Top 5 South Africa Safari Lodges

An African safari holiday is a thrilling experience and there is nowhere quite as impressive as South Africa for its mix of spectacular settings, world-class food and wine, and its rich wildlife encounters.
Rainbow Tours has an outstanding team of South Africa travel experts, and here Senior Travel Specialist, Kirsten Woolley, has hand-picked five of her favourite safari lodges, although she says it’s an almost impossible task as the quality of the country’s hotels and lodges is outstanding.

Simbambili Lodge

Where: Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Style: Moroccan style suite with private sala and plunge pool
Wildlife: Big-Five with good leopard sightings, rich bird and plant life
Activities: Game drives, guided bush walks
Treats: Armani spa, outdoor boma dinners
Community: Provides training and employment for the community


Makanyane Safari Lodge

Where: Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province
Style: Exclusive, glass-walled accommodation, outstanding cuisine and award-winning wine cellar
Wildlife: Big-Five, wild dog, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, plains game and rich birdlife
Activities: Game drives and walks, sleep-out hide, malaria-free
Treats: Health and beauty treatments including massage and aromatherapy
Community: Initiates and supports local businesses such as laundry services

Thanda Private Game Reserve

Where: KwaZulu Natal
Style: Romantic hide-away – authentic tented camp or exclusive safari lodge
Wildlife: Big-Five game reserve including rare species such as cheetah, wild dog and rhino
Activities: Game drives and walks, coastal trips to St Lucia for whale watching, fishing, canoeing
Treats: Africology managed wellness centre with Zulu spa treatments
Community: Winner of the Chairman’s Award at the 2007 Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Where: Green Kalahari
Style: Barefoot safari luxury
Wildlife: Desert black rhino, white rhino, Kalahari black-maned lion, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, aardvark, aardwolf and pangolin
Activities: Game viewing, horseback safaris, walking trails, rhino monitoring, habituated meerkat colony, bush picnics, dune and boma evenings, Junior Ranger’s Programme
Treats: Gourmet dining, award-winning safari spa
Community: A staff village, crèche, sports facilities and healthcare clinic are provided
[Tswalu Kalahari Reserve: from £740 per person]

Shamwari Game Reserve

Where: Eastern Cape
Style: 4 to 5-star with lodges, tented camps and historical country houses
Wildlife: Big-Five, rich bird and plant life
Activities: Game drives, guided walks, malaria-free
Treats: Spa treatments, outdoor boma dinners, spectacular views
Community: Joint venture with Born Free Foundation, Animal Rescue Centre, Education Centre for local children and Greenleaf Environmental status
[Shamwari Game Reserve: from £390 per person]

You can read more about all these South African safari lodges on the Rainbow Tours website and see a comprehensive selection of tailor-made holidays to South Africa.

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