When it comes to safaris and the opportunity to get a close view of amazing wildlife, few destinations beat South Africa. The country's many lodges allow guests to see elephants, lions, rhinos, zebras, impalas, and other creatures like never before. Not only do lodges provide memorable excursions, the most opulent ones are retreats with world class amenities.
Here are the top five luxury lodges in South Africa.
1. Singita Boulders Lodge
Next to Kruger National Park within a private reserve along the banks of the Sand River is Singita Boulders Lodge, a fabulous resort with a landscape that spans over 45,000 acres. Guests are often able to see Africa's Big 5 -- the rhino, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and African lion -- during their stay. Singita Boulders Lodge provides a truly immersive experience as well as a setting where it's easy to relax in tranquility and peace. There are 10 one bedroom suites at Singita Boulders Lodge and 2 two bedroom family suites, and each has its own private heated pool. The suites also have air conditioning and fans, minibars, fireplaces, safes, indoor and outdoor showers, and free internet access. Aside from the wildlife excursions Singita Boulders Lodge offers, there's also an on-site gym, spa, library, gallery, and wine boutique.
Singita Boulders Lodge allows children 10 and older to stay on premises. The lodge has all inclusive pricing that covers a wide range of amenities and essentials. For $2,908 per night, guests receive three gourmet meals each day including beverages, archery trips, laundry service, road transfers, walking safaris with a guide, and two safaris each day in an open Land Rover.
2. Royal Malewane
The Royal Malewane is one of the most famed lodges in South Africa, and everything about the property is opulent. It's situated within Kruger National Park on a private reserve and is a favorite of celebrities looking for a remote getaway. The decor is stylish, and there are tons of excellent amenities. Royal Malewane has an extensive library, curio, several dining areas and eateries, and the Bush Spa, which offers rejuvenating treatments in a beautiful outdoor setting. The atmosphere is intimate and filled with romance.
Royal Malewane has a main lodge and a house that accommodates larger groups. In all, the lodge can host up to 20 people, and there is the option to reserve Royal Malewane in its entirety. Common areas on the property include thatched gazebos, fireplaces, and breathtaking views. Each of the rooms at Royal Malewane has its own private pool, and it's not uncommon for animals to go right up to the outdoor areas just feet from guests.
Royal Malewane's guides are some of the best in South Africa and their expertise enables guests to get excitingly close to the Big Five. The all inclusive daily rate at Royal Malewane starts at $2,114 for a double luxury suite. This fee includes all snacks and meals, access to a full minibar, complimentary WiFi, transfers to and from Jackalberry Airstrip, laundry service, tea and coffee making equipment, wine and drinks, bush walks, and two game drives each day.
3. Chitwa Chitwa Safari Lodge
Chitwa Chitwa Safari Lodge is in the Sabi Sand private game reserve and is a majestic luxury property. The safari tours here are award winning and include drives and walks. If privacy is important to you, you'll appreciate Chitwa Chitwa's spacious rooms, secluded atmosphere, and exquisite service. The decor in the lodge's common areas and suites is gorgeous and combines rich woods with airy modern elements.
There are six individual suites at Chitwa Chitwa as well as a larger family suite, which is comprised of two interlinking rooms. This is one of the few lodges in South Africa that accepts children regardless of age. For its service, amenities, and availability of quality tours, Chitwa Chitwa is a bargain at just $730 per person per night.
4. Ivory Lodge Lion Sands
Ivory Lodge Lion Sands is another option in the Sabi Sand Reserve that is one of the best in South Africa. The 5-star lodge combines luxury with the raw wilderness of the African bush -- you can easily see animals a short distance away while swimming, dining, and lounging. There are just six villas at Ivory Lodge Lion Sands, which is why the staff are able to be so attentive. Each of the private villas has a secluded feel and its own private rim flow pool. In addition to spacious villas, Ivory Lodge Lion Sands offers guests the chance to stay in luxury treehouses.
Ivory Lodge Lion Sands welcomes children age 10 and older, and the lodge has activities for kids as well as babysitting services. The rate of $1,238 per person per night includes three meals each day, beverages, wines, and spirits, two daily game drives, snacks and refreshments during game drives, airport transfers, complimentary WiFi in common areas, and laundry service.
5. Madikwe Hills
Madikwe Hills, in the northwest of South Africa, is surrounded by natural beauty. It's located in a private game reserve in Madikwe, offering a prime location to see big game. Tamboti trees are spread across the property, and over 66 species of mammals roam the grounds. Cheetahs, kudus, giraffes, elands, and the rare African wild dog are all frequently spotted by guests. In addition, more than 300 species of native and migratory birds frequent Madikwe Hills lodge and the Big 5 are also in abundance.
Madikwe Hills' rooms are well spaced to allow for privacy, and each is beautifully decorated. The suites have glass walls so guests can view the land and animals around them any time of day or night. There's also a wine cellar, bar and lounge, and well lit walkways that are ideal for taking an evening stroll.
One of the most luxurious accommodations at Madikwe Hills is a private camp that comes complete with its own personal butler, personal chef, two bedroom villa, and a dedicated game drive vehicle and ranger. It also has a big outdoor pool and a private DVD collection. Madikwe Hills has a nice variety of packages and rooms, and the all inclusive nightly rate starts at $405 per person. The rate to book the private camp starts at $1,860 per night.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker