A Guide to Wild and Wonderful Adventures in Africa

By Kristie Kellahann

Safari activities Sundowners at Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel
Safari activities Sundowners at Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel
Experience a new era of modern luxury at three unique destinations were glamour meets African authenticity.
Earth Lodge Water Feature at Sabi Sabi

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve: Where Luxury Meets Nature

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in South Africa is a haven for globetrotters seeking the quintessential safari adventure. Nestled in the heart of the African wilderness, it offers remarkable and well-managed wildlife encounters. The lodging options here are nothing short of opulent.

With decades of experience in welcoming guests from around the world, Sabi Sabi has continually evolved to meet their desires. The reserve features three distinct lodges – Selati Camp, Bush Lodge, and Little Bush Camp, each offering classic safari accommodations infused with touches of modern Africa and the romance of early explorers. In contrast, Earth Lodge has been a pioneer in the luxury safari lodge scene for the past two decades, and its recent renovation sets a new standard for future safari destinations.

Upon arrival by jeep, the lodge’s grandeur unveils itself in a breathtaking moment. With exquisite wooden sculptures by renowned South African artist Geoffrey Armstrong and lofty ceilings, the lodge radiates a sense of serene hospitality.

Earth Lodge Lux Suite

The 13 spacious suites at Earth Lodge create an illusion with animal skin rugs and earthy wall textures. The accommodations include all the modern amenities you could desire, from private plunge pools to a minibar stocked with Sabi Sabi’s own wine label. The outdoor patio is an inviting space with a large sofa and a hanging leather chair, while a full-length plunge pool offers a refreshing escape from the day’s heat, with endless views of the African bushveld.

At Earth Lodge, you’ll feel like you’ve left the cares of the world behind, except for one pressing concern: you’ll wish you had booked an extra night or two. The lodge offers a secluded library, art gallery, meditation garden, a holistic spa, and an underground wine cellar housing over 6,000 bottles of rare wines.

During your stay at Earth Lodge in Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, indulge in a traditional South African barbecue, known as a “braai.” Flame-grilled lamb chops, roasted corn, tender trout, and potatoes with chakalaka (a tomato-based relish) make for a satisfying feast under the starry skies.

Earth Lodge has been celebrated as the future of eco-sensitive lodges in Africa. Architecturally designed to harmonise with the landscape, it seamlessly blends with the natural surroundings. Inside, every possible luxury has been thoughtfully provided for your comfort. In between early morning and pre-dinner safaris, the lodge offers ample opportunities to engage your mind, body, and spirit. Explore the well-stocked library, the art gallery, the meditation garden, and the underground wine cellar of rare vintages. You can also work up a sweat at the indoor gym, all while enjoying the curious gaze of elephants that often peer through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

For those seeking rejuvenation, the Amani Spa at Earth Lodge offers holistic beauty and skincare rituals delivered with the utmost care and respect. Therapists use the organic Esse product line, enriched with prebiotic and probiotic active ingredients. During the Spirit of Africa Spa Journey, ancient African Rungu warrior sticks are skillfully used to release deep-seated tension in muscles and tissues. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve truly offers an exceptional safari experience that marries luxury with nature.

The Bar at Old Drift Lodge

Old Drift Lodge: A True African Escape

Nestled on the Zambezi River’s banks, deep in the untamed wilderness of Zimbabwe, Old Drift Lodge awaits the intrepid traveler. A mere seven kilometres from the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, this destination ignites the wanderlust within.

Its 14 suites, dressed in pristine white canvas, harmoniously blend with the surrounding African bush. But don’t mistake these accommodations for mere glamping quarters. The luxurious permanent camp offers a storybook experience that goes beyond. Who would’ve thought that glamping now includes private plunge pools and outdoor clawfoot tubs serenaded by the gentle splashes of nearby hippos?

Old Drift Lodge has quickly become a beloved oasis for both two-legged and four-legged guests. On scorching days, elephants drop by to quench their thirst in the pools. Cleared pathways ensure unhindered passage between the river and Zambezi National Park for the hippos, buffalos, zebras, and other magnificent creatures that call this place home.

Inside these family-friendly suites, every comfort is thoughtfully provided, from full air-conditioning to elegant brass basins in the bathrooms, complemented by billowing white mosquito nets draped around the exquisite beds. The rosy sunsets will warm your heart, while the thrilling crocodile sightings will quicken your pulse.

To sit by the enchanting riverbank on a picnic blanket, sipping South African wine, and relishing the sights and sounds of elephant moms and their adorable calves is to discover true happiness. One of the local rangers, known affectionately as “Happiness,” is your guide to this extraordinary experience.

Transformational Escapes 

When the MORE Group took over Stanley & Livingstone Hotel, a transformational journey began. Located within a vast private game reserve in Zimbabwe, this boutique property, featuring just 16 luxury suites, was unlike anything seen around Victoria Falls before. Known for creating outstanding luxury lodges in Southern Africa, the MORE Group enlisted the expertise of world-class architects and interior designers to bring a distinct African essence to their properties.

Stanley & Livingstone, which had long embodied an old-fashioned colonial style with British influences, was temporarily closed down upon MORE’s acquisition. They embarked on an ambitious year-long renovation and refurbishment project, leading to the grand reopening in 2018 as the Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel. The transformation was profound, embracing a modern, laid-back approach that honoured the location and heritage.

Gone were the heavy, dark mahogany wood and unwieldy steamer trunks posing as coffee tables. They were replaced with playful black-and-white jungle-themed wallpapers and elegant bath products near the clawfoot tubs. Warm, contemporary paint colours created an inviting atmosphere, and the beds were a true dream, swathed in ethereal white canopies. In communal areas, the design was sophisticated yet approachable, encouraging guests to linger. Plush velvet sofas in rich jewel tones were grouped around coffee tables stacked with conversation-starting books on local history and culture.

The signature restaurant offered guests the option to dine inside, on the terrace, or amidst the gardens. Most guests seized the opportunity to embark on a guided tour to witness the breathtaking Victoria Falls, a mere 15 minutes’ drive away. They returned from this mesmerising adventure with widened eyes, eager to relive the experience over a refreshing juice or gin cocktail while gazing out over the wild game reserve.

At the hotel’s signature restaurant, the culinary team showcased their creativity with local ingredients, presenting delectable dishes like Zambezi bream and smoked venison carpaccio. While exploring contemporary flavours, the menu still paid tribute to classics like prawn cocktails and pan-roasted chicken. The property exuded effortless chicness and style, making it the perfect base for visitors seeking a fusion of the Falls’ beauty with a luxurious safari adventure.

For a unique twist, the hotel introduced an exciting program allowing guests to embark on horseback safaris. Riding a former polo pony through a dazzle of zebras in the African bush left an indelible mark on everyone fortunate enough to experience it.


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