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Ulusaba is Sir Richard Branson’s private game reserve in South Africa. The name Ulusaba means ‘place of little fear’, so named because the koppie, or hill, on which Rock Lodge sits provided the ancient Shangaan tribal warriors with the perfect lookout point. Ulusaba has 20 rooms and suites spread over two lodges: Rock Lodge, including the beautiful Cliff Lodge, and Safari Lodge.
Ulusaba sits entirely within the Sabi Sand Reserve near Kruger National Park, surrounded by 13,500 hectares (about 33,000 acres) of open bush. The hills of Ulusaba are spectacular as they rise above the surrounding terrain, offering a view unsurpassed anywhere else in the reserve. People visit the area for the abundant game and the variety of sightings possible – believe us, once you’ve experienced it you’ll be hooked!
Ulusaba is a family-friendly safari destination and most of our staff are Shangaan and hail from the communities that border the game reserve. Shangaans are celebrated for their dancing and singing and a rich musical heritage.
Ulusaba was voted as the number 1 resort in Africa in the Condé Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards in 2016 and was ranked as the third best resort in the world! In 2018, Ulusaba was named as the Best Luxury Safari Resort by Travel + Leisure India.
Ulusaba means ‘place of little fear’. The local Shangaan tribe (from whose language the name comes) that occupied the area long ago used the hills as an outpost for the tribal chief and senior warriors. The elevation gave them a tremendous advantage during battle and meant their enemies were unlikely to win, as surprise attacks were virtually impossible. The tribal members could therefore live in safety – hence, the place of little fear.
The first incarnation of Rock Lodge was completed in 1983, with an access road having been built in the same year. In 1994 Ulusaba was purchased by Sir Richard Branson. Both Rock and Safari Lodges were entirely rebuilt, and have been transformed into world-class lodges. In 2008 the Treehouse Suite was built at Safari Lodge, giving guests the opportunity to get even closer to the Xikwenga Dam and watering hole, and in 2009 the Cliff Lodge Suites were completed at Rock Lodge.
Karl and Llané have been an integral part of the Ulusaba family since joining the award-winning Private Game Reserve in 2000. Prior to being appointed as Ulusaba's General Managers in 2006, Llané previously held the position of Executive Lodge Manager at Ulusaba while Karl held the position of Head Ranger. The couple are responsible for the day to day management of Ulusaba, comprising of Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge, and over 100 staff. Both were instrumental in establishing Ulusaba's charity arm, Pride n' Purpose.
Karl also talks about his job in the clip below...
A Day In The Life
Get to know the team at Ulusaba
Meet the team
The landscape changes with every season, so each visit will give you a different perspective on the African Bush. In spring and summer (October to April) the temperature averages 34°C/93°F. The days are glorious, the vegetation lush and the nights pleasantly warm.
During autumn and winter (May to September) the days are moderately warm and sunny with an average temperature of 26°C/79°F, while the nights are cool and crisp.
When out on your game drives, the key is layering as even with the sun shining you may find that it is a little chilly. We also recommend you wear pale or neutral colours, as well as closed shoes.
In the summer months a windbreaker or light jacket is perfect for the evenings and early mornings. In winter take a jumper (sweater), fleece or warm jacket too. Trainers (sneakers) are also good on safaris or simply walking around the camp, and it’s a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses for all seasons.
You can wear whatever you like around the lodge and dining rooms. Formal wear isn’t always practical, but of course it’s up to you. We recommend that you bring a couple of smart casual outfits for dinner, however jacket and tie are never required!