Zingoda Villa at Jabulani. Greater Kruger National Park. South Africa
Why we love it
Zingoda Villa is part of Camp Jabulani in the Kapama Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park, and offers an exclusive and private retreat that is welcoming for families and offers a fascinating elephant interaction program. It’s situated in a family-owned protected 13 000 hectare private game reserve with excellent sightings of Africa’s big game.
What to expect
The enormous 424² meter villa has two air-conditioned suites, one of which has an extra room for two children. Each unit has an expansive wooden deck and an individual heated plunge pool. There’s a lounge and dining area with views of the bush and dry river bed. The villa has its own dedicated ranger, private game-viewing vehicle, chef and butler. As a member of the Relais & Châteaux group, the emphasis is on fine dining and service.
What to do
Game drives, walks, ethical elephant-back safaris and the only night safari on elephant back in the world! Plus day tours to Hoedspruit Endangered Species centre and hot air balloon rides.
Kids The children's program is highly educational and fun. There’s also a specially tailored kiddy menu and a dedicated team of caregivers should parents wish to enjoy an elephant-back safari, or dine in the main camp environment. Kids will also enjoy getting up close to cheetah and other animals at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. There’s also the chance of of "tucking" the elephants in at night in their giant bedrooms!
The good news
Kapama is one of the largest family-owned private game reserves in the Greater Kruger region, very carefully managed by its owners, the Roode family. Lente Roode also established the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, which supports a great deal of scientific research and is an excellent place to get close to cheetah and other animals. Plus it was she that rescued Jabulani, the elephant who became the icon of a whole herd of rescued elephants whom you can interact with and ride.
When to visit
Summer brings short lived thunderstorms, new life and exceptional birding from November to March. The dry winter season from May to August is best for game viewing as the bush is sparse and animals congregate at waterholes.
How to get there
Hoedspruit Airport is less than 20 minutes away and there are daily flights from Johannesburg.