The wilderness of the bush is what many holidays are made of – out in the open where tar turns to gravel or sand, far removed from city life, in a space where nature comes into her own. What better way to appreciate the bush experience than with your family or a small group of friends in an intimate setting that you can call your own for a few days, where your every need is catered to as you recharge on a safari getaway.
Kwafubesi Tented Safari Camp
Tucked away in the acacia-dotted bushveld of Mabula Game Reserve, you’ll find Kwafubesi Tented Safari Camp – an intimate camp that was refurbished with a stylish, contemporary look ahead of the holidays. The five sumptuously appointed safari tents, each on a raised wooden platform with a private deck, showcase incredible views of the savannah and are arranged in such a manner to offer privacy. Kwafubesi’s sophisticated décor, earthy colours and natural materials ensure it seamlessly blends into its surrounding environment.
Each spacious tent is done up in tasteful safari-style décor reminiscent of ‘Out of Africa’, with queen-size beds, fully appointed bathrooms and outdoor showers to allow travellers to reconnect with nature. The small camp is ideal for couples looking for a romantic stay or for families, friends and small groups looking for a captivating African bush experience, only two hours’ drive from Johannesburg. When you’re not on a game drive, enjoying the splash pool, or relaxing at Mabula Spa, the new waterhole offers unrivalled game and bird viewing from up close. It is strategically placed between the expansive plains and the lodge’s dining and lounge areas, where guests can savour delectable South African cuisine and experience stellar service.
Set within the malaria-free Thanda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, the private Villa iZulu offers an exclusive safari hideaway with five suites for up to 10 guests. This thatched homestead comes complete with a chef dedicated to the group, who can pair meals with unsurpassable vintages from the villa’s very own wine cellar. Set amidst luscious green lawns that are fenced off from the surrounding African bush, Thanda Private Game Reserve is home to the Big 5 and over 400 bird species.
The villa’s vast wooden viewing deck overlooks a water hole that’s often frequented by wildlife making it ideal for photographs. At the villa, guests can spend their time between the heated swimming pool, library or games area.
The reserve showcases its natural beauty through sunrise or sunset game drives, walking safaris and photographic excursions. Children are entertained as part of an interactive educational wildlife Junior Ranger programme, as well as child minding services, which makes Villa iZulu perfect for a family or small group safari getaway.
The five-star Safari Plains in Mabula Private Game Reserve allows guests to relax and rejuvenate amidst the tranquillity of the African bush. The exquisite beauty of wide-open savannahs, abundant wildlife and spectacular vistas make it a majestic wilderness destination within close driving distance of the city.
The luxurious camp, which was fully renovated in 2022, is centred around a high-ceilinged dining room, elegant lounge, bar area, curio shop, spa and swimming pool with free wireless internet throughout. From here, 20 safari-style tented suites are scattered along winding, sandy pathways within the natural indigenous bushveld. Each one has a private timber wrap-around deck that offers romantic outdoor seating for guests to relax and enjoy the panoramic views from the privacy of their deck.
All tented suites are well-appointed with sunken baths, separate showers and toilets. The hospitality armoire offers a fully stocked mini-bar fridge, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and a gym bag for in-room use. Air-conditioning ensures that guests are comfortable year-round, regardless of seasonal temperature changes.
Six of the luxury tents offer a slightly larger main area and private sala, which is ideal for whiling away a lazy afternoon, while the family-style safari and luxury tents consist of a second bedroom with twin beds.
The Private House at Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve
For the best of both worlds – the beach and the bush – book a stay at the Private House at Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve, near Port Alfred along the Eastern Cape’s Sunshine Coast. This is where the sun almost always shines, which means it’s a good choice for a holiday destination. Spend your time between nature drives and guided sunrise walks or afternoons spent walking along the private 13km beach, followed by sunbathing on the deck. Be sure to keep your eyes open for Southern Right Whales spyhopping out of the water during whale season.
The three en-suite bedrooms in the private house offer everything to make it the ideal getaway for a small group, from a large entertainment area with a big screen TV to a fully stocked bar, private plunge pool on the wooden deck, and the option for in-house dining and spa treatments. On cooler nights, the wood-burning fireplace makes for a cosy retreat with a meal of locally sourced meat or seafood cooked prepared by your private chef.
Hamiltons Tented Camp
For a special treat in the Kruger National Park, look no further than Hamiltons Tented Camp in the heart of the Mluwati Concession.
Named after the legendary Colonel Stevenson Hamilton, first warden of the Kruger National Park, Hamiltons has relaunched recently with newly refashioned and restored tented suites to include a gorgeous outdoor “Sala” complete with a relaxation area, minibar, and private plunge pool.
The existing tented suites have had a soft refurbishment whilst the showers have had a makeover that includes the installation of a French door opening on to the river-side deck. The elegant lounge and dining areas have been enhanced and refreshed.
The new private dining deck with a firepit feature will enchant everyone whilst they enjoy a privileged position on the edge of the N’waswitsontso River.
Your last-minute break is within reach. Start the new year restored and rejuvenated, having reconnected with yourself and loved ones with one of South Africa’s treasured bush breaks.