Tips for running a luxury game lodge

luxury game lodgeluxury game lodge
luxury game lodgeluxury game lodge


Tips for running a luxury game lodge

It all starts with a plot of land, a couple of wildlife animals and a desire to bring a luxury hospitality experience into wild. For nature lovers, they can be easy to please with a small camping area and daily safari tours. But if you want to extend your audience and qualify as a luxury game lodge, you’re going to need to cater for the city slickers as well.


Authenticity in design and experience

When you think about luxury hotels and hospitality, your mind isn’t automatically taken to a safari or game lodge experience. But that is also okay because it doesn’t mean that you can’t have luxury and safari in the same experience. It’s all about staying authentic and true to the environment you’re in.

Luxury comes in where the camping sites, bungalows and lodges are concerned. Being able to provide the usual facilities in an unusual environment will make a tourist’s stay more comfortable – whether they are a fan of the bush or not. As long as you stay authentic to South Africa and to the wildlife you are responsible for, of course.

Your goal isn’t to transport them back to city lifestyle luxury. You’re in a reserve, surrounded by natural beauty and the room themes, lobby décor and food menu should all complement these surroundings.


Creating a unique itinerary

If you want to be a distinguished game lodge, you need to offer a unique experience. And while many safari lodges lay out an itinerary for their guests, it is one of the better ways to ensure an unforgettable and luxury experience where all the guest has to worry about is showing up and bringing their camera.

Taking your services and extending it to include a play-by-play of what can be expected, prepares guests for their safari experience. And the itinerary you create should incorporate unique features of the game lodge. Sunrise and sunset viewpoints, walking safari tours, watering hole-hideouts, outdoor spa, and night-time tours can be worked into a three-day experience. And mentioning these during the promotion of your game lodge will entice guests when they realise that there will be more than just a standard game drive to look forward to.

Consider only selling predetermined game lodge packages that include set itineraries. It may be risky, and not everyone will be pleased with the fact that everything is decided for them, but your luxury game lodge will become somewhat of a packaged experience for exclusive guests. It’s all about finding unique ways for people to experience what you have to offer and there will always be a market of people who want to be entirely catered for.


Maintenance around the game lodge

It’s no cheap feat to start up a game lodge and there’s no doubt it can be a costly maintenance business. But that’s where the machinery asset finance solutions come in handy – both for the initial build and maintenance thereafter. Everything should be top of the line and adjusted to best work in the given environment.

  • For the reserve: Waterholes, roads, fencing and smooth-running safari vehicles need to be maintained and in the best possible shape. Fencing and safari vehicles are probably the more important ones as they have an effect on the physical safety of visitors. If you want great reviews, you need to invest in safety features to make guests feel comfortable in the environment they are in.  
  • For the accommodation: An initial concern for most travellers when it comes to “heading into the wild” is that of ablution facilities. To have “luxury” in the title, you need to maintain first-class plumbing and water utilities at all times. Something as simple as being able to take a warm shower after a long day driving around the reserve is where a guest can find luxury in safari and a camping site.   


Safety precautions

Depending on the location of your game lodge, you may not have the largest area or distance from the nearest highway or city and that might disrupt the “getaway” effect. But piling on in-your-face safety precautions will only further disrupt a seamless safari experience.

Obviously, not too much can be done about the perimeter fencing. But when it comes to the accommodation setting, something such as high walls with an overlooking view of the reserve ahead will make for a much better breakfast view than through electrified fences, and guests will still feel that element of safety.

Having trained staff and emergency protocols is, arguably, all you really need. The wildlife will become accustomed to the presence of humans and, as long as they are respected, won’t pose much of a threat. And for the guests who are still concerned at the lodge site, have a few rangers on duty throughout the day and night on patrol.

If incidents such as hippos strolling through campsites is a regular occurrence, be sure to inform your guests that it is normal and the way to handle the situation would be to shine a light in their eyes, remain calm and walk in an opposite direction. All people want to know is how to deal with certain possibilities and knowing that safety precautions are in place.

Being in nature and surrounded by wild animals is a beautiful and unpredictable thing, but, at the same time, it’s manageable and an amazing experience.


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