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Our 8 Favorite Private Houses in South Africa

If you are thinking of traveling as a family or group of friends of four or more, private houses and camps are a great option for your safari. Having a property all to yourself gives you the ultimate in exclusivity, privacy and flexibility throughout your trip. There are private houses throughout Africa but here are some of our favorites in South Africa, several of which are in malaria free areas making them great for families with young children. With the properties below you could do a complete safari South Africa, from Kruger to Cape Town, staying only at exclusive use properties.

1. Phinda Homestead – Phinda Reserve – KwaZulu Natal

Phinda Homestead is one of our favorite properties in the Phinda Reserve and one of our most stunning exclusive use houses anywhere in Africa. Here you have the freedom and flexibility to work according to their own timetable, without needing to make allowances for other guests. Your own private butler, chef, ranger and tracker ensure your stay here is a pleasant one and your requirements are well-met. Exciting game drives are taken in your own open vehicle, in search of the inhabitants of the seven fascinating ecosystems found within Phinda. Striking design and luxury make this an upmarket home away from home in a top game reserve. Excellent service is typical of all &Beyond lodges, and we highly recommend Phinda Homestead to families, small groups or anyone looking for exclusivity packaged with luxury and attentive service. Phinda is considered a "low risk" malaria area.

2. Le Cle De Montagnes – Franschhoek - Cape Winelands

Le Cle De Montagnes is our go to choice for private villas in the Cape Winelands. Le Cle offers four private villas that sleep between four and eight people on a working wine estate. Each villa has a private swimming pool and is fitted with beautiful chandeliers and large fireplaces, not to mention being surrounded by beautiful vineyards and plum orchards with a magnificent mountain backdrop! We love that the villas are walking distance from the charming historic village of Franschhoek which is full of art galleries, restaurants and boutiques.

3. Uplands Homestead and Melton Manor –Kwandwe – Eastern Cape

Kwandwe Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is one of our favorite reserves for its game-viewing, activities and stunning (malaria free!) setting. We love that Kwandwe has two exclusive use options, Uplands Homestead and Melton Manor. Both are great for families or small groups of friends who want an intimate and exclusive safari experience, while offering two distinct styles. While Uplands Homestead is a classic farmhouse estate, Melton Manor is more sleek and modern. Uplands Homestead is perfect for families with smaller children as the whole compound is unobtrusively fenced. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife in your own private 4x4 safari vehicle, a dedicated ranger/host, personal chef and butler.

Uplands Homestead

Melton Manor

4. Singita Casleton – Sabi Sands – Kruger Area

Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Singita Castleton is an exclusive use lodge set in Singita’s 45,000 acre private reserve bordering Kruger National Park. Singita Castleton consists of a main house with communal living spaces, and accommodation located in six individual cottages within the grounds, with room for up to 12 people. Castleton combines the best elements of a private safari lodge with the rustic charms of a country farmhouse, with the added benefit of extensive high-end facilities, including a vast garden, swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa treatment room. Guests can relax together in the courtyard, gather around the traditional ‘boma’ or meet in the country-style kitchen or retreat to the privacy of their own private cottages. All of this is overlooking a waterhole where animals regularly gather to drink in one of the most game rich areas in South Africa.

5. Royal Malewane’s Africa House – Sabi Sands –Kruger Area

Royal Malewane is one of the most luxurious properties bordering Kruger and its exclusive use “Africa House” is equally well-appointed. Africa House is set apart from the main lodge and accommodates a maximum of 12 guests. After entering the imposing North African style entrance you will immediately feel the calm of the central courtyard. Generous living and dining areas lead onto another covered veranda with day beds and a swimming in the pool. Africa House is the epitome of exclusivity in a safari villa: it comes with private chef, butler, ranger, tracker and game drive vehicle, not to mention its own Boma for dinners under the stars.

6. King’s Camp's Waterbuck Private Camp – Timbavati – Kruger Area

Situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Waterbuck Private Camp at Kings Camp is situated in an elevated position on the banks of the dry Nhlaralumi River, offering superb views of the bush with excellent game viewing opportunities. A 4-bedroomed air-conditioned Villa, accommodating up to 8 guests and complete with a private game vehicle, ranger, tracker, personal butler and chef available to you through-out your stay. Indulge and set your own pace for your exclusive safari.

7. Samara – Manor House - Eastern Cape

Samara is a reserve in the unique eco-system of the Great Karoo. Samara offers a huge range of activities, from game-drives to walking to participating in and learning about conservation and reserve management. Samara also offers an absolutely stunning and the Manor House which accommodates up to 8 guests on a private basis. Samara is an easy drive from the private houses at Kwandwe while still offering a remarkably different landscape and eco-system of flora and fauna. Like Kwandwe, Samara is in a malaria free area making it great for families with young children.

8. Ellerman House Private Villas – Cape Town

Ellerman House is already one of our favorite luxury properties in Cape Town and their Villas definitely live up to that standard! Standing independent of Ellerman House, this three-story Villa has five spacious bedrooms, an entertainment area with deck and pool, a TV lounge, dining room, study and fully equipped kitchen. A private chef and hospitality team are included, as is full use of the spa pool, relaxation area and steam room. The villas can be booked as an entire five-bedroom Villa or as a three-bedroom option that includes the top two self-contained floors. The Villa is perched in the gardens with 180-degree sea views, taking full advantage of its breathtaking position with adventurous architectural proportions, minimalist décor and a stunning art collection. Outside, a vast teak deck makes it feel part and parcel of the Atlantic Ocean.

CONNECT with your personal travel expert.

Have you started planning your safari on your own? Are you totally overwhelmed with all the information out there? Let us help you cut through all the conflicting information online and start planning a safari that is completely tailored to you. Get in touch with us and we can discuss your travel passions and help you begin the planning process for your dream safari.

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Jamie Mehrotra