Ngala Safari Lodge is owned and operated by &Beyond. This luxury safari company is a bit of a favourite at YZ, running fabulous camps and lodges across much of Safari Africa. Ngala has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor! The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including three meals daily, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, expertly guided vehicle and walking safaris, &Beyond’s WILDChild programme, transfers between the lodge and &Beyond’s private airstrip, Wi-Fi, and a laundry service. All children are welcome, and the lodge is open throughout the year.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge is accessed via road transfer from &Beyond’s private airstrip. It’s situated within its own reserve in the heart of the Timbavati, which borders the western boundary of the Kruger National Park.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
There are 17 standard cottages, three family cottages, and one private family suite. All are made out of timber, stone, and thatch, and set up in the shade of mopane and tamboti trees within the lodge’s grounds. Inside each standard cottage, you’ll find a double bed or twin beds, bedside and overhead lighting, a bench, a writing desk and chair, and storage furniture. Other in-room amenities include air conditioning, ceiling fans, telephone, mini-bar, safe, Wi-Fi, and hairdryer. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins with mirrors over, shower, and freestanding bathtub. Sliding doors lead out into a private courtyard with open-air shower, the way lit beautifully with lanterns. Cottage access for disabled travellers is available on request. Each of the family cottages benefits from all the features of the standard model, in addition to an interleading bedroom for children. And the family suite has its own lounge and dining areas, a swimming pool, and use of a private vehicle!
The main lodge at Ngala is another timber, stone, and thatch structure, linked with the guest cottages and family suite along neat stone pathways. It contains a large lounge, featuring plush sofas and armchairs around coffee tables, a cosy fireplace, occasional tables dotted with intriguing artefacts, and lots of wildlife artwork. The bar adjoins the lounge, and there’s also an elegant dining area. These spaces flow out onto spacious verandas, so guests can feast their eyes on lovely views over rolling lawns as far as a busy waterhole and surrounding bushscape. Ngala has a library too, and a traditional boma where guests eat al fresco. You can also take time to relax in the pleasant courtyard and cool off in the lodge’s very inviting swimming pool! The pool is flanked by two long lines of sunloungers, one row within a shady stone shelter and the other under parasols, so there’s plenty of room for everyone to relax in the heat of the day.
The Ngala Reserve covers 14,700 hectares of savanna, woodland, and water sources, and it’s a real haven for wildlife. The lodge’s game drives, which take place during early morning and late afternoon into nightfall, provide exciting opportunities to see all sorts of mammal species. The mighty Big Five are in residence – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. The Sabi Sands as a whole is renowned for its impressive populations of big cats, so it’s a great destination for anyone who loves lion, leopard, and cheetah! Other predators to look out for include hyenas, jackals, and the rare wild dog, while the herbivore count features hippo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and an amazing assortment of antelopes. The reserve also holds ample interest for birders, as it’s home to well over three hundred types of feathery friend, from raptors to songbirds to waterbirds. Ngala’s interpretive bush walks are fantastic for taking a really close look at plants and insects, and for tracking animals too. Photographic safaris are offered at extra cost, as are rhino notching experiences, helicopter flights over the breathtaking Blyde River Canyon, and spectacular hot air balloon rides. Please note, a few age restrictions apply – children aged under 16 years cannot participate in bush walks and those aged under 6 are not allowed on game drives. However, &Beyond’s WILDChild programme provides plenty of things to do for youngsters, such as arts ‘n’ crafts, bush survival techniques, and mini nature walks.