My wife and I stayed for 7 days/6 nights at this wonderful lodge on our very first safari. On our first day of game drive, we saw 4 of the big 5 and more!!. It could not get any better but each drive brought a new surprise.
We stayed at the “Treehouse Suite” which was a bit of a walk from the main lodge, but it was located right next to a dam so we saw hippos, crocodiles, elephants, lions etc. all within sight from our lodge. We could not fault the accommodation and the treehouse was clean, large and very comfortable. It had air-conditioning and a large bathroom/toilet with plenty of hot water! A huge and very comfortable bed with a turn down service each night with our mosquito net securely placed made this a super 5 star service that is unparalleled. An extremely well stocked bar and some 12 bottles of wine available all inclusive together with coffee and tea making facilities made this an extremely comfortable stay.
In the evening, we were totally surprised that we had a guard who accompanied us each time we left the tree house and back and stayed with us in the adjacent viewing deck till 6.00am each day. (I was told that this was for our safety) It was little touches like this that I felt makes Richard Branson’s lodge one of the very best.
The game rides (2 each day) were in very comfortable open top vehicles and our ranger Rico and tracker Sam did not disappoint with their expert knowledge and they seem to always “find” what we wanted to see each day. Ulusaba together with a few other private parks sits adjacent to Kruger National park and through cooperation between each of the parks, the rangers are in constant contact with each other which made looking for certain animals easier. This sharing of information saved us countless of hours looking for animals of this I am sure. This was one of the strengths of staying at a private game reserve. Morning coffee/tea and evening drinks were provided in a nice scenic spot each day and one morning they surprised us with a pancake picnic where they brought the chef out to cook for us with champagne and drinks and all this before breakfast!! After each of our evening rides we were greeted with nice warm towels which was a very nice touch and much appreciated.
Food was plentiful and Chef Ian created his magic each night, we could not ask for anything more. What impressed me most was the way the menu changed every night. We had breakfast each morning after our morning game ride with our same allocated ranger and guests on the vehicle which allowed us to get to know each other better. Lunch was left to our own devices where we could order off a reasonably comprehensive menu and drinks and dinner was held in the dining room where all the guests ate together in a long table. I thought this was a wonderful way to allow us to mingle and meet other people, talk about the day and share stories .What a wonderful atmosphere and for the solo traveler a great way not to dine alone!
In between drives, we enjoyed the heated pool, spa treatment and lunches at Rock lodge which had a magnificent view overlooking part of the vast reserve. We had the choice of splitting our stay between the Safari Lodge and Rock Lodge but chose to stay “closer” to the animals at ground level but it was easy commuting between the 2 lodges as they provided drivers to take us whenever we needed to go.
I cannot praise the staff enough for their friendliness and nothing was too difficult for them. Having travelled to a fair few countries and stayed in some very good hotels, this holiday and lodge is right up amongst the very best that I have ever experienced. Everything from the game rides, animal viewing, staff, rangers, trackers, chef ,food and accommodation was world class, I will certainly be coming back, this time with my family.
As we travelled from Australia and made the booking through a South African travel agency in Cape Town, we were not told that there was a direct flight (through Federal Air) from Johannesburg to Ulusaba which had its own private air strip. Instead we had a flight to Nelspruit and then a 3 hour taxi ride to the lodge. The car ride was long and there was really nothing much to see for the 3 or so hours of the ride. Please fly!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Safari Lodge is built along the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed. The 11 rooms at Safari Lodge include a Treehouse Suite overlooking the nearby Xikwenga Dam as well as three other room types: Safari, Elephant and River Rooms, some of which have private plunge pools. Kids over the age of 12 are welcome to stay at Safari Lodge. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Ulusaba Safari Hotel Ulusaba Private Game Reserve