August 1

Top 10 Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa to Visit in 2022

By Ian Rowett on
August 1, 2022

When it comes to choosing the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa, it can seem like an impossible task. But that's why we're here! As the World's Leading Safari Company, we've stayed at all the top lodges to handpick the best ones. There are many enormous private game reserves and a host of luxury safari lodges in South Africa to choose from. So, whether you want a luxurious honeymoon dripping with romance or a fun-filled family safari, this list (in no particular order) is the perfect guide to assist you.

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge - one of the top luxury safari lodges in South Africa

One of the top luxury safari lodges in South Africa is Kwandwe Ecca Lodge in the Eastern Cape, Image Credit: Kwandwe

1. Saseka Tented Camp

The palatial suites at Saseka Tented Camp have circus-top canvas awnings. However, that's where any reference to a tented camp ends. The rest is a dramatic amalgamation of glass, aluminium, wood, stone, cork, reed, fabric… and light. Everywhere you look, you see Arica's glorious sunshine, whether dappled or streaming into your suite at dawn.

Now add a first-class Big 5 private safari with a personal guide, dedicated tracker, off-road traversing, night drives and bush walks, and you've got luxury safari nirvana. Setting the bar for luxury safari lodges in South Africa really high, Saseka Tented Camp is the complete package. Therefore, you can expect impeccable service, fine dining – Med-inspired, worldly, sophisticated and plentiful – spa treatments, reading rooms, pools, viewing decks, starlit campfires, bush breakfasts and sunset cocktails.

Who’s It For?

Saseka Tented Camp has universal appeal in bucketloads and offers a spectacular setting, accomplished service, and a first-class safari. It's also a strong contender for that splash-out honeymoon highlight. Milestone celebrations receive the attention they deserve, and the exclusive villa is perfect for a luxury multigenerational family holiday.  

Highlights

  • Beautiful setting on a bend overlooking the ephemeral Monwana River in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
  • Refreshing design full of light and dramatic use of textures, colours, contrasts and detail
  • First-class Big 5 game viewing in a private, unfenced extension of the Kruger National Park
  • Excellent hospitality, food, service and amenities, including private plunge pools, spa, personal guides, trackers and butlers
The top luxury safari lodges in South Africa: Saseka Tented Camp

Serene setting in the bush, Image Credit: Thornybush Saseka Tented Camp

2. Silvan Safari

In the world of luxury safaris, Sabi Sand is rated as one of the best private game reserves in the Greater Kruger National Park. So, how about experiencing the (officially) best safari lodge in Africa's best game reserve? Well, Silvan Safari has consistently been voted the World's Leading Luxury Lodge since 2018 and is certainly worthy of all the praise.

The entire team at Silvan Safari makes a concerted effort to take your safari to a new level of luxury. It's best known for its super-attentive service, incredible art throughout the lodge, and one of the biggest gin collections in all of Sabi Sand. Furthermore, the food rivals the best international five-star hotels, and the guiding and wildlife transcends the traditional safari experience. 

Who’s it for?

Silvan Safari will exceed your expectations, even if you've frequented the top accommodation options in the world. It offers the best of everything in an extraordinary wilderness setting. Luxurious, intimate and with plenty of privacy, Silvan Safari is the perfect fit for couples, families, solo travellers, nature lovers, photographers, birders, and adventure and wellness seekers. In other words, anyone looking for the safari of a lifetime!

Highlights

  • Exceptional luxury in one of the world's best private game reserves
  • Enormous, tastefully designed suites with luxury amenities, bespoke artworks and vernacular inclusions
  • The expert staff, from housekeeping to the guides and trackers
  • State-of-the-art photo studio to enhance your photography
The views from Silvan Safari Lodge - one of the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa

Silvan Safari was voted World's Leading Luxury Lodge for the fourth consecutive year in 2021

3. Londolozi

Approaching its centenary year and with a reputation as weighty and revered as the Kruger National Park itself, Londolozi is the godfather of luxury safaris in South Africa. This 13,000-hectare private game reserve is famous for leopards and features a diversity of habitats for incredible Big 5 and general game viewing.

The Londolozi Private Game Reserve is home to five safari lodges. Each is set in an exquisite location and a genuine contender for the top spot among the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa. From family fun to sublime Relais & Châteaux romance, your safari experience is elevated in every way. 

Who’s it for?

With ever-increasing levels of luxury and exclusivity, Londolozi has a safari lodge for every occasion. It hits the right notes every time, from the classic, family-oriented Varty Camp to the exclusive and romantic Private Granite Suites.

Highlights

  • Gigantic private reserve adjoining the Kruger National Park famous for leopards and Big 5 viewing excellence
  • Extreme luxury, privacy and exclusivity as one of the few Relais & Châteaux safari lodges in Africa
  • Sustainable tourism that benefits the people, wildlife and ecosystem
  • Children's safari activities, wellness facilities, photography studio, community development programmes and sustainable conservation projects

4. andBeyond

andBeyond stands for understated elegance, class-leading luxury and life-changing sustainable safari experiences. With five-star lodges in Phinda, Kruger and Sabi Sand, andBeyond does indeed go above and beyond to create life-changing, sustainable wilderness experiences.

With exceptionally high standards across the board at every lodge, you can expect all the bells and whistles, regardless of which one you choose. As a result, every andBeyond safari lodge can easily be included among the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa.

Who’s it for?

There's a safari lodge for everyone in one of the many game reserves, each featuring a variety of luxury safari options. There's Tengile River Lodge in the Sabi Sand for the ultimate in luxury, privacy and romance or Phinda Mountain Lodge for a family-oriented safari. But really, all of andBeyond's luxury safari lodges speak of romance and excitement in dulcet tones.

Highlights

  • Phinda, Sabi Sand, and Kruger all share one crucial attribute, which is incredible game viewing
  • andBeyond's safari guides are legendary, and with a genuine commitment to sustainability
  • All lodges offer lavish comfort, five-star service and amenities, deep tranquility and sensational settings
  • Their sterling reputation and long list of accolades speak for themselves
andBeyond owns some of the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa

Tengile River Lodge offers luxury in the wild

5. Dulini Collection

Dulini is a trio of intimate, exciting safari lodges in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. And any one of them is an easy entrant into our top 10 luxury safari lodges in South Africa countdown.

Dulini Moya Lodge is a classic, intimate safari lodge, whereas the Dulini Leadwood Lodge is more contemporary, luxurious and private, with a spectacular setting at the Sand and Mabrak confluence. On the other hand, the Dulini River Lodge offers classic luxury overlooking the Sand River. However, all offer enormous air-conditioned suites and beautifully designed living areas with luxurious amenities and an intimate atmosphere. The focus, naturally, at all three safari lodges is on the safari. And being in the Sabi Sand with some of the world's best guides, you can rest assured it will be unbelievable. 

Who’s it for?

The attentive service, intimate nature of the camps and excellent game viewing make Dulini an excellent choice for honeymooners, solo travellers, groups, families and couples looking for something special.

Highlights

  • Three exclusive safari lodges (with a maximum of six suites) offer deeply personalised service and the ultimate in comfort and indulgent luxury
  • Sublime settings at the edge of rivers or riverbeds for game viewing right from your suite
  • Sabi Sand's wildlife is legendary, especially predators of which leopards and lions are prevalent
  • Expert guides ensure every game drive is out of this world
Dulini Moya is among the luxury safari lodges in South Africa

Take a dip and soak in the views, Imaged Credit: Dulini Moya

6. Singita

Singita's safari lodges are among the best luxury safari lodges in South Africa. And with exquisite design, flawless service, five-star comfort and an exceptional safari, what more could you want? 

This renowned brand has lodges all over Africa. In Sabi Sand, sharing an unfenced border with Kruger National Park, they run Ebony Lodge, Boulders Lodge and Castleton Manor. Furthermore, in the Lebombo concession in eastern Kruger, you'll find their Lebombo Lodge and Sweni Lodge.

Who’s it for?

Singita will suit eco-conscious safari-goers looking for complete privacy, luxury and a moving wilderness experience. Ideal for couples, solo travellers, wellness safaris, photographers, birders and nature enthusiasts.

Highlights

  • Sublime locations with class-leading safari experiences
  • Five-star service, food, amenities, facilities and attention to detail
  • Privacy and tranquility form the heart of each safari lodge
  • Deep and sincere commitment to sustainable conservation and community development
Singita Ebony Lodge: One of our top luxury safari lodges in South Africa

Your haven in the bush, Image Credit: Singita Ebony Lodge

7. Simbavati Collection

Simbavati is a portfolio of exclusive, luxury safari lodges in South Africa occupying some of the most prolific wildlife areas in the country. Timbavati and Klaserie are two private game reserves neighbouring the renowned Kruger National Park. Because this boundary is fenceless, the wildlife is free to roam along ancient routes. As a result, this gives you the best of the Kruger with the luxury of a private reserve.

Five-star quality throughout the portfolio, you have a variety of lodge styles and locations to choose from. In the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, you have Hilltop Lodge for romance and a sublime setting. On the other hand, River Lodge is ideal for a classic, family-friendly safari. In the Klaserie Private Game Reserve, guests can choose from the elegant Camp George, an exclusive homestead for self-catered family and group celebrations, or Amani for lavish exclusivity. Last but not least, there's Waterside for romance and sophistication.

Who’s it for?

Families, couples, solo retreats, group celebrations, honeymooners, photographers and first-timers will all find their ideal luxury safari home in the Simbavati Collection.

Highlights

  • Classic, elegant safari lodges in two phenomenal private game reserves, namely the Timbavati and Klaserie
  • Options include romantic opulence, classic luxury, a self-catering villa, a luxury private villa and a family-oriented safari camp
  • Excellent game viewing with a good chance of seeing leopards and African wild dogs along with the Big 5
  • Spa and wellness offerings  
Family with children in Timbavati Game Reserve

The River Lodge is perfect for a family holiday, Image Credit: Simbavati River Lodge

8. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Kwandwe is an enormous tract of pure East Cape wilderness with one of the lowest guest-to-land ratios found anywhere on the continent. At 22,000 hectares and only 52 guests, that's about 425 hectares per person. In other words, a very exclusive safari! No queues of vehicles around a lion kill here.

With the Great Fish River snaking through rolling Eastern Cape euphorbia and savannah hills, Kwandwe is a genuine Big 5 game reserve. The scenery is spectacular, and the peace and nature experience is unparalleled. Furthermore, because Kwandwe is dedicated to sustainable conservation through tourism, you can enjoy these luxury safari lodges in South Africa with a clean conscience.

Who’s it for?

Malaria-free and with a range of activities for young children, Kwandwe is an ideal family safari destination. However, groups, couples and solo travellers will all find sanctuary and an enriching wilderness experience here.

Highlights

  • Family-friendly and group safaris with private villas in the malaria-free Eastern Cape
  • Excellent Big 5 game viewing destination with a variety of unique safari activities
  • Rolling hills and the Great Fish River create a variety of habitats and stunning scenery
  • Close to the Garden Route for a fantastically compact, convenient "Best of South Africa" adventure
  • Kwandwe Fort House makes our list of top luxury safari lodges in South Africa

    The Kwandwe Fort House, Image Credit: Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

    9. Jamala Madikwe, Royal Safari Lodge

    You may have noticed that it's the big-budget behemoths vying for the top spots of our luxury safari lodges in South Africa. This makes the owner-run Jamala Madikwe a bit of an exception to the rule.

    The five villas at Jamala Madikwe are palatial in size and comfort. Each has a main living area, a lounge, and a pool and sala wing overlooking a waterhole. And with an award-winning kitchen, owner-run care, and attention to detail, you've got one of the finest luxury safari lodges in South Africa.

    Meanwhile, Madikwe Game Reserve is one of our favourite safari destinations in South Africa for its malaria-free credentials, scenic splendour and exceptional game viewing experiences.

    Who’s it for?

    Ideal for a first-time safari experience or for couples and families wanting a malaria-free, luxury safari fit for royalty.

    Highlights

    • Enormous villas with plunge pools, air conditioning, salas, living area and views of the waterhole
    • Malaria-free safari in a game-rich national park featuring not just the Big 5 but African wild dogs and cheetahs 
    • Exceptional food from a multiple award-winning safari kitchen
    • Owner-run safari lodge means attentive, personal service 
    Jamala Madikwe at sunset with lanterns out

    The understated elegance of Jamala Madikwe, Image Credit: Jamala Madikwe

    10. Tanda Tula Plains Camp

    The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve shares a fenceless border with the Kruger National Park. And sharing, connecting and cherishing this wilderness is the guiding principle of all life at Tanda Tula. Therefore, this deep commitment to sustainable tourism and community development makes Tanda Tula a very special place.

    Staff is treated as part of the same big family, which shows in the exceptionally warm and friendly service. And there's no shortage of luxury either, with generously sized suites fitted with air conditioning, plunge pools, outdoor showers and truly luxurious beds. From your suite or the lavishly-furnished main living areas, your view of the waterhole, the plains and mountains beyond is ever-changing and always sublime.

    Who’s it for?

    Tanda Tula is a warm and engaging safari lodge with its heart set firmly in the right place. That's why it's one of our favourite luxury safari lodges in South Africa. Ideal for honeymoons and romantic milestone celebrations, this luxury safari lodge is also an excellent option for families with children aged six and up.

    Highlights

    • Emphasis on the nature and wilderness connection
    • Great family safari option catering for children from age six and up in the two family villas available
    • Full range of safari activities, including day and night game drives and interpretive bush walks
    • Luxury accommodation with aircon and splash pools for each of the massive suites to keep you cool
    Woman watching elephants from the deck at Tanda Tula  - one of the top luxury safari lodges in South Africa

    The best sundowner companions, Image Credit: Tanda Tula Safari Camp

    Visit The Top Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa

    We've just scraped the surface of an almost infinite choice of luxury safari lodges in South Africa. As the World's Leading Safari Company, we understand that you want and deserve a highly personalised safari holiday. That's why all our tours are tailor-made to ensure it ticks all your boxes.

    So, contact our Travel Experts now and let's start planning your dream luxury safari in South Africa. 

    Featured Image Credit: Londolozi

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    About the author 

    Ian Rowett

    Born in Zimbabwe and, having bluffed his way through a Journalism Degree at Rhodes, Ian turned his reluctantly nomadic life into a successful career as a travel writer. With stints in Harare, Joburg, Cape Town, Swakopmund, Port Shepstone and Greyton, he has travelled the length and breadth of southern Africa. Now living in Knysna, Ian combines his innate tendency to write for a living with a deep-rooted love of Africa’s wilderness and a keen interest in the hospitality trade.

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