Luxury safari South Africa - private safari package

Close up of Cheetah drinking at Royal Malewane in Thornybush private game reserve, Greater Kruger National park safari area


Top reasons to choose a luxury safari in South Africa

Incredibly close encounters with the Big Five and other wildlife

South Africa is synonymous with thrilling up close wildlife encounters. Game viewing is done in open vehicles. Leaving the road to approach animals is permitted in select luxury private reserves and is done in a sensitive and responsible manner. Top safari guides bring their guests incredibly close to the Big 5 and to a great variety of other animals and beautiful birds.

Luxury lodges that are very exclusive, yet easily accessible

Provided that your international flight arrives in the morning, a same-day connection is available to most of the luxury safari destinations in South Africa. There are daily local scheduled flights into the small but modern rural airports located close to the reserves. Roads from there to the reserves are generally in good condition. Or alternatively light aircraft flights can take guests directly to the bush airstrips inside the reserves. Total travel time (air and road) is often less than 2 hours.

Diversified safari itinerary, all within one country

Greater Kruger National Park, encompassing acclaimed private game reserves such as the Sabi Sand and Thornybush, needs no introduction as a world famous premier game viewing destination. For a diversified South African luxury safari itinerary, combine the Greater Kruger with Madikwe game reserve, Tswalu Kalahari reserve or an exclusive luxury private reserve in the Eastern Cape Addo region. Each of these present a different landscape with its own unique fauna and flora.

Exquisite sleep-out decks

Spend an optional night in a luxurious star bed on a safari sleep-out deck in the middle of a vast game reserve. Fall asleep under the brilliant African night sky, surrounded by the calls of nocturnal animals. Then wake at sunrise to birdsong and watch the first rays of the sun come over the horizon. 

Spectacular black-maned Kalahari lions

Although the lions in the South African Kalahari are of the same species as other lions across Africa, the Kalahari male lions are more spectacular. They are larger than most other males and have beautiful black manes.

Elusive small carnivore sightings

Apart from jackal that are common and easy to observe, most other small carnivores are nocturnal and elusive and therefore catching sight of them is very special and unique. The Kalahari is probably the best place on earth to view aardvark and pangolin, especially in winter when they sometimes even emerge in daylight to forage for food. Madikwe and the Eastern Cape reserves also offer good sightings of aardvark, as well as aardwolf. Other elusive small carnivores that could possibly be seen on a luxury safari in South Africa include silver fox, wild cat, bat eared fox, caracal, honey badger and genet. 

Thriving population of African wild dog

Madikwe in the North-West province of South Africa is arguably one of the very best places to observe the rare African wild dog - one of the world's most endangered mammals. The reserve has a thriving population of these beautiful and fascinating animals and they roam the park in more than one pack. Since they have become somewhat accustomed to safari vehicles, photographic opportunities can often be quite special.

Frequent leopard sightings

Leopards are very elusive animals and therefore one of the the most difficult big predators to observe. In the private luxury reserves surrounding the Kruger National Park, leopard sightings are however, quite frequent. Excellent trackers and guides bring their safari guests to within meters of these magnificent creatures.

Bush luxury beyond compare 

The accessibility of the safari areas in South Africa has lead to the creation of ultra-luxurious stylish safari lodges that offer bush luxury beyond compare: exquisitely decorated opulent rooms contain heavenly over-sized beds and magnificent palatial bathrooms; blissful sensory experiences are to be had at the sublime bush spas; and passionate chefs create sumptuous feasts accompanied by the finest wines from the Cape - all of this in glorious unspoiled bush settings. 

Malaria-free luxury safari options

Some of South Africa's premier wildlife areas are malaria-free and therefore particularly suitable for young children and expecting mothers.

Bush and beach, wildlife and wine, animals and art

South Africa has much more to offer than just wildlife viewing a memorable luxury African safari. For a bush and beach experience, combine your safari in a luxury private game reserve with the magnificent pristine beaches and awesome marine encounters on the Cape Whale coast. Or incorporate the beautiful historic architecture, the gourmet food and lovely wines of the Cape Winelands. And give your luxury Southern African safari a cultural twist by staying a few days in Cape Town, fast becoming the art and design capital of Africa.

Gateway into the rest of Southern Africa

OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa is the regional air transport hub for the whole of Southern Africa. Combining a luxury South African safari with luxury safaris in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia is a popular option, as is adding in a luxury adventure at Victoria Falls Livingstone or a luxury beach break in Mozambique.

Our preferred luxury safari lodges in South Africa

On request your personal safari itinerary could include alternative South African luxury camps or lodges.


  • Luxury safari lodges in the acclaimed Sabi Sand private game reserve, Greater Kruger national park safari area.
  • Modern, sophisticated and secluded Pioneer camp. Stylish exclusive Tree camp. Bold & contemporary Private Granite suites. Child-friendly and enchanting Founders camp. Historic down-to-earth Varty camp.
  • Dawn and dusk game drives, bush walks, bush breakfasts and adventure picnics, tracking, sleep outs, yoga, massages, gym. Cubs Den children's program at selected lodges. Optional scenic helicopter flight.
Spectacular leopard viewing at Londolozi in the Sabi Sand private game reserve, South Africa


  • Luxury lodges on an Eastern Cape large private game reserve. Big 5, excellent nocturnal viewing, river frontage.
  • Four luxurious options: modern and trendy Ecca lodge, African-inspired Great Fish River lodge, contemporary warm and humorous Melton Manor; historic and romantic Uplands Homestead 
  • Dawn and dusk game drives, interpretive bush walks, fishing, bush meals & picnics. Optional scenic coastal flights, rhino darting & monitoring, big game walking safaris, specialist blue crane birding safaris.
Up close cheetah viewing on safari at Kwandwe private game reserve, Eastern Cape South Africa


  • Luxury safari accommodation in one of South Africa's largest wildlife reserves - Madikwe game reserve. Wide range of wildlife includes Big 5 and African Wild Dog.
  • Sole-use luxury bush villas of various sizes: lavish Owner's House, peaceful River House, unpretentious yet stylish Farm House. Own chef, butler, hostess, nanny (if needed), housekeeper, safari guide and tracker.
  • No schedules. All activities are private: game drives, bush walks, fishing (catch & release), bird watching, sleepovers at the hide, massages, water fun for families.
Guests at Morukuru in Madikwe game reserve observing a pack African Wild Dog


  • Royal Portfolio exquisite luxury safari lodge and villa in renowned Thornybush private nature reserve, Greater Kruger National Park safari area. Astounding variety of animals including Big 5. Excellent leopard sightings.
  • Luxury suites, Royal suites, sole-use Africa House. All offer unadulterated luxury, world-class hospitality and service, unrivalled aesthetic pleasures, finest cuisine, astounding attention to detail, untainted wild surrounds. 
  • Dawn and dusk game drives, bush walks. Optional spa, scenic helicopter flight, golf, community visit.
A huge herd of buffalo seen by guests on safari at Royal Malewane in Thornybush, Greater Kruger National Park


  • Luxury safari lodge on a private concession in Madikwe game reserve - prime game viewing including the Big Five and African wild dog.
  • Eight secluded luxurious suites hidden in lush riverine forest, constructed from wood, local stone and thatch. Glass-walled bedrooms for uninterrupted views. Spacious and opulent bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers. Secluded bush spa, gym, infinity swimming pool. 
  • Morning and evening game drives, guided walks, birding, bush dinners and sundowners. Star-view sleep-out hide.
Glass-walled suites for awesome views at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge in Madikwe, South Africa


  • Singita luxury lodges located on a private isolated piece of pristine wilderness in the Kruger National Park. Scenic landscape of unique rocky outcrops. Home to a variety of wildlife including famously large prides of lion and the other Big Five.
  • Singita Lebombo lodge sits dramatically perched on a cliff face above the Nwanetsi river; Singita Sweni nestles beautifully among the trees on the river edge.
  • Dawn and dusk game drives, guided walks, mountain biking, archery lessons. Spa.
Thrilling leopard sighting on safari at Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa


  • Luxury safari accommodation in the renowned Sabi Sand game reserve, Greater Kruger National Park safari area. Renowned for up-close game viewing of the Big Five including frequent leopard sightings. 
  • Three ultra-luxurious options: Singita Ebony lodge epitomizes homely elegant comfort; Singita Boulders lodge reflects contemporary tranquility;Singita Castleton is a sole-use lodge reminiscent of an African farmhouse. 
  • Dawn and dusk game drives & walks. Spa, scenic heli flight, mountain biking, archery lessons, community visit.
Guests on an African safari at Singita Sabi Sand get real close to  lion


  • Luxury safari lodges in South Africa’s largest private game reserve (Oppenheimer family). Unique spectacular red sand Kalahari scenery. Privacy, exclusivity, flexibility
  • Tarkuni: homestead for small groups. The Motse: lodge with individual suites and family suites. Exquisite Malori sleep-out deck. Spa, outdoor yoga. 
  • Also rare and and elusive wildlife : desert black rhino, black-maned Kalahari lion, aardvark, aardwolf, pangolin, porcupine. Game drives, bush walks, horseback safaris, meerkat encounters, rhino tracking, night walks.
Lion cubs seen playing with a porcupine on safari at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa

When we plan private packages for luxury safari trips in Southern Africa, we use the above hand-picked top end exclusive luxury safari lodges and camps in South Africa. On request, your personal safari itinerary could include other luxurious destinations. If you have a luxury family safari or luxury honeymoon safari in South Africa in mind, be sure to mention this as it will influence our choice of luxury accommodation in South Africa.

Best time of year for a luxury safari in South Africa

South Africa is a year-round safari destination. Most of the safari areas of South Africa receive summer rains. Short thunder storms can be expected, usually in the afternoon, from roughly September to April. During this period the bush is lush and green and the vegetation thick in places. Many baby animals are born. Birding is at its best, with the males of many bird species in colorful breeding plumage and migrant summer visitors present. Driving off road is not possible when it is very wet. In winter the bush is usually dry and the sparse vegetation makes for excellent game viewing. It can be quite cold on early morning game drives during this time of year - roughly May to August.

Contact us for a tailor-made African luxury safari itinerary that includes the very best of South Africa

We create a private luxury African safari package, tailor-made to suit your own specific profile and requirements. On request we can also create an entirely malaria-free luxury South African safari itinerary. For an extended luxury African safari we recommend to combine your South African luxury safari with luxury camps and lodges in other Southern Africa countries. On request your luxury safari in South Africa can also be combined with luxury safari camps and lodges in East Africa, but this will involve more travelling.

More Southern African safaris

East African safaris