Ulusaba is Sir Richard Branson’s private game reserve in South Africa. 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 Nature 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 their rich musical heritage.
Ulusaba means ‘place of little fear’. The local Shangaan tribe (from whose language the name comes) who 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 has been an integral part of the Ulusaba family since joining the award-winning Private Game Reserve in 2000 with his wife Llané. Prior to being appointed as Ulusaba's General Manager in 2006, Karl held the position of Head Ranger. Karl is responsible for the day to day management of Ulusaba, overseeing a team of over 100 employees. Karl was instrumental in establishing Ulusaba's charity arm, Pride n' Purpose.
What’s the weather like?
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.
What to pack?
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 for 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.
Sustainability is high on our agenda at Ulusaba. We're committed to working with suppliers who believe in fair trade, and source partners locally where possible. In the Aroma Boma spa our therapists use the Africology brand, which is made from natural products such as Marula Oil, African Potato, and Rooibos. And it's not just limited to the spa. Our highly skilled chefs in the kitchen source their fish from sustainable varieties as per the World Wildlife Foundation standards.
We pride ourselves on recycling, and here's a taste of our green-friendly initiatives:
- Roughly 50% of waste generated at Ulusaba is recycled
- We provide drinking water in reusable bottles in guest rooms
- We do not provide disposable toiletry items in guest bathrooms. All bottles are refilled with Africology products, a locally based supplier with a commitment to sustainability
- Elephant dung is turned into paper used for menus and guest welcome letters
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