Hotel

Ulusaba, Sabi Sands

Ulusaba stands proudly in 14,000 hectares of private game reserve in South Africa’s Sabi Sands. Considered by many to hold the richest variety of wildlife, it is not uncommon to spot all of the Big Five on your very first game drive. Straddled across Rock and Safari Lodge, you’ll find a total of 23 bedrooms, all individually decorated in a modern African tribal style and featuring huge gorgeous bathrooms. After a day on safari, dining at Ulusaba is a real treat and you’ll have the option to eat wherever and whenever you like, with our favorite spot being the communal feast at the grand central dining table. We found it a great place to swap safari stories and listen to the latest goings on from the bush.

Location

Just an hour’s flight from Johannesburg to its private airstrip, Ulusaba is hidden in the western district of the exclusive Sabi Sands reserve next to Kruger national park. The accommodations is split between the Safari Lodge on the banks of the river and Rock Lodge perched high atop a 300-meter kopje (mountain). Your expert ranger and tracker will not only take you on intimate encounters with the local game but will provide you with cozy blankets and hot water bottles for those chilly mornings and a well-stocked bar in the middle of the bush for sunset G&Ts.

Your room

Down in the Safari Lodge, bedrooms are spread out along a dry riverbed and are connected by rope swing bridges passing through the jungle canopy. Replete with plunge pools as well as all of the modern amenities, you really will feel that you are in the heart of the bush…keep an eye out for elephants or baboons plodding past your window whilst you’re in the bath. Up at Rock Lodge, it is all about the breath-taking views, every room boasts balconies and binoculars for spotting giraffes feeding on the trees far below. Nothing quite beats the intimacy of Rock Lodge’s private Cliff Lodge though. Each lodge has its own little surprises, whether that be the relaxing Aroma Boma spa and infinity-edge swimming pool at Rock Lodge of the extensive wrap-around wine cellar and tree-house set on the Xikwenga Dam at Safari. No matter which you opt for though, enjoy all the little extras from in-room wine cellars, jars of homemade biscuits, amazing rainfall showers and huge comfy beds with accompanying pillow menus.

Why we love it

The level of service is outstanding; staff go to great lengths to satisfy their guests’ every whim, including sourcing any kind of food that takes your fancy (try the Kudu burger) and really making you feel like part of the family. In fact you can join the chef’s in the kitchen for tips or to give your own recommendations, and the open bar policy allows you to step in and pour your own drink if you ever find the place un-manned. The Cub’s Club at the Rock Lodge will take exceptional care of any kids in tow too, holding safari treasure hunts and a mini Ranger’s course, educating the budding wildlife experts on the local environment and keeping them entertained all day long. And to make sure you’re kids unwind from the day in the bush, there’s even a Cub Spa range of treatments.