What to look out for when booking at a private game lodge in South Africa

Every game lodge we’ve visited in South Africa offers a truly unique experience. If you follow these guidelines, you will be sure to find one that meets your needs.

1. Accommodation

  • Take note of the type of accommodation offered, for example standard or luxury rooms, luxury tented camp, tree lodge, private villa or family room.
  • Does the accommodation type include amenities in line with your expectations, such as an outside shower, a private plunge pool or jacuzzi (spa bath), and a patio?

2. Amenities

In addition, lodges may have a pool, spa, lookout deck, terrapin hide, patio overlooking a dam, reading room, offer photographer safari tours, and wifi. Therefore, you need to consider which amenities are important to you and ensure that the lodge you visiting includes those that are most important to you.

3. Game Drives

The most exciting part of staying at a game lodge is the game drive! I can’t even wake up for work at 5am, but the thought of missing out on a great sighting is too much to bear.

Most importantly, keep an eye out for the following:

  • The number of game drives included per day. The daily rate should include two game drives per day; early morning and late afternoon.
  • The maximum number of people allowed per game vehicle.
  • Does the reserve have the Big 5?
  • Does the game drive include morning and afternoon drinks in the bush?

4. Meals

  • Most private game lodges in South Africa offer rates on an all inclusive basis. These usually include morning tea, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. But some lodges may skip the lunch service and offer a brunch instead.
  • All meals are included to the daily rate. Request the menu with prices if meals are not included.
  • One cannot leave the lodge at meal times, because they are generally secluded and out of town. Therefore, all meals will be consumed at the lodge.
  • Something to really look forward to is the cuisine at game lodges; especially where there are world class chefs.

5. Drinks

Each lodge has a different policy when it comes to drinks. In other words, all inclusive package may not include all types of drinks. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Are drinks included to the rate per day or not?
  • What type of drinks are included?
  • If drinks are not included, then request the price list to ensure that drinks are not over-priced and hence out of your budget. Locals, please note that most lodges cater for international tourists and based in remote locations so your drinks bill could come as a surprise.

6. Travelling with children or the elderly

  • Is the lodge family friendly? For instance, lodges cater for different types of tourists i.e. couples, honeymooners, families, big groups.
  • It will be worthwhile confirming if the lodge is suitable for children, with a kids pool, and entertainment?
  • Lodges have strict policies for children on game drives. Therefore, you may want to confirm directly with the lodge should you be travelling with children.
  • Lodges are either fenced off to the reserve or not. For instance, kids are unable to play around freely if they not.
  • Anyone elderly on the trip with you; make sure that there is wheelchair access, flat areas to avoid them having to climb stairs.

No matter where you end up, I hope you have the most unforgettable holiday, and a truly South African experience!

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