Sir Richard owns Ulusaba, which is set in the private Sabi Sand reserve bordering South Africa’s Kruger National Park. When not being used by family or friends (it was recently the setting for his son Sam’s marriage), it’s rented out to paying guests as part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio.
Translating as ‘place of little fear’, it’s so named because its rocky hill provided ancient warriors with the perfect look-out point. Today, as well as timeless spectacular views over the bush, Ulusaba uniquely manages to balance 5-star luxury with support for the local community. The 100 locals it employs directly as part of the ‘Ulusaba family’ are renowned for their hospitality and it also supports over 35,000 members of the wider community through its charitable arm Pride n’ Purpose.
As a guest you can take a tour of the villages and see the charity in action, or even volunteer for the day – if you can fit time in between the twice daily game drives, complimentary meals and use of the freshwater pool and gym, that is. The actor Christian Slater was one famous visitor so inspired by a tour that he made a video that’s available at the Ulusaba shop, with proceeds going to the community.
Ulusaba’s 21 rooms and suites, spread across two luxurious lodges, are perfect bases for indulgence in between exploratory safaris to spot the local wildlife.
Rock Lodge (branded ‘Heaven in Heaven’) is perched on the summit of the hill and gives panoramic views over miles of bush, against a backdrop of the distant Drakensberg Mountain range. 800 feet lower down, Safari Lodge (‘Heaven on Earth’) offers a different perspective on the bush, with ‘tree house’ style rooms on the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed offering amazing views of wildlife including elephants, giraffes, lions and hippos.
With tantalising pictures of the wildlife you can expect to see and the luxury you’ll experience as a guest at the reserve, our slideshow is an insider’s guide to Ulusaba.