AFRICA, HOTEL REVIEW

African Safari: Part 1

I figured we should start the year with my favorite trip ever… the safari in South Africa!

I had always wanted to go on a safari. I knew that I would enjoy it, but I never imagined just how incredible it could be. Seeing the animals roam free in their natural habitat was unreal. I have never felt so at peace, as I did in South Africa.

 

THE LODGE

Our accommodations were incredible. We stayed at Leopard Hills, a 5-star luxury lodge (it should be more than 5-stars), located in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, which borders Kruger National Park. Each room is more like a small private cottage with a full living room, beautiful bathroom, outdoor shower, private plunge pool and a hammock. It’s paradise!

IMG_1036The entrance
IMG_0459 Our room at Leopard Hills
IMG_0461Beautiful entrance to our bathroom
IMG_0463Our bathroom IMG_0465Bathtub overlooking the bush (the door accesses our outdoor shower)
IMG_0467Outdoor shower

If you want to stay here, book ahead of time. Leopard Hills only has 8 rooms, which allows for a much more personal experience. They provide top notch service, down to the very last detail. You get to know the entire staff during your stay, but the person you will interact with the most is your guide. Upon your arrival, you are assigned a guide that will lead your game drives throughout your entire stay. Our guide, Jehanne, was amazing. I honestly believe that we got the best guide in all of South Africa… I don’t know how anyone could be better. Maybe I’m biased, but he really made our trip unforgettable.

Leopard Hills is incredible, but it is quite expensive. Accommodations there cost about $1,000 per person per day (basically $2,000 per night for both of us), but it includes EVERYTHING (all of your meals, liquor, laundry services, etc). At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. The main benefit of choosing a 5-star safari, beyond the incredible room and service, is that you get the very best guides and trackers. I have heard from many people that have been on a safari for over a week that they never saw the Big 5. We saw them in the first 2 days! Not the mention that we went during rainy season, which means that the animals don’t need to come out to the watering holes to drink, so they’re much harder to find.

We only stayed for 3-nights and honestly that was enough. By choosing a 5-star lodge, you won’t miss out by staying less days (this helps with how expensive it is). We got the opportunity to see everything we wanted to see, however, we never missed a drive. There’s 2 game drives per day, one first thing in the morning (like seriously first thing… it departs at 5:45am) and another in the afternoon.

 

UPON ARRIVAL

We arrived at Leopard Hills mid-day and were greeted by the whole staff. They walked us through check-in and showed us to our accommodations. We had a couple of hours to settle in and have lunch before the evening drive.

 

IMG_0469Our welcome gift
IMG_0174Cheers to a great adventure
IMG_0473The back of our room… I told you it was huge!
IMG_0479First glass of champagne 
IMG_0492View of the bush from lunch

 

GAME DRIVE #1

After lunch we took off on our first game drive. Let me apologize since now for the picture overload. This place is a photographers dream! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves….

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IMG_0560It must be heavy

 

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IMG_0552He charged at us and apparently my husbands natural instinct is to laugh

 

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IMG_0571They flap their ears to create wind to cool off their bodies

 

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IMG_0176The first of many beautiful sunsets we saw

 

IMG_0631On every drive you stop for a break out in the bush where they prepare drinks and snacks

 

IMG_0907Ready for our first dinner

Check back soon for the rest of our adventure in South Africa.

 

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