We go on holiday for two chief reasons: to relax and to have fun. Staying at a game lodge in Africa offers plenty of opportunity for both. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or simply seek a moment of peace and quiet, away from the pace of daily life, there is something for every soul and sort to enjoy at a game lodge.

1. Spa

Spas and wellness centres are available in abundance all over the world, but enjoying a soothing massage surrounded by the African wilderness and its inhabitants is an unparalleled experience. The tranquillity of the bush will restore your soul, while your body lets go, as all your aches and pains are kneaded away.

2. Sundowners

There are any number of places to enjoy refreshing cocktails: the pool deck, your private balcony, a secluded hide. No matter where you choose to sip your sundowner, you will be assured of splendid vistas and free-roaming wildlife.

3. Bird-watching

Not only will you see plenty of animals during your game lodge holiday, but abundant birdlife too. Avid bird-watchers can take to the hides, or enjoy this activity from the lodge or on safari.

4. Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi

Safari destinations in Africa are notorious for their warm weather, as the African sun beats down upon savannahs, grasslands and deserts. As you can imagine, hats, suntan lotion and sunglasses are essential safari items. Another important item is your swimming costume, so you can cool down in the pool. That being said, nights can get chilly, so remember a warm top, as well as long pants to ward off those pesky mosquitoes. For further relaxation you can take it easy in a Jacuzzi, while bubbles keep you warm and relaxed.

5. Braai

Nothing beats a braai. The rough translation of the word is barbeque, but this does not do it justice. You will sample some of the best meat, prepared in the best way; but more than that, it is a social gathering ensuring good times and lots of laughter. It originated with the Afrikaners in South Africa, but has since been adopted by all cultural groups across the country and other African nations too. Many African game lodges (especially in South Africa) will make sure you experience this unique occasion. The best way to do it though, is in a self-catering unit. It’s a lot more personal, making the moment one between just you, family, friends and good food.

6. Wine

South Africa is a top safari destination, and besides the braai the country is also famous for its wines. If you don’t make it to the Cape, a region famed for its winelands and home to the longest wine route in the world, be sure you stock up on good local wine if you are in a self-catering unit. If you are wining and dining at the game lodge, be sure to ask the sommelier for the best local brands.

7. Activities

If you feel the need for an adrenalin rush, many game lodges offer a variety of activities such as quad-biking, hot-air balloon rides, zip-lining and white water rafting. If the lodge does not offer any of these, you are more than likely to find they are offered in the surrounding area. As game lodges are often set in remote areas, they are perfect for these kinds of activities.

8. Shopping

Even at a game lodge you can shop till you drop. You will often find curio stores where you can purchase souvenirs and mementoes, postcards and gifts. If you stumble upon any delis or restaurants, make sure you sample the local cuisine, whether it is a koeksister and biltong in South Africa or a spicy dish in Tanzania, served with a portion of chapatti.

9. History and Culture

A visit to a game lodge will take you on rich cultural and historical journey. Tales from the guides will enlighten and inform, as will a variety of tours – either at the lodge or in the nearby region. The local communities will also give you a glimpse into the diverse and fascinating ways of life on this astounding continent.

10. Safari

The very reason we visit game lodges is to view wildlife in their natural habitat. At several game lodges you may be lucky enough to spot wildlife from your balcony, deck or porch, while others offer hides where you can sit for hours in calm content, surveying the surroundings for an errant springbok or a leaping leopard. But few travellers will leave without clambering into a safari vehicle and driving into the heart of the wilderness in search of wild animals. Most game reserves and national parks offer safaris led by skilled guides, but there are destinations where you can self-drive. This allows you to search at your own pace and choose where and when to go. Of course, there are always rules and regulations, and these must always be followed out of respect to the animals, the staff and the surrounding communities.