Excellent 117 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
This hotel meets our standards, but we haven't stayed yet

What We Love

  • All meals, local beer and house wines included
  • Luxury tents redefine the concept of glamping
  • Sunset boat cruises, fishing and canoeing on Lake Jozini
  • Exceptional bird life with more than 350 recorded species

What To Know

  • Abundant game—giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, leopard, 350 species of birds—but no lions
  • Strict gate hours of 6 am to 6 pm; make arrangements for late arrival. Gate fee ($2) not included
  • Transfers to and from camp not included
  • Non-local beers, all spirits, select premium wines cost extra
  • Children under 12 years of age aren't allowed


  •  Adults Only
  •  All-Inclusive
  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Handicap-accessible
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Room Service
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
Adventure Mountains Nature Outdoors Wildlife grass sky mountain herd elephant field mammal wilderness grassland natural environment fauna ecosystem dry plain steppe grazing prairie savanna cattle like mammal elephants and mammoths Safari group grassy tall wild


Luxury tented safari lodge channeling Out of Africa romance beside a lake just south of Swaziland

The Lowdown

A former cattle ranch in the Pongola Game Reserve, White Elephant sits in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains on the shore of Lake Jozini and at the forefront of the area’s conservation efforts. Eight private rooms offer the seclusion and romance of the traditional tented safari experience: private verandahs with lake views, open-air bath tubs, mini-bar and fridge, full board including high tea (premium wine/spirits extra), and two eco activities per day such as game drives, guided walks and boat cruises. Fun fact: Previously known as Mphafa Lodge, the restored property was renamed in honor of a large elephant bull that pushed it over on a misty morning in 1999.

In the Area

Although a lack of lions in the lush 30,000-hectare Pongola Game Reserve — one of South Africa’s oldest — may turn off some tourists, the proximity to Lake Jozini adds a unique dimension to a safari at White Elephant. You’ll have access to year-round water-based activities such as tiger fishing and boat cruises past hippo, crocodiles and aquatic birds. Game drives and excursions, including Elephant and Black Rhino walks with a staff researcher in the bush, emphasize the behind-the-scenes challenges of wildlife management instead of merely ticking off (four of) the “Big Five.”

How to Get There

White Elephant Safari Lodge
Pongola Game Reserve
Pongola, 3170 South Africa


5.0 Excellent 117 Reviews
Fabulous location, luxury tented rooms
Reviewed 1 month ago

We had the most tranquil stay for two nights. The trip from the main road begins the journey into a remote location for your stay. The individual tented rooms are luxury with a canvas roof!
We opted for 3 land game drives and a boat trip. We saw so many animals it was beyond our expectations, each person has there own story to tell. Food was great and we liked the up early for game drive with a coffee and cake, then back for late breakfast. No lunch and high tea before second game drive if the day finishing before sun down.
Thank you all at White Elephant especially Adriann for your professionalism and knowledge of the surrounding wildlife.

A peacefull and tranquile place to be
Reviewed 3 months ago

The lodege offers all you expect from a good host: friendly service, good food, they take care about you. The tents are more that perfect and located so nicely and almost individually, no neighbors! The range of activities is great: The boat- and walking safaris where our highlites, highly recommended to do, as the rangers read your wishes from your eyes! Go there - experience Africa (;-)) !!!

Awesome trip!!
Reviewed 7 months ago

Thank you to everyone at White Elephant Safari Lodge - our trip to the Lodge was magical and everyone made our stay such a wonderful experience - thank you!! Our game drives and walks in the bush and tiger fishing - so memorable - a true celebration of the soul!! Thank you!!!

Reviewed 7 months ago

Beautiful peaceful place, where nature is on with you. Food is good, Staff friendly. Bird life incredible.
October November perfect time to go. Temperature in high 20's. Great for a stop over to Mosambique or Kosi Bay.

Beautiful experience
Reviewed 10 months ago

Taken to lodge for my birthday 28 July for 3 nights. Fabulous experience. Excellent service from the staff is cherry on top of a beautiful setting; good food; CLEAN, comfortable, luxurious tents. No lions but this certainly doesn't detract - buffalo, rhino, hippo, crocs, fish eagle - lots of interesting bird life. They have elephant but due to drought have currently crossed over to the adjacent reserve. Experience both safari drives and stunning safari on Lake Jozini. The only lodge I've been to - and been to lots- where they actually could take us on a bush walk - other places always advertise but always excuse as to why cannot be done ie qualified ranger on leave/sick etc. We tracked 3 leopard on foot during bush walk- they had been in our camp and seen by others there but not us- very exciting to follow experienced, rifle bearing, qualified ranger named Scott, although never got to see the elusive creatures. Tip- do it on the morning you have to endure the long car trip home (5.5 hrs from JHB - roads good just trucks that slow you down). Will definitely be going back.