20 Best Safari Lodges In South Africa

Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Do you dream of witnessing the majestic creatures of Africa in their natural habitat? Look no further, because South Africa offers some of the best safari experiences in the world. Also known as Game Reserves in South Africa. As a tourist using foreign currency you will get really excellent value for your money.

With over 20 incredible lodges to choose from, you’ll be able to witness the Big Five and other wildlife up close and personal. From Kruger National Park to Sabi Sands Game Reserve, each destination provides a unique experience with luxurious accommodations.



Kruger National Park

Kruger’s captivating creatures and cozy lodges create an unforgettable safari experience. As one of the world’s largest game reserves, Kruger National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife species.

From majestic elephants and ferocious lions to elusive leopards and graceful giraffes, you’re sure to have plenty of thrilling wildlife sightings during your stay.

In addition to providing incredible wildlife experiences, Kruger also places a strong emphasis on conservation efforts. By supporting eco-friendly lodges and guided tours that prioritize sustainability, visitors can contribute to protecting this precious ecosystem.

Accommodation options in Kruger range from rustic campsites to luxurious lodges, ensuring there’s something for every type of traveler. And if you’re not sure where to start, knowledgeable guides are available to lead you on unforgettable tours through the park.

The best time to visit Kruger is during the dry season (May-September), when animals congregate around water sources making them easier to spot.


Top Tip: Book your domestic flights in South Africa here


Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Located adjacent to the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands Game Reserve offers you a chance to explore some of the best safari lodges in South Africa.

The reserve is renowned for providing visitors with unforgettable wildlife experiences, including viewing the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) and witnessing incredible predator-prey interactions.

In addition to offering world-class game viewing opportunities, Sabi Sands is also known for its conservation efforts that aim to protect and preserve the natural environment.

Visitors can take part in various popular activities such as game drives and guided walks while learning about local culture and history.

With so much on offer at Sabi Sands Game Reserve, it’s no wonder that it’s a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic African safari experience.


Madikwe Game Reserve

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path wildlife experience, Madikwe Game Reserve is worth considering – despite its distance from major cities. Luxury accommodations await you in this reserve, which boasts one of the highest concentrations of game on the continent.

You’ll be able to catch sight of the Big Five and other animals while being immersed in nature at its finest. But your experience won’t just be about animal sightings.

The conservation efforts at Madikwe Game Reserve are commendable, with a focus on protection and sustainability. Additionally, there’s local community involvement that adds to the sense of authenticity and belonging during your stay.

And don’t forget about nighttime game drives – a thrilling way to observe creatures that only come out after dark! With all these factors combined, Madikwe Game Reserve offers a unique and fulfilling adventure for any wildlife enthusiast.



Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

You’ll be amazed by the abundance of wildlife and natural beauty at Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, where you can experience a truly authentic African safari adventure.

With over 13,000 hectares of land, this reserve boasts one of the highest densities of wildlife in South Africa. You’ll have a chance to spot the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) as well as other rare species like wild dogs and cheetahs.

But it’s not just about the wildlife encounters – Timbavati also offers luxury accommodations and cultural activities that will make your safari experience unforgettable. Stay in one of their lavish lodges or campsites and enjoy amenities like private plunge pools and outdoor showers with stunning views.

Learn about local traditions through visits to nearby villages or participate in conservation efforts like tracking endangered animals or planting trees.

At Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, there’s something for everyone on their safari experiences.



Phinda Private Game Reserve

Immerse yourself in the diverse ecosystem of Phinda Private Game Reserve, where luxury accommodation meets wildlife sightings. This reserve spans over 28,000 hectares and is home to the Big Five, including lions, elephants, and leopards.

Not only can you witness these majestic creatures roaming freely in their natural habitat, but you can also learn about the conservation efforts that are being implemented to protect them.

In addition to wildlife sightings, Phinda offers cultural experiences and adventure activities for guests looking to fully immerse themselves in the African experience. Take part in a traditional Zulu village tour or embark on a bush walk with an experienced guide who will teach you about the flora and fauna of the region.

With a variety of activities available for all ages and interests, Phinda Private Game Reserve is sure to satisfy your thirst for adventure while creating an unforgettable experience in South Africa’s wilderness.


Shamwari Game Reserve

Explore the stunning Shamwari Game Reserve, where a variety of wildlife and luxury accommodations await you. This reserve is known for its conservation efforts in preserving endangered species such as the black rhino and cheetah. Take part in cultural experiences by visiting local villages or indulge in adventure activities like guided nature walks and horseback safaris.

Stay at one of their luxurious lodges, with options ranging from colonial-style to contemporary designs. Each lodge offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and comes equipped with world-class amenities. During your stay, keep an eye out for wildlife sightings such as lions, elephants, and buffalo roaming freely through the reserve. With all these incredible experiences available at Shamwari Game Reserve, you won’t want to leave anytime soon!

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or family vacation, Shamwari Game Reserve has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in nature while still enjoying top-of-the-line accommodations and exciting activities. Join us on this unforgettable journey towards discovering South Africa’s best safari lodges!


Thornybush Game Reserve

If you’re looking for a wildlife adventure that’s as thrilling as a rollercoaster ride, Thornybush Game Reserve is the place to be. This South African safari experience offers luxury lodges and an opportunity to witness incredible wildlife sightings up close. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported into another world, surrounded by lush vegetation and majestic animals.

To add some excitement to your trip, Thornybush Game Reserve offers adventure activities such as hot air balloon rides and guided bush walks. But what sets this reserve apart is its strong commitment to conservation efforts. The reserve works tirelessly to protect the environment and preserve the natural habitat of the animals that call it home.

So not only are you embarking on an unforgettable journey, but you’re also contributing to a greater cause. Join the Thornybush family today and discover all that this magical destination has to offer!

  • Guided bush walks
  • Hot air balloon rides
  • Lush vegetation
  • Majestic animals
  • Strong commitment to conservation efforts


Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Now, let’s move on to another excellent safari lodge in South Africa: the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. If you’re looking for luxury accommodations that are both comfortable and environmentally friendly, this is the place for you.

At Kwandwe, they prioritize conservation efforts while still providing an exceptional safari experience. One of the highlights of a stay at Kwandwe is the wildlife sightings. The reserve is home to a variety of animals, including elephants, cheetahs, lions, and rhinos. With expert guides leading your safaris, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see these incredible creatures up close.

Additionally, Kwandwe offers cultural immersion experiences where guests can learn about the local Xhosa culture from community members themselves. All in all, if you’re seeking adventure and luxury with a side of education and conservation efforts – then look no further than Kwandwe Private Game Reserve!



MalaMala Game Reserve

Get ready to experience the breathtaking beauty and awe-inspiring wildlife of MalaMala Game Reserve. This reserve is known for its luxury accommodations that provide a comfortable stay while you immerse yourself in nature.

Wildlife viewing is one of the main attractions at MalaMala, which boasts an impressive array of animals such as lions, elephants, leopards, and buffalos. But this isn’t just any safari; it’s a conservation effort aimed at preserving these majestic creatures for generations to come.

To truly appreciate the wildlife at MalaMala, guided safaris are a must-do activity. Knowledgeable guides take you on an adventure through the game reserve where they explain animal behavior and habitat.

If you’re lucky enough to visit during nighttime, make sure to sign up for a nighttime game drive where you can witness nocturnal animals in their natural environment.

At MalaMala Game Reserve, not only will you have an unforgettable experience but also be part of something bigger – preserving Africa’s biodiversity for future generations to enjoy.


Londolozi Game Reserve

Congratulations on learning about MalaMala Game Reserve! Now, let’s talk about another amazing safari lodge in South Africa – Londolozi Game Reserve. This place is not just a luxurious accommodation but also an advocate for conservation efforts and cultural experiences.

To give you a glimpse of what to expect at Londolozi Game Reserve, here’s a table that highlights some of its best features:

Aside from luxurious accommodations and excellent wildlife sightings, Londolozi also takes pride in its commitment to sustainability. The reserve has implemented various conservation efforts such as dedicated wildlife preservation programs and sustainable tourism practices. Additionally, guests can immerse themselves in the local culture by interacting with the Shangaan community who live near the reserve.

Ranger-led activities such as guided game drives and bush walks are included in your stay at Londolozi. These are led by experienced rangers who will share their knowledge of the area’s flora and fauna while keeping your safety a top priority. Overall, a stay at Londolozi Game Reserve promises an unforgettable experience filled with luxury amenities, cultural immersion opportunities, and exciting ranger-led activities.


Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

As you explore the wonders of South Africa, prepare to be enchanted by Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, a game reserve unlike any other. The luxury accommodations in this vast 100,000-hectare property are designed to merge seamlessly with the natural surroundings.

Wake up to views of the red dunes and grassy plains from your private deck or take a dip in your own secluded pool while watching wildlife roam free. But it’s not just about being pampered here – Tswalu also offers unique opportunities for adventure activities and local cultural experiences.

Embark on guided walks or horseback rides through the desert landscape, track cheetahs or meerkats with expert guides, and learn about ancient San rock art sites. You can even participate in conservation efforts as you help researchers monitor endangered species populations.

With all these amazing experiences at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is considered one of the best safari lodges in South Africa.

  • Wildlife sightings are plentiful here: spot rare species like pangolins and aardvarks that aren’t seen elsewhere.
  • Local culture is celebrated through storytelling sessions with members of the San community who share their traditions and beliefs.
  • Adventure activities include hot air balloon safaris over stunning landscapes.
  • Conservation efforts include working alongside scientists on research projects, such as monitoring cheetahs or studying meerkat behavior patterns.



Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

Located in the heart of Sabi Sands, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is a stunning retreat that offers luxury accommodation and breathtaking views of the African bushveld.

This safari lodge is perfect for those who seek an exclusive and intimate experience with nature.

With its prime location, you’re guaranteed to see the Big 5 in their natural habitat during game drives.

But what sets Ulusaba apart from other lodges is its unique offering of night game drives and bush walks.

Imagine exploring the African wilderness under a blanket of stars – an unforgettable experience that’ll leave you feeling awestruck.

If you’re looking for relaxation after a day’s adventure, indulge yourself with spa treatments that’ll rejuvenate your body and mind.

At Ulusaba, every detail has been carefully curated to ensure that your stay is nothing short of extraordinary – making it one of the best safari lodges in South Africa.


Amakhala Game Reserve

If you’re seeking a unique safari experience, have you considered visiting Amakhala Game Reserve? Located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, this reserve offers a truly immersive wildlife adventure that combines luxury accommodation options with conservation efforts and local cultural experiences.

Amakhala’s game drives are led by experienced rangers who will take you through the reserve’s vast terrain to spot some of South Africa’s most iconic animals such as lions, elephants, rhinos, and giraffes. The reserve is also home to over 16 different antelope species and hundreds of bird species for avid birdwatchers.

Apart from wildlife sightings, Amakhala also offers guests a chance to learn more about local Xhosa culture through guided tours of nearby villages or visits to historical sites such as the Steve Biko Centre. Additionally, the resort has an active conservation program that works towards preserving endangered species like cheetahs and hyenas while also supporting community development initiatives in surrounding areas.


Samara Private Game Reserve

Experience the beauty of nature and wildlife conservation at Samara Private Game Reserve, where guests can immerse themselves in the rugged terrain of the Great Karoo region.

This luxury safari lodge offers a variety of accommodation options, including elegant suites and cottages that are designed to provide comfort while blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings.

Wildlife sightings are abundant, with opportunities to see cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and more on daily game drives or guided walks.

Samara Private Game Reserve is committed to conservation efforts, working to protect endangered species and restore native habitats.

Guests can take part in various activities offered by the lodge such as bird watching, stargazing, and exploring ancient rock art sites.

Dining experiences are also unforgettable here – from enjoying traditional South African dishes under starry skies to savoring gourmet meals paired with local wines in an intimate setting.


Pumba Private Game Reserve

Discover the incredible wildlife and luxurious accommodations at Pumba Private Game Reserve. Guests can indulge in spa treatments and even sleep under the stars. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to be up close with a herd of elephants? At Pumba, you can witness these majestic creatures roaming freely as part of the reserve’s conservation efforts.

Take part in guided safari tours to explore the vast landscapes and spot other wildlife sightings such as lions, cheetahs, and rhinos. After a day of adventure, unwind at the spa and wellness amenities available on site. From massages to yoga classes, there are plenty of options to rejuvenate your body and mind.

With luxury accommodations that seamlessly blend into the natural surroundings, Pumba Private Game Reserve is a haven for nature enthusiasts seeking an exclusive experience in South Africa.



Manyeleti Game Reserve

As you venture into Manyeleti Game Reserve, the sound of rustling leaves and distant animal calls surround you, immersing you in the natural beauty of the African bushveld. Here, you can experience a truly authentic safari experience with a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. Whether you prefer to stay in a luxury lodge or a rustic tented camp, Manyeleti has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of this reserve is its abundant wildlife sightings. With over 40 mammal species and 350 bird species, there is always something new to discover around every corner. In addition to traditional game drives, Manyeleti also offers cultural interactions with local communities and guided tours led by knowledgeable rangers who will enhance your understanding and appreciation of this incredible ecosystem. So why not join us on an adventure in Manyeleti Game Reserve? You won’t regret it!


Welgevonden Game Reserve

Get ready to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Welgevonden Game Reserve. Every turn offers a new opportunity to encounter wildlife in their natural habitat. With over 35,000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness, the reserve is home to the Big Five and more than 50 other species of mammals. Wildlife sightings are almost guaranteed during your stay.

Accommodation options at Welgevonden Game Reserve range from luxurious lodges to cozy tents. Each option provides an authentic safari experience with modern amenities included. Don’t miss out on exciting safari activities such as guided walks, game drives, and bird watching.

The reserve is not only about providing tourists with unforgettable experiences, but also about conservation efforts that help protect the biodiversity of the area. Enjoy spectacular scenic views while knowing that you’re contributing to preserving nature for future generations.


Kariega Game Reserve

Now that you’ve learned about the beauty of Welgevonden Game Reserve, it’s time to introduce you to another stunning safari destination in South Africa – Kariega Game Reserve. Nestled between the foothills of the Zuurberg Mountains and the beautiful coastline of Kenton-on-Sea, this reserve offers an unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts.

When it comes to wildlife sightings, Kariega Game Reserve is truly a gem. From lions and leopards to elephants and rhinos, there’s no shortage of impressive animals to spot here. But what sets Kariega apart from other reserves is their dedication to conservation efforts. They have an anti-poaching unit on-site and work closely with nearby communities to promote sustainable living practices. As a guest at one of their accommodation options, you’ll feel good knowing that your stay is contributing to these important efforts.

But a trip to Kariega isn’t just about spotting incredible wildlife – there are also plenty of activities offered for guests looking for adventure or relaxation. Take a kayak down the river, go fishing, or hop on a guided bush walk with an experienced ranger. And if you’re interested in local culture experiences, they offer tours led by community members who will share their traditions and stories with you.

With so much on offer at Kariega Game Reserve, it’s no wonder it’s considered one of the best safari lodges in South Africa!

  • Anti-poaching unit on-site
  • Guided bush walks with experienced rangers
  • Kayaking down the river
  • Local culture experiences


Addo Elephant National Park

You’ll be amazed by the majestic elephants that roam freely in Addo Elephant National Park. This national park is home to over 600 elephants, making it one of the best places in South Africa to witness these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

But it’s not just elephants that you’ll spot here – there are also lions, buffalos, rhinos, and a variety of antelopes.

In addition to the incredible wildlife sightings, Addo Elephant National Park is known for its conservation efforts. The park has been instrumental in saving the African elephant from extinction and continues to work towards protecting other endangered species.

There are also plenty of accommodation options within or near the park, offering everything from luxury lodges to camping sites. Guided tours and adventure activities like hiking and horse riding are available for those looking for an immersive experience in this wildlife wonderland.


Eastern Cape Game Reserves

If you’re a nature lover, exploring the Eastern Cape Game Reserves is a must. With over 30 game reserves to choose from, there’s no shortage of wildlife experiences to be had.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve stands out for successfully reintroducing cheetahs into their natural habitat after they were hunted to extinction in the area over a century ago. But that’s not all – here are five more reasons why you should consider visiting the Eastern Cape Game Reserves:

  • Safari experiences: From guided game drives to walking safaris, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) up close.
  • Accommodation options: Whether you’re looking for luxury lodges or tented campsites, there’s something for every budget and preference.
  • Wildlife sightings: In addition to the Big Five, these reserves are home to hundreds of other species such as giraffes, zebras and antelopes.
  • Adventure activities: If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try hot air ballooning or horseback riding through the bush?
  • Cultural tours: Learn about the local Xhosa culture by visiting nearby villages or attending traditional dance performances.

Visiting the Eastern Cape Game Reserves is an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling connected with nature and part of something bigger than yourself. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that this region is quickly becoming one of South Africa’s top safari destinations.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the best time of year to visit each of these game reserves?

To maximize your animal sightings and seasonal activities, the best time to visit game reserves in South Africa varies based on weather conditions and migration patterns. Consult with each lodge for specific recommendations.


Are there any restrictions on photography or filming while on safari in these reserves?

When on safari in South Africa, it’s important to follow wildlife photography guidelines. While some reserves may have photography restrictions or filming rules, others may allow certain camera equipment or even drone usage. Be sure to check each reserve’s policies before visiting.


What is the typical length of a safari experience at each of these lodges?

You might be wondering how long a safari experience lasts. It varies, but lodges offer options for different durations. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to see wildlife on guided tours and enjoy meals and accommodations that suit your preferences.


Are there any age restrictions for children participating in safari activities at these lodges?

Looking to take the little ones on a safari adventure in South Africa? Many lodges have age restrictions for certain activities, but offer child-friendly accommodations and educational programs. Parental supervision is key to ensuring safety and fun for all.


What is the policy for canceling or rescheduling a safari reservation at these lodges?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your safari reservation, make sure to check the lodge’s cancellation policy. Some require a deposit and have strict refund processes. Last minute changes may not be possible but they may offer rescheduling options.