Karkloof Safari Villas is the kind of luxury lodge you only find out about through word-of-mouth. A 45-minute drive from Pietermaritzburg airport, it’s tucked in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal Province, surrounded by rugged terrain, a wide variety of plants and animals (the Karkloof blue butterfly is endemic to the area), and awe-inspiring waterfalls (the highest of which plunges some 288 feet into the ravine below). Perched on a hillside, its 16 villas are connected by floating wooden walkways that wind their way above 74,000 acres of lush, misty forest.
Since there are no apex predators in this reserve, safaris—available as game drives or walking excursions—afford travelers the opportunity to learn more about Karkloof’s unique white rhinoceros breeding program. When not exploring, guests can take advantage of the lodge’s spa (considered one of the best in the country) and gourmet meals (which can be tweaked to accommodate all kinds of dietary restrictions, including detox plans).