The Safari Club SA is made up of two thatched buildings set in nice gardens.
The Safari Club SA: Our full report
The Safari Club SA is in the suburb of Kempton Park, a short (and complimentary) transfer from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport. It aims to be a good-value, three-star guesthouse, it offers a refreshing change to the larger hotels typically found around the airport.
After the short, but lightly disconcerting, drive through fairly harsh industrial- type surroundings, the tranquil grounds of Safari Club SA come as a welcome surprise. Whilst the high boundary wall and remote-controlled gates may seem a bit over the top elsewhere in the world, in Johannesburg these security measures quickly put guests at ease.
Five of Safari Club SA's 16 spacious bedrooms are in the main thatched house and a further 11 make up an L-shaped block set in the gardens. The décor of each room is corporate, bordering on clinical, with either very light or very dark-coloured furniture, dark leather headboards, white walls, tiled floors and floor-to-ceiling tiles in most bathrooms. This is softened by a touch of well-coordinated colour, both in the fabrics for the bed cushions and lampshades and in the floor rugs. Each room has air conditioning, a TV, a safe and an en-suite bathroom with a shower. One of the rooms in the main house also has a bath.
In contrast to the fairly mild colour scheme found in the rooms at Safari Club SA, the communal areas are full of vibrant shades and quirky artwork. The main building has a spacious lounge in which black and brown leather seats are set alongside cream ones; a black and silver patterned lampshade is on a coffee table near scarlet cushions; wrought-iron candlestick holders sit next to a sculpted trio of white giraffe heads; and all are watched over by a human-sized angel made of woven bark complete with twinkly lights and tinsel wings! It's an atmosphere of fun, bordering on the theatrical, all made cosy by a wood burning fire. A staircase leads up to a mezzanine level under a sloping thatched roof held up by wooden beams, where you'll find another comfortable seating area and a well-stocked bar.
Evening meals at the Safari Club SA are often served in the small dining room which has a black-and-white chequered floor and is set with wrought- iron furniture topped with cherry-red place settings - all reflected in a large gilded mirror encircled by twinkly lights. Breakfasts are usually served in a more sedate room on tables where wooden tables are set with neutral- coloured place settings. During the day, meals might also be taken on the outside terrace.
The Safari Club SA has a large, well-tended lawn surrounded by pretty gardens. The centerpiece is a small pool with sun loungers set up nearby. When outside, the nearby road noise can be heard as a dull roar punctuated by the occasional plane flying over, but indoors, these noises are barely discernible.
Our viewWe found the Safari Club SA to be a tranquil and welcome delight after hours on a plane and time spent negotiating airports. Its clean and comfortable rooms are of a good standard, and whilst the service may lack the subtleties of many more upmarket places, the will to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed is genuine.
Ideal length of stay: This is really a place for one night only – it's an option for an overnight stop near Johannesburg International Airport.
Directions: Safari Club SA is a 10–15 minute complimentary transfer from Johannesburg International Airport.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: The food at the Safari Club SA is what you'd expect of a three-star guesthouse. Breakfast is a buffet selection of cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit, juices and toast, plus the choice of cooked eggs.
Dinner can be arranged in advance and for an additional cost. It's usually a three-course set menu with a choice of two mains. When we visited in May 2011 we were served a fresh salad with a tasty dressing to start. There was then a choice of chicken cordon bleu with a cheese sauce or battered fish with chips. Both were served with mixed vegetables. Dessert was a warm toffee sponge accompanied by ice cream. The dishes were well cooked and had nice flavours but lacked finesse.
Although the staff are friendly when serving your meals, they have not been trained to clear from the left, or even to clear away your starter plate before delivering your main! Expect the food to be warm and freshly prepared but to be accompanied by paper serviettes and butter in small packets.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15
Drinks included: All drinks served at the Safari Club SA are at an additional cost. There is an 'honesty' bar system in place, where guests are welcome to help themselves to drinks, noting them down in the available book to be added to the room bill.
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at the Safari Club SA.
Equipment: The guesthouse has cots available on request for young children.
Notes: The Safari Club SA has two family rooms. One is in the main house and has four single beds. The second is in the garden block and has a double bed and a set of bunk beds.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is cellphone reception at the guesthouse. Travellers with their own laptop can request the password for access to the free wireless connection. There is also a guest computer available for internet use at R30 for 30 minutes.
TV & radio: Each room at the Safari Club has a small TV with about eight basic MNet (SA cable) channels available. The main areas each have a stereo and music is often played during pre-dinner drinks and meal times.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: Johannesburg has a good hospital within easy reach of the guesthouse.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The guesthouse and its grounds are enclosed within a high wall and set behind an electric gate. Each room can be locked with its own key and has a small safe for valuables.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers placed throughout the guesthouse and its grounds.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is offered to guests spending two or more nights at the Safari Club SA. There is an additional charge for this service of about R5–15 per item.
Accepted payment on location: Any bills at the guesthouse can be settled by Visa or MasterCard, or in cash using South African rand or US dollars.