Situated in the Southwest corner of Kruger National Park — one of Africa’s largest and most dense game reserves — the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is an award-winning reserve that offers world-class standards in luxury accommodation, wildlife activities, personal service and outstanding cuisine. With the experience of 40 years in the area, the Sabi Sabi currently presents four different lodges: Selati Camp, Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp and Earth Lodge. South Africa and its warm hospitality echo through the style and flavor of each and every one. Here we’ll present Earth Lodge.
In January 2015 the National Geographic Society – the famous organization committed to educate people about science, geography, history, nature and world culture – launched a list of the Unique Lodges of the World and the Earth Lodge was part of it. The selection had the intention of presenting and promoting rare experiences, offering guests intimate encounters with parts of the world we usually don’t have the opportunity to know. And also, the chance to slow down and discover new places. According to National Geographic, the lodges included are deeply rooted in their communities and dedicated to protecting the surrounding habitats and cultures, committed to the environment and sustainability of the area.
Earth Lodge is one of the four exclusive, carefully designed luxury lodges in the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. The resort comprises thirteen spacious villas, a gym, a bar, a library, a spa, an open-air lounge and restaurant, plus a wine cellar, available for private dining.
Built into a natural slope in the land, the property blends perfectly with the surrounding landscape. The walls and ceilings are sculpted from a mix of cement and mud (you can still see twigs and roots in them), and the roofs are covered over with dirt and grass.
A series of sliding doors flood the room with natural light, giving way to the private pool and deck area, beyond which lies a vast and wild landscape, complete with a watering hole at which animals can frequently be seen drinking and bathing. It is not uncommon during your stay for a leopard to find its way onto the roof of your suite, or for a group of elephants to take a drink in your private plunge pool – but don’t worry, it’s completely safe.
But the most incredible reason to visit the Earth Lodge is the safari. The property is home to some 200 species, including the Big Five (elephant, rhinoceros, lion, leopard, and buffalo), as well as cheetah, wild dog, hyena, and giraffe.
The facility with which animals move in and around the 60,000-hectare reserve is a testament to Sabi Sabi’s sustained commitment to conservation and to preserving an environment in which the animals feel relaxed and unthreatened. This is carried out in several ways – from the strict controls that prevent more than a certain number of safari vehicles viewing certain creatures (and even then, only from a respectful distance) to the absence of fencing, which allows wildlife to stroll through the accommodation’s grounds.
When there are animals on the property, the front desk calls all the guests to warn them to stay inside. Also, guests are not allowed to walk around by themselves at night so a ranger will escort them if necessary. The reserve also invests into anti-poaching units, which have contributed to a dramatic decline in the killing and maiming of rhinos in the area, as well as into the education and training of the local Shangaan communities, from which many of the staff are drawn.
Each morning and evening you will depart from this luxury safari lodge into the wilderness, either by open safari vehicle or on foot for a walking safari, accompanied by your armed and knowledgeable Game Ranger and Shangaan Tracker. The trained staff makes it their mission to get you in front of the animals while also teaching you about them along the way. And during the afternoon, while waiting for the safari, guests can relax by their pool, work out in the gym, indulge with a massage or skin treatment at the lodge’s Amani Spa, or just sit over a long lunch or enjoy the wellstocked in-room bar.
A perfect destination for nature and animal lovers who will enjoy the bubbling fountains, onsite watering hole, and the number of indoor-outdoor spaces where you can sit and spot wildlife. The luxurious accommodations also make the property popular among people celebrating special occasions such as couples on their honeymoon.