South Africa’s famous game-filled national park: easy to access, great tourist facilities and Big Five almost guaranteed.
Recommended place to stay:
Singita Boulders Lodge
Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa|singita.com|
Official star rating:
Boulders is one of three Singita lodges in the Sabi Sand private game reserve, known for its iconic sightings – especially leopards. All three camps are luxurious – what makes Boulders different is its location, on the banks of the Sand River, where animals come to drink, surrounded by thorn, acacia and marula trees.
This small bush lodge feels local, modern and authentic: built from natural stone, wood and thatch around existing boulders. The 12 glass-fronted suites are enormous – contemporary but comfortable – with indoor and outdoor showers, stylish décor in natural bush tones and big, open decks with bush views and private, heated plunge pools.
Food and wine are both excellent – the well-stocked wine cellar, with more than 20,000 bottles, includes fine wines from South Africa – and there’s a wellness area for massages (ask about their ‘wholeness’ treatments), a Boutique & Gallery, as well as yoga mats in the suites. An art gallery selling only contemporary African art is a must-see for anyone interested in learning about Africa’s growing art presence. A percentage benefits Singita Lowveld Trust, for community enterprise initiatives.
Game in the Kruger is used to vehicles – so it can feel a little tame (unlike the Zambezi or Selous national parks). But it’s an excellent choice for first-time safari goers who value the simple essence of comfort, and complete immersion in nature, and are committed to meaningful travel.
Game & game viewing
Apart from big game, Sabi Sand Game Reserve is known for its abundant birdlife; and lion and leopard – sightings are almost guaranteed, thanks to the incredible work of the canine anti-poaching unit. The lodge is located on private land adjoining the Kruger National Park – ideal for walking and night drives that are not permitted in the Kruger Park itself.
Taking the kids
They welcome children 10 years and older. Children are invited to join their parents on game drives and bush walks at the discretion of the guide, or swimming, cooking classes and more.
The ‘Mini Rangers’ course is especially designed to teach children about the bush and conservation, with activities including tracking animals, butterfly capture and release, cosmic safari and learning bush survival techniques. A certificate is awarded upon its completion. Guests can visit the anti-poaching team by booking in advance, which in turn contributes to their critical work in the reserve.
The reserve is under two and a half hours’ drive from Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, or six hours’ drive from Johannesburg.
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Renowned safari journalist and expert Lisa Grainger recommends her favourite African camps, from savannahs teeming with Big Five, to star-lit desert wildernesses.