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Luxury safari recommendations in South Africa

Luxury safari recommendations in South Africa

Old May 5, 21, 7:36 pm
  #1  
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Luxury safari recommendations in South Africa

There are so many luxury safari lodges and tour companies out there we are a bit overwhelmed by all of the information and reviews. If anyone has a particularl lodging/accommodation they would recommend Id love to hear about it. Looking for about a week of doing game drives and spotting the Big 5 among other incredible wildlife. We are willing to pay top dollar for the right place, thank you!
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Old May 5, 21, 7:55 pm
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Weve stayed in 4 Singita lodges (Ebony and sweni in South Africa and Sasakwa and Sabora tented camp in Tanzania) and had truly exceptional experiences across two trips. I know Singita is a favorite on this board for those areas (Kruger, Sabi Sands, and Serengeti National Parks). For me, the quality of the guides, food, and staffing who really go above and beyond to make each day special, is worth the premium. All of these lodges are on private reserves which permits for off reading and very close access to game viewing.
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Old May 5, 21, 8:00 pm
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Thank you very much for that information! We were definitely leaning toward a Singita Lodge so I’m glad to hear your positive feedback about your experiences.
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Old May 5, 21, 8:02 pm
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Originally Posted by floridagal23 View Post
Weve stayed in 4 Singita lodges (Ebony and sweni in South Africa and Sasakwa and Sabora tented camp in Tanzania) and had truly exceptional experiences across two trips. I know Singita is a favorite on this board for those areas (Kruger, Sabi Sands, and Serengeti National Parks). For me, the quality of the guides, food, and staffing who really go above and beyond to make each day special, is worth the premium. All of these lodges are on private reserves which permits for off reading and very close access to game viewing.
Did you book directly with the lodge or did you stay there as part of a larger tour package?
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Old May 6, 21, 9:55 am
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Im actually in the process of planning my honeymoon to South Africa so I have done research on the lay of land in terms of different lodges. Singita clearly is the best with the price tag to come along with it. Singita is going to be slightly out of our budget for this trip, so Im leaning heavily towards pulling the trigger on booking Londolozi Tree Camp. I think its right next to one of the Singita lodges. If cost is no object though, it seems like Singita is the place to be.
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Old May 6, 21, 11:41 am
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Another vote for Singita though my personal favorite is Boulders. You can't go wrong with either Boukders or Ebony. I'm less enthralled with Lebombo and Sweni. jmo.

Another lodge to consider if you want some variety is Royal Malewane.
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Old May 6, 21, 1:35 pm
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Have you looked at Silvan in Sabi Sands? Stayed there for 5 days with the adult family in 2019 and would go back in a heartbeat.
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Old May 6, 21, 3:43 pm
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I was delighted to stay in Londolozi Tree Camp in June, 2016. Would go back again in a flash if I could.
You may get better options and knowledge if you use a TA based in Africa. I have used Rhino Africa for several trips and they are above and beyond in service, knowledge and they really listen to your needs and budget. Since I am in the USA they are an 8 hour time difference but that has not been a problem with timely responses.
The TA we have used is Samantha Myburgh every time.
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Old May 6, 21, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Travis123 View Post
Did you book directly with the lodge or did you stay there as part of a larger tour package?
For SA, we booked the lodges and flights to/from lodges (but not our SA flights) through Amex FHR. I would not recommend doing that (though we did get free massages as an amenity). They are very inexperienced, or were at the time, in bookings and ended up outsourcing to a third party operator who held random dates we couldnt get released easily and we almost lost our preferred dates. The pricing was also not transparent as they included at our request some tours of Capetown, but it was far more expensive than booking on our own. For Tanzania, we booked flights to/from Kilimanjaro on our own, and then directly with Singita (starting with pick up at airport, first overnight hotel, the lodges, and our flight to the Ngorongoro Crater area (manyara, I think?). Then And Beyond picked us up and transferred us to Crater Lodge and back to Kilimanjaro. You can actually book the whole thing, even And Beyond, through Singita. It was very smooth - even when we misconnected in Amsterdam on the way to Kilimanjaro and lost a night of safari.

there are a ton of Singita trip reviews on this board if you search.
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Last edited by floridagal23; May 6, 21 at 4:28 pm
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Old May 6, 21, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by wripro View Post
Another vote for Singita though my personal favorite is Boulders. You can't go wrong with either Boukders or Ebony. I'm less enthralled with Lebombo and Sweni. jmo.

Another lodge to consider if you want some variety is Royal Malewane.
boulders was booked for our dates, but we ended up really liking Ebony (pre-renovation). Agree with you on Lebombo/Sweni just because we preferred the Sabi Sands landscape to Kruger, but Sweni is so tiny at one point we were the only guests there! It was an experience. I think the game viewing at the TZ lodges is far superior especially if OP times it to migration but there is something nice about wrapping in a trip to Capetown with the SA lodges.
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Old May 6, 21, 9:01 pm
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Thank you everyone for the invaluable information. I really appreciate it!
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Old May 9, 21, 6:30 am
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Just another data point that Singita is really the only operator that I've had 100% overwhelmingly positive feedback on from every and any client who has been.
Can't say the same for &Beyond and some others
From a partnership standpoint, I also enjoy working with Singita and throughout the 2020 crisis, they've been super accommodating and some clients' trips were rescheduled and totally replanned a number of times. Singita friends were legends throughout the process. Says a lot of about their value/philosophy.

Congrats on the milestone and you can't go wrong with Singita.
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Old May 9, 21, 8:52 am
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You folks are making me feel good that I booked Singita for the South Africa portion of our upcoming trip!

I also used Rhino Tours and found them quite helpful but here is one small caution: they do appear to add a commission/fee to air tickets booked through them, so as this is easy to do, you might want to do that part directly with the airline.
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Old May 10, 21, 2:13 am
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For multiple touch points such as one AndBeyond lodge, one Singita lodge, then a beach trip out to Zanzibar or so, I'd recommend AndBeyond though you do need to ensure you're working with the right rep there (but the few I've worked with over the years are good). There are also other companies - we like GiltEdge too and Rhino Africa as mentioned here.

If you're going to do a circuit of the same lodges, then easier to just book with the company (whether that's Singita or Royal Portfolio etc).

The actual lodges of Singita and Royal Portfolio in particular get great feedback.
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Old May 11, 21, 9:38 am
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Depends on preferences

Flying directly to the property airstrip was a big plus. Many of the South Africa luxury properties I have stayed in offered outstanding amenities and or game viewing. It's hard to make a recommendation without knowing what you value most and want to prioritize. Some are bragging rights properties like the ones mentioned in the thread. Some properties had comfortable accommodations and outstanding game viewing while others had outstanding accommodations and okay game viewing, likewise with food, service and amenities. Some of my favorites also had workout facilities.

I liked that Singita had 2 full size swimming pools in the main area and private plunge pools in the rooms as well as a workout room/spa building. Chitwa Chitwa also had a full size pool and private plunge pools as well as a work out area. Camp Jabulani (think they changed their name to Jabulani Safari?) had a private plunge pool (heated) and small open air work out area. Spa services and gourmet dining can add to the experience, especially for couples and those celebrating special occasions. River Lodge comes to mind for an intimate setting, good food and warm service. Rattrays only 4 guests per vehicle policy stood out as most everyone else had more (unless booking a private vehicle). Africa House at the Royal Malewane included a private vehicle. There is information and photos based on actual stays at https://simonandbaker.com/category/africa/south-africa/ and https://simonandbaker.com/?sfid=3843...g=game-viewing Hope this helps.
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