Four money bags
FOUR/FIVE STAR JUMP TO LODGES
This category consists of private lodges operating to a high level of comfort and service. Some are hampered slightly by being off the beaten track, whilst conversely some are in more developed, busier parts.
The best value-for-money is often found in this price range, with some lodges offering services and standards that indicate their ambitions to move up. They offer an excellent, affordable entree in to the world of the private game reserve.
These lodges are well-located, which generally means close to perennial water. They are usually situated in scenic spots – overlooking riverbeds, at waterholes, on the crest of a hill overlooking plains – chosen for their views. One type is in accessible, and consequently more densely developed, areas such as Balule and Klaserie where the game viewing is excellent. The other type is in parts of the Greater Kruger which are harder to access.
MORE VEHICLES, SHARED LAND
These Lodges often share traversing rights over land in a larger area, clustering into little groups, and providing you with a choice about the style and atmosphere that you want from a lodge. The operators are generally careful to manage sightings, given the number of game drives going out at the same time in these areas. You are likely to see other vehicles on drives.
Separate rooms are well sized (think a junior suite) with en-suite bathroom facilities. They may be part of a larger building or semi-detached from each other. Care is taken with privacy and you will probably have your own deck for game viewing during the time that you are not out beating the bush on drives or walks. Plunge pools are rare for this money.
The service and attention to detail at these lodges is consistent with that of a four- or five-star hotel in the outside world. Amenities include a swimming pool, usually on a good game viewing deck. Rooms are usually air-conditioned with a bath and indoor and outdoor showers.
LARGER, COMMUNAL FACILITIES
Many of the lodge facilities are shared between guests, and given that these lodges tend to be larger than those charging a higher price, the experience is more communal than exclusive.
Food tends to be a hale and hearty communal affair, often prepared on the fire and enjoyed around its embers. To keep larger groups entertained, there is likely to be some form of entertainment laid on in the evenings. It may be as simple as sitting around a camp fire discussing the events of the day, or listening to the tall tales which every Guide can tell, or the staff might prevail on you to dance.
Clientele: The first-time Kruger visitor ought to spend at least two nights appreciating the fully potency of the Safari experience at one of these Lodges. Most guests are repeat clients. Many are overseas visitors.