilities – spas, gyms, swimming pools – in sensitively designed accommodation.

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, South Africa - Lounge at Rock Lodge
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve – The main lounge at Rock Lodge

Ulusabe means “Place of Little Fear,” and complements superlative luxury accomodation with some of the finest wildlife watching opportunities in South Africa.

Ulusaba’s 21 rooms are split between Rock Lodge (eight rooms), Safari Lodge (11 rooms) and intimate Cliff Lodge with two rooms, which can be booked for exclusive use. They are perched on a wonderful vantage point with panoramic views – and outdoor, natural-water swimming to go with the spa experience.

Ulusaba, South Africa, Safari Lodge exterior
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve – Exterior view of Safari Lodge

It’s not all about sitting back though, and the Ulusaba experience is renowned for the quality and experience of its guiding staff, who will help you discover the astounding wildlife of the Sabi Sand.

Ulusaba, South Africa, Views of Cliff Lodge
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve – Cliff Lodge views

The Madikwe Game Reserve is another jewel in South Africa’s rich conservation crown. It is within driving distance of Johannesburg and Pretoria; a wilderness of 75,000 hectares to match any in southern Africa.

The Big Five are all resident here, as are two of the reserve’s stars, the brown hyena, and the aardwolf, among 66 mammal species. The reserve was only founded in 1991, but the landscape here feels ageless, a mix of big dry plains, woodland and grassland with a rocky central spine and views to the spectacular Dwarsberg Mountains to the south.

Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Lodge, Main Lodge, Lounge
The Lounge at Royal Madikwe’s Main Lodge

You will also do some good by holidaying at Madikwe. The conservation of the land as a game reserve is by far the most sustainable use of this part of South Africa, and local communities are involved as partners in running the park.

The Royal Madikwe Safari Lodges offer a regal way to enjoy this typically African location.

Sotuh Africa, Madikwe Game Reserve, panoramic views
Madikwe Game Reserve – Panorama views

The accommodation overlooks a waterhole, putting guests right in the heart of the natural action. The exclusivity and opulence of the suites – designed in the classic safari-lodge style – elevate the experience to another level.

This is a private retreat, available only on an exclusive basis for up to 10 guests, and offering the chance to design bespoke safari experiences. Royal Madikwe’s exclusive availability and level of service makes it a particularly suitable destination for families with children of any age.

Private pool with waterfall of Royal Madikwe's Luxury Suite
The Royal Luxury Suite’s private pool

The Royal Luxury Suite is designed for four guests and with younger children in mind; the three double suites all feature four-posted beds and private pools, as does the twin suite. Youngsters can even enjoy their own Luxury Kiddies Suite.

Modern and tribal design touches give a touch of eccentricity to the feel of this very contemporary accomodation. The cuisine is certainly sophisticated and up-to-date, but also showcases African game dishes and the best South African wines.

Madikwe Safari Lodge, dining in the bish
Bush dinners à la Madikwe

Even if you haven’t yet visited then you might feel that the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is familiar. So popular are Its vast plains and wide horizons with documentary makers who often focus their cameras on the huge wildebeest migration (plan your trip from May if you’d like to see this).

The Serengeti is one of the oldest game reserves in Africa, established by British colonial rulers back in the 1920s, and it’s still the biggest draw in Tanzania.

You can really get the most out of a trip to this iconic African environment at Singita Sasakwa just to the north of the Serengeti Park at Grumeti Reserve.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania
Very british: Singita’s Sasakwa Lodge at Grumeti Reserve

With claims to be the most luxurious property of its type in all of east Africa, the Sasakwa Lodge is big, beautiful and a homage to the golden age of safari holidays. With room for up to 34 guests, the accommodation offers a huge range of visitor options, including cottages and an eight-person villa that is always booked exclusively to one party. There won’t be any crowds elsewhere, as Sasakwa shares the 340,000-acre reserve with just two other properties.

The views are, again, stunning, while the four-poster beds and Edwardian manor-house architecture inside the buildings are off-set with African stylings and a private infinity pool for each cottage.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Deck views
View from the Deck at Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania

Africa is a hugely fascinating and ever-changing place, and it is somewhere you shouldn’t delay visiting.

Finest Holidays can help you find the safari experience that suits your unique needs.

Finest Holidays S.L. are international luxury travel specialists with a portfolio of the highest quality luxury villas, ski chalets, private islands, luxury hotels and yachts in the world. We can help you plan a world-class vacation in the most fashionable and sought-after destinations. Call us on +34 661 71 80 61 or +34 971 13 15 41 to speak to a resort specialist or drop an email to relax@finest-holidays.com

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