The other reviews have done an excellent job of accurately conveying the experience to be found at Bush Lodge so I'll try to add something different. As a caveat, this was my first safari so I have nothing else to compare to but can only opine a first impression.
Initially, the safari drive felt stage managed, what with the 270 roads criss-crossing the reserve and perhaps that is the case in any of the Africa parks. But then one is coming on safari to see the animals up close and unless one has the luxury of unlimited to time to wait for them to come to you, there is no other way to actually have those close encounters in a brief period. I soon realized, too, that there was nothing contrived about the animals, which were behaving in a natural fashion oblivious to the cruising human viewers- stalking, gathering, killing, eating. The jeeps were nothing more than a part of the landscape. And the encounters you will have are remarkable. To sit in the dark with a leopard roaring by the side of your jeep is a primeval experience where for a fleeting moment you can viscerally feel the predator-prey relationship. How about sitting quietly amidst a herd of elephants while they push down small trees, shower you with dirt, even put on a mock charge, or only feet away from a pride of ten cubs and eight lions; or watching a group of rhinos amble by within feet of your parked perch. These are just a few of the experiences one can expect at Sabi Sabi. After reading the other reviews, my only disappointment, as gruesome as this may sound, was not seeing any take-downs or confrontations witnessed by others. But that's nature. Sabi is not a play acted out on cue for the benefit of the human audience.
Don't MIss: The walking safari is not to be missed. It is a wholely different journey to have one's feet actually on the soil. As open aired as jeeps are, they do isolate you from the surroundings, whereas walking the bush puts you smack into life on the savannah, where the flora and tiny creatures come more into focus, where the sense of involvement with the whole panoply of surrounding life becomes more palpable and intense.
The Rangers: It seems each guest believes his or her Ranger is the best, which is the way it should be. I can only say that ours, BEN, could not have been better. His passion for his avocation was infectious and intense, possessed a wealth of knowledge and stories about the landscape and its denizens, large and small, plants, trees, soils, insects, and in particular birds which are in abundance even in the winter off-season. And, he fully recognized the value of silence, where one could hear the subtle sounds of the bush. I came away with the highest respect, admiration, and indeed envy, for the path he has chosen for his life and he enriched my experience beyond compare.
Accomodations: A few have griped that Bush Lodge seemed a little long in the tooth. I couldn't disagree more. If anything, it seemed a little too luxurious for a wildness experience, although that luxury soon was appreciated. The rooms were far more spacious and accomodating than expected, the public areas exceedingly comfortable and welcoming.
Food: First class all the way, both in its exotic offerings and diversity for all tastes. For someone who eats only one meal a day, it was often just too much, but then again, that's what happens on vacations.
Staff: Impeccably polite and helpful at all times, from top management down to the gardeners and service personnel. The top hotels in NYC, LA, London could take lessons from those Bush Lodge.
Bush Lodge gave me one of the great experiences of my life. My only regret is not staying far, far longer, to become part of the rhythm it and Sabi Sabi provide. My thanks to all there for creating such a memorable, indelible time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bush Lodge is celebrated the world over for its warmth, vibrancy, 5-Star luxury and exceptional safaris. Huge wooden viewing decks overlook a busy waterhole; and each suite features sumptuous linens and fabrics, beautiful leather and wood furnishings, and an en-suite glass fronted bathroom with indoor and al-fresco shower leading onto a private patio. The lounge, bar, pool area and boma are all relaxing meeting places where stories are shared and friends made. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sabi Sabi Bush Hotel Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
- Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve