Are you still looking for that exclusive lodge to make your safari in South Africa even more unforgettable? Would you like to be as one with the African wilderness? If so, Notten’s Bush Camp is what you are looking for.
Notten’s Bush Camp is one of the most beautiful safari lodges in South Africa, and is located in the Sabi Sand Reserve. Sabi Sand is the oldest private reserve in South Africa. It was established in 1950 and has an area of about 65,000 hectares. These days it forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, just like Mala Male and Sabi Sabi, so there are no fences between these parks. That means that the wild animals can roam freely. There are ongoing discussions around the park merging with protected areas of Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Sabi Sand was established by a number of families at the time, and the 3rd and 4th generations still own the land.
The camp consists of nine luxury lodges, spread over the terrain. All lodges are decked out in African style, have extra large windows and a private terrace. The bathrooms have all modern comforts. Extra special: there is no electricity. The rooms are beautifully lit by candles and oil lamps. You really get the Out of Africa feeling here.
Lounge & Dining
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on the covered terrace with a truly fabulous view over the savannah with watering hole. During dinner you regularly see elephants, giraffes and other animals. Cheeky monkeys jump straight onto your table to steal some fruit.
Some tea, coffee or fruit juice with a small snack are available before the morning safari (at about 6 am). A big breakfast is ready when you come back.
Lunch is served at around 3pm (because of the late breakfast), and consists of a buffet with fresh quiche, bread, salads, cheese, cold meats and delicious cakes. All guests enjoy dinner at one long table. Enough close encounters to talk about!
The children are spoilt too. After dinner they settle around the open fire with a bag of marshmallows. After a little instruction from the chef, they amuse themselves for the rest of the evening.
After dinner, everyone sits quietly by the fire and listens to the sounds of the bush while enjoying coffee, tea or an alcoholic beverage. Amarula, the typical South African liquor is the favourite tipple here.
Between meals you can relax in the lounge on the same terrace.
Swimming pool and Spa
Notten’s Bush Camp has a large swimming pool where you can relax between safaris. A lovely cocktail in one hand, a book in the other - you really don’t need anything else.
However, if you fancy something else, there is a small Spa offering massages and treatments.
Of course, you come to Notten’s Bush Camp to spot the wildlife. Two game drives are organised every day. An open-top Land Rover brings you around with an expert tracker. Joseph Mathebula is head ranger and is known as one of the best trackers in South Africa. And the combination with a large amount of wildlife in the park (145 types of mammals, including the Big Five, 500 types of birds, 110 types of reptiles and 30 types of amphibians) simply guarantees an unforgettable safari.
Within the first hour of our first safari we had already spotted four of the Big Five. Only the leopard was missing. That first evening we saw a herd of elephants with a few calves, enjoyed the sunset amid an enormous herd of buffalo, we were a few meters away from two black rhinos and we saw three lions hunting together. Our ranger followed them for over an hour through the middle of the bush. Our party consisted of three generations and this was the first safari for the kids (11, 10 and 8 years old). Afterwards they said “grandad, this is even better than we expected!”
In the afternoon you can take part in a bush walk. You have to be at least 12 years old for this walk. Guided by an armed ranger, you venture into the bush on foot. You learn everything about the local vegetation and they teach you the basics of tracking. And when you find yourself 50 meters from an enormous giraffe, you really feel insignificant.
Why you should visit Notten's Bush Camp?
I dare describe myself as a spoiled traveller, and Notten is in my top 10 special destinations. They really go out of their way to spoil their guests. And because of the small scale, you feel at home straight away.
The camp is not fenced in, you are one with nature. There is no electricity which ensures a romantic, authentic atmosphere. You are not free to roam the domain at night, you are escorted to your lodge. We thought at first that it was meant to enhance the guests’ feeling of adventure. But when we nearly fell over a hyena on our way to the lodge the second night, I was quite happy there was a ranger with us.
After the first safari we arrived in our lodge. The room was nicely lit, the bath was ready and the champagne was cooled. They really know how to indulge their guests.
In 2008, Notten’s Bush Camp received 2nd place in the Best Safari Lodge in Africa category in the Good Safari Guide. In 2017 they received the Best Value Establishment title in Sabi Sands Game Reserve. TripAdvisor only has positive reviews.
So, if you are looking for the perfect luxurious lodge in South Africa, go to Notten’s Bush Camp.
A safari is rather tiring. You have to get up before sunrise because that’s when you have the best chance of spotting wildlife. It is therefor rather nice to rest on the beach for a few days afterwards. Mozambique is the perfect place for it.
What is your favourite lodge in South Africa?
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