Expert Reviews – Djuma GR

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Vuyatela, luxury with a touch of township living in the bush
Overall rating

Sabi Sands is a photographer’s dream come true. It simply never disappoints and Djuma is one of my favourite properties here. There are two camps in Djuma: Vuyatela and Galago. Vuyatela is a 5 star lodge, but it is a bit different in the sense that it has taken a lot of ideas from township life. A shebeen type bar, the use of recycled bottles and a lot of corrugated iron has all been tastefully integrated in the lodge concept and design. Galago camp, on the other hand, is a very unpretentious affair. Each lodge can only be rented in its entirety and is perfect for a private family get together. The set-up is luxury self-catering. You bring all the food, but a chef is available on site. You get your own vehicle and guide and as there are no other guests, the program is totally flexible. One time we heard a leopard making its distinctive rasping sound when patrolling its territory. We abandoned dinner, got in the car and found him just outside camp. We followed him a bit and returned to our table for desert!

Quiet private reserve with bags of character
Overall rating

Character and authenticity take precedence over luxury at Djuma, a private reserve in the far northeast of the Sabi Sand Reserve, just west of Kruger National Park. I adore Djuma’s Vuyatela Lodge for its distinctive, vibrant style. Jaunty mosaics and folk art add splashes of brilliant colour to the simple, rustic design of the lodge and its gorgeous bush spa. If a radical township art collective were to create a luxury lodge, it might end up looking something like this. Birdwatchers will love its a nifty viewing platform. Vuyatela’s sister camp, Galago, is a refreshingly unfussy and family-friendly self-catering alternative available for exclusive hire to parties of up to ten.

Activities at Vuyatela and Galago are characterful, too – as well as bushwalks, Big Five game drives and bush treatments at that wonderful spa, you can opt for a guided visit to one of the villages this socially conscious set-up supports.

Sabi Sands without Big Crowds
Overall rating

Located in the heart of the northeastern sector of the Sabi Sands, Djuma traverses 7,000ha of the least crowded part of the reserve. This area of the park, adjacent to the unfenced Kruger boundary, is my personal favourite. By Sabi Sand’s standards it’s a wild Eden where wildlife is plentiful and vehicles scarce: the ideal combination for any safari experience. The eight opulent suites of Djuma Vuyatela overlook a large dam, allowing lucky visitors to view wallowing wildlife from the comfort of their deck chairs. With its funky fusion of colourful modern décor and local South African architecture, Vuyatela has shunned the traditional look of most African game lodges. However, if you are intrigued by the unique combination of modern luxury and authentic African culture, then you will be drawn to this unusual lodge in much the same way the buffalo and elephant herds are attracted to the watery expanse it overlooks. Vuyatela means ‘come back and visit again’ and, indeed, most tourists (like me) do just that, returning to Djuma time-and-again.

Solid Sabi Sands favourite
Overall rating

This is a favourite with many regular safarigoers, offering good value accommodation , the usual excellent game viewing, and limited intrusions associated with vehicles traversing from neighboring properties. It doesn’t quite rank up there with MalaMala, Londolozi and Singita (the three finest properties bordering the Kruger Park), but this is reflected in the prices, which make is accessible to many who simply couldn’t afford these other reserves. Good Big Five sightings are all but guaranteed, and many visitors also see cheetah and African wild dog.

Average Expert Rating

  • 4.0/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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