This Sky-High South African Safari Lodge Feels Like You’re Floating in Mid-Air

kruger shalati train on the bridge

Location, location, location. It’s something we utter when we’re looking at real estate, booking a hotel, and pushing our way through a crowd at a concert. Location is everything, and we think we might have just found the ultimate vantage point.

Enter, Kruger Shalati, South Africa’s cool new safari lodge suspended on a 109-year-old bridge overlooking Kruger National Park. Dubbed “The Train on the Bridge,” this sky-high lodging is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

The train carriages, which have been converted into suites, showcase the best of the glitz and nostalgia of 1920s train travel when this form of transportation was at its romantic peak. They also pay homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago, who would arrive on the same train and park overnight in the exact same spot Kruger Shalati is positioned now.

kruger shalati train on the bridge

There are 24 carriages lined across the historic railway bridge, frozen in time, yet alive with luxury. The bridge hovers above the Sabie River and stands adjacent to Skukuza Rest Camp, best known for its lion sightings.

A round pool sits where a water tank once stood, offering guests a unique experience to swim in a pool suspended on a bridge, looking down on lions and other wildlife. For guests, the carriages on the bridge houses not only suites but a bar, lounge, and deck. Adjacent to the bridge is where you will find the reception, dining room, and another pool area (because you can never have enough pools).

Each room is geared towards the view, with floor-to-ceiling windows spanning the carriage. Expect an extra-length king-size bed, a bath beside a picture window, a small bar area, and a Juliet balcony with views of the Sabie River and beyond. You will find artwork and designs that celebrate local artists whose names you’ll find in the compendium if you’re curious.

kruger shalati train on the bridge

If heights have you quaking in your shoes, Kruger Shalati has a second lodging, the Bridge House, which is much closer to the ground and sits along the Sabie River. There are seven rooms, including a honeymoon suite, with views of the bridge which is great for families as the rooms are slightly larger than the train carriages. The balcony is a great place to lounge on the daybed and watch a famous South African sunset.

Regardless of your choice of accommodation, you can book an in-room spa treatment, which offers a long list of treatments including Swedish massages, hot stone massages, manicures, and facials.

kruger shalati train on the bridge

If you manage to peel yourself away from your lush train carriage, you will find an entire national park flush with wildlife, including some of the big five, as they say, which includes the African lion and elephant. Although, keep your eyes peeled for zebras, leopards, giraffes, and a rare pangolin.

You can join pre-dawn or dusk game drives with expert guides who know where the best watering holes are (literally). Along the bridge, you will notice the bold vervet monkeys, which are quite comfortable with people.

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