Safari Lodges in South Africa—where the African wilderness meets luxury
Wild Safari Guide has put together a list of some of the top safari lodges in South Africa, a country where nature meets culture, where mountains rise to meet blue skies, and urban jungles combine with the great outdoors effortlessly. The unmatched splendour of South Africa has long beckoned travellers to experience the untamed yet modern landscapes of the country, from the Mother City to the varied terrain of the iconic Kruger National Park in the north.
World-renowned for its unrivalled collection of fauna and flora, this beautiful country boasts some of the best places to see these natural gems up close—in the wealth of game parks, reserves, and national parks the country has to offer. From the famous Big Five of Africa to the incredible birdlife diversity, the best way to experience these untamed parts—without having to sacrifice the comforts of home—is by choosing to stay at some of the top safari lodges in South Africa.
The way we travel has changed
The way we travel has changed. We no longer want a generic, one-size-fits-all vacation. Safari lodges in South Africa are ideal for glamping, where nature meets luxury—providing a unique way to reconnect with nature while enjoying all the creature comforts one would find at a five-star hotel in the middle of the city. Safari lodges in South Africa range from rustic bush camps that immerse their guests in the wilderness of Africa to luxurious five-star resorts that flaunt the African bush on a platform of luxury. Those choosing safari lodges in South Africa as their accommodation of choice can enjoy a host of recreation, from guided bushwalks and game drives to horseback safaris, canoeing, and exciting night safaris.
Below we have put together a list of our top safari lodges in South Africa.
Top Safari Lodges in South Africa
Source: Madikwe Safari Lodge
Bordering Botswana and within driving distance of Johannesburg, Madikwe Safari Lodge is located within one of South Africa’s largest game reserves and offers an incredible glamping experience. Perched on a hillside, this safari lodge in South Africa features a collection of three separate lodges. With amenities such as an indoor fireplace, a plush sofa, a fan, a luxurious ensuite bathroom, and a private plunge pool, guests staying at one of these suites will enjoy all the creature comforts of home while in the heart of the wilderness.
Source: Gorah Elephant Camp
Gorah Elephant Camp boasts an excellent location in the heart of Addo Elephant National Park and offers adventure and romance, as well as an authentic safari experience. Home to the densest elephant population on earth, Addo Elephant National Park is a fantastic place for wildlife lovers and should be at the top of any safari park list. Each luxury tented suite in the camp has a private deck with sublime views and an impeccable interior. Meals are served in the dining room, and there is a swimming pool, as well as plenty of safari activities on offer.
Source: Leopard Hills
Leopard Hills is one of the best safari lodges in South Africa and tucked away in the impressive Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. Sabi Sand borders the Kruger National Park, with no boundary fences—which means there is a vast diversity of wildlife that roams freely in this natural environment. The safari lodge is perched on a hill, offering panoramic views of the African wilderness. Those choosing to stay here will love the luxurious suites. Decorated in earthy tones, the suite features walls of glass that offer views, a private deck with a rock pool, and an indoor/outdoor shower for a truly unique experience in nature. Guided game drives and walking trails are on offer, as well as cultural tours and elephant interactions.
Source: Buffelsdrift Game Lodge
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is nestled in the heart of the Klein Karoo in South Africa and offers luxury amenities and facilities combined with an outdoor experience. Set on a game farm in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains, Buffelsdrift is the perfect place for an exclusive safari experience. The luxury safari accommodations boast king-size beds, ensuite bathrooms, and luxurious amenities to make any discerning traveller feel right at home in the heart of nature. Guests will wake up to the wonderful sights and sounds of the wilderness and enjoy a delicious breakfast before setting off on a safari experience. The lodge offers shared facilities and services that include a swimming pool, a spa, conference facilities, and a wedding venue. There is also a restaurant on-site.
Source: Royal Malewane
Nestled within Thornybush Private Game Reserve, Royal Malewane is a luxury safari lodge in the Greater Kruger National Park of South Africa. A secluded retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, guests staying here can enjoy all the comforts of a five-star hotel while reconnecting with the great outdoors. There are two accommodation options at Royal Malewane—the classic Main Lodge and The Farmstead which is more intimate and contemporary. All accommodations offer air conditioning, a private deck, and a swimming pool. A team of qualified guides deliver unrivalled wildlife experiences and provide fascinating insights into the complex ecosystems of the South African bushveld.
Source: Kapama Private Game Reserve
Tucked away between the Blyde River Valley and the iconic Kruger National Park, the Kapama Private Game Reserve offers a fascinating safari experience in South Africa. Ideal for family safari holidays, Kapama Southern Camp offers warm hospitality with 25 suites and a relaxed atmosphere. Each suite comes with a private patio, an ensuite bathroom, a minibar, and tea-and-coffee facilities. The more spacious luxury suites feature a private lap pool, as well as indoor/outdoor showers. Dining options include the contemporary dining room and the traditional boma. There is also a wine cellar. For the safari-goers, the hosts can arrange game drives in open safari vehicles, accompanied by experienced rangers, while those looking for a break from the wilderness can enjoy access to the spa and wellness centre and fitness facilities at a nearby lodge.
Source: Laluka Safari Lodge
Sequestered in the Welgevonden Game Reserve, Laluka Safari Lodge offers a luxury safari experience amid the African wilderness. Surrounded by unrivalled mountain scenery and along river ravines, glampers can enjoy an excellent wilderness experience with all the comforts of home. Welgevonden Game Reserve is home to the famous Big Five of Africa, so guests staying here can expect to spot the likes of the rhino, lions, leopards, elephants, and Cape buffalos. The lodge has six rooms with a private plunge pool and a terrace. After an action-packed game drive, guests can soothe their tired muscles at the wellness centre or enjoy a 5-star meal, prepared with ingredients from Laluka’s very own micro-farm.
Source: Samara Private Game Reserve
Spanning 67,000 acres of the sublime African wilderness in the Great Karoo, the award-winning Samara Private Game Reserve offers impeccable safari lodges. Set in a malaria-free part of South Africa, Samara is home to the iconic Big Five and provides an intimate setting for those wanting to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. The Karoo Lodge is a refurbished farmhouse with a veranda, while the Manor House exudes elegance and comes with a private infinity pool. All accommodations feature air conditioning, a patio, tea-and-coffee facilities, and all meals are included in the stay. Activities and experiences on offer include cheetah tracking, glamping beneath the stars, family safaris, and mountain biking.
Source: Shamwari Explorer Camp
Shamwari Explorer Camp is located within the malaria-free Shamwari Private Game Reserve, and sits on a plateau overlooking the vast expanse of the African wilderness. Shamwari boasts an abundance of wildlife and remains a top destination among safari-goers. Home to the Big Five, visitors can expect to see lions, elephants, buffalos, both species of rhino, and on occasion, the elusive leopard. Each canvas tent accommodation comes with bedding, an LED light for nighttime use, and a small outdoor sitting area. Guided game drives and bushwalking safaris are conducted by trained and knowledgable rangers with a passion for wildlife and nature.
Source: Gondwana Game Reserve
Gondwana Game Reserve is set in the heart of the Cape fynbos, just 15 miles from Mosselbay, and offers an exclusive Big Five safari experience close to Cape Town. The Game Reserve features different accommodation options, from safari lodge rooms to private villas. Each room offers luxury amenities and superb views of the surrounding bushveld and resident wildlife. Dining options include evening barbecues at the boma, surprise bush breakfasts, elegant meals in the lodge dining room, and romantic picnics. Those staying at this safari lodge in South Africa can enjoy activities such as guided game drives, horseback safaris, and bushwalks, and for those looking for a break from the outdoors, there is a large infinity pool and an African-style spa.