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Londolozi safari – inside Kruger’s designer game lodges

A luxury camp in one of South Africa’s oldest and best game reserves, Londolozi boasts a collection of designer safari homes you wish you owned. Writes Imogen Eveson.

 

Londolozi, nestled deep in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa, has a world-class reputation.

Visitors come to this family-run private game reserve – one of South Africa’s first, established in 1926 – to spot lions, elephants, zebras, Cape buffaloes, rhinos and leopards, for which it is most famous.

The drama of the bush and its fauna is wildly luxuriant in itself; and the sublime lodge at Londolozi builds on this heightened experience without upstaging it.

 

The five camps of Londolozi

The lodge comprises five distinct camps: the Private Granite Suites, Founders Camp, Varty Camp, Pioneer Camp and Tree Camp, three of which have been accorded Relais & Châteaux status.

Each of the offerings has a distinct style, but are complementary to each other, sharing a luxurious sensibility and celebrating their privileged position within such a stunning location.

Tree Camp offers an unmatchable vantage point: perched high up on stilts in a canopy of Jackalberry and Leadwood trees; Founders Camp offers intimate chalets situated in the shade of ancient matumi trees that are perfect for families; and Varty Camp has an old-time safari holiday vibe and a down-to-earth quality.

All of the camps on site were designed by Johannesburg-based interior designer Yvonne O’Brien, who also led a revamp in recent years.

 

Is it a home or a safari camp?

The fact that Yvonne’s typical commissions are for residential homes shines through here in a wholly positive way. Each of the camps feels like the safari home you wish you had: decked out in neutral shades of white, taupe and stone with slick black details that complement the cool stone walls and thatched roofs – traditional elements of a South African bush house.

Warmth and personality are added via a carefully curated collection of bits and bobs: the art book you might have picked up one lazy weekend; the wicker baskets you just had to have but have yet to find a use for; the exotic ornament you brought home as a souvenir; and the photo frames.

Except instead of pictures of your favourite art prints, there are black-and-white shots of the wild animals that roam the back garden here.

And then there’s the designer in the details, like the Ralph Lauren wallpaper and the plaited chocolate leather beds (king size and four poster, of course) at Tree Camp.

Each of Londolozi’s properties does indoor-outdoor living in ultimate comfort and style; so much so that you would find it hard to pull yourself away if not for the fact you can experience it all up close on a private safari.

And after a long day in the animal kingdom, there are private plunge pools to refresh, before dinner is served as the sun sets.

For many, a stay at Londolozi is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But if you are lucky enough to return, this is one leopard you hope will never change its spots.

 

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This article appeared in issue 28

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