On my recent trip in Southern Africa, I stayed at Savanna Game Lodge (Savanna Private Reserve) in the Sabi Sand area of Kruger in South Africa.
This is a great unassuming little lodge. It’s small, very personal and has just the right amount of luxury without being over the top. The staff is young, but experienced, energetic and excited. They really made the stay. Everyone came up and introduced themselves right away. The staff seemed genuinely happy to be working there, and it was very obvious. The manager has been there for 13 years – that says a lot right there.
The grounds are nice and the main lounge area is welcoming and comfortable with a couple fireplaces, overstuffed leather couches, a computer with internet (and complimentary CDs for downloading and burning your pictures at the end of the day – nice touch!), a smoking lounge and a small dining area and boma. There is a small watering hole in front of the lodge and wildlife comes right up to drink, I saw warthog and bush buck.
There are three levels of rooms: luxury suite (4 rooms) which is the smallest, but still has a huge bathroom with soaking tub, outdoor and indoor showers, double sinks, toilet, big bed at the front, chairs and double doors that open to the verandah. The roof is canvas, but the walls are cement. Since there are so few rooms–just eight–and the space is so large, everything is very private. The next level up is the executive suite (3 rooms) which also has the tented roof and stone walls, but it’s much bigger. Same bathroom set up. Great linens, nice decor, comfortable sitting area and small writing desk. Really nice attention to detail. The nicest room is the Savanna suite (1, but two adjoining rooms can be booked separately without use of lounge area) with two adjoining rooms, a kosher kitchen (if required), private plunge pools and added privacy of being surrounded by gardens.
At dinner we sat out under the stars at a big table (only 5 of us staying there that night, but the next three nights they were full). The BEST meal I had the entire trip was here. They were great with my diet restrictions (they also have a Kosher kitchen) and went well out of their way to make the steak without the sauce and to modify the side dishes. The cut of beef was incredible and the entire meal was just such a pleasure. Nice conversation with the other guests and the camp managers. Our guide, Mike, ate with us, too. The personal service was perfect and I felt like they answered by requests before I could even think to ask. It just seemed so genuine and almost as though I was staying at a good friend’s house who just knows me that well vs. a 5*game lodge where they have to provide that level of service.
The guiding was superb. Mike, a 25-year-old South African had guided extensively before coming to Savanna and has a degree in zoology and biology. Smart, smart guy and was by far the best guide I had. I learned things about wildlife that I had never heard before. We had incredible sightings with wild dog, leopard with cub (Mike was literally shaking with excitement when we pulled up to both), rhino with baby, lion and lots more. Savanna has shared traversing rights into the neighboring reserves, so that’s nice. It doesn’t feel “small.”
Over all, I would most highly recommend this lodge to the follow types of travelers:
1) Families looking for luxury accommodations in an atmosphere where kids are truly welcome.
2) Travelers requiring a kosher menu.
3) Travelers looking for a small and intimate camp – great for first timers and also return travelers because it’s something different, small and unique.