Where is Ulusaba?
Ulusaba Private Nature Reserve is located in the western sector of the Sabi Sand Reserve, near Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
How do I get there?
South Africa is served by direct flights from the UK and other major European hubs, with flight times to Johannesburg of between 10½ and 11½ hours depending on your point of origin. From the US there are direct flights from the East Coast, with flight times of roughly 18 hours. Ulusaba is approximately a 1 hour and 20 minute flight from the international airport in Johannesburg (JNB) flying by twin-engine aircraft, or 30 minutes from Nelspruit (MQP) and 20 minutes from Skukuza (SZK), via a charter air hop, which are the best airports to use if travelling from other destinations within South Africa. We have our own private Ulusaba airstrip (ULX) and there are daily scheduled and charter flights available. Get a window seat - the view’s terrific! You can also come by road too from Nelspruit, which will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Try and arrive by 1pm - just in time for lunch!
Do I need a visa?
Travellers from the US and the EU do not require a visa to enter South Africa, but you must have at least two blank pages in your passport on arrival. Your passport should also be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended return date. Travellers from other countries may require a visa, so please check with your nearest South African Embassy or Consulate.
Can I bring my children?
Children of all ages are in great hands at Ulusaba and very welcome to stay at Rock Lodge. Unfortunately we can’t allow infants or children at Safari Lodge. As infants are unable to go on game drives they are very welcome to join our kids programme at Rock Lodge called Cub’s Club. Each infant is entertained with treasure hunts, games, books, DVDs and lots more. Babysitting is also available free of charge. Children over the age of 6 can go on game drives with their parents or a guardian but are unable to participate in safari walks. Special food and beverages or simple snacks and light meals, such as sandwiches, can be prepared.
Just what is...?
...an infant? a guest under the age of 6
...a child? a guest between the ages of 6 and 12
...an adult? a guest aged 12 years and over
Infants stay free of charge provided they share with at least one adult.
Can I get married at Ulusaba?
Of course. Elope to the Bush or plan a big event with all your family and friends. We’ve thought of everything to make it the most magical wedding possible – what better place to tie the knot?! Please ask about one of our packages, or our team can happily create a custom-made wedding for you. If you can’t get married here, include Ulusaba in your celebration and visit us on your Honeymoon.
Can I hire Ulusaba exclusively?
Absolutely. Whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary, wedding or just a great opportunity to experience a safari with family, friends or colleagues, the Ulusaba team are on hand to cater for all requests. You have the choice of hiring one of the lodges separately or both the lodges together. Please ask us for more details.
How about cash? What is the currency?
The currency in South Africa is the Rand. Get your currency before you leave home or visit an exchange centre in the major towns and cities. There are cash machines at the airport and most cities normally accept most major cards. You generally won’t need cash at Ulusaba as almost everything is included in your room rate. You are welcome to pay in cash for any extras such as souvenirs from the gift shop or beauty treatments, or we can just charge these to your room. We accept all major credit cards to cover any additional expenses you may incur. Tipping is entirely up to you. If you have any questions about tipping, you can discuss this with your lodge manager.
When is the best time to visit? What will the temperature be?
Whenever you like. The landscape changes with every season, so each visit will give you a different perspective on the African Bush. Summer in the southern hemisphere is from October to April, when the daytime temperature averages 34˚C/93˚F. The weather is glorious, the vegetation lush and the nights warm. In winter (May to September) the days are warm and sunny with an average daytime temperature of 26˚C/79˚F, and the nights are cool and crisp. Game viewing can be very exciting in winter as food and water become scarce due to the dry weather. As the animals get desperate, you’ll see them compete for food. Age-old enemies such as lions and hyenas prepare for battle. It’s the survival of the fittest – nature at its wildest.
What is a GCC?
A GCC is a Guest Conservation Contribution of R138 per person, per night that will be added to the rates for your stay at Ulusaba (this also applies to all lodges in the reserve and includes 15% VAT). This charge goes directly to the Sabi Sand Conservation Trust and will assist in the funding of our anti-poaching and conservation efforts to secure the long term survival of endangered and compromised animal species.
Is there air conditioning?
Yes. Every room has air conditioning that you can adjust to your own comfort level. There are also ceiling fans in every room.
What clothing and footwear will I need?
For game drives, you should wear pale or neutral colours. In summer (October to April), these should be lightweight, but take a windbreaker or light jacket for evenings. In winter (May to September) take a jumper/sweater, fleece or warm jacket too. Trainers/sneakers are fine for safari walks, and it’s a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses – for all seasons. You can wear whatever you like around the lodges and dining rooms. Formal wear isn’t always practical, but of course it’s up to you. Make sure you don’t forget your swimsuit.
Do I need to take precautions against malaria?
The Mpumalanga province, including the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, is in a malaria endemic area so it is very important to seek advice on appropriate precautions before you travel. During your stay it is still important to cover up with insect repellent. We provide an excellent one in your room, but bring your own stick or roll-on repellent to take out on game drives and for when you first arrive in Mpumalanga. All rooms have mosquito nets too.
What can I do during the day?
Well of course there are the twice daily game drives. One starts early in the morning around 5am and the other leaves in the afternoon at about 4pm. Each drive lasts for approximately 2.5 to 3 hours depending on sightings and the season. The more adventurous may opt for a walking safari after breakfast to learn about the local plants and wildlife and for some more in-depth knowledge on how to track animals. If you want to take it easy, soak up the sun by the pools, read a book, or relax with a Spa treatment. Energetic types can have a game of tennis or work out in the gym where the views will take your mind off all that hard work. Others may prefer to go on one of our cultural, wildlife or scenic tours including helicopter trips or a tour of the local community.
Can I get involved with work in the community?
Yes you can. Ulusaba’s charitable arm Pride ‘n Purpose is committed to helping disadvantaged communities living adjacent to the reserve. Pride ‘n Purpose’s work is achieved both through the provision of basic needs, such as access to food, water and health services, and by empowering communities with sustainable development initiatives. While staying at Ulusaba, you can go on a variety of excursions with all proceeds donated to the local community. Help out at one of the local creches and teach the kids a new song or spend an afternoon visiting one of the many other ongoing Pride ‘n Purpose projects.
You can now incorporate a volunteering experience into your stay at Ulusaba. Our team will create bespoke itineraries to participate in hands-on projects within the local communities, based around your own skills and interests. Just ask our reservations team for more details.
Arrival and departure details
Check-in is officially 2pm. If you want to arrive earlier we’ll make every effort to have a room ready for you, but if not we’ll look after your bags so you can start enjoying yourself. Check-out is officially 11am however we are flexible. Just ask us the night before you leave.
We have first aid equipment at both lodges along with staff trained in administering first aid. 24-hour Emergency Trauma Paramedics and 4 x 4 ambulances are available in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Doctors provide telephone or personal consultations to guests with minor aches and injuries, but this will be charged, so make sure you have appropriate travel insurance.