- Three private guesthouses
- Spacious, well equipped guesthouses with plenty of amenities
- Exclusive, tailored bush experiences
- Set within a reserve right by Kruger National Park
Cheetah Plains used to be quite a basic and somewhat humble safari lodge. However, it’s recently undergone an extensive renovation to transform it into a much more appealing, upmarket property. It’s no longer a safari lodge as such, instead functioning as a series of private guesthouses. Since reopening, it’s been highly rated and has won a number of awards thanks to its high-quality, contemporary design and its adherence to many eco-friendly principles. The collection of luxury guesthouses is located in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with Kruger National Park.
In total, there are three private guesthouses here, all of which are designed to offer a private home-away-from-home experience. They can accommodate up to eight people, though there’s a minimum number of four people per guesthouse recommended when making bookings. Each guesthouse has a total of four suites, two of which are interconnecting; there’s also a spacious communal area consisting of two living areas (one formal, one more relaxed), kitchen, dining room and outdoor deck with a heated lap pool. All guesthouses are exceptionally well presented. A lot of work went into making them stylish and classy, while at the same time comfortable and relaxing. They’re decorated in a tasteful way that helps them blend in with their natural surroundings. Each suite comes with a double shower and a bathtub, along with a private deck and daybed, tea and coffee making facilities and a minibar. There are also two iPhone 10s available for each guest to use. These come with several useful apps to help not only with animal spotting, but also astronomy.
Though the focus here is very much on offering a private bush getaway, staff are easily accessible and at service for the duration of guests’ stay. Not only is there a host, there’s also a chef and a game drive leader. The game drives offer an unrivalled chance to spot many of the area’s diverse animal species in their natural habitats. Electric vehicles are used for the drives and the guides are keen for guests to see as much of the reserve as possible. They have plenty of knowledge about the area and its wildlife to share and know the best places to go to spot some of the rarer animals.
Families are encouraged to bring their children along, no matter what age they may be. Younger ones are well catered for here. Those aged 12 and under receive a complimentary backpack that comes with lots of age-appropriate things to do. Staff can offer specially tailored bush walks and game drives so that youngsters can get as much out of staying here as their parents.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019