Celebrating another top 5-star lodge, we tell you the story of Savanna Private Game Reserve.
An exclusive 5 star lodge, Savanna is situated in the internationally famous Sabi Sand Reserve within the greater Kruger National Park conservancy. Savanna lies in an area where ‘Big 5’ sightings are so frequent, it is not unusual to see lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino in a single game drive.
Specially designed game viewing vehicles and highly trained guides with vast knowledge of the African bushveld, take guests on close and intimate encounters with a large variety of wildlife. Numerous nearby dams and a series of waterholes in front of the lodge attract many species, especially in the dry winter months when elephants are daily visitors.
A close-knit team of friendly staff provides personalised service with each guest regarded as a valued friend. From the moment they arrive guests feel part of the Savanna ‘family’. Nine magnificent suites offer spacious and luxurious accommodation. Seven of the suites have tented roofs, blending the elegance of a by-gone colonial era with all the convenience of modern facilities.
Relaxing in the comfort of the public lounge with its spacious patio, or at the main pool looking out over the lush gardens and floodlit waterhole, the guests are treated with fantastic views of birds and the never-ending wildlife that drink at the waterhole. The barman is constantly tipping up your drinks, you are also able to sit in the viewing loft above the lounge. This makes a pleasant nook for a quiet game of chess while listening to the bush life.
Land Rovers have been specially modified for guests’ comfort and safety with bucket seats separated by large storage boxes. In order to maximize photographic opportunities, there are never more than two people in a row unless guests request otherwise. The vehicles are set up to seat seven but can easily be adapted to seat 10 guests if required. In addition, there are never more than two vehicles at a sighting, except with very relaxed animals in open terrain, in which case three vehicles are allowed. The afternoon game drive includes a stop for sun downers while marveling at the splendor of an African sunset, and the absolute tranquility of the bush. On the morning drive there is a tea/coffee stop with the famous Savanna Amarula hot chocolate or coffee a highly recommended alternative for the more adventurous at heart.
Optional game walks are offered to guests who would like to experience the fauna and flora on foot. Led by an armed ranger and tracker, they provide fascinating insight into the geology and botany of the area. Trackers who have grown up in local villages impart a wealth of information on the uses of bushveld trees and plants in tribal customs and rituals, as well as their herbal and medicinal properties and practical applications. A peeled twig from one tree, for instance, makes a good toothbrush while the silky leaves of another provide the softest toilet paper.
Walks generally take place in the area around Savanna Lodge in between game drives and meals but if guests prefer, a longer walk can replace a drive or be incorporated as part of a drive. The thrill of quietly approaching game while on foot, of close encounters with the smaller creatures and the myriads of wild flowers and beautiful butterflies they attract in summer, brings an added dimension to the magic of an African safari.
THE SAVANNA SUITES
The Savanna Suite is an opulent home away from home under thatch. Two large, beautifully furnished bedrooms lie on either side of an inter-connecting lounge. Each has an outsized bathroom with free-standing bath, double vanities, double shower and toilet. The bathrooms open onto paved outdoor showers. The bedrooms have glass doors with screens leading out onto covered patios, plunge pools and private waterholes in the bush.
The lounge is a harmonious meld of elegance and comfort with couches grouped around a television and DVD centre, and a cosy reading nook in front of the fireplace. Step through sliding glass doors onto a large covered patio where candle-lit dinners or private pre-dinner cocktails may be enjoyed. An attached fully equipped kitchen and guest restroom complete the impression of being in one’s own exquisite home.
The Savanna Suite’s unique facilities are much in demand by families who would like to have their children under the same roof but not in the same bedroom, or groups of friends wishing to spend quality time together. A butler in attendance at dinner and a private game viewing vehicle with dedicated ranger and tracker to take care of all their needs completes the Savanna Suite package.
THE FOOD AND WINE
Gourmet dining is an essential component of the Savanna safari experience. Breakfasts provide full English fare plus fresh fruits, yogurts, pastries, home-made mueslis and Savanna’s famous ‘smoothies’. An innovative lunch buffet offers a large variety of salads, hot meat and vegetable dishes and cheeses, as well as a kiddies’ menu for youngsters who prefer simpler meals.
Candle-lit dinners, with traditional local dishes adding spice to the best international fare, are served on the deck of the main lodge. On balmy nights, sumptuous barbecues are enjoyed under the stars round a blazing fire in an open-air ‘boma’ or in a candle-lit clearing in the bush. Guests are often treated to the stirring voices of a local choir who entertain during dinner. Cuisine is of the highest standard, with much emphasis on quality and presentation, complemented by award winning wines, imported and local, from Savanna’s well-stocked wine cellar.
We highly recommend a 3 to 4-night stay at Savanna, as you will always be pleasantly surprised by the food, wine, luxury and constant 5 five and even the small 5.