South African Budget Safari Lodges
Recommended Budget Lodges in South Africa
There is no denying that staying at a safari lodge is not cheap. However, as specialists in South African safaris, Travel Butlers are able to offer a wide range of budget safari lodges to help you find the safari you want at a price that fits.
So what's the catch? Well, there really isn't one, however it is worth considering a couple of things when deciding if a budget safari lodge is right for you.
Accommodation & Meals
The accommodation at all of these lodges is clean and comfortable, although you will not be surrounded by as many luxuries that the more expensive safari lodges will offer.
The rooms usually have en-suite bathrooms, and most of them have plenty of charm and African character.
When looking at the prices of the lodges, please keep in mind that all meals and game drives are included in the price.
It is probably fair to say that the food will tend to be simplier than in some of the more expensive lodges, but a good steak cooked on a braai (a South African BBQ), served with a salad and eaten under the stars on a warm night can sometimes be the most perfect meal imaginable.
Safari Experience And Location Of The Lodge
Very few of the cheapest lodges will be in prime locations on rivers (although many will overlook a waterhole), and there are some which are in areas which are a little less good for game viewing.
Keep in mind that smaller reserves cannot hold a vast population of animals, and so you may not see huge herds of elephants or other large animals. This will not necessarily mean that they do not offer a worthwhile experience, as you can still get very close to lions, elephants and other animals even at these smaller reserves.
Having said this, you do not necessarily have to compromise on the safari experience when you stay at a cheaper lodge. Many of these lodges are in the same reserves as lodges costing 2 or 3 times as much, and will do their game drives on the same land with the opportunity to see the same animals.
With careful research and some good advice, it is perfectly possible to plan an amazing safari without it costing an arm and a leg. You can get some inspiration from the lodges below, but if you would like a little help then please give us a call or ask us to recommend a budget safari lodge.
Guest Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 based on 21 ratings
The rustic, unfenced Wildside Safari Camp consists of 20 en-suite tented chalets, including 4 family tents as well. Dining in the restaurant is an informal affair, where other guests soon become friends.
Guest Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 based on 1 ratings
All of the 24 en-suite and air-conditioned private chalets are beautifully furnished and fully equipped to ensure your absolute comfort. Relax on your own private patio, star gazing and listening to the sound of the bush settling for the night.
Guest Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 based on 7 ratings
Lakeside Lodge is situated on the banks of Lake Entabeni and offers 24 luxurious, elegantly furnished en-suite bedrooms. View Entabeni's famed hippos from the comfort of your own private deck with the ever-changing colours of the Entabeni Mountain reflecting in the lake.
Guest Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 based on 3 ratings
Ravineside Lodge comprises of tranquil thatched wooden lodges on stilts with bird's-eye views. Each lodge has 3 or 4 luxury en-suite bedrooms with an African ethnic theme, making this ideal for families or groups of people travelling together.
Guest Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 based on 6 ratings
Shindzela hosts a maximum of 12 guests in canvas tents. All tents have a thatch roof and porch, designed to cool the tents in summer.
Guest Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 based on 2 ratings
There are 10 luxury rooms in total, 2 with double beds and 8 with twin beds. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, and are equipped with a hair dryer, tea/coffee station, satellite TV and a mini bar fridge.
Guest Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 based on 23 ratings
Each chalet is tastefully decorated and furnished with the emphasis on outstanding comfort. Central facilities include a large viewing deck and splash pool with a 180 degree view of the river shaded by an old leadwood tree.
Guest Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 based on 1 ratings
Bongani's rooms are ideal for families, groups or individual travellers and are set atop the Malelane Lebombo Mountains with private decks featuring magnificent wraparound views. All chalets and suites, each with 2 en-suite bathrooms and a private deck, are a subtle blend of timber and thatch, spaciously spread out across an impressive mountain ridge, within easy walking distance from the guest areas perched above.
Kwafubesi Tented Safari Camp pampers guests in 5 well appointed luxury canvas tents where romantic oil lamps add to the 'Out of Africa' ambience. All tents are fully furnished with a private deck and en-suite bathrooms, however there is no electricity.
Guest Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 based on 1 ratings
Relax on your own private deck, and if you are lucky you may see an elusive bushbuck or hear the cry of the African fish eagle. Each en-suite tent is equipped with military campaign style furniture similar to that used by the early explorers.
Guest Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 based on 21 ratings
The Woodbury Tented Camp is set in the heart of the reserve, and the tranquil surroundings of the open bushveld allow you to truly experience a quiet getaway. The centre of the camp is an airy, thatched entertainment area, where you can soak up the African sun.
Africa on Foot Camp has 5 chalets (2 of which are family units), ensuring an intimate and personal safari experience. To truly immerse yourself in the rustic bush experience, all chalets are equipped with lanterns while plug points in the main area can be used to charge your camera batteries.
Guest Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 based on 3 ratings
Set against a backdrop of lush green mountainous vegetation, exclusive accommodation in 47 air-conditioned luxury thatched chalets and 3 suites, all with en-suite bathrooms, offer guests complete comfort and relaxation in a beautiful natural setting. Natural, bold colours stand confident and proud, enhancing an ethnic feel throughout the lodge.
Guest Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 based on 5 ratings
The 4 comfortable en-suite bedrooms at Reed Valley Inn are positioned in the tranquil working farmyard just on the outside of the reserve's game fences, and are completely separate from the main homesteads to ensure guests' peace and privacy. All meals are taken at Bush Lodge, which is about a 5 or 10 minute drive from Reed Valley Inn into the reserve.
Accommodation at Leeuwenbosch includes the historic Country House and the newer Shearers Lodge Suites. The Country House, built in 1908, offers 5 spacious en-suite bedrooms, and is layered with a collection of historical images, documents, and furniture dating back to the 1800s.
The lodge offers the choice of 6 luxury air-conditioned suites, which all have large wooden decks overlooking the bush, a spacious en-suite bathroom with double basins, and a private outside shower which is perfect for cooling off after a hot game drive. The glass fronted Honeymoon Suite offers romantic elegance, total privacy and a stunning view, as well as a private splash pool.
Guest Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 based on 14 ratings
nThambo Tree Camp has 5 solar-powered tree house chalets. The chalets are raised on wooden stilts, the floor is wooden decking, the walls are canvas tent, with a thatched roof.
Guest Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 based on 9 ratings
The lodge sleeps a maximum of 14 guests in 7 chalets/rooms. The chalets have a small verandah with a sitting area, offering views over the African bush.
Guest Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 based on 1 ratings
Bushcamp (sleeping just 8 guests) is built on a hillside overlooking a private plain, with a central waterhole that attracts a vast array of creatures, by day and by night. Enkoveni (sleeping up to 14 guests) is situated on the river banks of the mighty Olifants River.
Guest Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 based on 3 ratings
Perfectly situated on the banks of the Kariega River, but tucked unobtrusively away into the vegetation, Forest Camp's 8 en-suite safari tents are built on expansive, slightly raised wooden decks and has long wooden walkways through pristine thicket. The smaller, more intimate River Camp has just 4 safari tents, ideal for families with children, or for sole-use specialist groups.
Budget Safari Tips
- Find a budget lodge
- Go in the low season
- Look for special offers
- Drive rather than fly to the reserve
- Get some good advice
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