What a beautiful pride of lion, spotted near Londolozi Tree Camp.

Londolozi Tree Camp | Sabi Sand game reserve Luxury South African Safari Lodge

Follow the spoor of leopard, lion, elephant, rhino or buffalo on game drives or interpretive walking safaris, do outdoor yoga or dine in the wild at Londolozi Tree Camp. Situated in a private game reserve in South Africa famed for its leopard sightings, there are just six guest suites here, overlooking the Sand River.

The place

We touch down at Londolozi Tree Camp’s airstrip, barely able to contain our excitement at the prospect of seeing graceful leopard up in the trees or somnolent lion lazing in the grass. Meaning ‘protector of all living things’ in Zulu, Londolozi is indeed famed as the place where leopard roam, and our expectations are high! Tree Camp is set in this family-owned, private game reserve, which covers 14,000ha of wildlife-dense land. Londolozi is part of the Sabi Sand game reserve, which comprises 65,000ha … and which shares an unfenced boundary with the immense Kruger National Park.

We touch down at Londolozi Tree Camp’s airstrip, barely able to contain our excitement at the prospect of seeing graceful leopard up in the trees or somnolent lion lazing in the grass. Meaning ‘protector of all living things’ in Zulu, Londolozi is indeed famed as the place where leopard roam, and our expectations are high!

Tree Camp is set in this family-owned, private game reserve, which covers 14,000ha of wildlife-dense land. Londolozi is part of the Sabi Sand game reserve, which comprises 65,000ha … and which shares an unfenced boundary with the immense Kruger National Park.

The room

The tiredness from a long day’s journey evaporates in an instant as we walk into our suite, which is effortlessly glamorous with its Bedouin-like, chocolate-plaited leather bed swathed in muslin, stately chandeliers and a thatched roof that soars up to the sky. I can’t decide what to do first: unpack or test out the outdoor shower. My partner meanwhile, has taken one look at our deck and plunged into our private lap pool for a swim. Clearly, the unpacking will be waiting until later!Though the lodge is set firmly on the ground, Tree Camp gets its name from the suspended deck set in the trees overlooking the riverbed. It’s here that we enjoy lunch, watching closely for the herds of elephant that often head down to the river to bathe and feed on the lush riverine bush. Bellies full, we clamber into our private Land Rover, and start prowling for leopard spoor. It’s almost too easy – driving through the scrub-laden bushveld and into an open savannah, we follow a mother and her two cubs stalking an impala, seemingly unperturbed by our presence. Frank, our guide, tells us there’s a reason for their relaxed attitude at Londolozi, where elsewhere they’re usually shy creatures. In 1979, a female leopard was sighted here, and over the next 12 years she developed a relationship with the local guides and trackers. Her cubs, and theirs, took their lead from Mother Leopard, as she became known, and the atmosphere of trust continues to this day. Though the impala manages to bound away, we follow the cat and her cubs until they disappear into thick riverine forest, thrilled at our very first leopard encounter.

The tiredness from a long day’s journey evaporates in an instant as we walk into our suite, which is effortlessly glamorous with its Bedouin-like, chocolate-plaited leather bed swathed in muslin, stately chandeliers and a thatched roof that soars up to the sky. I can’t decide what to do first: unpack or test out the outdoor shower. My partner meanwhile, has taken one look at our deck and plunged into our private lap pool for a swim. Clearly, the unpacking will be waiting until later!

Though the lodge is set firmly on the ground, Tree Camp gets its name from the suspended deck set in the trees overlooking the riverbed. It’s here that we enjoy lunch, watching closely for the herds of elephant that often head down to the river to bathe and feed on the lush riverine bush.

Bellies full, we clamber into our private Land Rover, and start prowling for leopard spoor. It’s almost too easy – driving through the scrub-laden bushveld and into an open savannah, we follow a mother and her two cubs stalking an impala, seemingly unperturbed by our presence.

Frank, our guide, tells us there’s a reason for their relaxed attitude at Londolozi, where elsewhere they’re usually shy creatures. In 1979, a female leopard was sighted here, and over the next 12 years she developed a relationship with the local guides and trackers. Her cubs, and theirs, took their lead from Mother Leopard, as she became known, and the atmosphere of trust continues to this day.

Though the impala manages to bound away, we follow the cat and her cubs until they disappear into thick riverine forest, thrilled at our very first leopard encounter.

What sets it apart

Leopard are notoriously hard to find in most game reserves, but an incredible relationship has developed between these wild, free-roaming cats and Londolozi’s rangers and trackers – one that allows for incomparable sightings. Of course, our luxury South African safari wasn’t just about leopard. Londolozi has herds of elephant and buffalo – on one memorable occasion we came across a lone buffalo as we were escorted to dinner – and we saw several rhino and lion. We enjoyed yoga sessions in the open air, massages in our suite and lengthy swims. We also took an interpretive walk through the village, visiting the school and craft centre and seeing what Londolozi Tree Camp does to uplift the community, proving that low-impact ecotourism can significantly improve the lives of local people.

Leopard are notoriously hard to find in most game reserves, but an incredible relationship has developed between these wild, free-roaming cats and Londolozi’s rangers and trackers – one that allows for incomparable sightings.

Of course, our luxury South African safari wasn’t just about leopard. Londolozi has herds of elephant and buffalo – on one memorable occasion we came across a lone buffalo as we were escorted to dinner – and we saw several rhino and lion.

We enjoyed yoga sessions in the open air, massages in our suite and lengthy swims. We also took an interpretive walk through the village, visiting the school and craft centre and seeing what Londolozi Tree Camp does to uplift the community, proving that low-impact ecotourism can significantly improve the lives of local people.

At a glance

  • Family-run lodge with a swimming pool, spa and six guest suites, each with private plunge pools.
  • Private reserve, private vehicles available (additional cost), private dining and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, tracking (additional cost), stargazing, birdwatching, fishing (additional cost), golf (additional cost), bush breakfast and picnics (additional cost), yoga, gym, swimming, spa treatments (additional cost) and cultural visits (additional cost).
  • Children of 16 years and above are welcome. Children under 16 are free to come if the camp is booked for exclusive use.

  • Family-run lodge with a swimming pool, spa and six guest suites, each with private plunge pools.
  • Private reserve, private vehicles available (additional cost), private dining and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, tracking (additional cost), stargazing, birdwatching, fishing (additional cost), golf (additional cost), bush breakfast and picnics (additional cost), yoga, gym, swimming, spa treatments (additional cost) and cultural visits (additional cost).
  • Children of 16 years and above are welcome. Children under 16 are free to come if the camp is booked for exclusive use.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is the Southern Hemisphere summer and autumn. In the Greater Kruger area, this means higher temperatures and most of the year’s rain. Rainfall tends to be short and sharp rather than prolonged, with exciting electric storms. A cool, post-storm afternoon game drive is a genuine highlight: with the dust knocked out of the air, the light has a limpid quality, and trackers are in their element, with a blank canvas to work from. When it’s green like this, the bushveld at its prettiest, and full of new life.

The cooler winter months are almost entirely rain-free. This means that the vegetation dries and becomes sparser, making it easier to spot wildlife. Short grass and bare branches let the Greater Kruger safari guides use their spotting skills to the fullest. Game begins to concentrate at dwindling waterholes, and this attracts the predators. Be prepared for spectacular sightings, but also pack a safari wardrobe that can cope with both the very fresh early mornings (especially on an open game-viewer) and then warm days peaking at around 23°C.

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