More than 35 years ago, the concept of Bush Lodge was just a dream, an idea of designing a home in the bush and a warm, hospitable experience for visitors from around the world. The creators of this vision were Hilton and Jacqui Loon, one a pragmatic businessman, the other a talented artist, both of whom loved the excitement of travelling. The new Bush Lodge takes you on a breath-taking expedition through Africa, celebrating the adventures of the Loons, and their love for Africa, its people, its art and culture. Designers, Derrick Tabbert Interiors and Design Republic, were tasked with bringing these explorations to life and the result is a masterful amalgamation of ideas and design. This is truly the Africa of "Today".

Arriving into the reception area the journey already begins. A custom-made heavily carved wooden reception desk evokes images of wealthy Arabic traders from Northern Africa. On the other side a magnificent oversized Chesterfield couch, upholstered in green and crackled gold leather, sits in pride of place atop a black and white tiled floor, a nod to colonial travellers of the 1900's.The green touches, together with white and black, are a repeated colour focus weaving all the new décor together.

Walking from reception through the atrium towards the safari lounge, enormous brass and canvas lamps shine light upwards illuminating the high thatch and downwards onto a mass of overlapping colourful Persian and woven rugs, green vintage stools and leather tables, plus an eclectic collection of original paintings, objets d'art and artefacts, which adorn the walls.

The bar with its incredible mix of décor is an unexpected "mash up" of styles which somehow just work. Once again the black and white floor appears, together with touches of old green on intimate seating arrangements of tub chairs, leather bar stools and collectible Ardmore wing backs. A close inspection reveals that the new bar with its smooth wooden top is actually clad in copper - showcasing a collection of South African craft beers, craft gins and boutique wines. There are so many interesting ornaments but the pieces which takes pride of place are the glass fronted steel and brass whisky cabinets and the massive, beaded, calabash-shaped chandelier hanging from the high ceiling beams.

An extension of the enormous thatch roof spans the beautiful "indoor/outdoor" dining area and extends over the huge viewing deck and safari lounge, wonderful spots to kick back and watch animals meandering down to the waterhole. The deck features comfortable seat groupings of various styles of chairs and couches atop Persian rugs, and a fascinating collection of carved wooden tables from many African cultures. The centrepiece chandelier, suspended from the beams of the viewing deck, is a fascinating mix of hand-woven, mismatched baskets which have been repurposed into lights.

A few steps away the safari lounge has a more sophisticated, chic feel, with enormous round leather ottomans, built-in seating covered with leather bolsters and African scatter cushions. Antique wooden benches, interesting carved coffee tables and West African stools complete the picture.

This fabulous revamp follows the recent introduction of the ultra-luxurious 2 bedroom Villas, the renovations within the Mandleve Presidential suite and the luxury suites.

Bush Lodge has become a veritable museum, an homage to the customs of Africa, a history of Jacqui and Hilton's exploration and a celebration of their vision and passion for Africa.

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Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
UK Trade information:
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35 years ago at the inception of Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, a magnificent elephant bull roamed the reserve. With massive tusks and always surrounded by Askari (soldiers) - a group of up to 12 protective, strong and sometimes very aggressive young males - the elephant was called Mandleve, a Tsonga nickname for the tear in his ear. Mandleve was truly unmistakeable, with two massive tusks, one very long and fairly straight, and the other about the same length, but distinctly curved. Mandleve spent his years crossing the river between Sabi Sabi and the Kruger National Park, but as he grew older he spent most of his days at Sabi Sabi, eating the soft vegetation alongside the river. When he slept he rested his enormous curved tusk in the crook of a tree trunk, relieving the huge weight he constantly carried. A beautiful, gentle and patient elephant, Mandleve died in 1992 close to his beloved Sabie River. He was deeply mourned by the staff at Sabi Sabi who had watched and followed him over the years, as well as by the many guests who had the honour of viewing him on safari. His tusks which are on display at the Letaba Elephant Museum, were measured at 69 and 73.5 kgs apiece, the heaviest ivory on record at Kruger.

As a tribute to this magnificent elephant, the spectacular newly refurbished Presidential Suite at Sabi Sabi's Bush Lodge is named the Mandleve Suite. A fitting name for a truly exceptional and memorable accommodation experience. With huge rooms looking out onto the bushveld, the suite is, quite simply, stunning. Raw tree trunks support the interior walls and add a fascinating touch of the bushveld to the décor.

Chandeliers alongside the draped bed illuminate the expansive bedroom with its beautiful carved wooden furniture. The vast, surprisingly furnished and stylish bathroom has a temptingly deep bathtub, and includes both indoor and outdoor showers. A glorious lounge with plush chaise longues, handcrafted fixtures and furnishings and interesting artifacts, extends out to a relaxing covered patio and private pool. This is a definitely a suite to remember. And, of course, a private safari vehicle with personal guide and tracker complete the Mandleve Suite experience.

For those who desire only the very best, The Mandleve Presidential Suite and recently opened Villas are sensational additions to Bush Lodge's 5 star luxury accommodation.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728
Published in News
Bush Lodge has long been known as a premier safari destination. Over the years the lodge has been evolving, renewing its exquisite African Style architecture and décor, rebuilding its guest accommodation to remain a magnificent luxury home in the bush.

As an extension of the philosophy of providing the ultimate in luxury, Sabi Sabi is proud to unveil the Bush Lodge Luxury Villas - lavish accommodation which includes 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, lounge, library, dressing room, patio and pool.

The two new Luxury Villas will become available next month, offering the epitome of opulence, space and magnificent design. The Villas are extraordinarily expansive, architecturally interesting and beautifully decorated in the eclectic Bush Lodge style.

Every detail of the new suites has been carefully planned to make guests feel spoiled and at one with the bushveld, while enjoying the highest standard of accommodation and service. They are indeed a superlative base for a memorable safari.

Within each suite a huge master bedroom with king size draped four-poster bed leads into a dressing area furnished with hide covered chairs and ottomans. A little further and one steps into a truly unique, palatial, floor to ceiling glass walled bathroom. The two enormous side-by-side baths have sliding windows opening to the outdoors. His and hers vanities, armchairs and an open 'rain' shower complete this incomparable room. But there is even more: an outside al-fresco shower, almost invisible, tucked away in an indigenous tree.

The second bedroom is also beautiful, with twin draped beds and comfortable cushioned window box seating to relax and watch the great outdoors. This bedroom features another private en-suite bathroom, which includes a bath and rain shower.
The suite has a sizeable, wonderfully furnished lounge/library, with beautiful chairs and couches upholstered in the calm, muted colours of the bushveld. In this room, as well as throughout the suite, there are a myriad interesting details and textures: raw grass wallpaper, smooth floor finishes, leadwood sculptures mirroring the natural environment, sisal rugs. Look up and there are fascinating chandeliers handmade from salvaged sticks, branches and twigs, with interspersed twinkling light bulbs.

Both bedrooms and the lounge open out onto a huge reed-covered patio, which includes a private plunge pool. With upholstered lounging chairs and couches the patios are a wonderful addition to the amenities of the suites.

Besides the wonderful in-suite conveniences which one expects in every Sabi Sabi suite, guests staying in the Luxury Villas have their own private game vehicle, ranger and tracker.

This is exclusivity and luxury at its idyllic best.

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Follow the movements of Sabi Sabi's sophisticated guests and you will find them to be electronically mobile, online savvy and demanding of fast, instant information at their fingertips. Their briefcases - if they carry one - generally holds a cell-phone, laptop or tablet, and very little in the way of paper!

In line with this trend, Sabi Sabi has abandoned printed brochures and marketing copy and gone 'paperless' as part of an ongoing commitment to minimising the company's environmental footprint.

A stunning electronic e-brochure has replaced the heavy paper booklet, and features magnificent images of the lodges, wildlife and staff at Sabi Sabi. It is beautiful to look at, environmentally friendly and easy to access - available on

Dozens of social media platforms keep followers updated on happenings at the lodges and keep the safari experience alive. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are just some of the options available to those around the world who follow Sabi Sabi avidly, while the ever popular blog remains a very firm favourite. Updating current bushveld events has become second nature to the team entrusted with writing the exciting Sabi Sabi stories and the number of followers just keeps growing.

A Sabi Sabi app, launched earlier this year, is free for download from the iTunes App Store. It features all the information any guest could need - from the brochure to animal checklists, useful information and interactive applications (available at present for iPad only - click here to link to the Apple Store).

But while Sabi Sabi makes the most of the myriad social media and online platforms available while planning a visit, on arrival guests are encouraged to switch off the electronics, tune out the media and immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and unedited glory of the Sabi Sabi bushveld.

Published in News
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 14:31

5 Stars for Families at Sabi Sabi

Travelling with children certainly has its challenges and finding a 5-Star destination that manages to make families feel at home without compromising on quality isn't easy. But that's exactly what Sabi Sabi's Bush Lodge has perfected.

The lodge welcome is warm and friendly, the small children made to feel comfortable and the older ones engaged with by the guiding staff. In the past year, the suites have had some refurbishment, with wooden chairs in the sitting area making way for a luxurious day bed that looks out into the bush, inviting guests to lie back and relax and let their senses soak in the sights, smells and sounds of the surrounding environment. For families, this day bed can be converted to two beds with draped mosquito netting - comfortable, stylish and safe for small guests.

Before the afternoon safari, homemade treats at high tea had something for everyone, including delicious mini toasted sandwiches to keep hunger at bay for small children during the exciting three hour drive. Before departing parents are asked if the chef could prepare a children's meal for immediately after safari for the younger children.

Children are enthralled on game drives and the guides well versed in making sure all ages are involved and interested in the magnificent close up encounters with Sabi Sabi's wildlife. Sundowner stops are timed to ward off restlessness and snacks out in the open are a welcome chance to walk around and chat for a while.

After evening safari, a warm welcome awaits at the lodge. Children are ushered into the lounge where dinner is waiting - the catering team using their own experience as parents to prepare was clear that someone who has children (or a lot of experience with them) had prepared just the right meal for the young ones. Steaming bowls of pasta, moderate portions and the sauces on the side allow each child to make up their own meal to their preference; or their favourite dish can be pre-ordered earlier in the day. Everything is beautifully presented and adults have a chance to freshen up and enjoy a pre-dinner drink. Later, while the grown-ups enjoy a delicious boma dinner the children can play a quiet game of cards or join their parents in the boma and toast marshmallows around the fire.

During the day, the EleFun Centre beckons. A morning of spirited games, quiet craft making and lots of laughs are the order of the day for children from around the world; and adding their handprint to the 'Wall of Africa' is a must. The Centre has separate areas for different activities, a big lawn to run around on and lots of 'edutainment' for children big and small. Parents can relax, indulge in a spa massage, bird watch, read or simply enjoy the African bush.

What better way to enjoy family time than being truly looked after in Sabi Sabi 5-Star style? 
Published in News
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is pleased to announce that our very popular Fly-In Packages for 2014 are now available!

Packages include flights from Johannesburg to our private airstrip situated on Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.

The packages are available from 1 January 2014 through to December 2014 and include options of three or four night stays at Earth Lodge, Selati Camp, Bush Lodge or Little Bush Camp. These may also be booked ex-KMIA (Nelspruit).

The packages are exceptional value and include return flights (or one way flight options), 5-star luxury accommodation, three superb meals daily, exciting morning and evening open land rover safaris, selected beverages, sundowners drinks, a walking safari and local tax.

The flights are operated on a daily basis with complimentary lodge transfers from our airstrip to your Sabi Sabi lodge of choice.

UK Representative:
Tel: 020 847 9881

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Res: +27 11 447 7172
Published in News
Children visiting Bush Lodge's fully-fledged children's facility, the EleFun Centre, are encouraged to leave their mark by way of a colourful handprint on a designated wall. Hundreds of vivid prints, duly signed and identified by the young visitors, decorate the space. Children from countries all over the world join their local counterparts in leaving behind a handprint message that they have spent time at Sabi Sabi. 

And while the wall is a bright focal point in the centre, it's the bushveld setting, games, projects and novel activities that make the EleFun Centre such a hit with children of all ages. Catering for children from toddlers to teens, with 'edutainment' centred on a bushveld theme and run by qualified and fun staff, the centre is loved by all who visit. Programmes include identifying animal spoor, learning about different bird and animal species and what their names are in Tsonga, the language of the Shangaan people who live in the villages surrounding Sabi Sabi. Shaded by indigenous trees and featuring age appropriate activities, the EleFun Centre is offered at no cost to children staying at Bush Lodge. A large, safely enclosed area of lawn allows them to run around freely. At any time during the day our young guests can be found climbing, jumping, swinging, painting, reading, puzzle making, building, drumming or simply relaxing in the indoor or outdoor areas. In the hot summer months a supervised swim in the Lodge's cool pools is another welcome option.

Parents can relax during their Sabi Sabi sojourn, enjoy exciting bush walks and visits to bird hides, indulge themselves in the Amani Spa, or simply sink into quiet adult time, all the while being confident that their children are safe and happy. 

The EleFun Centre, which was created to be fun, safe and educational, is open every day and all activities are supervised by a highly professional team. Children are encouraged to take photographs on safari and have them displayed alongside the handprints and messages from all the past young guests who have visited the centre since it opened its doors.
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