Today: Top 10 most luxurious hotels & lodges in South Africa
South Africa – one is the planet’s most hauntingly beautiful country – holds a special place in my heart since I spent part of medical training here. The country offers an epic diversity of majestic landscapes, from the jagged peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains and the vast landscapes of the Karoo desert, to the stunning coastal scenery of the Cape Peninsula and the endless savannas of the Kruger National Park. But it’s not only the unsurpassed natural scenery that travelers are raving about. Observing Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), whale watching, the enjoyable climate, delicious food, excellent wines, the world’s most beautiful city, and above all the warm hospitality of its diverse population make the rainbow nation a must-see destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. South Africa also harbors some of the finest and most luxurious hotels & lodges in the world that match the breathtaking scenery. To ensure that you find the right hotel for your next African adventure , I have compiled a top 10 list of my favorite hotels & lodges in South Africa.
There is more information (with reviews & Youtube clips) below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel in South Africa in the comments section!
Formerly known as The Westcliff, the iconic hillside hotel closed its doors in June 2013 for an ambitious $56 million USD renovation, reopening to the public in December 2014 as a Four Seasons property. Perched on a cliffside, this resort-style retreat offers panoramic views over the neighbouring Johannesburg Zoo and the dense tree canopy of the city’s prestigious northern suburbs. The ambience is like a sun-splashed Mediterranean village laced with courtyards, fountains and gardens. Fully transformed, the hotel’s approximately 114 guest rooms and suites offer cool, contemporary décor inspired by modern Africa. Four Seasons Hotel Westcliff Johannesburg is a lively social hub for the city’s elite, and the first choice for business and holiday travellers – providing a pampering start or finish for a South African safari.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff
- Tip: get complimentary VIP persk when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD spa credit).
- Review: read my review of the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff here.
Nestled in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains north of Cape Town, South Africa, lies Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, an ideal refuge to feel the pulse of an extraordinary and ancient landscape. The lodge offers a distinctive wilderness experience among open plains, ancient sandstone formations, and over 130 sites of bush art paintings, some dating back as far as 10,000 years. The breathtaking beauty and timeless tranquility of the wide open plains, majestic rock formations and crystal clear waterfalls reconnect guests with life’s true essence. As a Relais & Châteaux property, the lodge offers splendid luxury, generous hospitality and all modern amenities. Bushmans Kloof consists of 16 luxurious guest rooms and suites, as well as Koro Lodge, a private, fully-catered villa close to the main lodge.
- Hotel website: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, an,d $100 USD resort credit).
The Silo Hotel is a magical space towering above the V&A Waterfront surrounded by the natural wonder of South Africa’s Mother City. The Silo has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). From the outside, the greatest visible change to the building’s original structure is the addition of pillowed glazing panels, inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors, which bulge outward as if gently inflated. By night, this transforms the building into a glowing lantern or beacon in the harbor. The Silo hotel has 28 lofty rooms, including a spectacular one bedroom penthouse, which all come with lovely freestanding bathtubs and balconies. A highlight of the hotel is its spectacular wraparound rooftop terrace, which features an infinity pool, two bars and several lounge areas.
- Hotel website: The Silo Cape Town
- Other accolades: The Silo features in my in my top 10 list of the best hotels in Cape Town.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
- Review: read my review of The Silo Hotel Cape Town here.
Permanently stationed on the historically-rich Selati Bridge above the Sabie River in Kruger National Park, Kruger Shalati offers the most unique luxury accommodation in a re-envisioned train which pays homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago. The train celebrates where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s: the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati is positioned. The hotel offers 31 rooms, consisting of 24 carriage rooms and 7 Bridge House rooms, all of which provide a deeply visceral experience, tailored for immersive comfort. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, an enthralling break or to simply immerse yourself in earth’s finest creations, Kruger Shalati welcomes you on a journey of discovery with nature in the most extraordinary way imaginable.
- Hotel website: Kruger Shalati – The Train on the Bridge
- Other accolades: Kruger Shalati, the Train on the Bridge also features in my top 10 list of the best safari lodges in South Africa.
- Review: read my review of Kruger Shalati here.
Londolozi Game Reserve, Member of Relais & Châteaux, is one of the original safari camps in South Africa. Four generations of family-run hospitality and 40 years of experience hosting ecotourism have culminated in an entirely unique and transcendent bushveld experience for the discerning guest. Guests can choose from one of four small camps or stay in one of just three exclusive Private Granite Suites, each built with nature in mind and designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding habitat. Londolozi offers some of the most spectacular game viewing in an ideal setting, with the some of the highest densities of wild leopards in the world. The Londolozi Healing House experience also offers guests to combine the core safari excursions with artful resting, curated bodywork and yoga in the surrounds of the expansive wilderness presence of Londolozi.
Mont Rochelle is a stunning 26-bedroom hotel and vineyard just under an hour’s drive from Cape Town in the town of Franschhoek in South Africa. Franschhoek is a traditional vineyard town in the Western Cape Province famously known as the French Corner of the Cape and is considered to be the food and wine capital of South Africa. Located at the foot of the gorgeous Klein Dassenberg Mountain Range, Mont Rochelle was purchased by Sir Richard Branson in 2014 and is now part of the exclusive Virgin Limited Edition collection which also includes Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. The hotel offers its (often famous) guests the ultimate in privacy and relaxation, in addition to a superb culinary experience accompanied by some outstanding wines (the hotel’s vineyard processes close to 150 tons of grapes in a season). Mont Rochelle also has two dedicated spa treatment rooms as well as a Hammam.
- Hotel website: Mont Rochelle
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and ZAR 1300 gift shop, spa or food & beverage credit to be utilized during stay).
Situated in the heart of Bantry Bay (one of Cape Town’s most exclusive neighborhoods), Ellerman House, Member of Relais & Châteaux, is an elegant mansion just ten minutes away from the city center and within walking distance of Clifton and Camps Bay beaches. The true splendor of the property rests in faithful preservation of its historical architecture, combined with discreet hospitality and efficient service reflecting the ambience experienced only in the comfort and familiarity of home. Whether you choose the luxurious atmosphere of Ellerman House (which comprises 13 bedrooms) or the modern-art-gallery style of its two three-bedroom villas, you will fall under the spell of an address that lets you relish all the pleasures of Cape Town. Enjoy dining on gourmet cuisine, tasting fine vintage wines, and surveying the impressive private art collection; plus, the ocean view is spectacular!
- Hotel website: Ellerman House
- Other accolades: Ellerman House also features in my top 10 list of the best hotels in Cape Town.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a paired chocolate and South African Brandy tasting with a sommelier, and 10% discount on first spa treatment).
- Review: read my review of Ellerman House here.
Singita Lebombo Lodge is a celebration of cutting-edge design in an African context where everything defers to nature. This dramatic lodge comprises 13 suites and one villa that give guests a front row seat to the Kruger National Park with bold, contemporary open plan suites suspended above the N’Wanetsi River. The exclusive concession is a richly diverse habitat, teeming with game, beneath endless African skies. Other highlights of the lodge include a roof terrace and wine studio (a multi-level retreat which boasts a library, multi-media room, wine studio and rooftop viewing area), an interactive kitchen, and a lovely lap pool. All communal areas of the lodge have been pushed out to ensure that the outside bursts in, offering elegant, calm and meditative spaces immersed in a dramatic landscape of giant euphorbia trees.
- Hotel website: Singita Lebombo Lodge
- Other accolades: Singita Lebombo Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the best safari lodges in South Africa.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a Virtuoso gift to the value of $100 USD equivalent per adult couple).
Set along the banks of the Sabie River and attracting abundant “big five” wildlife from Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park, Lion Sands has four luxurious lodges: River Lodge, Ivory Lodge, Tinga Lodge, and Narina Lodge. Ivory Lodge, which was completely renovated in 2017, is the understated jewel in the Lion Sands crown and the most exclusive safari lodge of South Africa. The ultra-luxe lodge is all about elegance, with an aura of sophistication yet simplicity, boldness yet balance, ebony and ivory, perfect harmony, exclusivity, sensitivity and complete privacy. The 8 one-bedroom Villas and 1 two-bedroom Fish Eagle Villa have their own private rim flow plunge pools with magnificent views over the Sabie River, allowing guests to cool down from the hot African sun while watching animals as they quench their thirst a mere stone’s throw away.
- Hotel website: Lion Sands Ivory Lodge
- Other accolades: Lion sands Ivory Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the best safari lodges in South Africa.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a 60 min massage for two).
- Review: read my review of Lion Sands Ivory Lodge here.
Situated in a perfect position on the banks of the Sand River – in the heart of the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve – lies &Beyond Tengile River Lodge. The magnificent lodge features nine enormous, air-conditioned, secluded suites, dotted in the dappled shade of the bushveld, each with panoramic river views. In addition to a master bedroom, bathroom and outdoor shower, there is a lounge, dining area, fully-stocked bar, coffee station, and an outdoor deck with private lap pool. For families, two of the lodge’s suites are joined by a covered walkway to create a family suite. The lodge’s guest area offers a mixed selection of open, interactive and private places. Bespoke furniture, lights and unique décor pieces have been created from skilled local artists and striking fabrics have been masterfully hand-painted.
- Hotel website: &Beyond Tengile River Lodge
- Other accolades: &Beyond Tengile River Lodge also features in my top 10 lists of the most fabulous &Beyond lodges in the world and the best safari lodges in South Africa.
- Review: read my review of &Beyond Tengile River Lodge here.