Game lodges for all budgets

Game lodges for all budgets

It’s not all about the ‘Big Five’ – and a stay at a game lodge doesn’t have to break the bank. These were the key messages from two operators, speaking at an Indaba seminar, showcasing award winning tourism companies.
South Africa is well known for its luxury game lodges, where the rate can be up to $2000 per night.
In contrast Denis Goffinet, of Needles Safari Lodge, near Kruger, says he targets the middle income bracket looking for an affordable African safari.

‘We are small and owner-operated with six double ensuite rooms. Our all-inclusive packages are around 1200 Rand ($132) per night. One reason we are lower in price is because we are not in a ‘Big Five’ reserve. However, people visit us because they want to see wildlife – we take them on game drives, plus warthogs, giraffe, zebra, kudu, wildebeest and impala wander all around our lodge. Even when they don’t see the ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino) our guests still say they had a wonderful wildlife experience.
‘We recently had one New Zealand couple get engaged here,’ he adds.
Slightly more upmarket but well suited for families is Sibuya Game Reserve and Tented Camps, a malaria-free reserve spanning the Kariega River on the Eastern Cape. Sibuya’s Nick Fox says the point of difference is how the reserve is based around a warm, tidal estuary, and all guests arrive by boat.
‘Safari lodges can actually be boring for kids, with two game drives a day and nothing else. At Sibuya they can also swim, we do have the ‘Big Five’ but there are no crocs or hippos here, they can canoe on the estuary, and go fishing for Cape Salmon. We are a family run business and we are strongly into hosting families. Older guests also like to canoe on the estuary and watch the birdlife,’ he says.

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