MY TOP 10

by Jared

South Africa’s pride and joy is her wildlife heritage, with millions of guests visiting each year for life-changing safari experiences. As a travel journalist I’ve had the immense privilege of visiting many of our beautiful lodges, and now am excited to help arrange stays for you at a discounted rate. Simply email me and let me know where you’d like to stay, and I’ll get the lodge to contact you with a discounted stay!

1. GONDWANA GAME RESERVE, Western Cape

Gondwana is an 11000-hectare private a four-hour drive from Cape Town, not far from the start of the famed Garden Route. There are various accommodation options – my favorite is the flagship Kwena Lodge: a modern and luxurious twist on the traditional Khoi-San dwelling. Each of the suites offer spectacular 180-degree views, have skylights for star gazing, feature clay pot fireplaces, and have deep baths to warm you upon returning from an evening Big 5 Game Drive. Read my full review here, and email me here to arrange a discounted stay.

2. SANBONA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE, Western Cape

For 5-star luxurious lodgings, three hours from Cape Town, look no further than the 54000-hectare Sanbona Private Game Reserve. Various plush accommodation options will keep you safe and sound in between the game drives. My accommodation recommendation is the enthralling Dwyka Lodge for a tented stay in a dry ravine. Read my full review here, and email me here to arrange a discounted stay.

 

3. ULUSABA PRIVATE GAME RERVE, Kruger

Ulusaba is Sir Richard Branson’s piece of wilderness in Kruger – home to two distinct lodges. Rock Lodge is perched magnificently with breathtaking views over the surrounding bush. Safari Lodge, which would be our home for the stay, is a few minutes’ drive away and occupies a prime position alongside the river.

4. SASEKA TENTED CAMP, Kruger

In the heart of one of South Africa’s most abundant wildlife hotspots, awaits a new luxury safari camp that is causing jaws to drop. If unbridled luxury, innovative styling and wild nature are your checkboxes, then Saseka Tented Camp should be a definite honeymoon consideration. The camp opened in March 2019 and offers a rather unique safari option for discerning travellers.

5. 7 KOPPIES, Franschhoek

The farmhouse is distinctly homely, but with modern brushes subtly colouring both décor and design. As you walk out of the Provence-styled kitchen, you cross a manicured lawn leading to the pool, and after that you gaze over kilometers of winelands. All of the outside spaces are effortless and stylish extensions of the natural space that surrounds the farmhouse.

6. Morukuru De Hoop, Western Cape

The Morukuru Family offer stays in either the 5-bedroom Beach Lodge or exclusive use 4-bedroom Ocean House. From their elevated positions, both offer uninterrupted views over the fynbos-covered dunes to the ocean below. The service is personable beyond belief and the spaces luxurious beyond imagination; its easy to see why Morukuru has scooped up some of the most prestigious international travel awards.

7. MONT ROCHELLE, Franschhoek

A short drive from Cape Town is Mont Rochelle: this 5* Franschhoek hotel is Sir Richard Branson’s Vineyard in South Africa. Towering mountains form a formidable presence in the background and the famed vineyards in the foreground – and all a short drive from the scenic town.

 

8. WEST COAST VILLAS, Western Cape

9. MARATABA LUXURY LODGES, Limpopo

Marataba Luxury Lodge is set in 23 000 hectares of the Marakele National Park, a mere 3h30-drive from Johannesburg. Since there are no other lodges the sense of isolation is heightened. Spending three hours driving through the bush, and not seeing another person, makes you feel like everything is waiting for you alone. Safari Lodge is the larger two lodges – with tents a short walk from the lodge, all featuring verandas with prime views, over-sized bathrooms and outdoor showers. The smaller and more remote Mountain Lodge is truly an intimate bush retreat with only five eco suites – the architecture and furniture all angled to take full advantage of the breath-taking views below.

10. ROVOS RAIL

For over 30 years Rovos Rail has been offering guests the opportunity to explore Africa by rail. What this family-owned company has achieved is nothing short of remarkable, overcoming all odds to establish a world-renowned private railway, often touted as the ‘most luxurious train in the world’. Rovos offers several journeys from its stately home-base of Capital Park in Pretoria. Cape Town, Durban, and Victoria Falls are all different options – even an astounding 14-day journey to Dar es Salaam if the purse allows.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

AQUILA

Aquila is Cape Town’s closest Big 5 Reserve, only a two-hour drive from Cape Town. The 10000-hectare conservancy is perfectly geared towards visitors who have a shorter travel time. Their half-day safaris include a scrumptious meal, and I wholeheartedly recommend their beautiful spa. Various overnight options are available, and also horseback options. Aquila can also arrange transfers from Cape Town. Read my full review here, and email me here to arrange a discounted stay.

MORUKURU MADIKWE, Limpopo