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There are many excellent luxury safari lodges in South Africa, but only three have been awarded the prestigious Five Star Premium Grade, so let's start with the best. 

Best South Africa Lodges

Want the best accommodation in Africa?

Watch this short video to discover the best luxury African safari lodges in South Africa, proudly given the 5-Star Premium Grading by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. 


See videos for the lodge surrounds, rooms, common areas and wildlife in the area in under 4 minutes, or keep reading below for more information... 


The top three rated lodges in South Africa bearing the 5-Star Premium Grading are all located in the Greater Kruger Park area, comprising private wildlife reserves and concessions and home to more wildlife species than any destination in Africa.


Royal Malewane


Royal Malewane is the catalyst behind The Royal Portfolio group of luxury lodges and hotels in South Africa, boasting three five star premium grade properties - more than any other group. 

Located in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve not only does the lodge exude opulence, but also boasts the most experienced team of safari guides in Africa. 

  • Five Star Premium

  • Royal Portfolio

  • Private Reserve

  • Best Guides in Africa

  • Luxurious Spa

  • Unrivalled Wildlife


Camp Jabulani


Jabulani started more than 20 years ago and long before it was one of South Africa's best safari lodges, it was a cheetah breeding project, then a wildlife rehabilitation centre and now Africa's foremost elephant conservation project. 

Camp Jabulani is located in the Kapama Game Reserve of the greater Kruger and home to a local herd of elephant, including a few A-list Hollywood elephant celebrities too :) 

  • Five Star Premium

  • Elephant Sanctuary

  • Wildlife Conservation

  • Classic Safari Lodge

  • Suspension Bridge

  • Big Five Safaris


Lion Sands Ivory

Sabi Sand

The Lion Sands group of luxury African safari lodges is one of the most reputable in Africa and the newly renovated Ivory Sands Lodge is the shining star of the collection. 

Eight luxury one bedroom villas are uniquely located at the intersection of the Sabie and Sand Rivers, attracting local wildlife to the doorstep of the lodge for a year-round safari destination. 

  • 5 Star Premium Lodge

  • 8 Luxury Villas

  • River Setting

  • Wilderness Spa

  • Luxury Treehouses

  • Kosher cuisine


Below are more of our favourite South Africa safari lodges in the five star luxury category. Accommodation at these fine lodges is on an all-inclusive basis.  


Simbavati Hilltop


Simbavati Hilltop Lodge is located in the Private Timbavati Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park. 

If you're looking to check the Big Five animals off your bucket list the Timbavati is the perfect place to do it thanks to the abundance of leopard found here, a notoriously shy cat and the one often missed on a Big Five African Safari. 

  • Pristine Wilderness

  • Big Five Animals

  • Eco Friendly

  • Spa

  • Pool

  • Wifi


Kapama Buffalo Camp


Featuring 10 exclusive tents positioned on elevated platforms and surrounded by a forest canopy, Kapama Buffalo Camp is reminiscent of a traditional African safari. 

After a day in the wild tracking the Big Five you can retreat to the luxurious Kapama Spa, considered to be one of the finest spas in Africa situated at the River Lodge with 6 treatment rooms.  

  • 10 Rooms

  • Excellent Birding

  • Big Five Animals

  • Pool

  • Spa

  • Wifi


Lion Sands Narina

Southern Kruger

Lion Sands Narina Lodge boasts a picture-perfect riverine setting and blends naturally into the surrounds, creating a tranquil bush setting with all the luxurious appointments of a five star lodge.


The spectacular vistas over the Sabi River and adjacent bushveld offers a birds eye view of the local wildlife below. For an experience you'll never forget consider the lodge's exclusive tented treehouse suspended among the stars in the wild.   

  • African Bar

  • Eco Friendly

  • Library

  • Star Gazing

  • Wine Cellar

  • Big 5 & Birding


Leopard Hills

Sabi Sand

Leopard Hills Private Game Lodge situated in the Sabi Sands Reserve is an award-winning lodge boasting exclusive safari adventures, fine dining, luxury accommodation with expertly trained rangers to showcase the Big Five.


The lodge features eight glass-fronted suites each with air conditioning and a private pool with views of the wateing hole that attracts local wildlife daily. 

  • Big Five

  • Birding

  • Wildlife Safaris

  • 8 Luxury Rooms

  • Guided Walks

  • Wellness & Gym


Sabi Sabi Selati

Sabi Sand

Sabi Sabi Selati is situated on the bend of the Msuthlu River which meanders through the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger Park in South Africa.


Selati provides the essence of a bygone era with a traditional safari experience, albeit in a five star safari lodge. With an abundance of birdlife on your doorstep thanks to the location, and the Big Five animals a game drive away, Selati is a popular year-round South African safari lodge. 

  • Seven Rooms

  • World class flora

  • Big 5 Animals

  • Birding Safaris

  • Star Gazing

  • Greater Kruger Park

South Africa Lodges

The rainbow nation as South Africa is fondly referred to offers a wide variety of four and five star luxury lodges for you to choose from for your African safari vacation. 

The Kruger Park located in the north east of the country on the border with Mozambique is home to the vast majority of these, and is Africa's most popular wildlife safari destination. 

1. When is best to visit the Kruger Park?

The best time to visit theKruger Park for a wildlife safari is towards the backed of Winter from late June to October. The daily temperatures are more moderate this time of year and thanks to the low rainfall of the dry winter season, the bush is less dense. This combination of factors means the bush is less dense and animals are more active, perfect for game viewing.  

2. How much does lodge accommodation cost?

Depending on the season you visit the Kruger Park and the grading of lodge you require, you can expect to pay from $457 per person sharing nightly for luxury four star lodges, and from $757 per person sharing nightly for luxury five star lodges. 

Keep in mind that these prices are fully inclusive of all meals, local drinks and two daily game drives with private guides in open top 4x4 vehicles. 

3. What animals can I expect to see?

On a South Africa safari in The Kruger Park you can expect to see The Big Fave - namely lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard. The Kruger is home to more than 140 large mammal species and over 500 different bird species, more than any destination in Africa and the reason it is the most popular Africa safari safari location on the continent. 


South Africa Safaris

If you want more information the best lodges available in South Africa at unbeatable rates then contact us today and a friendly safari consultant will help tailor-make your dream vacation 

We have more than 23 years experience designing turnkey African safaris including booking flights, accommodation, restaurants, day tours, cultural visits and more. 

  • Tailored Packages

  • VIP Service

  • 24/7 Local Support

  • Fully Bonded

  • 20+ Years Experience

  • Best Rates Available

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