South Africa’s Most Eco-Friendly Lodge and Spa


South Africa’s Most Eco-Friendly Lodge and Spa

Karkloof Safari Villas, a luxury South African safari lodge, provides a unique and sensational safari experience combining ultimate comfort with conservation and respect for the surrounding nature. Through their philosophy, ‘Development with a Gentle Hand’, guests are revitalised and pampered whilst being enveloped with the beauty on their doorstep that is left well cared for and undisturbed. Wild animals are treated kindly and considerately by their two-legged neighbours, with whom they have adopted a trusting and almost tame-like nature.

Karkloof Safari Villas is situated just 30 minutes from Pietermaritzburg and nestled in a place of spectacular beauty on a 3000-hectare reserve, surrounded by picturesque waterfalls and rivers. From the aroma of naturally hydrated greenery and gentle sounds of wildlife to culinary excellence and blissful spa relaxation, all senses are sure to be tantalised for in a truly memorable experience.


The wider residing area of Karkloof Safari Villas used to be known as Ihlanze Game Reserve, established in the 1850s when colonial settlement took place in the area. The region has always played host to an abundance of wildlife including buffalo, lion, hyena, African birds, hippo and even packs of wild dogs that used to roam the land. Around this period, larger game animals and predators were hunted to extinction, as was the case in many parts of South Africa. It is only in the last 15 to 20 years that these magnificent creatures have been sighted again and they are now recognised as an asset, not a liability.

The most significant change occurred in 2002 with the establishment of the present Ihlanze Game Reserve, leading to the consolidation of the Karkloof Valley, the Umgeni Valley and Malden-Saxony properties. Ihlanze is now considered a viable area for the conservation of biodiversity and in it is set to be the core of a large UNESCO-approved biosphere reserve under the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme, the first of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal. The region still plays host to a range of diverse and rare plant and animal species which it is committed to sustaining.

Today, Karkloof Safari Villas still upholds this same ethos and has a very dedicated approach to eco-friendly co-habitation, whilst maintaining a high standard of luxury for guests.

Accommodation & Spa

Karkloof Safari Villas has been carefully designed to cover minimal footprint and incorporate plant and tree life into its structures. Each spacious villa is individually decorated and offers a private viewing deck from which to appreciate the free-roaming wildlife. These include 93 butterfly, 283 bird, 67 amphibian and 43 mammal species, such as Rhinos and Giraffe’s.

Karkloof Safari Spa offers a range of treatments and therapies, all of which have been carefully crafted from a range of cultures and use organic and natural ingredients. It was integral that the design of the spa reflected this focus on sustainability and as such living roofs were fitted with planted grass in order to steady temperatures and reduce energy consumption; warthogs and antelope are often seen grazing this striking feature too.

The lodge and spa uses biodegradable soaps and cleaning materials, organic body lotions, non-toxic wall paint and vanities made of wood instead of melamine. Cleaning and drinking waters are also derived from the cool clear air of the valley below. Furthermore, solid wastes are disposed of in registered landfill sites, whilst waste water and sewage passes through a system that filters and cleanses the substance before it feeds into the wetlands.


Wild Gardens & Paths

The lodge and spa takes care not to manicure their gardens to a sterile and manufactured state that does not emulate their natural surroundings. Vibrant green long-grass patches and shrubby areas house birds and attract butterflies, chameleons and numerous small animals creating a buzzy, warm environment.

Similarly, the boardwalk leading to the Karkloof Falls has been designed with low impact on the natural features. The philosophy behind the architecture was to build around the environment which is already there and therefore disturb it as little as possible. As such the pathway, which is created from natural wood and recycled boards, meanders cheerfully over boulders and around trees.


Building Materials

Karkloof Safari Villas ensured that only environmentally building materials and products were used during the construction of the property. Subsequently, the spa is comprised of recycled clay bricks with the lodges are made from locally quarried cladding stone and natural ingredients.


Karkloof Safari Villas