Having undergone an astounding, award-winning transformation from traditional safari lodge to a trio of breathtakingly beautiful exclusive-use houses, Cheetah Plains offers a new vision of the safari that has never been done before. The three Plains Houses, which are ideal for families or a group of friends, allow you to have your very own, exclusively private space within the exhilarating limitlessness of the wild. Each Plains House has its own dedicated hospitality team: your host, guide, tracker and wellness therapist.
The Plains Houses, blessed with uninterrupted views in all directions, were inspired by and named after the region’s three legendary big cats, Karula, Mvula and Mapogo, with each house having its very own unique character, based on their setting and conceptual design, reflecting each big cat’s special story. Each completely self-contained house has a generous private dining area, several indoor and outdoor areas, a sublime, modern revision of the ‘boma’, a freshwater swimming pool the elephants sometimes visit for a thirst-quench – and a spacious, chilled wine room filled with the finest, hand-picked selection of South Africa’s luxury wines.
Each Plains House has 4 beautifully private bedroom suites, nestled intimately into the bush, with a comfortable lounge, secluded outdoor bar area, kitchenette, rain showers and an outdoor bath.
Each house has 4 beautifully private bedroom suites, nestled intimately into the bush, with a comfortable lounge, secluded outdoor bar area, kitchenette, rain showers and an outdoor bath. Each of these bedroom suites has their very own style and soul, with no standardization of finishings. In gorgeous counterpoint to the linear modernity of the architecture, the décor is invitingly soft and sensuously opulent, embroidered with surprises of the exotic – like the audacious art adorning its walls: all South African, from world-renowned masters to contemporary prodigies.
Winning the coveted Dezeen award for its architecture in 2019, Cheetah Plains is the ultimate platform from which to observe Africa in its purest form. The architecture allows you to connect with the wild from within without thresholds or separation. The ultra-contemporary Afro-minimalist styling, evocative of convergent acacia thorns or a bird in flight on the horizon, is understated, yet powerful. Contemporary, yet imbued with African integrity and honesty.
As the only luxury guest property in Sabi Sand, only 3 game vehicles may be in one specific place at once. Pursuing sustainability at every turn, off-the-grid Cheetah Plains has uniquely customized Electric Land Cruiser vehicles which provide a zero-emission, virtually silent game drive, which is far less intrusive to animals and allows for an improved natural behavior experience; getting you closer to sightings in the most unobtrusive way. With no gear changes and customized suspension, the ride is smoother than fossil-fuelled game vehicles. Another thoughtful customization by owner, Japie van Niekerk, are the ergonomic bucket seats which are tilted at the optimal recline level of 11 degrees. The seats are also gently heated for those cooler early morning and evening game drives! There’s also the creative addition of a professional-level Nikon D850 camera fitted with a 200 – 500mm telephoto lens and memory cards, as well as powerful binoculars.
The reserve’s two rivers from which it takes its name, the Sabi and the Sand, nourish this protected area where there are no fences between reserves, allowing the wildlife to flourish and move freely over more than 2 million hectares of pristine natural habitat. Cheetah Plains provides some of the most exceptional wildlife viewing in Africa and is renowned for its lion, leopard and cheetah sightings, but even beyond that, you will discover giraffes, hippos, breathtaking birdlife, kudu, buffalo and more. Sabi Sand provides special sanctuary for endangered species like honey badgers, ground hornbills and wild dogs. Nowhere else in the world will you find free-roaming rhinos in such abundance – both the relaxed white rhino and the shyer black rhino.
For the most immersive, exhilarating exploration of the bush, an expert-guided bush walk is the most incredible way to discover the wild as your senses are heightened to hear every sound, smell the scents of the hot, dry landscape and encounter wildlife more intimately.
Returning from your bush walk, you could slip into the cool depths of your plunge pool or be enveloped by the caring, expert treatments of your very own wellness therapist who use beautiful, restorative products infused with healing African botanicals – in the privacy of your suite.
For those with a fitness regime you want to maintain whilst on safari, the gym is equipped with the most modern equipment – and a view out of the rolling lawns and iconic Tamboti grove beyond.
Whilst we recommend Cheetah Plains for families with older children, they have creatively catered for little explorers under the age of 12 with their Cheetah Plains Cub Club – an engaging, exciting and age-appropriate way for children to form a deep and meaningful connection with Africa and its wildlife, with backpacks full of fun projects and safari activities tailored especially for children – like shorter bush walks with the relatable guides and trackers who love sharing their bush stories and facts with little ones, and ‘Bush Bumbles’ – game drives for age-relevant duration.
Cheetah Plains is sustainably run; using ecologically sound practices and green technologies. Building on its commitment to conservation, Cheetah Plains has a heart for social responsibility, creating jobs and empowering local communities.