The Very Best South Africa Luxury Hotel & Lodge Stays

K.C. Dermody

Written by Justin Mewse

July 2023

Why do we love South Africa so much? It’s like discovering a whole ‘world’ within just one country’. The landscapes are diverse, as are the types of holiday you can enjoy there.

…And then there are the luxury hotels and lodges. Each and every first-class stay we’ve featured on this specially curated collection of recommended holiday escapes boast fabulous locations, high-end attentive service and supreme comforts.

Hunter's Country House Hotel pool

Recommended Luxury Safari Stays

Luxury safari stays offer discerning travellers an unparalleled experience, combining gorgeously authentic accommodations, personalised service, and exclusive game drives amidst the captivating wilderness of Africa.

Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa, Limpopo Region

Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa is a luxurious, five-star private safari lodge and villa situated within the malaria-free Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg District of the Limpopo Province in South Africa. In an under three-hour drive or a one hour flight from Johannesburg, you can escape into this ideal safari destination to experience the magic of the Big 5 at home here in the African bush.

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Elephant at Mhondoro Safari Lodge

Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape

A stay at Shamwari Private Game Reserve is one that will remain with you forever. Due to its location in the heart of the Eastern Cape, the reserve offers abundant wildlife, fauna and flora exclusive to the area and unforgettable encounters with nature. Accommodations here range from premier lodges that offer gracious living and luxury explorer tented camps through to private villas.

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Shamwari Private Game Reserve's Eagles Crag

Gorah Elephant Camp, Eastern Cape

A stay at Shamwari Private Game Reserve is one that will remain with you forever. Due to its location in the heart of the Eastern Cape, the reserve offers abundant wildlife, fauna and flora exclusive to the area and unforgettable encounters with nature. Accommodations here range from premier lodges that offer gracious living and luxury explorer tented camps through to private villas.

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Gorah Elephant Camp

Simbambili Game Lodge, Kruger National Park

Simbambili Game Lodge is located in the northern part of the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park, an area renowned for its game viewing and prolific leopard sightings. Set amongst the old Knobthorns and Jackalberries, Simbambili offers sophisticated safari accommodation that echoes its unspoilt landscape. The lodge overlooks a waterhole so you’d be hard pressed to leave when you can watch a herd of elephants come down to drink or warthogs playing in the mud.

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Simbambili Game Lodge

Saseka Tented Camp, Kruger National Park

Perched on a bend of the seasonal Monwana River, Saseka Tented Camp is one of the most sought-after luxury safari destinations in the Greater Kruger Park area. Saseka means ‘beautiful’ in the local Tsonga language, and everything here from the tented suites to the relaxed atmosphere, the food and personal service, is just that.

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Saseka Tented Camp Suite

Recommended Luxury Garden Route Stays

Luxury Garden Route stays enchant travellers with indulgent accommodations, breathtaking coastal views, and bespoke experiences that immerse guests in the natural beauty and charm of this iconic South African journey.

Tsala Treetop Lodge, Between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay

Ideally situated between the coastal towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape, Tsala is a wonderful location from which to explore the beautiful Garden Route or just to spend time relaxing at the peaceful lodge. The magical allure of Tsala is irresistible to those who appreciate exclusivity, fine fare, romance and adventure. With beautiful private suites and villas, breathtaking views and forest seclusion, unique architectural design and excellent personal service, it is a fantastic get-away destination.

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Tsala Treetop Lodge & Villas

Hunter’s Country House, Between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay

Hunters Country House combines gracious elegance with sheer comfort and impeccable service with warm hospitality. Far from the madding crowd, yet conveniently close to a wide variety of leisure activities. Enjoy each of Hunter’s Country House luxurious room types, all individually designed and decorated with its own distinctive atmosphere. All have private patios and gardens, while certain suites have their own plunge pools. Guests staying at Hunter’s Country House have access to all the fantastic facilities available, when you’re not out exploring the wonderful Garden Route. You can soak up the sun, shop, read, enjoy a glass of wine or share their adventures with your family and friends.

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Hunter's Country House Hotel

Fancourt, Between Mossel Bay and Knysna

Fancourt, South Africa’s award-winning golf resort, is situated in the heart of the spectacular Garden Route, 7km from George Airport (GRJ). Spanning across 613 hectares of countryside at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains, Fancourt offers an unforgettable experience. The resort boasts two five-star hotels, the Fancourt Hotel and The Manor House Boutique Hotel.

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Fancourt golf

The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa, Knysna

A boutique 5 star hotel on Thesen Islands which offers guests luxurious Knysna accommodation options, exceptional cuisine, stunning views, and a range of world-class facilities. The Turbine Hotel & Spa was an ambitious project which transformed an old power station into a unique 5 star boutique Knysna hotel. All the old machinery which was used in this power station has been lovingly restored and forms an integral part of the hotel’s aesthetics. Soak up its fascinating history as you walk past massive turbines on the balcony and marvel at the intriguing steel pillars and pipes that now form part of its funky décor.

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The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa, Knysna

Recommended Luxury Cape Winelands Stays

Luxury Cape Winelands stays provide an exquisite escape, combining elegant vineyard accommodations, gourmet dining, and exclusive wine tastings, offering guests an unforgettable immersion into the enchanting world of South Africa’s premier wine region.

Last Word Franschhoek

Last Word Franschhoek is the best hotel in Franschhoek for independent, savvy travellers. Explore South Africa’s gourmet capital from this 5-star boutique hotel on Huguenot Road, mere heartbeats away from some of the world’s most celebrated eateries. Discover classic, understated elegance in one of the eight lavishly appointed, spacious en-suite Superior Rooms and two sumptuous Pool Suites. The latter, replete with sparkling semi-private plunge pool and leafy courtyard, ideal for rejuvenating moments that are solely yours.

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The Last Word Franschhoek Pool Suite

Oude Werf Hotel & Restaurant, Stellenbosch

As the oldest running hotel in South Africa, with a history spanning three centuries, Oude Werf offers a unique blend of modern luxury and vintage charm, providing guests with an unforgettable experience. Guest rooms boast chic antique style and modern amenities, creating a warm and intimate atmosphere that is designed with your comfort in mind. Located in the heart of Stellenbosch on Church Street, the hotel is the perfect starting point for exploring the town’s world-class restaurants, trendy cafe’s, boutique shops and famous vineyards.

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Oude Werf Hotel

Recommended Luxury City & Suburban Stays

Luxury Cape Winelands stays provide an exquisite escape, combining elegant vineyard accommodations, gourmet dining, and exclusive wine tastings, offering guests an unforgettable immersion into the enchanting world of South Africa’s premier wine region.

Last Word Constantia, Cape Town

Last Word Constantia in South Africa’s first-ever wine region and Cape Town’s sophisticated suburb of Constantia, is a hidden gem. This 5-star boutique hotel’s backyard is a patchwork quilt of noble estates under vines, as steeped in beauty as in historic value, and home to a literal feast of gastronomic delights to boot.

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Last Word Constantia pool

Last Word Long Beach, Cape Town

Imagine endless beach views, fresh air and inspiration on tap in nature’s playground, yours to explore. The Atlantic Ocean sparkles at your feet, inviting you to linger longer, and savour the extraordinary. The incredible seascapes captivate your imagination as swim, surf, stand-up paddling boarding, or stroll along the shore, a shimmering white beach.

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Last Word Long Beach

Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, Johannesburg

Set among lush acres of landscaped gardens you`ll find an urban sanctuary right in the heart of Joburg. With close attention to detail and exceptional service, Fairlawns creates an intimate atmosphere where some of the globe’s most vibrant personalities converge. The chic, upscale suites are individually decorated in varying themes ranging from Eastern influence to French provincial, each featuring every desired modern amenity.

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Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, Johannesburg

Recommended Luxury Tour Itineraries

We’ve delved into the holiday porfolio from a number of our favourite Africa travel experts and found what we believe are the best trips you can book for those those seeking glamour, attention to detail and first-class service and hospitality.

The Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal

11-Day Highlights Of KwaZulu-Natal

Tailor-Made Self-Drive
This trip is an exploration of the stunningly beautiful South African province, KwaZulu-Natal. The trip offers a diverse range of landscape and activity.

Why we love this trip…
Spend 10 nights in luxury 5-star accommodation
See the incredible scenery of the Drakensberg Mountains
Enjoy a private game experience in the tranquil serenity of Nambiti Hills
See the Big 5 on your safari adventure days
ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

** Stay in the Coastal Playground of Umhlanga Rocks **

From £2,700pp
Price includes 3 nights 5* The Oyster Box Hotel on bed & breakfast basis, 4 nights 5* Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse on half board basis, 3 nights 5* Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge on full board basis, 11 days car hire, transfers and return flights

Operated by Mahlatini Luxury Travel

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Boulder Beach penguins - South African Tourism

12-Day Cape Town, The Blue Train and Kruger National Park

Luxury Escorted Tour
Discover the highlights of South Africa as we journey aboard the luxurious Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria. Ascend Table Mountain, sample local wines in Stellenbosch, and enjoy fantastic game drives during a wonderful three night stay at Kruger National Park.

Why we love this trip…
Explore vibrant Cape Town with a journey up iconic Table Mountain
Take a stroll on Boulders Beach, home to its very own penguin colony
Visit Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, some of South Africa’s most revered wine regions
Head out into the surroundings of Kruger National Park on safari
ABTA & ATOL protected

** Journey Aboard the Luxurious Blue Train **

From £4,195pp
Price includes 7 nights 4* hotel accommodation, 2 nights aboard the Blue Train with all drinks included, 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners, activities as detailed in the itinerary, experienced tour manager, coaches and flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town and from Johannesburg to London Heathrow

Operated by Great Rail Journeys

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Garonga Safari Camp

11-Day Extraordinary South Africa

Private Tour
Incredible wildlife encounters, immersive experiences and delectable fine wine awaits you as we take you on a journey through some of the most extraordinary parts of South Africa.

Why we love this trip…
Spend a night under the stars as you fall asleep in a four-poster bed on Garonga’s sleep-out deck, overlooking a waterhole
Track animals in an open-top safari vehicle
Stand up paddle board in the Atlantic Ocean
Delight your taste buds with mouth-watering cuisine and world-class wines in Franschhoek
ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

** Delve Into the Wilderness of the Makalali Conservancy **

From £4,700pp
Price includes 5 nights 4* Garonga Safari Camp, 3 nights 5* Kensington Place, 2 nights 5* Leeu House, activities as detailed in the itinerary, private English-speaking local guides, private transfers and return flights

Operated by Scott Dunn

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Santorini Mozambique

12-Day Luxury Kruger Safari & Vilanculos Beach

Luxury Multi-Centre Holiday
Incredible wildlife encounters, immersive experiences and delectable fine wine awaits you as we take you on a journey through some of the most extraordinary parts of South Africa.

Why we love this trip…
Your choice of luxury accommodation at Timbavati Game Reserve
Discover the 350 bird species found within the Kruger National Park
Enjoy a scenic transfer and marvel at the breathtaking views on the Panorama Route
Kayak, dive and snorkel in Mozambique’s warm Indian Ocean waters
ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

** Track the Big 5 on Twice-Daily Game Drives **

From £6,820pp
Price includes 4 nights 5* Rockfig Safari Lodge, 1 night 5* Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa, 4 nights 5* Santorini Mozambique, activities as detailed in the itinerary, local guides, private transfers, domestic flights and return flightsand return flights

Operated by Audley Travel

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Leeu House, Cape Winelands

13-Day Classic South Africa

Tailor-Made Self-Drive
This tailor-made South Africa tour enables you explore classic destinations such as cosmopolitan Cape Town and the beautiful Winelands, Hermanus and Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

Why we love this trip…
Explore Cape Town’s culture and cuisine on the waterfront,
Enjoy a private tour of the wine regions of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl
Admire the river bank views from Dulini River Lodge
Experience game drives and bush walks in Sabi Sands
ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

** Go Whale Watching in Hermanus **

From £8,680pp
Price includes 4 nights 5* One&Only Cape Town, 2 nights 5* Birkenhead House, 2 nights 5* Leeu House, 3 nights 5* Dulini River Lodge, activities as detailed in the itinerary with private tours, 4 days car hire, transfers and return flights

Operated by Abercrombie & Kent

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South Africa Tourism logo

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