Michelle Astbury, our Product Manager and jack-of-all-trades at Sun Safaris, has been on plenty of safaris in Kruger. It is appears that Ulusaba Rock Lodge is one of her favourite destinations and our curiosity got the better of us, so we decided to ask her why Ulusaba has her mind spinning with fond memories.
Ulusaba Rock Lodge is one of Richard Branson’s five star safari lodges located in the premier Sabi Sand. Sabi Sand has a high concentration of game and is a world renowned destination for big cats and the big five. There are also over 500 species of birds fluttering about in the reserve, making it a hotspot for avid ornithologists.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the depths of Michelle’s mind and find out why Ulusaba Rock Lodge is her favourite Kruger safari lodge.
1. Why is this your favourite lodge?
The attention to detail was amazing. We were blown away by everything – people, views, food and even our suite. Every single person was kind and friendly. And also, everyone knew our names! Seriously, one of the maintenance team greeted us by name and we hadn’t been introduced to him!
2. Describe an average day on safari while staying at Ulusaba.
We arrived at lunchtime and checked in at reception. After being driven up the koppie to Rock Lodge we were settled into our room with a view! Lunch was relaxed with no set time – they make your meal to order. After lunch we got ready for our evening game drive. Heading out with a dynamic guide and ranger is a highlight, they work together so well. We had a sundowner drink in the middle of the game drive.
We then headed back to the lodge for dinner, or so we thought! We were dropped in the middle of the bush where the staff had set up a massive bonfire, full bar and fairy lights in the trees. Snacks were presented followed by traditional dancing by the staff of both Rock and Safari Lodge.
From here we walked about 5 minutes in the dark to Ulusaba’s private observatory. A huge telescope was wheeled out and we set about spotting constellations. Our guide was as knowledgeable about the stars as he was about the wildlife. After our stargazing we returned to the lodge where the general manager doubled as a sommelier. He poured us a glass of champagne and went through the menu for dinner.
All four courses were paired with a different glass of wine. We enjoyed dinner on the balcony.
After the 5am wakeup call we met in the lounge with the first rays of sun on the horizon. We had a snack, freshly baked muffins, fresh fruit salad, yoghurt and yummy coffee. The we headed off on game drive where the guide and tracker worked together to find plenty of big game.
We stopped for a mid-drive coffee and snacks before continuing our search for wildlife. We then had breakfast at sister lodge Ulusaba Safari Lodge, on the banks of a dry river bed where elephants joined us at the waterhole. After breakfast we returned to Rock Lodge and relaxed next to our private plunge pool. At checkout we were sent on our way with lots of hugs and freshly baked brownies!
3. What is the unique selling point of this lodge? Why here and not anywhere else?
Aside from the attention to detail, the wildlife and the food, the staff were at the top of their game and a real pleasure to be around. The views from Rock Lodge across to the Kruger National park and the rising sun were just a cherry on the top!
4. What wildlife did you see while on drive?
We were so lucky at Ulusaba. We saw a mother cheetah and her two babies, we spent 30 minutes parked with a wild dog pack who were grooming each other and playing, we tracked leopard and found a 10 month old cub eating, we found another leopard with cubs who walked casually under the vehicle, we saw lion cubs, massive breeding herds of elephants in the river, lions mating and so much more!
5. What’s the overall atmosphere of the lodge like?
Exclusive luxury but with a relaxed feel.
To enjoy a similar type of safari to the one Micheel experienced, then please book a Kruger safari to Ulusaba – we’ll organise your entire holiday.