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Best 5 star reserve?

London
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77 posts
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Best 5 star reserve?

We are intending to book a 3 maybe 4 day trip to Sabi Sands to start off our South Africa holiday in January. I've looked at Londolozi, Simbabili, Ulusaba, Lion Sands, Singita, Mala Mala and Leopard Hills and they all look outstanding. We want do go on safari in jeeps with fewest people so we can get the best views for photography, we like a nice spa, scenic views and good food and wine and would like either a nice plunge pool or nearby communal pool. Obviously more than anything to see as much wildlife as possible. Any help is much appreciated. Many thanks

London
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77 posts
236 reviews
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11. Re: Best 5 star reserve?

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. It is indeed difficult. I'm leaning towards Londolozi, but will await any more responses on here and do a little more research before we finally make our decision. Yes, the number of people in the vehicle is very important to us as we experienced a squashed tiger safari in India and I want to get it completely right this time. Many thanks again

Wayzata, Minnesota
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12. Re: Best 5 star reserve?

Between the Sabi Sand lodges you have mentioned: Londolozi, Simbabili, Ulusaba, Lion Sands, Singita, Mala Mala and Leopard Hills, I have different favorites depending on what is most important in the experience of the traveler.

-For really spectacular sightings and to pack in as much game-viewing and a Big Five experience in the least amount of time, MalaMala stands out for the size of the game reserve and because their focus is on the game. Also, if you stay at Rattray’s on MalaMala, their top camp, it that has only 8 Khayas (suites) each with private plunge pools, they don’t allow children under 16 and have only 4 people max per vehicle. Huge pluses!

-For a luxury safari experience my top picks are Singita Ebony and Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, each take a max of six people per vehicle and both have private plunge pools. Ivory Lodge is really lovely and exclusive with only six suites. The Suites are really stunning and they can even deliver meals to the room via a little trap door to ensure the utmost in privacy. No need for anyone to enter the room or for the door to be open to have meals delivered! Their Chalkley Treehouse is also a great option for one night in the bush under the stars! At Singita Ebony, if you consider the slightly smaller Lewis Suites at Singita that share a common wall with the 2nd Lewis Suite next door, the rate is actually a bit less (by ZAR 950 per person per night) than Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in January. In the Lewis Suites, something to note is that there are three stops down to the loo and another three steps down to the changing area that can be a bit tricky for older clients. The Lewis Suites are closer to the main area also. Great value for money by going with the Lewis Suites as long as the stairs are not issue and you get all the Singita bells and whistles and pay less.

-While Londolozi is very popular, I really don’t think it’s good value for money if your desire is to have a really special and exclusive luxury experience as there are so many lodges, vehicles and guests on the Londolozi Private Game Reserve. In comparison, for example, at Singita Sabi Sand you have a 45,000 acre private concession with a max of 56 guests and no more than 8 vehicles on the property, as they take 6 people per vehicle max. Londolozi has, in comparison, only 16,000 hectares of “traversing area” (39,536 acre), meaning the area it shares for the drives. This is not the size of the Londolozi Private Game Reserve itself, and can accommodate a max of 64 guests. That’s up to 11 vehicles on the property based on 6 people per vehicle max. While the sightings are still limited to three vehicles per sighting, that is still a lot of vehicles. While Singita Castelton is also on the property at Sabi Sand, it is an exclusive use lodge and thus it’s either booked or empty (or used by the owners). If you are considering say the Londolozi Granite Suites, for 300 ZAR more per person per night, you can stay at the Singita Ebony Lewis Suites and be on a larger concession with less vehicles and get the Singita experience, which is undoubtedly the original truly luxury safari.

If you are looking for a real top notch luxury safari experience, I feel that Singita and Lion Sands are better options for the various reasons I’ve outlined. Or if your focus is the game, then MalaMala should also be considered and Rattray’s is a great option and also great value for money and quite exclusive. I feel that these three options, Singita Ebony, Lion Sands Ivory and MalaMala Rattray’s, are the crème of la crème and you get so much more value and quality for your money in every respect. Londolozi I feel falls a bit short due to the number of lodges, rooms and vehicles on the property.

Jeanie Fundora - Safari Consultant - Travel Beyond

Johannesburg, South...
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13. Re: Best 5 star reserve?

Hi holidaychicLondon,

All great options.

Dulini and Savanna are also worth considering both only having a max of 6 per vehicle, and both are very focused on the safari experience. The truth is that you will have a great safari wherever you choose. My personal choices would be Londolozi - Tree Camp/Granite Suites or Pioneer, Singita - either of the 2 lodges, Savanna, Dulini.

Good luck with your decision.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Seattle
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16 posts
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14. Re: Best 5 star reserve?

Depends on what moves it in to the 5-Star category for you. I've been to several of the lodges mentioned, and as someone who definitely appreciates a 5-star experience, I would chose Londolozi, hands down.

It may not be the most posh, or have the most opulent/luxurious rooms of the lodges mentioned, but the overall experience is superlative. Don't misinterpret what I am saying, the chalets/bungalows are beautifu, quite comfortable and extremely tasteful, but there is so much more to the experience.

For me, it a combination of the facilities and the people that make the difference. The level of service, attention and genuine care at Londolozi make it 6-star, in my opinion.

Londolozi Tree Camp was my first safari experience and perhaps I was spoiled out of the gate. Benn back several times and will be hitting it again in mid-October. Can hardly wait!

15. Re: Best 5 star reserve?

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