Short stay: Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge, Sabie Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Wiltuin, South Africa


Thatched with savannah grass, lantern-lit Sabi Sabi Selati Camp provides old-school luxury. Decanters of sherry, hot-water bottles and impeccable service pay nostalgic homage to yesteryear’s safaris.

Although there isn’t a television in sight, a digital detox is not compulsory. If you really have to stay in touch with the 21st century, the wi-fi is flawless. Selati, once a family’s game lodge, sits in the private Sabi Sabi Game Reserve adjoining the Kruger National Park.

Just seven Tsonga house-style suites, shaded by jackalberry trees, make up this intimate lodge. Pretty purple kalanchoe line the pathway to each detached suite. Six of the seven lodges are named after stations on the gold-hauling Selati railway line built in the late 19th century. A gloriously indulgent Ivory Presidential Suite, fit for royalty, is the seventh.

The lodge overlooks a watering hole where elephants, leopards, lions and rhino drink. Guests can tick off the Big Five as they take their breakfast or lunch. Sometimes elephants and impala walk through the fenceless camp. This is an Out of Africa experience that would have thrilled Karen Blixen who wistfully sighed, “If there’s one more thing that I would do, it would be to go on safari once again.”

The welcome

Collected from the Skukuza airport’s tiny, thatched terminal, a safari vehicle takes us to Selati. It is a 40-minute game drive taster. Within two minutes of leaving the airport we have spotted giraffes browsing on acacia trees. We drive past camera-shy warthogs, grazing impala and a basking crocodile eyeing up a grey heron.

On arrival at Selati, we are welcomed with citronella-fragranced flannels and a rock shandy. Relaxing into sofas in the bar, our passports are scanned, then we are given our reassuringly…

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