ULUSABA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Ulusaba means “place of little fear”. That’s because the koppie where Rock Lodge sits provided the ancient Shangaan warriors with the perfect lookout point. Spend time at Rock Lodge and you’ll be flying with the eagles, or take a walk on the wild side back down to earth at Safari Lodge.
The Lodges at Ulusaba
Ulusaba has 21 rooms and suites spread over two lodges: Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge.
Rock Lodge is perched on the top of a koppie with panoramic views over the bush below. There are 8 rooms at Rock Lodge, including our Master Suite, Makwela Suites, Rock Cliff rooms and the two bedroom Rock Suite, some of which have private plunge pools. Just a short walk from the main house is Cliff Lodge, a private two bedroom suite.
Nearly 500 metres away is Safari Lodge which has 11 rooms, including our Elephant Rooms, River Rooms and the private Treehouse Suite. Built along the banks of a dry riverbed, Safari Lodge guests cross swing bridges between the exquisite tree house style rooms. For the ultimate experience, guests can share their time between both lodges.
Ulusaba can be hired exclusively! Whether for a milestone birthday, anniversary, company retreat or just a time to get away with friends and family, Ulusaba is the perfect setting. You can hire either one or both lodges and you’ll have access to all the privacy, and flexibility that you desire, as well as your own game vehicles, Rangers and Trackers. Your stay will be uniquely tailored; perhaps cocktails at sunset followed by tribal dances around a bush campfire or a safari themed child’s birthday party… Whatever your preference, the Ulusaba team will ensure an unforgettable African safari experience.
Your stay at Ulusaba includes accommodation at one of the lodges, twice daily game drives plus all meals and drinks including a top quality wine list and sparkling wines. Your mini bar will be restocked daily with drinks and snacks just in case you’re peckish!
The rates also include road transfers from our private airstrip to the lodges and all local taxes. International flights and domestic flights to Ulusaba’s airstrip are not included, but can be incorporated into your package with O’Live To Travel (Pty) Ltd.
Safari Lodge can accommodate 22 guests sharing 11 rooms, and Rock Lodge can accommodate between 20 and 25 guests sharing 10 rooms and suites. Cliff Lodge can accommodate up to 5 adults and 4 children and can be hired independently for smaller groups and families.
Ulusaba can accommodate extra adults and children in some of our rooms on fold-out or rollaway beds. In some cases there will be an additional charge of per person, per night. There are restrictions on the number of guests and vehicles allowed in the Sabi Sand Reserve, so there may be times when we’re unable to accommodate extra guests in rooms.
Cliff Lodge 1 and 2 can be booked individually 4 months prior to arrival. Cliff Lodge 1 can sleep up to three adults and two children, Cliff Lodge 2 can sleep up to two adults and two children. When hired exclusively enjoy your own dedicated game vehicle and a chef to prepare all your meals. While you have your own space and leisure facilities, of course you are welcome to enjoy those at Rock Lodge too!
A Guest Conservation Contribution per person, per night will be added to the rates for your stay at Ulusaba (this also applies to all lodges in the reserve). This charge goes directly to the Sabi Sand Conservation Trust and will assist in the funding of our anti-poaching and conservation efforts to secure the long term survival of endangered and compromised animal species.
If you would like some more information about hiring camera equipment whilst staying at Ulusaba, please contact O’Live To Travel Pty Ltd. for more details.
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is located in the western sector of the Sabi Sand Reserve. Situated close to Kruger National Park which is in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
Ulusaba is approximately a 1 hour and 20 minute flight from the international airport in Johannesburg (OR Tambo International) flying by twin-engine aircraft, or 30 minutes from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA). Ulusaba have their own private airstrip and there are daily scheduled and charter flights available. Get a window seat – the view’s terrific! You can also come by road too from KMIA, which will take about 2 hours. Try and arrive by 1pm – just in time for lunch!
Flying to Ulusaba?
Ulusaba has it’s very own private airstrip and your Ranger and Tracker will be waiting for you with cold bubbles – the perfect way to start your Ulusaba experience. Federal Air flies directly to Ulusaba’s airstrip but there are also options to fly via Nelspruit or Skukuza Airports, with onwards hops to Ulusaba’s airstrip.
Travelling with children to South Africa
As of 1st June 2015 there are some changes to South Africa’s immigration rules. This will affect everyone travelling to or from South Africa with children under the age of 18, whether the children are accompanied by their parents or guardian or not. The requirements apply regardless of nationality. In order to be allowed to travel, customers impacted by this change must bring the necessary paperwork.
Rock Lodge has the best view in the Sabi Sand, as it is perched high on the summit of a koppie (hill), with panoramic views over miles of bush, grab a pair of binoculars to see what you can spot. Within Rock Lodge is Cliff Lodge, a two bedroom suite, perfect for some added privacy. Both Rock and Cliff Lodge are ideal for families with children of all ages who are welcome to join Ulusaba’s Cub’s Club.
You’re on top of the world at Rock Lodge! Survey miles of game-rich bush as you stand eight hundred feet above the wilderness.
Here the view is king and there are endless opportunities to spot the roaming wildlife, all set against a backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains far in the distance. The view inside is just as spectacular and the granite rock of the koppie (hill) is a key feature of the main house’s design and each room has a different design reflecting African tribal influences and style.
There are 8 rooms at Rock Lodge, including our Master Suite, Makwela Suites, Rock Cliff rooms and the two bedroom Rock Suite, some of which have private plunge pools.
ROCK CLIFF ROOMS
Ulusaba’s four adjoining rooms at Rock Cliff, all south facing with views over the vast landscape each from their own private balcony. Rooms are spacious and offer en-suite bathrooms with spectacular views. Two of these rooms are built on split levels with a spiral staircase connecting the bedroom and bathroom.
Outdoor pool: Pool with a view! Take in the views while having a dip or spend your time lazing on a sun lounger. Feeling chilly? Not to worry the pool is heated in the winter months. If you fancy enjoying the sunshine, Ulusaba’s friendly staff will bring your lunch to the pool.
Viewing decks: Enjoy some downtime, staring out over the bush from the top of Rock Lodge. Make use of Ulusaba’s telescopes and search the horizon for any activity.
Gym: Work out while keeping a lookout over the unique environment below. If you’re feeling fit, there is a running machine, bike, a multifunctional weight station as well as free weights for you to get rid of any stress and tension and get back to what you’re supposed to be doing…relaxing!
Located a short walk from the Main House at Rock Lodge, Cliff Lodge features two magnificent suites offering guests the ultimate in safari luxury. When you book both suites for exclusive use we include your own chef and private vehicle for game drives, and you have full use of a private gym and spa treatment room. Cliff Lodge can accommodate a maximum of five adults and four children when booked exclusively.
The two Cliff Lodge Suites can also be booked individually within four months prior to guest arrival.
CLIFF LODGE ONE
A luxurious two bedroom suite accommodating up to 3 adults and 2 children with one large bedroom and a second smaller bedroom. Cliff Lodge 1 offers a spacious lounge with fireplace, separate kitchen and bar and also features a mini spa, gym and an outdoor deck with a large pool.
Outdoor pool: Make a splash in your private pool and cool down after the excitement of your game drive experience.
Viewing decks: Enjoy some downtime, staring out over the bush from the top of Rock Lodge. Enjoy our telescopes and search the horizon for any activity.
Gym: Work out while keeping lookout over the unique environment below. If you’re feeling fit, we have a running machine, bike, a multi functional weight station as well as free weights for you to get rid of any stress and tension and get back to what you’re supposed to be doing…relaxing!
Lounge: The lounge is a great place to enjoy the beauty of the views below. We think it’s a perfect spot to cosy up with a book, enjoy a selection of movies on the big screen or soak up the afternoon with a pre-dinner cocktail from your private and fully-stocked bar. A lovely spot for a romantic dinner on the balcony that extends over the granite rocks.
Spa Treatments: Relax and unwind after the excitement of game drive with a spa treatment from the Aroma Boma – there is a private treatment room at Cliff Lodge so a spa therapist can come to you. Alternatively join us at the main Aroma Boma spa betwen Cliff Lodge and the main house. A whole range of treatments are available, from facials and massages through to those essential grooming rituals.
CLIFF LODGE 2
A spacious one bedroom suite accommodating up to 2 adults and 2 children on 2 small pull out beds. Cliff Lodge 2 offers a lounge area with fireplace and a large viewing deck with Jacuzzi. A TV in the lounge with DVD player and a selection of DVD’s is provided in both Cliff Lodge Suites
A spacious two bedroom suite with living area, the master bedroom can be split into a twin and has a full en-suite with views over the bush, and the second queen bedded room has a smaller en-suite shower room. An ideal option if you’re travelling as a family as we can accommodate two children.
This suite is built on three levels with beautiful views, an en-suite bathroom, and private balcony with infinity plunge pool. The living area has another terrace with sun loungers looking out over the bush, so bring your binoculars! This is one of Richard Branson’s favourite rooms and ideal for honeymooners!
Two lavish suites built on two levels with en-suite bathrooms and featuring private balconies with infinity edge plunge pools. With separate living area and study/library, each has a luxurious couch perfect if you’re bringing the kids.
Photographic Equipment Rental
To really capture those once in a lifetime moments whilst out on a game drive, make sure to have the best photographic equipment to hand. Ulusaba has partnered with Africa Photographic Services in order to take the hassle out of hiring any camera equipment. Visit their website to place your order and your equipment will be ready for you on arrival at Ulusaba.
Anyone who’s been on safari before knows that no two game drives are ever the same! There are two daily game drives at Ulusaba, one leaving early in the morning and one leaving late afternoon, each lasting around three hours. Times will vary depending on the season, but you should always keep your eyes peeled for the Big 5!
You’ll traverse over 13,500 hectares of private reserve with your dedicated Ranger and Tracker who will tailor your game drive just for you!
Here are some hints and tips for making the most of your time in the bush on game drive. Your game drive will leave you with some vivid memories, so make sure you don’t forget the following:
- A good camera, although take care when using a flash – some of the animals aren’t particularly keen. Just ask your Ranger and Tracker for guidance – they’re on good terms with all our neighbours.
• Binoculars. Ulusaba have a pair on each game vehicle to share, but if you’ve got your own you should certainly bring them.
• Always bring sunglasses, and in the winter months a sweater or fleece, especially in the evenings. Ulusaba provide blankets and hotwater bottles in winter if it’s cold, and there are also ponchos if it is raining.
• It’s best to wear pale and neutral colours when on game drives so not to attract the animals’ attention any more than strictly necessary!
• Please do not bring your mobile phone with you on game drives – Ulusaba have radios in the cars to contact Ulusaba or the Sabi Sand authorities in case of an emergency
Morning drives: You might not be a morning person but it’s certainly worth getting out of bed for this. Your morning starts with freshly baked goodies and tea and coffee to help get started. Your Ranger and Tracker will meet you and your morning adventure begins. As sun light dawns over the Sabi Sand you’ll be treated to the beauty of the majestic African bush.
This is generally the best time to spot the wildlife, as the temperature is cool and the animals are still very active, including the big cats, which will be returning from a night of hunting. We don’t want to give too much away, so just remember to set your alarm.
Afternoon drives: There’s something special about the bush as the late afternoon light starts to fade. The animals start to stir from their day time slumber and predatory animals will start stalking their prey. It’s common to stop for sundowners as the sun sets – it’s a magical experience!
The Big 5 and The Little 5
The Big Five are lions, buffalos, leopards, elephants and rhinos – is an old term originally referring to the five most dangerous animals to hunt, and not to the biggest or strongest animals as commonly thought. Hunting is of course not permitted at Ulusaba, or in the protected Reserves and National Parks of South Africa!
The Little Five are more difficult to spot but your Ranger and Tracker can help. They’ll be looking out for rhino beetles, elephant shrews, leopard tortoises, buffalo weavers and ant lions.
Depending on the weather there is usually a safari walk directly after breakfast if you fancy it. Your Ranger and Tracker will guide you and will point out various birds and animals – this is a great opportunity to see smaller creatures that are often missed when you’re on the game vehicles. We’ll also teach you some fascinating facts about the medicinal use of trees and plants along the way.
Conserving and protecting the natural environment is high on our agenda! Ulusaba has the ultimate respect for the bush and our team of Rangers and Trackers are committed to operating with minimal impact. Ulusaba is committed to protecting the environment around us and we focus on a number of initiatives to protect our beautiful South African bush for future generations.
• Waste and water disposal programmes
• Bush clearing, alien plant control and ecological burning
• Road maintenance
• Avoiding unnecessary off-road driving to protect endangered plant species
• Monitoring the health of wildlife
• Assisting in identification of the endangered white rhino
• Preventing erosion
• Assisting with inoculation against harmful diseases
• Helping protect animals from poachers
Safari Lodge is built along the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed and some of the rooms are built ‘tree house’ style and you really get the feeling of being in the heart of life in the bush. Your room will provide fascinating views of the animals as they stroll past on their way to the nearby watering hole.
Children at Ulusaba
Ulusaba love kids and have a dedicated Cub’s Club to keep your little ones entertained during your stay. Children of all ages are very welcome at Rock Lodge (including Cliff Lodge), which is ideal for families with children, however we unfortunately don’t allow Cubs under the age of 12 to stay at Safari Lodge. As long as your Cub is aged 6 or over he or she is more than welcome on the safari game vehicles.
Because Rock Lodge is intimate Ulusaba do not operate a set programme, but rather a range of great activities for your cubs to choose from. On arrival each cub will receive a backpack filled with fun and educational safari goodies. Cubs have their very own amenities in the room, just like their folks do, and in every Cub’s room there will be a personal welcome letter and a special introduction to their stay with a health and safety briefing specifically aimed at younger guests.
As of 1 June 2015 some changes came into force concerning all visitors to South Africa travelling with children under 18 years of age. Visitors are now required to provide unabridged birth certificates at immigration on arrival. Further information can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website or the UK Foreign and Commonwealth website.
Accommodation for children
Kids can be accommodated in some rooms on fold-out or rollaway beds. In some cases charges and restrictions may apply. At Rock Lodge the best rooms for children are Cliff Lodge 1, which has a separate room just off the lounge with two twin beds, and Rock Suite, whose two-bedroom configuration is ideal for families. Rollaway beds can also be accommodated in our two Makwela Suites as well as in Cliff Lodge 2.
We can tailor games and activities depending on the number and age ranges of the children staying. Here are some of the activities your ‘cub’ might get up to…
- A welcome treasure hunt to help Cubs familiarise themselves with their surroundings.
• Your Cubs will explore their Arts and Crafts ability with coloured sand art and an afternoon of rock painting.
• A great range of new and classic children’s DVDs, CDs and a Nintendo Wii to keep your Cubs busy
• Cubs are able to enjoy the swimming pool with an experienced swimmer to supervise afternoon pool activities and enjoy ice-cream to re-energise
• A wide variety of educational board games, puzzles and ‘Big 5’ playing cards, all with a safari theme
• Traditional South African kids’ games which they can teach their friends when they get home
• A mini Ranger’s course where your Cub’s Ranger will teach them about the African bush and how to track and identify animal footprints and dung droppings
• All Cubs will be invited to join the Pen Pal Club
• Safari walks around Rock Lodge to spot birds, insects, lizards and anything else your Cub may find
• Bedtime story-telling complete with milk and cookies, or whatever normally helps get your cubs ready for bed!
• Allow your cubs to become a safari master chef with a morning of creating and cooking homemade pizzas for lunch and cupcakes for guests to enjoy at tea
• Cubs and their folks are encouraged to visit the community so kids can learn about giving back and to see how different the lifestyles are in the community
• The Ulusaba Cub’s spa treatments will ensure that your Cub is able to unwind after a busy day with a variety of specially designed treatments for children
Most of the time children stay for free at Ulusaba and we have rooms that work fantastically well for families – just ask our reservations team at the time of booking and they can advise you on the options available. Children of all ages are welcome at Rock Lodge and children aged 12 and over can stay at Safari Lodge.
The rates below only apply when our Kids Go Free offer is not valid, usually at peak periods including Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
- 1 child sharing with 1 adult will be charged per night on top of the Adult Single Rate
• 1 child in his/her own room is charged the Adult Single Occupancy Rate
• 2 or more children in their own room are charged the Adult Single Occupancy Rate for the first child plus an additional fee per child per night for each additional child
…an infant? A guest under the age of 6 (Infants stay free of charge provided they share with at least one adult)
…a child? A guest between the ages of 6 and 12
…an adult? A guest aged 12 years and over
At Ulusaba, dining is a very important part of your stay, and the chefs work hard from morning until night to provide the freshest and tastiest meals possible. All meals and drinks are included in your rates, and with at least six opportunities per day to eat, we promise you won’t go hungry!
Ulusaba’s internationally renowned chefs have developed numerous pan-African dishes influenced by many African cultures, flavours and spices. Our recipes are constantly refreshed and consist of seasonal, local ingredients.
Whether dining under the African sky, in the Boma, on a deck or in the dining room, our menus and meals promise to be exciting, social and inspirational. All our breads and pastries are home baked daily and we
We thought we would give you a little taster as to what you can expect on a typical day at Ulusaba. You can do as little or as much as you like, it’s completely up to you.
5AM Rise and shine! The early morning game drive sets off at 5.30am, but before you depart we have early morning teas, coffees and refreshments served on the main terrace.
5.30AM Off we go! We will depart on the morning game drive in an open 4 x 4 safari vehicle, stopping for refreshments in the heart of the South African bush.
9AM Breakfast Retreat back to the lodge for breakfast with your Ranger, giving you an opportunity to chat about what you’ve seen that morning and to compare sightings with other guests. Breakfast is served buffet style so you can help yourself, but there is also an à la carte menu so you can order hot dishes from our kitchen.
1.30PM Lunch is served often on one of the sundecks and tables are set up restaurant style. All dishes are made to order and there is a range of options – our Rangers favour the Kudu burger!
4PM Afternoon Tea Before heading off on the evening game drive we will tempt you with our afternoon tea served on the patio.
4.30PM Game on! It’s time to depart for the evening game drive. Search for those elusive nocturnal animals after sundowner drinks served in the bush.
8PM Dinner is served. Enjoy a pre-dinner drink at the bar while our chefs explain the evening’s menu choices. Everyone makes their selection and then the meal is served communally at the large tables at each lodge. We often serve dinner in the heart of the bush under the African skies around a blazing log fire. You can expect tribal dancers and singers for a truly authentic African experience.
If all that wasn’t enough, there are snacks and treats in your room along with a fully-stocked complimentary minibar.
In the bush
Just because you’re away from the lodges doesn’t mean the culinary experience can’t travel with you. Freshly baked goodies await before you set off on the morning game drive, and there may be a surprise with a few more treats while you’re in the middle of the bush, from pancake stops to bush dinners under the stars lit by torches and a flaming log fire. During the evening game drives your Ranger and Tracker will pick a spot for some refreshing sundowners to get you in the mood for dinner.
Many of Ulusaba’s guests choose to visit for special occasions, be it an anniversary, landmark birthday, or honeymoon, so if you’re after a more intimate dining experience Ulusaba will be delighted to organise this for you. Dinner can be served on a secluded deck with views over the bush at Rock Lodge, on the deck at Safari Lodge’s wine cellar, in the cosy wine lounge back up at Rock Lodge, or somewhere else a little bit more secluded. Just let O’Live To Travel know in advance and Ulusaba can certainly ramp up the romance (if that’s what you are after!)
Wine lovers won’t go thirsty with Ulusaba’s well-stocked wine cellar at Safari Lodge and lounge at Rock Lodge and the tailored wine tastings are a must. The Ulusaba wine experience starts with us establishing your own personal tastes. South Africa has an excellent reputation for wine worldwide and naturally Ulusaba is keen to showcase some of the best local vintages on offer. The wines speak for themselves!
About Ulusaba’s selection: You’ll find wines from tiny family owned cellars that put so much passion into their craft because they want people to love their wine as much as they do. The traditional bigger names are also present along with some newer, equally impressive small producers, with wines from organic and biodynamic producers. There’s something to suit everybody: a dry rosé for lunchtime, a beefy Cabernet Sauvignon with your game dish as well as South Africa’s very own Pinotage and local specialty Chenin Blanc. You’ll also find exquisitely oaked and unoaked Chardonnays and delicate Pinot Noirs for lighter dishes.
We have a great range of child-friendly meals. Your Cubs (that’s the children) can choose from a selection of tasty, well balanced, healthy and fun meals keeping both the parents and the Cubs happy!
Let O-Live To Travel Design and Plan your Dream trip with Ulusaba – Private Game Reserve as one of the highlights in your Itinerary to South Africa!
All images are credited to Ulusaba Private Game Reserve