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South African resorts that global trotters loved most this year

For their 34th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey, hundreds and thousands of registered Condé Nast Traveler voters weighed in on the best 50 resorts in the world… and 5 of them are right here in South Africa!  The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry. Here are the South African resorts that global trotters loved most this year.

Morukuru Family, De Hoop Reserve (Beach Lodge and Ocean House)

Say you’re more of a beach bum than a safari enthusiast—don’t worry, South Africa still has you covered. Head to the intimate five-suite Morukuru Family Beach Lodge or the nearby four-bedroom Morukuru Family Ocean House, about three hours east of Cape Town on the shore of the Indian Ocean.

Singita Sabi Sand (Ebony Lodge, Boulders Lodge, and Castleton Lodge), Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Singita Sabi Sand includes three well-appointed options that provide an elegant base from which to bask in the natural beauty of one of South Africa’s most renowned game reserves. Singita’s founding property, Ebony Lodge, sits surrounded by a grove of its namesake trees, with 12 suites inspired by old explorers’ camps.

Royal Malewane , Greater Kruger National Park

It can be hard to make the Greater Kruger National Park—a popular destination for safaris that cover an area the size of Wales—feel exclusive, private, and intimate. But Royal Malewane, in Thornybush Private Game Reserve, manages to achieve that (and then some) with just six Luxury suites, two Royal suites, and the palatial six-bedroom, private chef-included Africa House.

Morukuru Family, Madikwe Game Reserve

The Big Five is the big draw across the continent, but at this family-friendly lodge on South Africa’s fifth largest game reserve, you’ll spot the Magnificent Seven—adding cheetah and African wild dog (an insider favourite for their strategic hunting abilities) as well hippo, rhino, prides of lions and the rest.

Babylonstoren, Franschhoek Valley

What if you could actually visit the Garden of Eden? And what if it was surrounded by vineyards, historic Cape Dutch farm buildings, and a formal French-style potager garden, where you could pick your own strawberries and fragrant herbs? At Babylonstoren, in the Drakenstein Valley, 33 miles northeast of Cape Town, the mythical garden comes to life.

Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Eschewing traditional safari motifs, this trio of private villas in South Africa’s Sabi Sands Game Reserve is all about clean lines and ultra-modern design: Think raw concrete, rusted steel, statement blown-glass chandeliers, and colourful works of art, including portraits by Loyiso Mkize.

Ellerman House, Cape Town

Twenty-six years on, Ellerman House is still everybody’s fantasy bolthole in Cape Town: minutes from the best beaches and the Table Mountain cableway, but close enough to the city and its dynamic food, art, and design scene. Sandwiched between Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Edwardian mansion looks like a private residence from the road and that’s exactly what keeps guests coming back.

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