Friday, September 4th, 2015

After experiencing some of the finest cuisine and wine in Cape Town and the Winelands I was off to the Sabi Sands, a private reserve on the edge of Kruger National Park.  My destination was Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, owned by Sir Richard Branson.  A Lodge split into two, Rock Lodge is perched high above the bush with fantastic views.  Safari Lodge is located down along the river with up close and personal wildlife interactions throughout the day.  I stayed in Rock Lodge in a Rock Cliff Room.  Other accommodations include suites and a 2 BR suite with private pool and staff.  At Safari Lodge there are 10 rooms and a Tree House Suite which is located on a dam.  Many times guests are woken up by hippos rubbing against the stilts of the tree house.

The game viewing at Ulusaba was fantastic!  Within 10 minutes of our first drive we came across a leopard.  Soon after we met two cheetah, followed by elephants and later, a lion.  Our guide was entertaining and our tracker was very knowledgeable.  Game drives typically last 3 – 4 hours in the early morning and late afternoon.  During each drive we took a break for either coffee or a sun downer.

Some quick facts:

  • Ulusaba is one of 21 lodges in Sabi Sands Game Reserve.  For the first hour of each drive, all lodges are required to stay within their concession.  After an hour, lodges are free to go throughout the reserve and frequently communicate with each other for game sightings.  As a rule, only two vehicles are permitted to view game at a time.
  • Ulusaba is accessed via a small aircraft and has a private airstrip.
  • All meals, drinks, and game drives are included.  Gratuities are not.
  • Many guests do a split stay between Rock and Safari as each provides for a different experience.
  • Ulusaba is NOT recommended for people with mobility issues.  Rock Lodge can be difficult to get around as it is built into a huge rock.  There were approximately 300 steps from our room to the pool area.  Safari Lodge is accessed via swing bridges.

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