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Sunset from Ulusaba Rock Lodge deck "That" view from Rock Lodge at Sunset

The Virgin Group offers Richard Branson's Africa showcase, Ulusaba, in the famous Sabi Sand Reserve. The guvnor's own touch shows in the luxury and attention to detail. There are two spectacular Lodges.

Safari Lodge (in the foreground in the picture at the top) is on the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed, offering good animal sightings from the rooms and decks as game strolls past on the way to the nearby watering hole.

Large breeding herd of elephant drinking at Ulusaba waterhole

Rock Lodge is perched vertiginously 600ft above surrounding plains atop a koppie, an eruption of rock forming one of several hills poking up from the flat plain. It offers stunning views from its regal vantage point (shown in the background of the header and pictured below).

Aerial view of Ulusaba Rock Lodge - Cliff suites


Ulusaba means "place of little fear" in the local Shangaan language - in early settlement times warriors used the koppie as the perfect lookout point. There are just eight rooms built on top of that koppie at Rock Lodge of which four are Suites. Three of the Suites enjoy private plunge pools; one offers two bedrooms.

Rock Cliff room at Ulusaba Rock Lodge Rock Cliff room at Rock Lodge

There are four adjoining Rock Cliff rooms, 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.

Makwela suite at Ulusaba Rock Lodge Makwela Suite at Rock Lodge

Two lavish Makwela suites are built on two levels with en-suite bathrooms and featuring private balconies with infinity edge plunge pools. With a separate living area and study/library, each has a luxurious couch perfect if you’re bringing the kids.

Cliff suite at Ulusaba Rock Lodge Rock Suite at Cliff Lodge

Rock Suite is a separate, spacious two bedroom affair offering more privacy. There is a living area, master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, and a second queen bedded room with its own en-suite shower. Rock Suite is a good family option and accommodates two children.

Cliff suite at Ulusaba Rock Lodge Master Suite at Ulusaba Rock Lodge

The Master 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 and features a telescope to watch the stars. One of Richard Branson’s favourite rooms and ideal for honeymooners!

Dining at Ulusaba Rock Lodge Dining on the deck at Ulusaba Rock Lodge

Rock Lodge gives you panoramic views over miles of Bush. Enjoy brunch or dinner with a glorious view. Swim in natural waters at the very top, or wander around the Lodge and you’ll find several viewing decks, each with a different sight to see. Make a splash in the outdoor pool or get active in the fully equipped gym and run off some of the South African goodies. The Aroma Boma spa has a view unlike any other spa and looks over the Drakensberg Mountain range.


Ulusaba Safari Lodge snuggles into the bush underneath a canopy of ancient trees on the edge of a dry riverbed. There are eleven rooms at Safari Lodge, of three types.

Elephant Room at Safari Lodge, Ulusaba Safari Lodge room, Ulusaba

Safari Rooms are close to the main Lodge and have large viewing decks overlooking the waterhole and riverbed. There are three, all are en-suite, and as they are next to each other, well-suited to families or groups.

Elephant Room at Safari Lodge, Ulusaba Elephant Room at Safari Lodge

There are three Elephant Rooms which overlook a well-used game path which the pachyderms frequent. Built tree-house style high above the bush, they have en-suite bathrooms and large viewing decks offering stunning views over the bush. They are close together and good for friends travelling together or families with teens wishing to be close to their parents.

River Room at Safari Lodge, Ulusaba River Room at Safari Lodge

River Rooms - there are four of them - are spacious with snuggling seating areas and striking views of the river bed or bush. They are secluded and tucked between jackalberry trees; ideal for a romantic getaway. Three of the River Rooms are accessed by swing bridge a short walk from the main Lodge. Two have their own plunge pools.

Treehouse Suite view at Xikwenga dam, Ulusaba Treehouse Suite view at Xikwenga dam

The spacious and secluded Treehouse Suite overlooks the nearby Xikwenga Dam. It has a spectacular view all to itself (below). Popular with photographers, birders, and also well-suited to Honeymooners, it is a ten minute walk from the main Lodge and the deck is perfect to have your breakfast, lunch or dinner served to you upon.

Treehouse Suite at Safari Lodge, Ulusaba Treehouse Suite view at Ulusaba Safari Lodge
Entry to Safari Lodge is by swing bridge, Ulusaba
Bush dinner for two at Ulusaba
Bush breakfast at Ulusaba


Highly recommended

  • Good animal sightings from River Lodge rooms
  • First class kids club

Don't miss

  • Rock Lodge for that view
  • One of the two lavish Makwela Suites with private balcony and infinity plunge pools. Romance lives