15 Best Resorts in South Africa
South Africa is one of the most exciting countries to visit in Africa, offering the best of both worlds, with top resorts in cities, as well as its myriad of game reserves where safaris take place.
Most travelers come to South Africa for a well-rounded experience that takes them to resorts in different parts of the country, including the urban metropolis of Johannesburg, which has a fantastic arts and culture scene; the more laid-back and ultra-beautiful Cape Town; and the beach and history-focused Durban.
From Kruger National Park to Sabi Sand and Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa has some of the best safari experiences on the continent. There are numerous reserves that are home to all categories of lodges and resorts that usually offer all-inclusive experiences, including meals and dawn and dusk game drives to see the animals. Here we present our picks for the best resorts in South Africa.
1. Shamwari Private Game Reserve Lodges, Eastern Cape
Accommodation: Shamwari Private Game Reserve Lodges
Between the cities of Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown on the N2, Shamwari Private Game Reserve is one of South Africa's most successful private conservation initiatives. This resort is also known for being both eco-friendly and ultra-luxe.
In a malaria-free area, there are six luxury lodges on the grounds. Each is 5-star and offers a different style.
Rates are inclusive of meals, as well as twice-daily safaris accompanied by super knowledgeable guides who will get you as close as possible to the animals, including the big cats. There is also a spa on-site and a swimming pool.
Address: N2 between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown, Shamwari Game Reserve 6000, South Africa
2. One&Only Cape Town
Accommodation: One&Only Cape Town
Boasting fantastic views of Table Mountain, the One&Only Cape Town has a convenient location next to the V&A Waterfront, which is one of the city's top dining and shopping areas.
This seven-story hotel faces the marina and two man-made islands. It is a 5-star property with posh rooms and suites. These are well-appointed, and many have direct views of Table Mountain.
Amenities here include a few restaurants, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and an award-winning spa. If you are traveling with children, the resort is family-friendly, and you'll find a kids' club to keep them entertained.
Address: Dock Road Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town Central 8001, South Africa
3. The Oyster Box, Durban
Accommodation: The Oyster Box
In Durban's ritzy Umhlanga Rocks suburb just north of downtown, The Oyster Box is the most luxe resort in the area. Decked out with a fusion of colonial European and Mediterranean styles, it has an old-world elegance about it — this is the kind of hotel where doors are opened by uniformed men in pith helmets.
Located right on a pretty stretch of gold sand beach near a lighthouse, the pool area facing the sea is particularly alluring, with red-and-white striped cushions and sun loungers, and matching hued umbrellas.
Rooms and suites are individually decorated and come in a few different classes, but some have views of the sea and lighthouse from private balconies. Amenities include an award-winning spa and a few different dining options.
Address: 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks 4319 South Africa
4. Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park
Accommodation: Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
On the private Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park (the animals are free to roam between the reserves), Leopard Hills is a 5-star property set on a rocky outcrop with fabulous views of the bush, plains, and an active water hole below.
Rates include safari game drives as well as meals, and the quality of the food is excellent. If you are visiting South Africa for a honeymoon, Leopard Hills excels in the romance department. Private dinners can be arranged in your room, and you can follow this with a candlelit bath.
Address: Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa
5. Jaci's Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve
Accommodation: Jaci's Safari Lodge
Located inside Madikwe Game Reserve in the northwest portion of South Africa, on the border with Botswana and at the edge of the Kalahari Desert, Jaci's Safari Lodge is a boutique luxury resort.
There are just eight luxury tents and two suites. Each is decked out in vibrant colors and features a mix of canvas, stone, and thatched roofs. There are indoor and outdoor shower options and large porches from which you can often view animals.
Rates are inclusive of meals, and sunrise and sunset game drives where you'll see a plethora of animals — Madikwe is famous for its large lion population. Guides are very knowledgeable, and drives take place in open vehicles that don't obscure the views. They are tailored to individual groups. Guests can also rent high-quality cameras to photograph safaris.
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
6. The Silo Hotel, Cape Town
Accommodation: The Silo Hotel
Located in beautiful Cape Town, The Silo Hotel has a central location and is Cape Town's swankiest new resort. Set in the V&A Waterfront area, where you'll find dozens of restaurants, shops, and the ferry to Robben Island, it occupies an old grain elevator and has an edgy modern design throughout.
Expect gorgeously decorated rooms and suites with the most Instagram-famous bathtubs in the city — they face giant pillowed glass windows with views of the harbor, Table Mountain, and the city. Lots of local art is also incorporated around the property.
Amenities include a rooftop restaurant adjacent to a swimming pool, with glass sides and stunning city views. If you are in need of some pampering, book a massage or body treatment at the spa.
Address: Silo Square V & A Waterfront, Cape Town Central 8001, South Africa
7. The Residence, Johannesburg
Accommodation: The Residence, Johannesburg
One of the most luxe hotels in Johannesburg, The Residence is a boutique property in the Houghton suburb just about a mile from the city center. As such, it offers easy access to Joburg's top attractions but is still a safe respite.
The rooms and suites are elegantly decorated with antique furnishings, freestanding tubs, and lovely balconies. Suites also come with private hot tubs that are a favorite with couples on a romantic getaway.
On-site you'll find a swimming pool, restaurant, spa, and wellness center with a sauna. If you need transport to or from OR Tambo International Airport, a shuttle can be arranged. Breakfast is also complimentary
Address: 17 4th Ave, Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa
8. Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Accommodation: Cheetah Plains
Opened just a few years ago, Cheetah Plains has a different feel than many traditional South African safari resorts.
Located in the exclusive Sabi Sand Game Reserve, it has a very modern look about it and offers guests accommodation in private villas that can sleep up to eight people. These are a perfect choice for groups of friends or multi-generational families vacationing together. Each villa has four bedrooms, a chef's kitchen, walls of windows that open onto furnished patios, and a private swimming pool.
Cheetah Plains prides itself on sustainability, and the included twice daily game drives take place in private electric Land Cruisers. Guests also have access to a Nikon D850 camera with a complimentary memory card, allowing you to capture incredible photographs. All meals and beverages at this 5-star property are included in the rate.
Address: Sabi Sand Game Reserve S36, Kruger National Park 1383, South Africa
9. The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Cape Town
Accommodation: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Set between the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa is a classic Cape Town 5-star hotel, with an old-world, elegant vibe throughout.
Located past Camps Bay and just across the street from Oudekraal Beach at the edge of Table Mountain National Park, it features country luxe décor, with wallpapered walls and patterned bedspreads, upholstered furnishings, and reproduction antiques.
The on-site restaurant, Azure, does one of the city's most expansive breakfast buffets each morning, and for guests, it is included in the rate. There are also two swimming pools, a workout room, and a spa.
Guests can catch the free shuttle to the V&A Waterfront for easy access to downtown Cape Town.
Address: Victoria Road Cape Town, Camps Bay 8000 South Africa
10. Singita Boulders Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Accommodation: Singita Boulders Lodge
Located next to the Sand River in the privately owned Sabi Sand Game Reserve next to Kruger National Park, Singita Boulders Lodge was inspired by the boulder-strewn riverbank on which it sits. This luxury resort blends effortlessly into its surroundings and features beautifully designed public spaces, as well as 12 glass-fronted suites.
The suites have hand-crafted furnishings, African-style fabrics in rich colors and textures, fireplaces, and private decks. They also come with heated swimming pools and outdoor showers.
Rates are all-inclusive, and on your private twice daily game drives, you'll often encounter harder-to-spot animals like leopards and wild dogs.
Address: Singita Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park 1242, South Africa
11. Prana Lodge, Chintsa
Accommodation: Prana Lodge
On South Africa's Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape province, the village of Chintsa sits just back from the Indian Ocean beach. Here, you'll find the boutique Prana Lodge.
The small resort has just eight suites. These are individually decorated in the most luxe style, with art from private collections of famous South African artists, Persian carpets, and high-quality linens on comfy beds. Each suite has a private plunge pool off a patio that is isolated from other guests by garden walls.
Prana is a great choice for a romantic getaway and offers a number of honeymoon, mini-moon, and babymoon travel packages. Amenities include a restaurant with complimentary breakfast, a spa, and beach access. A full range of activities, from horseback riding to surfing, can be arranged.
Address: Chintsa Drive, Chintsa 5275, South Africa
12. Thornybush Game Lodge, Kruger National Park
Accommodation: Thornybush Game Lodge
The Thornybush Game Lodge is set on a private reserve in the Kruger National Park Area and offers a luxury safari experience that is also family-friendly.
This resort has 20 suites, two of which are family suites. All have spacious living areas and private decks that face the seasonal Monwana River.
Rates are inclusive of two daily safaris at dawn and dusk. Guests can also opt for walking safaris, which often take you very close to the animals. Meals are also included. Other amenities at this resort include a spa and a swimming pool.
Address: Guernsey Road Thornybush Main Gate, Kruger National Park 1380 South Africa
13. Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg
Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg
Right near Johannesburg's CBD and major attractions, the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg is on a wooded hill that fronts the Johannesburg Zoo. This luxury hotel is family-friendly and has a number of kid-focused amenities. Children under 18 also stay free.
The rooms and suites have an elegant vibe and colorful accents. There are also five restaurants on-site, a spa with a full range of treatments, and two heated swimming pools.
Address: 67 Jan Smuts Ave, Westcliff, Johannesburg
14. The Westin Cape Town
Accommodation: The Westin Cape Town
The 5-star The Westin Cape Town is in the buzzy V&A Waterfront area and also offers easy access to Long Street, where you'll find more shops and restaurants. The rooms and suites have an elegant, modern look and feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of either Table Mountain, the ocean, or Cape Town.
The hotel has a few restaurants on-site, as well as a spa. Its top amenity, however, is the sauna located on the 19th floor. It is entirely glassed in with panoramic harbor and city views. The indoor swimming pool is also set along a wall of glass with more fantastic views.
Address: Convention Square, Lower Long Street Convention Square, Cape Town Central 8000, South Africa
15. Tintswalo Atlantic
Accommodation: Tintswalo Atlantic
In a magnificent location above a pebbled beach at the foot of Chapman's Peak, about 35 minutes' drive from downtown Cape Town, Tintswalo Atlantic is a unique resort.
Set within Table Mountain National Park, it is the only hotel with permission to operate in the park and boasts panoramic ocean and Sentinel Mountain views. Guests also have easy access to numerous hiking trails in the park.
The vibe at this 5-star, adults-only resort is Zen luxe. It is a great place to disconnect for a few days, surrounded by nature (although Wi-Fi is free and available should you need it).
There are just 11 suites, each with a different look and theme. All are named for islands, including South Africa's Robben Island. This suite pays tribute to South Africa's first democratically elected president, the late Nelson Mandela. All suites have sliding glass doors opening onto private balconies facing the ocean, as well as fireplaces and spacious bathrooms.
There is also a beautifully styled villa, which has two suites and can accommodate up to four adults.
Tintswalo is known for its impeccable service and excellent restaurant. It has indoor and outdoor seating and serves a three-course set menu with three starter and main selections. A complimentary, highly praised breakfast buffet is included. There is also a spa here with on-call therapists and a heated, outdoor pool.
Address: Chapmans Peak Drive, Hout Bay 7806 South Africa