REVEALED: Luxury lodges in South Africa you should add to your 2021 bucket list
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Luxury game lodges have attracted a string of celebrities and international tourists to our shores. Lodges have incorporated bespoke offerings to lure guests. Here are five luxury lodges that will surpass expectations
Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp
Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp offsets the carbon footprint of every guest. The camp, located within the 50 000 hectare malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, has five stilted villas. Perched atop a 30m cliff overlooking the Palala River, the villas offer pure luxury. The camp is off-grid, with energy self-generated by a 250m solar walkway.
The lodge worked with award-winning Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki on Noka Camp. Each villa comes with a heated plunge pool, sky bed, sunken bathtub and underfloor heating.
Activities offered include daily game drives, water safaris, yoga, spa experiences and tours of the iron-age settlements and bushmen paintings in the cliffs below. The lodge also offers luxury bush sleep-outs that follow in the footsteps of the forefathers of Lapalala. Visit www.lepogolodges. com/noka-camp
Located in Thornybush Private Game Reserve, on the western border of The Greater Kruger National Park, Royal Malewane offers its guest a bespoke experience. Royal Malewane has six Luxury Suites, two Royal Suites with two bedrooms, Africa House, a bush villa with six bedrooms, Farmstead and Farmhouse.
The award-winning property can arrange tours to nearby attractions at your own cost. Rates include accommodation, all meals and snacks, South African reserve wines and beverages, laundry service and two daily game drives and bush walks. Visit www.theroyalportfolio.com/royal-malewane/overview/
Nkomazi Private Game Reserve
Nkomazi Private Game Reserve is situated above the banks of the Komati River in Mpumalanga. Boasting 14 900ha of protected habitat under conservation, travellers can try to spot 300 bird species, four of the Big Five game, and learn about the endangered cheetah. There are 14 handcrafted luxury tents with either river or reserve views. Amenities include king or twin size beds, luxury 300-thread count cotton linen, outside bath and shower and a private sun deck with a plunge pool. Activities include birding safaris, guided nature walks, stargazing, fly fishing, and spa treatments at the River Retreat Spa.
Visit www.newmarkhotels.com/ places/reserves/nkomazi-private-gamereserve/
Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge
The Train on the Bridge is the newest safari offering to South African travellers. Suspended over the Sabie River in the Kruger National Park, the hotel is located inside a restored and reimagined train. The hotel consists of 24 train rooms stationed on the Selati Bridge.
Head to the lounge carriage for sundowners, or the pool where you can marvel at the animal sightings and sunsets. Rates include accommodation, all meals and selected beverages, two game drives and wi-fi. Visit www.krugershalati.com
andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Phinda is among the most sought-after safari establishments in South Africa. Described as “Seven Worlds of Wonder”, Phinda is home to 1 000ha of Africa’s remaining rare dry sand forest and is close to unspoilt beaches.
The five-star-reserve has six lodges: Mountain Lodge, Rock Lodge, Forest Lodge, Vlei Lodge, Zuka Lodge and Phinda Homestead. Travellers will encounter the Big Five and 436 bird species. Activities include two daily game drives, nature walks, conservation and community experiences, sleep outs, village tours, night drives, specialist safaris and ocean activities. Visit www.andbeyond.com/destinations/africa/southafrica/kwazulu-natal/phinda-private-game-reserve/
Read our March 2021 IOL Travel edition here.