July 6

The Art(ist) of the Luxury African Safari

By Megon Venter on
July 6, 2018

Follow the journey of Leslie Cline as she snaps, paints and explores her way through the African plains. This luxury African safari trip stretches from the highveld wonders of Limpopo, all the way down to the balmy ocean air of Kwazulu-Natal. Inspired by magnificent creatures at every stop, Leslie has captured their essence in her paintings and photographs.

Every destination is all-inclusive (with meals and conservation fees attached) and road transfers are also taken care of between each stop while the flights are booked privately.

Cheetah are found surveying the road
Cheetahs gather on the path
Photo Credit: Leslie Cline


Kambaku Safari Lodge (4 Nights)

A firm favourite of Leslie’s, this luxury African safari lodge is an intimate lodge with a limit of only 16pax. A fenced border ensures that guests are enclosed for the purpose of freedom to wander through the grounds unescorted by staff. Situated in Timbavati Nature Reserve, the lodge strives towards a low environmental impact while showcasing the stunning natural surrounds where the Big 5, white lions, cheetah, hippo and crocodiles reside. This reserve is also home to the elusive wild dog which expert guides track through the veld.

Single thatched chalets provide a surprisingly spacious spot to rest your head. Each chalet is en-suite with a veranda and there is a plunge pool to soak in after a long drive through the savannah.

Luxury accommodation is offered by Kambaku Safari Lodge luxury African safari
Bedroom at Kambaku Safari Lodge
Photo Credit: Kambaku Lodges

Tasty meals are prepared with plenty of gluten-free options available. The lodge provides two main meals (breakfast and dinner) while lunch consists of snacks that are had while searching for big cats on game drives.

*Fun Fact* – Even with its small size, the camp welcomes families to stay and explore the safari together

Rating 5/5


Hippo Hollow Country Estate (3 Nights)

The bedrooms are warm and comfortable at Hippo Hollow Country Estate luxury African safari
Sleep easy in one of the river chalets at Hippo Hollow Country Estate

Before arriving at this little retreat, there is a stop at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, one of the only places in the world you are able to see the extremely rare king cheetah along with other species they are attempting to breed off of the endangered list.

With a beautiful setting and sightings of a baby hippo and mother right from the room’s balcony, Hippo Hollow stays true to its name. This estate forms part of the Panorama Route in the lowveld and is situated in the Kruger National Park.

Zebras are seen in the open savannah
A zebra stands with its foal
Photo Credit: Leslie Cline

A total of 18 river chalets occupy the Sabie River banks and Leslie’s charming room looks out onto the hippo grazing spots. The warm and comfortable interiors are made even better by the views in and around the camp.

Breakfast is a no-fuss affair consisting of a simple buffet selection to ensure you move on to the next destination with your hunger satisfied.

*Fun Fact* – Hippo Hollow is also a convention centre where guests can host workshops about sustainability.

Rating 4/5


Nottens Bush Camp (3 Nights)

Situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, another picturesque setting is offered up with ancient marula trees surrounding the camp. The friendly manager, Dale, is always available to answer questions or provide information to guests.

While on a private game drive, Lisa discovered her guide’s affinity for photography. If you find yourself in these parts, be sure to quiz your guide on his knowledge of the animals and plant life as well. The reserve hosts many luxury safari experiences and a guide will help you check off the Big 5.

Enjoy candle-lit dinners with the sounds of the bush at Notten's Bush Camp luxury African safari
The open-air boma at Notten’s Bush Camp

The camp has nine private suites available and Leslie’s provided a quiet space from which to enjoy the natural surrounds. If you so choose, you can indulge in treatments at Notten’s Nature Spa or find a relaxing area poolside.

Generous portions are provided at all meals with platters of fruit, cheese and salad to compliment. The dishes are served in a shared area so that travelers can meet up to discuss their journey. Evenings can also be spent under the boma with the sounds of nature echoing through the open spaces.

*Fun Fact* – The camp provides both day and night game drives that allow you to photograph the exquisite bird life.

Rating 4/5


Phinda Mountain Lodge (4 Nights)

A relaxing bubble bath at Phinda Mountain Lodge luxury African safari
Sink into a bubble bath at Phinda Mountain Lodge

A panoramic view of the wilderness is visible from this lodge and because the terrain is made up of grasslands and forests, there is a vast array of natural life .

With an unfenced camp, an immersive nature experience can be had as animals are able to wonder through their natural territory. Phinda is also known for its leopards because of the conservation project it runs in the area. On the game drives (private drives available) there is a likelihood of seeing nyala, rhinos, lion and even cheetah.

A painting of two rhinos
Painting of a mother and baby rhino
Photo Credit: Leslie Cline

One of 16 suites provides a warm and intricately decorated space, thereby inviting guests in. The rooms are specially designed for each one to have a view of the lush green canopy below. Each luxury African safari suite has a private plunge pool and provides in-room treatments to guests.

Dishes are prepared by local chefs to showcase traditional tastes and flavours. Have meals in the dining room, on your private veranda or in a special location!

*Fun Fact* – Phinda introduced faux-fur leopard skins into local Zulu communities in order to sustain cultural tradition and lessen the impact on the leopard population.

Rating 4/5


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About the author 

Megon Venter

This wannabe blogger comes all the way from a little town called Nelspruit in the province of Mpumalanga. After taking on The Mother City, she hopes to explore more of the world, all the while keeping her focus on sustainability and equality.

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