Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is one of four properties located within the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. It’s the most exclusive and also the most expensive property here! Its theme is Tomorrow, in contrast to the Yesterday and Today options making up the rest of the collection, and it’s described as Africa’s most environmentally sensitive lodge. Accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, vehicle and walking safaris, transfers between the camp and Sabi Sabi Airstrip, and Wi-Fi. The lodge can be booked for exclusive use, and it’s open all year round.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge is usually accessed via road transfer from the Sabi Sabi Airstrip. It’s built into a slope of the earth within the bushveld of the private reserve.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
There are 13 guest suites, including the Amber Presidential Suite. Each is housed within a structure made out of earth mixed with twigs. Since the launch of Earth Lodge, this building material has split opinions – for some it lends the look of an underground car park, whereas others praise the unusual style. The structures have glass windows, to let in plenty of light. Inside the standard suite, you’ll find a spacious bedroom, with double bed, bedside tables and lighting, a writing desk and chair, and a separate seating area featuring sofa, coffee table, and a couple of floor lamps. Room amenities include air conditioning, fans, telephone, mini-bar, tea-and-coffee station, safe, and hairdryer. The en-suite washroom contains flush toilet, twin basins with double-size mirror over, shower, and freestanding bathtub. The palette throughout each suite is white, cream, and, appropriately, earth tones, especially in the undisguised earth-and-stick ceiling and walls. There’s a lot of wood too, sometimes forming part of the décor. The overall look is a sort of rustic luxury! Just outside, there’s a shaded area, another shower, and a private plunge pool – and a couple of sunloungers set up nearby. The Amber Presidential Suite offers a very spacious double bedroom with spectacular carved timber headboard, and an immense en-suite washroom with big egg-shaped bath. This option also boasts a lounge, dining area, kitchen, steam room, and deck with private pool. And guests have access to a private safari vehicle for tailor-made game drives – wow!
Earth’s communal lodge is every inch as impressive as the guest accommodation. On arrival, guests approach the wood-and-stick building through a hidden corridor, emerging to enjoy panoramic vistas of bushveld! Within the lodge, there’s the stylish lounge, featuring comfortable sofas and armchairs around coffee tables, occasional tables, shelves filled with books and artefacts, and a cosy fireplace for the chilly months of the year. In the main dining area, chic wooden individual tables are flanked by smart upright chairs, and the décor includes a long timber sideboard and table displays of cacti and succulents. The bar, comprising a large portion of tree trunk, is positioned conveniently close by. Earth has an impressive wine cellar too, which also serves as a more formal dining venue. Al fresco meals often take place in the outside boma. Anyone in need of a little retail therapy can pop to the lodge’s boutique, which sells a good range of curios and essential items, while the spa offers a wide variety of massages, facials, mani-pedis, and more! And keep-fit fans can get a great work-out in the well-equipped gym, as well as beautiful views over the gardens and bushveld.
Earth Lodge provides a thrilling mix of activities. Twice-daily game drives are enjoyed in the presence of very knowledgeable and experienced guides. This activity is ideal for exploring the scenic savanna, woodland, forest, and water sources of the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, and for viewing a wealth of wildlife. Highlights include all the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. You can look out for lots of smaller predators and herbivores too, among them cheetah, hyenas, jackals, serval, civet, honey badger, wild dog, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and ample antelopes! At last count, almost 350 types of bird were recorded, not least the Big Six – martial eagle, lappet-faced vulture, saddle-billed stork, southern ground hornbill, Kori bustard, and a YZ favourite, the Pel’s fishing owl. For closer observation of the reserve’s feathery friends and its plant and insect life, we recommend going on walking safaris – these involve animal tracking too. Photographic safaris are available on request, and with advance notice. You can also visit local Shangaan villages for tours of homes, schools, and care centres – and the local people often come to the lodge, to perform traditional music and dance. Stargazing is another popular thing to do here, and the perfect ending to every day in Sabi Sabi!