4 Newly Discovered South African Lodges That Have Earned My Heart


Unforgettable Safari Experiences in South Africa

South Africa is a destination teeming with options for memorable safari experiences. Having traveled extensively around the country, I have discovered four new lodges that offer unique and enticing features. From exclusive-use villas and double-story treehouses to luxurious suites and serene waterside sanctuaries, South Africa has it all.

Simbavati Homestead, Kruger National Park

Located in a private concession within Kruger National Park, Simbavati Homestead offers a one-of-a-kind stay. Instead of a traditional lodge, guests have the entire home to themselves, complete with all the luxurious amenities expected from a bush escape. The self-catering aspect allows for cost savings, and everyone gets a chance to showcase their culinary skills. The house features five unique bedrooms, a bar, an open-plan kitchen, dining room, and lounge. It is perfect for couples, groups of friends, or extended family gatherings. The veranda provides a picturesque setting for outdoor dining, where you can enjoy your meals while observing passing wildlife. The Homestead also boasts a pool, viewing deck, and boma for a truly immersive bush experience.

Simbavati Waterside, Kruger National Park

Just an hour away from Simbavati Homestead, Simbavati Waterside is another exquisite lodge within Kruger National Park. It underwent a complete refurbishment during the Covid-19 pandemic and now showcases a stunning design. The lodge’s free-standing rooms are strategically arranged around a tranquil dam, where wildlife often gathers to quench their thirst. Each room is beautifully furnished, with biophilic-inspired designs, textured accents, and captivating wildlife artwork adorning the walls. Simbavati Waterside takes outdoor dining to the next level with a bush-themed Italian dining experience, complete with a pizza oven. For those seeking solitude, the lowered observation decks offer romantic alfresco spaces to unwind. The lodge also offers a pool, gym, and spa for ultimate relaxation.

Lush Private Lodge, North West

Pilanesberg National Park, known for its abundant wildlife, is also home to the Black Rhino Reserve. Lush Private Lodge, situated within this reserve, offers an exceptional and luxurious safari experience. Exuding elegance, Lush combines chic African styling with a personal touch, as it was decorated by its owners. Guests can choose from luxury suites, deluxe suites, and the brand-new superior deluxe suite. The latter offers exclusive bush views and features a spacious outside deck with a heated pool, outdoor bath, and a romantic double shower. With no railings or fences, guests can fully immerse themselves in the wild. Lush also provides world-class spa facilities and thrilling game drives in both the private Black Rhino concession and the greater Pilanesberg Park.

Melozhori, Western Cape

Located on the R45 between Bonnievale and Swellendam, Melozhori Game Reserve is a hidden gem in the Western Cape. The reserve offers safe exploring on foot or bicycle, as it is home to an array of wildlife but without any predators. Two modern pods perched in the hills offer an unforgettable stay with complete privacy and breathtaking views. Each pod features a wood-fired hot tub, comfortable lounging spaces, and braai facilities. The curvaceous structures are incredibly Instagrammable, making your social media followers envious. The newest addition to Melozhori is a unique double-story treehouse nestled at the upper mouth of a valley. Equipped with a pizza oven and an impressive sound system, this treehouse provides an immersive nature experience. The lower storey’s veranda includes a wood-fired hot tub, cargo nets, and an outdoor shower.

South Africa offers an abundance of unforgettable safari experiences. Whether you choose Simbavati Homestead, Simbavati Waterside, Lush Private Lodge, or Melozhori, you are guaranteed an exceptional stay surrounded by the country’s natural beauty and wildlife. So why wait? Embark on an adventure of a lifetime and create lasting memories in South Africa.

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