Looking for the perfect mix of luxury and discovery? My family and I found just that at a luxury safari lodge located in the South African Bush. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, a National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World can be found in one of South Africa’s largest and oldest reserves, the Sabi Sand Wiltuin. Located on the edge of a waterhole, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge offers all of the creature comforts that one can desire along with the rare chance to experience the untouched wilderness of an unparalleled reserve.
Luxury Villas at Sabi Sabi
Sabi Sabi’s motto “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” is embraced by all four luxury lodges, with each representing a different point in time. Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, where we stayed, represents “Today”. All 25 suites showcase African contemporary design and an inviting atmosphere. There are two Luxury Villas, each complete with two bedrooms, a private pool, a library/lounge, and a view of the iconic waterhole that can be admired from the patio. The well-appointed Mandleve Deluxe Suite features spacious interiors, delightful views of the bushveld, and a private plunge pool.
Our en-suite bathrooms were incredibly spacious and had a bathtub as well as indoor and outdoor showers with wonderful views of the bushveld. Having an outdoor shower in such unique surroundings was such a nice touch!
I really enjoyed the contemporary and culturally inspired decor as well as the attention to detail! Every corner of these rooms are beautifully designed.
Dining Options at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
Most meals at the Bush Lodge take place in the central dining area just outside of the reception. Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner all offer an extensive and exquisite buffet arrangement that has something for everyone, no matter the food restrictions. I have a couple dietary restrictions and felt perfectly taken care of here, no fuss at all. Weather permitting, dinner sometimes takes place in the Boma, a wide area under the stars where guests are joined by their guides for a relaxing meal. My family and I were lucky to enjoy a few meals under the stars here, including New Years Eve!
Safari and Activities at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
Safaris take place twice a day, once early in the morning and again in the evening. Guests are each assigned a couple of knowledgeable staff members as their guides and drivers. These guides are regularly tested on their proficiency and wildlife knowledge: on the same day we arrived, they were undergoing an exam on identifying different species of birds based on their coloring and calls. It was wonderful to see how Sabi Sabi’s staff members are complete experts on animals in the South African Bush. Our guides, Ronald and Doctor, answered every question we could come up with during our trip. On a safari, we saw plenty of Big Five animals (elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions, and leopards) as well as hyenas, antelope, and one bush baby. This was such a huge bucket list moment for me!
Guests are invited to go on morning walks after the morning safari. These walks gave us an opportunity to step out of the open-air rovers that we usually drove around in and to explore the Bush from the ground. We were accompanied by two guides who showed us the properties of several plants and just how heavy an elephant skull can be. While it was very hot, it was well worth the venture!
An additional option for those who wish to learn more about the area is a day trip to a nearby Huntington village. Our driver, Doctor, took us to his own home and gave us a tour of a nearby school. On our way, we were greeted by a group of kids off the road who were very happy to see us, and even entertain us with a little dance routine. They were so fun-loving and this was certainly a memorable moment for our family.
One of the most fascinating highlights of the tour was the chance to meet a traditional healer and to see her in her element. She demonstrated how she used the bones of animals, such as hyenas and elephants, for her trade while Doctor translated for her.
Shortly after, we were met by some of the wives and daughters of the village chief who performed a dance and led us to their store where they sold crafts that they had made by hand. This trip was such a great way to experience the culture up close and personal!
While there are many fun things to do outside of the lodge, sometimes you need time to just relax and sit by the pool. Bush lodge has two pools for those who want to take a dip or lounge on the patio chairs that overlook the waterhole. For unique gifts and souvenirs, there is also a boutique stocked with jewelry made by local artisans and books about South African wildlife.
If you’re traveling with children, EleFun Centre has you covered. Sabi Bush Lodge is open to families with children of all ages, and the EleFun Centre has designed fun, environment-themed activities for different age groups.
Amani Spa at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
What vacation is complete without a spa day? My experience at Amani Spa was the blissful break from reality that I had been craving. My Lefika Hot Stone massage left me feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated, a great pick-up after the days of travel from the States to South Africa. It was also the first time I’d ever gotten up from a massage just to see an impala outside of my room! With a plethora of treatments varying from nourishing facials to aromatherapy massages and couple’s massage, I highly recommend that any guest at Bush Lodge plan a visit to the Amani Spa.
From start to finish, our stay at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge was perfect. From the expert service to the luxury accommodation and exciting safaris, I would happily return again with my family and friends!