Travel South Africa
1. Roamers Rest Safari Lodge, Greater Kruger Area
Set in the 40 000-hectare Balule Nature Reserve about 45 kilometres from Phalaborwa, you are able to stay in a bush lodge perched high on a ridge above a waterhole that’s regularly visited by elephant and lit up at night so you can spot lion drinking below the lodge deck when night falls. Roamers Rest sleeps a maximum of seven in two luxury-style safari tents, while Ingwe sleeps three and has a beautiful bushveld birding deck. The other is called Nyala and can sleep a family of four with an open-air Jacuzzi on the private deck. The lodge is owner-run by Kyle and Charlotte Preston, who’ll treat you like childhood friends and are both incredibly knowledgeable about the bushveld, complementing the unfenced wilderness stay on the Big Five reserve.
2. The Fernery, Tsitsikamma
Hidden away at the end of a road that cuts through six kilometres of plantation bordering a protected national park, The Fernery is attached to a nursery that exports ferns. There’s a mix of self-catering chalets and B&B cabins linked by boardwalks and spread along the cliff edge, but we love the position of the main lodge which stands like a sentinel on stilts, poised dauntingly high on the one side of the Sanddrift River Gorge. From the fabulous ocean-facing suites you experience a full-scale drama of waves crashing against the near-distant headland where the river finally meets the Indian Ocean. The nearby chalets, meanwhile, are ideal for families – the best of these are private and secluded, and spiffily decorated, with full kitchens, braai facilities, and loads of space.
3. Isibindi Kosi Forest Lodge, Isimangaliso Wetland Park
This is one of SA’s top wildlife destinations thanks to its varied habitat. Set in an indigenous forest under gorgeous old trees, you’ll find this magical lodge with its cosy chalets and outdoor showers where resident monkeys peep out at you. It’s fantastic for birders, and don’t miss a canoe ride on the Kosi Lake System.