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The Dulini Moya Lodge, Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa

Here is our selection of the top ten South Africa Safari Lodges.

The first three are South Africa’s best luxury Safari lodges that focus on the Big 5.

As a refresher, this includes:

  • Iconic Lions
  • Elephants
  • Rhinoceros
  • Cape Buffalo
  • Elusive Leopards

Jump straight to the Top 10 Safari Lodges in South Africa

You can find these 3 lodges in one of the best South African reserves for iconic African animals (see below). We will also list a comfort-level lodge in the same region at number 5. And we will introduce you to select safari and wildlife lodges across this remarkable country.

So let’s get started with the top 10 Safari Lodges in South Africa.

  1. The Dulini Moya Lodge

    Dulini Moya Lodge, South Africa

    Discover the Dulini Moya Lodge, a luxurious African safari experience nestled in the wildlife-rich Sabi Sand Game Reserve. This is in turn part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

    The lodge is located in the riverine habitat, shaded by ancient ebony and leadwood trees. This offers you a serene and elegant ambiance to enjoy your time in one of Africa’s most wildlife-rich regions.

    At Dulini Moya Lodge, you will experience a traditional and refined atmosphere for your luxury safari. The Sabi Sands is famous for the Big 5. This includes elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards and rhinos. You can spot all of these from the Dulini Moya on exciting twice-daily game drives led by skilled guides and trackers.

    For a more immersive experience of the wildlife-rich region, you can also enjoy daily walking safaris with your knowledgeable guide and tracker.

    The Sabi Sands conservancy spans 65,000 hectares of land. And this shares an unfenced 50-kilometer border with the Kruger National Park. In addition to the famous and iconic wildlife, you also have the chance to witness rare predators and large herds of antelopes. Note that the area is particularly renowned for incredible leopard sightings.

    Six beautifully designed thatched suites await you at Dulini Moya Lodge. Each of these features a private heated plunge pool for ultimate relaxation after your adventurous day. Enjoy lunches served on the deck, which provides beautiful views of the Mabrak River and surrounding bushveld. You will then enjoy dinners under the starry night sky in the traditional Boma.

    To contact the lodge directly for a detailed itinerary and availability for your travel dates, use the tour bubble below.

    Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, bush walks, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  2. The Dulini River Lodge

    Dulini River Lodge, South Africa

    Found a little closer to the river than the Dulini Moya, the incredible Dulini River Lodge can be found nestled within the extraordinary Sabi Sands of South Africa.

    With a prime location perched on the Sand River, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the river and savannah from the comfort of your accommodation.

    As a guest at the Dulini River Lodge, you will embark on exhilarating twice-daily game drives to witness the diverse and iconic wildlife. From mighty lions and majestic leopards to enormous rhinos and graceful antelopes, the wildlife sightings here are truly remarkable. This is a fantastic lodge to find all of the Big 5. And for an even more immersive experience, you can explore the African bush on foot with a walking safari led by your skilled safari guide.

    This luxurious lodge was designed with couples, solo adventurers, and small groups in mind. It offers you a truly unforgettable safari adventure. You can choose from six expansive suites. Each of these is connected by a raised boardwalk and boasts a private terrace with captivating views. For ultimate relaxation, you can take a dip in your own heated plunge pool. This is on your private terrace, which also offers beautiful views of the African environment.

    Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, bush walks, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  3. The Dulini Leadwood Lodge

    Dulini Leadwood Lodge, South Africa

    If you are seeking a more private and exclusive experience in the Sabi Sands at your South African Safari lodge, the Dulini Leadwood is a superb choice. Located in the same region as the Dulini River Lodge, this luxury safari lodge offers only four spacious and exclusive suites for a little more privacy and exclusivity.

    Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or an intimate setting for a small group, the Dulini Leadwood Lodge will provide an opulent and exclusive safari experience. Surrounded by lush riverine forest, the Dulini Leadwood Lodge sits at the confluence of the Mabrak and Sand rivers. This provides each suite with breathtaking views of the Sand River and the bushveld.

    Enjoy twice-daily game drives led by knowledgeable trackers and experienced guides. Your days will be out on safari to find the magnificent wildlife of the Sabi Sands habitat. And from the lodge, you can find all of the Big 5 with the area being renowned for exceptional leopard viewing. For a more immersive adventure, you can also arrange walking safaris with your expert guide.

    For your meals, enjoy freshly sourced ingredients expertly prepared to create delicious dishes. Under the shade of the lodge’s beautiful Jackalberry tree, you can enjoy your fresh breakfasts on the Treehouse Deck. You will have delicious dinners in the elegant boma. And you’re also welcome to enjoy romantic dinners in the privacy of your deluxe suite.

    Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, bush walks, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  4. Jaci’s Tree Lodge

    Jaci’s Tree Lodge is an extraordinary retreat that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding Madikwe Reserve. You can expect an authentic and comfortable safari experience.

    Enjoy the lodge’s indoor and outdoor dining areas, open-plan lounge and bar spaces, and fully renovated Main Lodge.

    While staying at the lodge, you will have the opportunity to explore the magnificent Madikwe Game Reserve. This spans over 80,000 hectares and is world-renowned for its Big 5 safaris.

    In addition to elephants, lions, leopards, Cape buffalo and both white and black rhino, the reserve is home to an array of other animals. You’ll be able to spot African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Brown and Spotted Hyena, Giraffe, and Hippos. You may also see a variety of antelope species and other animals such as Porcupine, Warthog, Serval, and Baboon.

    From Jaci’s Tree Lodge, you will experience the stunning African wilderness of Madikwe on twice-daily game drives. Walking safaris are also available if you would like to immerse yourself in the African environment. As well as many mammals, birdwatchers will also be thrilled to explore this avian paradise with over 350 bird species recorded in the reserve.

    Jaci’s Tree Lodge is truly an exceptional getaway where you can relax and connect with nature while enjoying an unforgettable safari adventure. The stunning endemic forest is also home to a plethora of birdlife, mammals, and reptiles. And, if you’re lucky, you may even spot elephants bathing in the famous Marico River.

    The Terrapin Hide from the lodge itself also offers you a unique vantage point for game watching, with a chance to capture priceless images of wildlife from the middle of the active waterhole.

    In addition to game drives and walks, you can relax with an African-inspired massage treatment offered by local massage therapists. At night, stargazing is a must, with the pristine bushveld location offering a prime opportunity to take in the breathtaking beauty of the constellations and Milky Way.

    Check availability with the lodge for your travel dates using the tour bubble below.

    4 days / 3 nights Jaci’s Tree Lodge

    Jaci’s Tree Lodge

    Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
    / per person

    Jaci’s Tree Lodge is a stunning elevated lodge blending seamlessly into the surrounding environment. With indoor and outdoor dining spaces, ...

  5. The Inyati Game Lodge

    Inyati Game Lodge, South Africa

    If you’re looking for a more economical African safari experience, the Inyati Game Lodge in Sabi Sands is the perfect option. While it may not be as luxurious or exclusive as some of the other lodges in the area, Inyati offers you comfortable suites and unforgettable wildlife encounters with expert guides.

    In addition to the iconic Big 5 African species, you can also spot cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, wild dogs, and many antelope species.

    Your accommodation at Inyati Game Lodge consists of comfortable family chalets and standard chalets. And both of these provide you a cozy and comfortable stay.

    The chalets feature tasteful decor and offer picturesque views of the African bush and Sand River. With a serene atmosphere, you can create unforgettable memories in the heart of Sabi Sands.

    One of the best parts of staying at Inyati is the variety of activities offered. Guests can take guided bush walks, stargaze, fish, and experience local cultures. This is in addition to the main events of exhilarating game drives. And after a long day of adventure, unwind at the lodge’s pool or lounge area. You will enjoy mouth-watering meals paired with excellent South African wines.

    Click on the button below to check availability for your travel dates.

    Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, walking safaris, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  6. Jaci’s Safari Lodge

    At Jaci’s Safari Lodge, you can enjoy comfort and adventure in the heart of the wildlife-rich Madikwe Game Reserve.

    From here, you’ll have the chance to explore this incredible 80,000-hectare reserve. Wildlife to find includes the iconic Big 5 of elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and both white and black rhino.

    You will head out to enjoy this African wilderness of Madikwe with twice-daily game drives. Your expert guide will take you in search of the iconic mammals mentioned above, as well as many others. You can also find African wild dogs, cheetah, brown and spotted hyena, giraffe, and hippo. There are also a variety of antelope species and other animals like porcupine, warthog, serval and baboons.

    If you would like a little more connection to this extraordinary environment, you can also head out on walking safaris (if the walking guides are available). This is a fantastic experience to explore the Madikwe. And you may even witness the favorite sight of elephants bathing in the Marico River.

    At the lodge itself, you can relax in a spacious and open-plan lounge with a stunning copper fireplace, bar and dining areas. And you can relax between activities with African-inspired massage treatments provided by the local community.

    For avian enthusiasts, Madikwe is an avian paradise, boasting over 350 recorded bird species. And on guided walks from the lodge, you’ll have the opportunity to explore this birdlife-rich area.

    As night falls, gaze up at the stars in the pristine bushveld location, which offers an excellent opportunity for stargazing. Our knowledgeable guides are passionate about astronomy and eager to share their knowledge about constellations and celestial features.

    If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, head to Thutlwa Lookout. This purpose-built outdoor dining area is accessible to all guests staying at Jaci’s Safari Lodge and offers sublime safari sundowners and game viewing opportunities throughout the day. It’s a comfortable spot to unwind and soak in the magical sunrises and sunsets of Madikwe. The deck is equipped with wifi. It’s also an ideal space for a safari office and yoga sessions!

  7. Jaci’s Starbed Suites

    Discover the Jaci’s Starbed Suites, an extraordinary and exclusive safari experience designed for couples seeking privacy, romance, and luxurious comfort amidst the breathtaking African wilderness paired with incredible wildlife sightings.

    These exceptional suites, accommodating up to 2 guests, span across two levels. The ground level features a double-occupancy full en-suite Master Bedroom, while the outdoor rooftop extension boasts a perfectly perched King-size starbed.

    Ideal for honeymooners, romantic getaways, and special occasions, the suites provide an idyllic haven. You have the choice to sleep indoors or beneath the enchanting African sky. Each suite is equipped with two king-size beds, indoor bathrooms, outdoor showers, lounge areas, a safari bar, and a private viewing deck.

    Upon entering your Starbed Suite, you’ll be captivated by the striking decor, elegant finishes, and custom furniture pieces. The suite radiates a superior level of style, comfort, and sophistication, enhanced by signature colorful twists that infuse vibrancy into the surroundings and create a welcoming ambiance.

    Within the main lodge, you’ll discover a spacious open-plan lounge, a magnificent copper fireplace, a well-stocked bar, a chef’s kitchen, and inviting dining areas.

    Nestled in the heart of the Madwike Reserve, you will enjoy twice-daily game drives scouting for the reserves incredible wildlife.

    To give a summary of what you can find on your safari, here’s a wildlife summary of the Madikwe:

    The Madikwe Game Reserve Wildlife Summary

    • Famous for the Big 5: Leopard, Elephant, White & Black Rhino, Buffalo and Lion.
    • Also home to African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Brown and Spotted Hyena, Giraffe and Hippos.
    • Supports herds of antelope species, including Red Hartebeest, Klipspringer, Springbok, Tsessebe, Eland, Gemsbok and Duiker.
    • Other animals to find include Porcupine, Giraffe, Warthog, Serval, Aardwolf, Cape Clawless Otter, Aardvark, Honey Badger, Baboon, Bush Baby and Zebrs.

    To check availability for your dates, send Jacis Starbed Suites a request using the tour bubble below.

  8. The Biyela Lodge

    When several Zulu chiefs of the Shaka dynasty agreed to open up 16,000 hectares of pristine African bushveld to visitors, they formed the incredible mFulaWozi Reserve.

    Nestled within the thriving mFulaWozi Reserve, the Biyela Lodge welcomes adventurers seeking comfort, the beauty of South Africa and the excitement of untamed wildlife.

    A sanctuary of indulgence, this eco-lodge pays homage to Phiwayinkosi Biyela, the revered local chief.

    Perched upon the hillside, the Biyela Lodge offers fantastic views of the regal White iMfolozi River below. Exclusivity defines this haven, boasting a mere dozen detached luxury suites, each graced with a private deck and the majority offer a secluded pool. From here, enjoy witnessing the daily procession of wildlife descending to the river, surrounded by an ambiance of seclusion and tranquility.

    From the lodge, you will head out on exhilarating game drives and walking safaris alongside our skilled and impassioned guides. They will help spot wildlife and unravel the tapestry of life surrounding Biyela Lodge.

    Inhabited by a diverse array of wildlife, this reserve is home to the celebrated Big 5. You can find majestic black and Southern white rhinoceros, the regal African elephant, the formidable Cape buffalo, the awe-inspiring lion, and the elusive leopard. Beyond these iconic mammals, embrace sightings of African wild dogs, inquisitive honey badgers, mischievous spotted hyenas, graceful giraffes, sun-soaked Nile crocodiles, and nimble-footed mongooses.

    The undulating hills enfolding the lodge are filled with history and tradition. Our knowledgeable guides hold an intimate understanding and reverence for the culture and chronicles of the Zulu people, readily shared during your enthralling expeditions. Traverse the reserve’s expansive terrain, fostering an admiration for the natural world and nurturing a profound respect for its habitats and the creatures that call them home.

    Biyela Lodge occupies a sprawling realm of wildlife-rich habitat, safeguarding its status as one of South Africa’s most pivotal conservation areas. Embracing both exclusive luxury and eco-conscious amenities, your experience within this Big 5 game reserve promises an indelible encounter with South Africa’s natural allure and its bountiful cultural heritage.

    3 days / 2 nights Biyela Lodge

    The Biyela Lodge

    KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    / per person

    You will find the Biyela Lodge in the middle of the wildlife-rich mFulaWozi Reserve. Offering you a comfortable and exciting ...

    Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, lagers, soft drinks. | 3, 4, 5 days+

  9. The Mthembu Lodge

    At Mthembu Lodge, you will enjoy an experience that intertwines rich history, diverse African wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty.

    As with the Biyela Lodge, the Mthembu Lodge is found in the mFulaWozi Reserve. This was founded when several Zulu chiefs of the Shaka dynasty agreed to open up 16,000 hectares of pristine African bushveld to visitors.

    You will join knowledgeable and passionate guides on captivating game drives and immersive walking safaris to find some incredible wildlife. On your safaris, you will also Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and fascinating stories of the Zulu people, igniting a sense of wonder and appreciation.

    As well as the Big 5 of black and southern white rhinoceros, the African elephant, Cape buffalo, the lion and leopard, you can find many other animals and plants.

    Other animals to find include:

    • African wild dogs
    • Honey badgers
    • Spotted hyenas
    • Giraffes
    • Nile crocodiles
    • Mongooses

    Overlooking the meandering White iMfolozi River, Mthembu Lodge presents a circular design symbolizing unity and harmony. Individually crafted with meticulous care by the skilled artisans of the Mthembu clan, our private luxury suites offer panoramic views of the untamed wilderness. Embrace serenity and unwind in comfort while enjoying captivating wildlife in the surroundings.

    As one of South Africa’s most significant conservation areas, this Big 5 game reserve safeguards the last havens of abundant herbivore populations and the awe-inspiring predators that rely on them. Each step through the reserve fosters a profound appreciation for the natural world and instills deep respect for its delicate ecosystems and the remarkable wildlife that calls it home.

    Check availability with the Mthembu Lodge using the tour bubble below.

    Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, lagers, soft drinks. | 3, 4, 5 days+

  10. The Mosaic Lagoon Lodge

    Nestled between the awe-inspiring mountains and the glistening ocean of the Cape Whale Coast, the Mosaic Lagoon Lodge awaits you. The lodge offers you a pristine coastal wilderness where unique birds and plants thrive. Enjoy an unforgettable experience filled with beautiful beach experiences, marine tours, and land adventures.

    Indulge in the culinary delights crafted with creativity, allowing your taste buds to embark on a journey of flavors. You can relax with a range of treatments at the tranquil spa with beautiful surroundings. And throughout your stay, friendly staff will provide a warm, personalized and caring service, ensuring your comfort and satisfaction.

    At Mosaic Lagoon Lodge, your reservation includes a range of exciting activities.
    Experience the exhilaration of whale watching and marine tours, allowing you to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Explore the exquisite Overberg Wine Region and indulge in the flavors of the local vineyards.

    Your activities include:

    • Exhilarating whale watching tours.
    • Paddling away on our kayaks on the serene waters of Hermanus Lagoon.
    • Shark Cage Diving for the more adventurous.
    • Taking a leisurely stroll along the Walker Bay dunes in the peaceful surroundings.
    • Enjoying the region’s famous wine tasting.
    • Visiting Panthera Africa, an ethical sanctuary dedicated to the rescue of captive bred big cats.
    • A delightful boat cruise aboard Lady Stanford on the enchanting river Klein.
    • A leisurely walk around the region to enjoy the 9,000 plant species and fantastic animal life.
    • Fynbos quad biking tours.

    Embark on a dream vacation at the Mosaic Lagoon Lodge. Let the beauty of the Cape Whale Coast captivate your senses and create memories of the region that will stay with you for a lifetime.

The Top South Africa Safari Lodges – Summary

And here is our selection of the top Safari Lodges in South Africa:

  1. Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, bush walks, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  2. Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, bush walks, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  3. Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, bush walks, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  4. 4 days / 3 nights Jaci’s Tree Lodge

    Jaci’s Tree Lodge

    Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
    / per person

    Jaci’s Tree Lodge is a stunning elevated lodge blending seamlessly into the surrounding environment. With indoor and outdoor dining spaces, ...

  5. Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, beers, soft drinks, refreshments on game drive, walking safaris, transfers from the lodge airstrip (Ulusaba) | 3, 4, 5 days+

  6. 3 days / 2 nights Biyela Lodge

    The Biyela Lodge

    KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    / per person

    You will find the Biyela Lodge in the middle of the wildlife-rich mFulaWozi Reserve. Offering you a comfortable and exciting ...

    Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, lagers, soft drinks. | 3, 4, 5 days+

  7. Includes: all meals, accommodation, two daily game drives, house wines, local brand spirits, lagers, soft drinks. | 3, 4, 5 days+

Ash - Author & Travel Advisor About the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Tropics and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical locations. Ash is a contributor to both TourTheTropics.com and ThinkJungle.com writing about tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the tropics. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.
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