Opportunity Lives

What to look for when booking a luxury safari lodge


With the large selection of fantastic luxury Kruger Park lodges on offer, it’s sometimes downright difficult to decide which one to choose – they all look (and are!) so amazing! We’ve put together some pointers to make this choice a bit easier for you by highlighting factors to consider before you decide. 


Is the lodge located in an area that has the wildlife you particularly want to see? 

For instance, if you’re particularly interested in seeing rare and endangered animals, you might want to choose a lodge close to The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.  They do outstanding conservation work with various endangered species like cheetah, wild dogs, rhino, leopards, ground hornbills and sable antelope. 

If you’re keen to see the Big Five – lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants, and rhino – check that the lodge you’re considering will give you that opportunity. 

Similarly, are there particular activities you would like to do?

Check if your lodge will make it possible to participate in some of the wonderful activities available in the Greater Kruger area, like:

  • Doing a wilderness trail
  • Exploring the charming towns of Sabie, Pilgrims Rest, and the walking trails in the area
  • Visiting a reptile park
  • Having a guided game drive in the Kruger
  • Braving river rafting 
  • Taking a helicopter flight to appreciate Mpumalanga’s magnificent landscape  
  • Exploring the magnificent Blyde River Canyon and other scenic spots 
  • Pampering yourself with an indulgent spa treatment
  • Enjoying an incredible immersive encounter with elephants 
  • Doing an exhilarating aerial cable trail or tree-top ziplining challenge
  • Experiencing a cultural visit to a local village

Your budget

Budget is also an important consideration as some of the luxury lodges are more affordable than others, and can give you better value for money. And this doesn’t mean ‘cheap’ – it means getting the best for your money as regards the experience you’ll have, the wildlife you’ll see and the activities and facilities available to you. 

Another thing to keep an eye out for is special offers from lodges and/or tour operators. It could mean a fantastic stay at a lodge you mightn’t ordinarily be able to afford if you can travel outside of peak seasons. 

Are you considering including other destinations as well?

Travellers often wish to include more than one area or destination during their visit. It would therefore make good sense to choose a luxury lodge that is conveniently located to this other area, airport, town, or destination to facilitate ease of travelling and transport. Those visiting the Kruger often also like to spend some time in Cape Town, for example. 


This is particularly important if you’re going to be travelling with children. Many lodges won’t allow children below a certain age, and most lodges won’t allow babies and toddlers on game drives. 

Check whether the lodge of your choice will allow your kiddies to come along and whether it has childminding services. Many lodges also have wonderful programmes and activities for children which will hugely improve the experience for you and your children. Many lodges cater specifically for couples and honeymooners, whilst others are more family friendly. 

If you’re an enthusiastic foodie, check whether the lodge is renowned for its table, wine cellar or any specialised cuisine. If you’re very active, does it have a gym or activities that you will enjoy? If you love pampering, does it have a spa that will soothe your body and mind? 

In short, ask yourself whether you and the lodge you’re considering will be a good ‘fit’! 


Considering when you can or want to travel is also very significant. If you don’t like heat, going to the Greater Kruger in summer (November – March) is probably not the best idea! Temperatures often peak at above 40°C/104°F, and are frequently coupled with high humidity. In this case, the dry and much cooler winter season would probably be better for you.

The same applies if you are planning a trip north of the equator when the two wet seasons, March – July, and September – mid-October, make for much tougher travelling conditions. 


You also have to look at your transport situation. 

If you want to hire a car, is that feasible in view of the lodge you’ve chosen? 

If you prefer to fly, does the lodge of your choice have a landing strip, or will they collect you from the airport? 

If you would prefer a self-drive safari will the lodge allow self-drives or do they only offer guided game drives?


The right choice of luxury lodge can make a huge difference to your luxury safari experience. It’s very important that you feel at home, welcome and ‘in sync’ with the lodge you stay at. You need to feel comfortable in the area and with the ethos the lodge projects. 

If you are passionate about conservation, stay in a lodge that shares your values. If privacy is paramount for you, choose a small and intimate lodge that places a premium on exactly that. If you’re very active, choose a lodge with a good gym, nature walks, horse riding or cycling. 

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