Big game and big luxury make Londolozi the best resort in the world
24 October 2014South Africa’s natural beauty places it competitively among the world’s tourist hotspots, and this year, yet again, global leisure travellers have agreed on the allure the country’s bushveld holds.The Conde Nast 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards singled out a whopping seven South African game reserves and bush lodges in its Top 100 hotels and restaurants list. Every year, some 76 000 travellers vote in the awards: this year they chose, in another coup for the country, the famed Londolozi safari camp in Kruger National Park as their number one choice for away stays.The 35 000-acre Londolozi is a family-run reserve, with a long history of eco- tourism and conservation programmes. It received an almost perfect score – 98 958 – in the survey, and has played host to the country’s former president, Nelson Mandela, who said of his visit: “During my long walk to freedom, I had the rare privilege to visit Londolozi. There I saw people of all races living in harmony amidst the beauty that Mother Nature offers. Londolozi represents a model of the dream I cherish for the future of nature preservation in our country.’Much of the ethos behind the resort’s conservation programmes is to unite South Africans and Africans to protect the country and continent’s wildlife to build the tourism economy.Along with the many programmes governments on the continent run, and through the work of other conservation entities, wildlife and natural beauty continue to be huge drawcards for tourists, ensuring a sustainable industry.So much so that South Africa’s tourism industry is growing, with traveller numbers to the country growing: in 2013, the total number of foreigners visiting the country rose to 12.1 million, up from 13.7 million in 2012.The quest for natural beauty is borne out by Conde Nast readers as well: the top 25 resorts’ offerings rest heavily on lodges, reserves and ranches.At Londolozi, this natural beauty is of coursed served up with a hefty side of luxury: the resort combines earthy fabrics and colours with the clean lines associated with modern decor, while throwing in old-school touches like gramophones and travel trunks to make it feel like a comfortable old friend. Private pools and decks, the “Big Five within reach’, elegant dining and expert-led game drives complete the luxury lodge experience.Other South African lodges or resorts on the list include Lion Sands at Sabi Sand, in 24th place, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in the Cederberg (41), Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve (54), &Beyond Lodges Sabi Sand (55) and Singita Kruger National Park (69).SAinfo reporterSouth African Competitiveness ForumBrand South Africa will host its second South African Competitiveness Forum in Johannesburg on 4 and 5 November 2014 under the theme “Active citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality”. Top minds from business, government, civil society and the academic world will come together to discuss our position in the world, and uncover ways to give South Africa a competitive edge on the global stage. Click here to find out more.Follow the conversation on Twitter via #CompetitiveSA.