At the recent 21st World Travel Awards held in Anguilla, South Africa has once again emerged as one of the top destinations in the world. Moreover, South Africa has also clinched the prize for the World’s Leading Safari Destination 2014.

While South Africa came up tops as the leading safari destination, individual venues also won awards for their service excellence in making South Africa the leading safari destination. Legend Golf & Safari Resort won World’s Leading Safari Resort and Shamwari Game Reserve’s Eagles Crag Lodge won World’s Leading Eco-Lodge.

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Lion Sands Game Reserve

This family-run luxury resort is situated on the banks of the Sabi River across 10,000 acres. Comprising two lodges and a family camp, the resort has on offer the Ivory Lodge decorated in ebony and ivory with African artefacts and views of the river and the River Lodge with rooms decorated in cream and beige, with freestanding tubs and indoor and outdoor showers. While at Ivory Lodge, why not treat yourself to a night under the stars? The Lion Sands Treehouses have been described as ‘The Ultimate Bush Bedrooms’, where you get to truly experience nocturnal Africa in its rawest form.

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That’s not all though at Lion Sands. The reserve also comprises Tinga Lodge with just 9 luxurious suites each with a bathroom with in-door and outdoor shower, separate lounge area with minibar, private plunge pool and deck, and Narina Lodge with 9 suites perched among a canopy of 100 year old trees overlooking the Sabi River, each with their own plunge pool.

Enjoy your breakfast on the deck as the bush comes to life, or dinner by candlelight with only the whoop of a hyena or the bark of a baboon as backing vocal.

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Legend Golf & Safari Resort

Where can golf and safari go hand in hand so seamlessly? As well as clinching the World’s Leading Safari Resort awards, Legend Golf and Safari Resort was also named the Best Golf Course in Africa at the World Property Awards in association with Bloomberg.

Based around four design styles, all the properties cater for the modern traveler while allowing them to experience the wonders of the African bush. Panoramic views are enjoyed through large picture windows while glass sliding doors lead onto a secluded outdoor patio. In addition to the Resort accommodation, Entabeni’s diverse camp sites set across the 22,000 hectares of this wonderful safari conservancy offer everything from tented comfort to five star luxury.

 

As well as a chance to see the Big 5 on Entabeni Safari Conservancy, at Legend Golf & Safari Resort, you can also enjoy helicopter flights. Alternatively of course, you can always spend your days playing golf on the unique “world-in-one” Signature Course where each of the 18 holes has been designed by a world golfing legend.

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Phinda Private Game Reserve

Set within easy reach of the Indian Ocean coastline and the famous iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is known for its abundant wildlife, diversity of habitats and wide range of safari activities.

One of the most romantic getaways on the reserve has to be the Rock Lodge looking out over its own lush valley, like a small private castle, amidst a tangle of wild African sights and sounds, with only six suites carved into the rocky hillside.

For the best game views from the comfort of your bed you can opt for the Vlei Lodge located on the edge of the sand forest and overlooking an open meadow (or vlei), complete with watering hole.

Game rides are not all that’s on offer at Phinda Private Game Reserve, with more adventures at hand such as Black Rhino Tracking on foot, Maputaland beach adventure, swimming with whale sharks, scuba diving, turtle nesting adventure and Zulu village visits.

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Shamwari Game Reserve

Luxury accommodation is offered in 6 different lodges at Shamwari Game Reserve, all of which are 5 Star graded. The award-winning Eagles Crag Lodge offers exclusive suites fashioned in glass and stone, with expansive views of the surrounding rock faces; where the eagles soar, while Villa Lobengula,tucked away in the depths of the valley bushveld, mirrors the traditional African “kraal” which is enclosed by breath-taking view. Bayethe Lodge has on offer refined tents are shrouded by the rich vegetation while the Sarili lodge, perfect for families, offers contemporary comforts perched above the Bushman’s River, overlooking the grassy plains of ancient Africa. There are also Riverdene Lodge and Long Lee Manor.

In between game drives if your time is not filled with relaxing, reading, spa treatments, swimming, enjoying delicious cuisine or a game walk, you can visit one of the two Born Free Big Cat Sanctuarys, the Ian Player Player Rhino Awareness Centre or The Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

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Singita Sabi Sand

A former game farm adjacent to Kruger National Park, this three-lodge camp surrounded by groves of acacia, thornveld, and marula trees on the Sand River has on offer Ebony Lodge, Boulders Lodge and Castleton Lodge. While Ebony Lodge celebrates Africa with stone, thatch, and splashes of tribal colors, Boulders Lodge boasts earth tones, glass walls, and private pool decks. Castleton Lodge is an exclusive private rental with six cottages, pool, tennis court, spa, and gym.

Spanning more than 45,000 acres, Singita Sabi Sand is renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings.

In addition to game drives, guided safari walks are available upon request.

 

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Londolozi Private Game Reserve and Camps

The family-run Londolozi is one of the original pioneering Private Game Reserves of the ecotourism industry in South Africa, and the first game reserve in the world to be accorded Relais & Châteaux status, reinforcing its commitment to luxurious accommodation, fine cuisine and exceptional service.

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On the banks of the Sand river, Londolozi Private Game Reserve and Camps offers accommodations including Pioneer Camp, with three private suites decorated in Ralph Lauren style, Varty Camp, where chalets in earth tones have private pools,  Founders Camp with 10 idyllic chalets, Tree Camp with private swimming pools and contemplation decks, and Private Granite Suites offering an extraordinary experience for the exclusive use of six guests.

Breakfast here comes in the form of freshly baked muffins on the deck at sunrise while watching the elephants below.

 

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Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

Deep in the African bushveld, this very private game reserve has on offer its four uniquely individual safari lodges – Selati Camp, Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp and Earth Lodge. Selati Camp has a colonial feel, while Earth Lodge’s furniture is made from trees uprooted in floods, and all the suites have plunge pools.

For the ultimate in privacy opt for Bush Lodge’s presidential suite, the Mandleve. A secluded pool, private Land Rover and optional in−room dining make this the ultimate safari treat. Bush Lodge, as well as the Earth Lodge, also has on offer the Amani Spa, perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation with the ultimate African Spa experience.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is home to the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), as well as cheetah, wild dog and hundreds of other species of animals, birds and plants indigenous to the area.

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Royal Malewane

Royal Malewane is situated in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve which forms part of the Greater Kruger Area. Typical of Kruger Park lodges in this vicinity, the reserve boasts an astounding number of species of mammal, including the so-called ‘Big Five’, as well as more than 500 species of birds.

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Situated on a private reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa, this luxury African safari lodge hosts a maximum of 20 guests in the utmost luxury and style. Six suites offer complete seclusion and stunning views, while the Lodge itself has an atmospheric air-conditioned Library, Curio Shop and Dining and Sitting Areas with fantastic outlooks onto the bush. Two completely private Suites (both sleeping 4) provide an even more exclusive luxury African safari experience, while the self-contained Africa House, a few minutes’ drive from the main Lodge, is the perfect option for families or groups of up to 12.

In between game viewing,  gym and spa facilities offer the chance for exercise and relaxation.

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Ulusaba Game Reserve

Set within the renowned Sabi Sand Reserve, which has a long, unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, Sir Richard Branson’s private game reserve Ulusaba offers the Big Five and much more.

Ulusaba has 21 rooms and suites spread over two lodges. Rock Lodge is ‘Heaven in Heaven’, perched high on the summit of a koppie with views over the South African bush below. There are 10 suites, three of which have their own plunge pools.

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If you seek that edge in exclusivity, privacy and luxury, consider Cliff Lodge. There are only two suites here. One has a private pool and the other a jacuzzi. Should you book both suites you’ll also have your own private chef, your own guide and game-drive vehicle, and you’ll have full access to the spa treatment room and the private gym.

 

 

 

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Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat

Wilderness reserve and wellness retreat wrapped up in one? Don’t mind if we do! Situated in the unparalleled panorama of the Cederberg Mountains, 270 km north of Cape Town in the Western Cape of South Africa, award-winning Bushmans Kloof encompasses 7500 magnificent hectares of protected land where you will find not only the unique fynbos of the area, but also 130 breathtaking sites of ancient Bushman rock art.

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Ranked second on Best African Safari Lodges and other Wilderness Vacation Spots by Condé Nast Traveler in 2014, ranked No. 1 Resort/Safari Camp in Africa (2013) and third in Top 100 hotels in the World by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Travel Awards, the reserve offers a range of beautifully proportioned rooms, suites and a private villa. Koro Lodge is an existing farmhouse, nestled in the reserve, that has been completely renovated and transformed into a spectacular intimate villa, surrounded by open vistas of wilderness and wildlife, combining ultimate luxury with nature.

From rock art viewings to local excursions, from fly-fishing to swimming and canoeing, from nature drives to botanical tours, from wine tasting to spa treatments, there is plenty on offer to relax the body, the mind and the soul at Bushman Kloof.

 

BONUS

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Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, covering an area of over 100,000 hectares. No more than thirty guests at a time can discover the beauty of this landscape, its diverse wildlife, and the serenity of what may well be South Africa’s last great wilderness. Owned by the Oppenheimer family, the reserve has on offer two exceptional lodges – the Motse and Tarkuni.

Designer Boyd Ferguson took inspiration from the serene beauty of the surroundings and their bright accents when putting together the graceful interiors of Tswalu Kalahari Reserve’s Motse and Tarkuni lodges. Motse means “village” in Tswana and and the main property at the reserve, Motse consists of just nine spacious and secluded “legae” (another Tswana word, for “little house”) or suites.

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Set amidst two rolling mountain ranges, Tarkuni is the Oppenheimer family’s own personal home here at Tswalu and the ultimate private sanctuary. Every room (each en-suite) also has a separate shady ‘sala’ (shaded area) for relaxation and contemplation. There is also a pool.

The Oppenheimer family is passionate about conservation in general and the Kalahari in particular, and have devised dozens of ways for you to enjoy it, too. These include horseback game-viewing; black rhino tracking; a meerkat bonding experience; gourmet picnics in the bush; a special trip to look for the elusive rare pangolin and aardvark; a private five-course meal on your own deck; and an excursion to see ancient rock art.

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