Conversations around the campfire at Simbambili Game Lodge are different these days. Excited guests still talk about how many lions or leopard they saw, or how close they came to elephants. The surprise comes when they swap stories about how many times they’ve returned to this lodge in the Sabi Sand reserve. Three times for one couple, four for another.

The voices are different too, with the previous European or American accents replaced by the twangs of Alberton, Sandton or Middelburg. Not because South Africans have discovered a new passion for the bush, but because prices have tumbled to finally make luxury lodges an achievable aspiration. The pre-Covid-19 rate of R14,050 per person per night sharing was laughable for most, but the current R4,999 is bringing them in...

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