Though we just waxed poetic about the virtues of having a safari lodge all to yourself—think game drives on your schedule, no other shutterbugs blocking that perfect shot of the watering-hole, and all the privacy you could want—we realize that it is not always possible. Or even preferable—there’s no shame in admitting you wouldn’t mind some other human interaction. So, if you don’t want to go the exclusive-use route, something like the brand-new Safari Suite at Virgin Limited Edition’s Ulusaba, a private game reserve in the heart of South Africa’s Sabi Sand, is the ultimate compromise. It offers the best of both seriously luxe worlds.
The sprawling new suite is the latest crown jewel on the property. It features 21 rooms spread across three separate lodges, all of which are connected by swinging rope bridges high above the bush. Though it is meant to sleep just two, the 2,000-square-foot space comes complete with a walled garden in the front, perfect for hosting alfresco drinks around the firepit with friends both new and old, and a plunge pool overlooking the Mabrack riverbed around back, where you wouldn’t be surprised to catch zebra or aardvarks as they meander out towards the bush. Inside, the suite mixes traditional safari style with modern furniture, a canopy bed and thatched A-line roof offset chic gold accents, and midcentury-modern leaning furniture. En suite bathrooms look as if they came from a five-star city stay. A floor-to-ceiling window next to the soaking tub overlooking the bush ensures you won’t forget for a moment where you are.
If you’d like even more space, the Safari Suite can be combined with the neighboring Safari room (also fresh off a top-to-bottom refresh), allowing the space to sleep four. When booked together, you’ll be given access to private game drives complementing the twice-daily excursions out into bush offered to guests of the lodge at large. The reserve is home to some of the biggest populations of protected wildlife on the continent, so there will be plenty to see while out: expect to catch eagles arcing through the vast blue skies, lions lounging in the low grass, and elephants making their way to the watering hole.
Once you’re back from the day’s exploration, you can, of course, spread out in your suite—where chefs can prepare meals or snacks in the private kitchen. But we’d suggest heading to the pool at the cliff lodge (which offers sweeping views of the valley below) or hitting the spa for a well-earned massage. Nights are then best topped off with dinner and a glass or two in the wine cellar.