Named after an adopted baby elephant, this luxury camp sits happily in the heart of Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa.
The style is traditional, and though there is no communal pool, the lodge is a sanctuary for animals making this a fantastic choice for those seeking an authentic safari experience.
Facilities & Activities
Perhaps the best experiences here are the guided personal elephant interactions, which see you meet the elephants and their keepers, feed the elephants and track the herd from the comfort of a safari vehicle and watch them have their last drink from the dam at sunset.
Game drives can be booked for any time of the day and provide the opportunity to spot everything from rhinoceros and giraffe, to wildebeest and cheetah. There is a maximum of six people per vehicle so everyone has a window seat. Guided bush walks are also offered, allowing you to experience the wildlife from the ground. Hot air balloon rides and helicopter flights can be arranged for those who want to experience the reserve from the air.
There is no communal pool, but each of the rooms has its own private plunge pool. There is an open-air fitness area, a sauna and spa offering natural treatments, such as African wood massage and a hydrating body wrap that uses Rooibos embalmment therapy.
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The food is excellent, with the choice of a la carte and private dining. The menu changes daily and the chefs are friendly, personally presenting their dishes to guests. Ingredients are fresh and local where possible, and there is a herb garden in the camp, with much of it finding its way into dishes. Mealtimes are flexible, and you can eat inside or out, privately at a candlelit table or with other guests beside a bonfire. The menu often features South African classics with an international or contemporary twist, such as ostrich tataki, kudu loin served with sweet potato mash and pan-fried kingklip.
There are six luxurious suites and one spacious villa to choose from. The suites are accessed via a rope bridge so you get the real feeling that you’re tucked away in the bush. They all feature open-plan bathrooms with stand alone tubs, fireplaces and separate lounges, with a private deck and heated plunge pool outside. The feel is traditional safari style – with thatched roofs, dark wood furnishings, four-poster beds with ivory netting and animal print rugs. For a palatial stay, the Zindoga Villa can sleep up to nine guests, and comprises two suites (one with an adjoining twin room), a dining room and butler’s kitchen, as well as large living area and outdoor terrace with private plunge pools.
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Children must be at least 12-years-old to stay in the suites, but they are welcome from any age in the self-contained Zindoga Villa. While the suites only sleep two guests, the villa is spacious and sleeps up to nine people. It is comprised of two suites, connected by a communal lounge and dining area, one of which has an adjoining twin room that is perfect for children.
There is no communal pool, so families cannot swim together but there are plenty of other family-friendly touches. A team of “caregivers” are on hand when parents want some time to themselves, and a children’s menu is available. There is also a Team Tusker children’s programme available all day that’s designed to entertain guests from six-years-old. Activities include orienteering, bush cooking, making paper from recycled elephant dung, and star-naming, where children learn about the constellations in the Southern Skies.
Jabulani was built on the foundation of rescuing and reintroducing orphaned elephants to new herds. As well as this, their lodges have eco-friendly designs and they are involved in a bana grass plantation project, elephant dung eco-projects, water conservation, recycling, and rhino conservation.
The lodge is located inside a Big Five reserve called Kapama, near Hoedspruit, a town in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
It’s around a 5.5 hour drive from Johannesburg, but can also be accessed by plane (with daily flights in and out of Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit). The 13,000 hectare reserve is home to wildlife including buffalo, antelope and lions, but it’s the elephants that are the star attraction here. Guests get the chance to interact with the elephants, something that makes this place particularly special.
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