Taste the spoils of a safari in South Africa in the peace and tranquillity of the unspoilt African Bushveld. Owned by Sir Richard Branson, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is the ultimate destination for spotting the ‘Big Five’!
Ulusaba is located in the western sector of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve bordering Kruger National Park. At Ulusaba our emphasis is on exceptional personal service. Our attentive staff and superb facilities will ensure that being in the middle of the African Bush does not need to mean foregoing creature comforts. You’ll have the unique sights, sounds and smells of Africa on your doorstep, while still enjoying the kind of style and luxury you’d expect from a five star boutique hotel.
Because Ulusaba is privately owned, you’ll be able to enjoy over 13,500 hectares (about 33,000 acres) of unspoilt, game-rich Bush in near solitude. Experienced Trackers and Game Rangers will accompany you on game drives in open Land Rovers, tracking the ‘Big Five’ and sharing with you their vast knowledge of the surrounding wildlife.
Location – Ulusaba is approximately a 1 hour 20 minute flight by twin-engine aircraft to the Ulusaba airstrip from Johannesburg International Airport (also known as O.R. Tambo Airport) and 30 minutes from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) in Nelspruit.
Guest accommodation – Retreat in style and comfort at our two lodges; Rock Lodge is perched high on the summit of a koppie (rocky hill) and includes Ulusaba’s newest addition Cliff Lodge, whilst 0.5km away Safari Lodge is built along the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed. Many guests choose to split their stay between both lodges and have the advantage of keeping the same Ranger and Tracker.
Rock Lodge – Set against the backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountain range, each room has been designed with the colours of a different African tribe or region. Rock Lodge can accommodate a total of 20–25 guests in its 10 rooms and welcomes children of all ages to the Ulusaba Cub’s Club.
Cliff Lodge – Cliff Lodge has two luxurious suites which are perfect for smaller groups and families. Located just a short stroll away from the Main House at Rock Lodge, Cliff Lodge can accommodate a maximum of 5 adults and 4 children when booked exclusively.
Safari Lodge – Guests will love the sense of adventure as they cross the swing bridges between exquisite tree house rooms, created and inspired by local and natural materials, with elephants, bushbucks, lions and other local wildlife passing by. Safari Lodge can accommodate 22 guests in its 11 rooms.
Facilities and Activities – Apart from twice daily game drives and a daily walk in the Bush with a Ranger and Tracker, guests really need to plan their days to enjoy the other facilities available at Ulusaba. Soak up some sun by the pool or relax at the Aroma Boma Beauty Treatment Centres with a wide range of treatments. For the more active, play tennis on a floodlit tennis court with a fully stocked bar or work out at the fully equipped gyms any time of the day. Visit the wine cellar at Safari Lodge for a spot of wine tasting with an outdoor dining area for up to six guests or go star gazing at our observatory tucked away in the Bush. We can also arrange cultural, wildlife or scenic tours including helicopter trips and a tour of the local community at an extra cost – the proceeds from the community tour are donated to the local village. Don’t forget to pick up some mementos of your stay at the Gift Shop at Safari Lodge.
Dining – Dine by firelight, candlelight or star light – feast on a traditional Braai in the heart of the Bush, or sample the local specialties overlooking the animals wandering by. Let Ulusaba know what you like and they’ll be happy to make it for you. Breakfasts and lunches are organised ‘restaurant style’, but in the evenings guests dine together at communal tables, comparing notes on the animals they spotted that day! Of course, if you’d like a more intimate experience, we’d be delighted to organise private dining for you – just give us a bit of notice.
Aroma Boma Beauty Treatments – Ulusaba has boutique Spas at both Rock and Safari Lodges called Aroma Bomas, offering a fabulous range of treatments to help you relax and unwind after the excitement of game drive.
Getting Married – Elope to the Bush or plan a big event with all your family and friends. We’ve thought of everything to make it the most magical wedding possible – what better place to tie the knot?! If you can’t get married here, include Ulusaba in your celebration and visit us on your Honeymoon! Please take a look at our separate Wedding and Honeymoon packages.
Children – Cubs of all ages are welcome at Rock Lodge and are invited to take part in the complimentary Ulusaba Cub’s Club. Aiming to both entertain and educate cubs about their surroundings, the Cub’s Club doesn’t offer a set programme, but rather a range of activities tailored to every child. Cubs can go on a game drive when they are six years old, complimentary babysitting is available throughout their stay.
Pride n’ Purpose – Pride ‘n Purpose is Ulusaba’s charitable arm committed to helping disadvantaged communities living adjacent to the reserve and working on a non-profit basis. Their work is achieved both through the provision of basic needs, such as access to food, water and health services, and by empowering communities with sustainable development initiatives. You can learn more about this project by going on a Community Tour.
Visas and Immigration – No visas are required for US or UK citizens, but guests must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond their intended return date and a minimum of two clean pages in their passport (4 pages for US citizens). Citizens of other countries should check with their nearest South African Embassy or Consulate for any immigration requirements.
When is the best time to visit? – Any time! The landscape changes with every season, so each visit will give you a different perspective on the African Bush. In summer (October to April) the temperature averages 34°C/93°F. The days are glorious, the vegetation lush and the nights pleasantly warm. During winter (May to September) the days are moderately warm and sunny with an average temperature of 26°C/79°F, while the nights are cool and crisp.
Treehouse Suite – The Treehouse Suite is about a 15 minute walk along the elevated walkway from Safari Lodge. It’s a great place to get up close and personal with hippos and elephants when they come to bathe in the nearby dam. When you stay here it’s almost as if the game comes to you rather than the other way round!
History – Ulusaba means ‘place of little fear’. It was once occupied by the Shangaan tribe and used as a lookout point during battles. The site of Rock Lodge was a prime position, providing a safe-haven for the tribe. The enemy was unlikely to win, as surprise attacks were near to impossible, hence ‘place of little fear’.
Departure Lounge/Virtuoso Amenities for your stay (for 2018):
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily Full breakfast for up to two in room guests in Dining Room or Outdoors
- ZAR 1300 Gift Shop or Spa credit to be utilized during stay, per room (not valid on room rate or charity contributions, no cash value if not redeemed in full)*
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
*For group bookings (up to 7 rooms), amenity will be extended to each room, per stay, as long as they are paying full rate. For exclusive use bookings, only the lead couple will receive the amenity.