The Outpost adds extra oomph to Kruger National Park – which wasn’t exactly short on wow-factor to begin with. Don’t be fooled by the dazzling modern steel-and-concrete design: Mother Nature takes centre stage here. There’s a relaxed sense of fluidity to the hotel’s open-plan layout – rooms don’t have windows; doors don’t have locks – and the great outdoors has never looked greater. Don’t expect reliable WiFi or phone signal; do expect David Attenborough-worthy wildlife.
Get this when you book through us:
A private romantic dinner and a full body massage for two
11am; earliest check-in, noon. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £364.29 (ZAR8,450), including tax at 15 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of ZAR200.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include bush walks, twice-daily game drives, all meals, local beverages (excluding premium beverages) and laundry services. Rates exclude transfers, conservation fees, gate entry fees, spa treatments and other activities.
In-room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged on request. Italian architect Enrico Daffonchio is responsible for the stunning contemporary design: a vision of clean lines, steel, concrete and canvas.
At the hotel
Kruger wilderness; mini boutique. In rooms: desk, shaving mirror, minibar, free bottled water, kettle, tea- and coffee-making facilities, Moya bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the suites is pretty breathtaking – but for the very best views in the house, pick a Luxury or Honeymoon Space.
There’s a family-friendly alfresco pool near the lobby. Dunk yourselves in it like bathing wildebeests.
Bring camo threads to help you blend in with the setting, lots of layers (temperatures can waffle between 10°C and 30°C in a day) and keen eyes for wildlife-spotting.
The River View Suites are stair free and have bathrooms with roll-in showers (no grab rails, though). The step-free main areas are also suitable for wheelchair users.
Over-10s can come, too – but this hotel is really designed for adults. An extra bed (50 per cent of the nightly all inclusive rate) can be added to any suite on request.
The restaurant’s produce hails from local farms; cleaning and bath products are eco-friendly.
There’s a pretty poolside area for alfresco meals, and a covered area put to use when conditions are less clement. Staff will also happily set up a table for you at your preferred spot within the lodge’s grounds.
Safari seduction: sand and khaki hues; metal accents; cashmere and cologne by night.
Chef Juan rustles up international cuisine with African influences; local produce plays a star role on his seasonal menu. Previous crowd-pleasers include beef vindaloo, broccoli and almond soup, pork belly, vegetable tian and steamed marmalade pudding. Don’t miss the high tea – biscuits, savoury snacks, iced tea and coffee – served daily, before the afternoon game drive.
Pleasingly laidback timings apply here – breakfast is served until 2pm, for example. The kitchen closes around 10pm.
Suites close enough to the kitchen can order in-room restaurant menu options during the kitchen’s opening hours.
The lodge is in a remote northern part of Kruger National Park, in a wilderness area previously inaccessible to visitors. Louis Trichardt is the closest town, three hours away by car.
Fly direct into either Phalaborwa Airport or Polokwane Airport. From there, hop on one of the Outpost’s charter planes (minimum two people) for just over an hour to reach Pafuri airstrip; rates start at R7,650 (per person per flight) from Phalaborwa and R8,590 (per person per flight) from Polokwane. If you’re looking for a more scenic route, drive north-east for four hours to reach Kruger National Park’s Pafuri Gate. From there, drive a further 10 minutes along the park’s dirt roads to reach the hotel. If you’d rather be chauffeured, the hotel can organise transfers for R6,650 (per vehicle) from Phalaborwa and R5,650 (per vehicle) from Polokwane.
You’ll be taken out on twice-daily games drives, so wheels are by no means essential. If you're driving up to the lodge, be sure to arrive before the gate closes (6:30pm during January, February, November and December; 6pm during March, April, August, September and October; 5:30pm during May, June and July), if not it's best to stay the night wherever you fly into. Be ready for an early start as the gate opens the next morning at 5:30am from October to March and 6am from April to September.
Direct flights to the lodge can be arranged, but please note that the landing Pafuri airstrip is government managed and is a no-fly zone between 10am and 3pm. If your flight is landing between these hours, driving up to the lodge may be a more reliable option.
Worth getting out of bed for
Start with Kruger National Park: its your very own beastly backyard while you stay here. Pafuri is one of the most diverse areas of Kruger National Park and a favourite with avid bird watchers. There are two daily game drives: one in the morning and one in the evening. Set off armed with binoculars to spot the resident colourful birds (over 350 species) and wildlife – elephant, buffalo and Nyala antelope. (In the chilly winter months, the game vehicles are stocked with hot water bottles and warm blankets.) The hotel can also arrange guided bush walks and walking safaris.
Back at the hotel, make the most of your big stone bath tub, or take a cooling dip in the pool. Hop out of bed earlier than usual to see sunrise over Lanner Gorge, accompanied by your trusty ranger.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this rugged hotel in Northern Kruger and unpacked their Rooibos tea and ikat fabrics, a full account of their luxury safari break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Outpost in Kruger National Park…
The Outpost delivers a masterclass in animal attraction: there’s never been a better-looking setting in which to unleash your inner lion/lioness. (No wonder it’s such a hit with honeymooners.) Just arriving is an adventure: the hotel’s eight seductive suites are accessed via a remote rocky road, lending stays here that pleasing ‘where-the-heck-are-we?’ feel. This first impression of exotic unfamiliarity is enhanced by the bold, dazzling design of the sleeping quarters, perched like giant resting birds of prey on the hillside. Incredible Kruger views await at every turn – and the hotel’s pretty pool and cosy dining areas merit their own mini photo shoots, too. There’s even a safari-style South African take on high tea. When in Kruger…