South Africa: Lodge Showcase - Back to nature in comfort and style

South Africa's bush lodges are starting to rival top hotels for facilities and luxury. Jane Dunford reports.

SABI SABI, www.sabisabi.com

The 25-suite Bush Lodge in Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve next to the Kruger National Park has been rebuilt, with new outdoor viewing decks and a pool. The reception areas have been given a facelift with a more informal feel. The old Londolozi Safari Lodge within the reserve will reopen as Little Bush Camp in March, with six luxury thatch-roofed suites.

JOCK SAFARI LODGE, www.jocksafarilodge.com

The first private concession to open in the heart of the Kruger National Park, Jock Safari Lodge has 12 luxury thatched suites, each with its own sala outdoor lounge area and plunge pool, with stunning views across the confluence of two rivers. The design marries Zulu and Shangann influences with colonial, old-world elegance. Some of the best game viewing in Africa awaits. After a day in a 4x4 on the trail of the park's big beasts, groups can come back and refresh themselves at the Pilgrim's Rest Spa.

SANBONA, www.sanbona.com

Sanbona is the biggest private game reserve in the Western Cape and is just three hours from Cape Town. Some £1.3m has been spent on restocking the park. There are four suites in the Khanni Lodge and six in Tilney Manor, a restored colonial house, which has a boardroom for 12.

BUSHMAN'S KLOOF, www.bushmanskloof.co.za

Bushman's Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat, some 160 miles north of Cape Town, has been refurbished. There's a new bar and two living rooms in the Homestead in the main lodge, and wireless internet access in the business room. Accommodation is across 16 luxurious rooms and suites.

MAKANYANE SAFARI LODGE, www.makanyane.com

Makanyane Safari Lodge is a new lodge, set in 3,400 acres of grounds within the Madikwe Game Reserve, three and a half hours from Johannesburg. Eight luxurious suites nestle on the banks of Marico River, with glass-walled bedrooms offering perfect viewing of the wildlife.

LEAWOOD LODGE, www.tala.co.za

Leawood Lodge is the latest addition at the Tala Private Game Reserve, 45 minutes outside Durban. Accommodation is in six thatched cottages, while the main building now boasts an infinity pool. Three other luxury lodges offer another 33 rooms, and there's a choice of more basic accommodation too. Conference facilities include the Acacia Venue, which can hold 200 theatre-style.

SINGITA LEBOMBO, www.singita.com

Set on the eastern boundary of Kruger National Park, the modern architecture of the two lodges sets them apart. The original Lebombo Lodge has 15 loft-style suites, while the Sweni Lodge, opened last year, has six. Both have private pools.

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