Hotel Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge Hotel 0 star
Easyexperts
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Selati Lodge, with its unique railway theme, takes its guests back to the turn of the century. It's an extremely smart property with excellent accommodation and first class dining possibilities and can boast a high degree of discretion and intimacy. The lodge's decoration is first class and its setting quite charming. Couples or families with older children looking for a quality safari experience at a lodge focusing on tradition should look no further than Selati.

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    • Hotel Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge

      Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge   -   © Briag Courteaux_EasyVoyage

    • Hotel Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge

      Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge   -   © Briag Courteaux_EasyVoyage

       
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    Location 10.0 /10

    Sabi Sabi Selati is situated in the southwestern corner of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park. There are direct daily scheduled flights from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to the Sabi Sabi airstrip as well as flights from Jo'burg, Cape Town and Durban to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport from where you can either complete the journey by road, plane or helicopter. If you are arriving by car from Jo'burg (5-6 hours) or Nelspruit (2 hours), enter the reserve via Shaw's Gate where you will be asked to pay a modest entrance fee and then simply follow the signs to the lodge.

    Accommodation 9.70 /10

    The lodge comprises six regular suites, one honeymoon suite and a presidential suite. The standard rooms are of a generous size and are arranged with a great deal of attention and care, with everything aligned perfectly. The larger then king size bed is turned down with a flower on the sheets while a mosquito net hangs around it suspended from the ceiling rather than attached to any bed frame. Elegant lamps are found on either side of the bed on the bedside tables while animal illustrations hang on the walls. At the foot of the bed is a chest as well as a desk and chair and the minibar with complimentary water. Over in the other half of the room is a seating area with a couple of wicker armchairs set before a great old trunk. Behind you'll find a dresser with tea and coffee facilities and snacks above which are some black and white shots of yesteryear. There is a space adjacent to the bedroom and before the bathroom where you'll find the safe and a space for your suitcase as well as a closet with a torch, anti-mosquito products, a shoe kit and slippers. The round bathroom boasts his and hers sinks, each with a lamp and Chrysalis toiletries, a claw foot bath, walk-in shower and bathrobes. Outside the room is a both a terrace with loungers and a shower (although there is one standard suite which has an outdoor tub too).

    The two feature rooms however are the honeymoon suite and presidential suite. The former enjoys a slightly bigger surface area with a small change in décor as well as a large picture window opposite the bed and an external soaking tub. The latter is the most impressive room and boasts a more classic style of furniture, a bigger bathroom and private terrace with plunge pool.

    Overview 9.70 /10

    As you arrive at the lodge the very first thing you will, aside from the delightful Carol, the property's manager, is the reception. However, despite its name, you will bypass this altogether and head straight for the lounge as this part of Selati is purely for check-out. The covered thatched space which looks out on to the pleasant bush beyond, has a series of smart seating areas with colonial style furniture and a few hints of decoration in the form of trinkets and local wooden items. What dominates though are the old railway station signs up on the wall, a reminder of the area's past and of the lodge's theme. Just by this salon area is the lodge's pool, a simple affair surrounded by decking and well maintained lawns with several sun loungers and parasols. Another sheltered area is located right by the pool with similar furniture, coffee tables and rugs - the perfect place to hide from the sun and read or enjoy a drink. Within the hotel's attractive grounds which boast towering trees and cute little blue lamps along the paths, is another paved terrace with tables and chairs where you can relax and look out toward the wilderness.

    Although Selati doesn't have its own wellness and fitness facilities, guests here can make use of those at Earth Lodge. The Amani spa offers a range of treatments including boy rituals, massages, wraps, facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures and special treatments for men. Each of the three treatment rooms is coloured differently with each shade corresponding to a principle of Shakra: orange for peace, green for healing and red for love. The rooms, which each have an iPod docking station, are used for different treatments while outside is a shower and a zen meditation garden. An additional treatment at the spa sees guests covered in mud before going into a steam room where drops of water help to clear away the mud which has slimming and hydrating properties. The friendly staff uses all natural products using ingredients found in the bush such as aloe, merula, African potato and rooibos. For couples, there is a double treatment room.

    If you are looking for privacy and discretion then Selati is perfect. Not only are the rooms distant from one another, the closest other lodge, their sister property Bush Lodge, is over 10 minutes' drive away. And as if to reinforce the lodge's isolation, there is no internet anywhere at Selati (although you can pick up a mobile phone signal).

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    Like most other lodges, Selati rotates its dining locations. However the difference here is that they have an extra venue that no other lodge has in the form of the Farmhouse kitchen. A rustic setting with a long communal table and pots and pans on the wall, this room is used mostly in the winter and is a most convivial context for evening meals. Dinner, if not served here, is taken in the traditional boma, in the river bed or on the deck. They are usually plated as opposed to a buffet and are as varied as they are original. If you have the chance to be staying with other foreigners, then the chances are that you will be able to enjoy a more traditional South African cuisine (not that what is otherwise presented is not excellent too). For example, non-South Africans can expect to sample a braai (typical barbeque), boerwors sausage, pap (a staple in the country's cuisine made from mielie-meal) and morogo (an African spinach) with peanuts. At other times you can expect to eat various meats, fish and vegetable dishes. Breakfast is usually taken on the deck or in the bush while lunch is typically eaten back at the lodge. If, however, you feel like eating in your room, on your terrace, privately in any of the locations or have special requests, dietary or otherwise, the staff will be delighted to cater to your wishes as best they can. In addition to the main meals, you will be given hot drinks and a snack before and during the morning game drive and a tipple and another snack during the evening drive.

    To know

    The Sabi Sabi group was founded in 1979 and today has four properties. The Selati lodge is named after and themed around the former railway that was built not far away to transport the gold found in the Drakensberg escarpment. The company has always supported the local villages and their communities through various projects and operations. All of the members of staff come from the surrounding neighbourhoods and are trained and educated by Sabi Sabi giving them the necessary skills to develop and support their families. The group also trains teachers, allowing them to pass on vital environmental education on to school children so they might one day themselves become part of the Sabi Sabi family. There is also work going on with an education centre in the nearby village of Lillydale and an ongoing project to improve the infrastructures of local towns in terms of schools, housing, community projects and access to education. If you would like to visit any schools, homes or projects supported by Sabi Sabi, staff would be delighted to fit this into your itinerary. Please note that Selati Lodge does not accept children under the age of 12 years old.

    Equipment

    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      wellness, (at Earth Lodge)

    • Swimming pool

    advantage

    • Staff/service
    • Discretion/initmacy
    • No under 12s
    • Good leopard spotting
    • Decoration
    • Railway theme
    • Wellness facilities (off-site)

    disadvantages

    • No under 12s
    • Wellness facilities not on-site

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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