We list our top 10 favourite properties in Safari Africa, ranging from a show-stopping and epically luxurious five-star house to an activity-focused getaway pad. If you are a large family or group of friends hoping to go on safari together, but not sure where to start looking, this blog is for you! The sheer exclusivity of these properties, usually encompassing an army of dedicated staff and an eye-watering number of private facilities, really is something worth writing home about – you could really get used to this way of travel!
1. Singita Serengeti House, Tanzania ($$$)
You and your group will feel like royalty at Singita Serengeti House, as you’ll have your own guide, vehicle, and chef. Built as a private house, this Singita property is located on the rolling slopes of Sasakwa Hill in the 140,000-hectare Grumeti Reserve and can accommodate up to eight people. It is glamorously adorned with local African art, four-poster beds, expansive verandas, and a sweeping view to match. Daily safaris, activities, and meals are completely tailor made to guests’ preferences, and your day-to-day adventures follow your own pace, whether you want to relax in the 25-metre infinity swimming pool, tuck in to a bush lunch, go on a horseback safari, or have a spa treatment.
2. Dhow Suite (Zarafa Camp), Botswana ($$$)
We recommend the Dhow Suite at Zarafa for a small group of friends or a family of four – there are just two bedrooms in this suite, guaranteeing the ultimate in exclusivity. Exquisitely put together, the Dhow Suite covers almost 690 square metres, making it one of the most spacious accommodations in Africa. With a copper claw-foot bathtub, stunning campaign furniture, and decking made from century-old teak railroad sleepers, the tented suite boasts a well-conceived bygone-days design and epitomises bush opulence. If you can tear yourself away from the scenic and very private multi-level viewing deck, you can explore Botswana’s 130,000-hectare Selinda Reserve via private vehicle, by boat, or on foot.
3. Luangwa Safari House, Zambia ($$)
Whole sections of Luangwa Safari House open up to reveal brilliant views out towards the seasonal lagoon. Designed by Neil Rocher, the building is nothing short of an architectural wonder, featuring four castle-style bedrooms, 25 enormous leadwood trunks that support the structure of the house, and platform-like decking. The house is booked in its entirety and can accommodate eight guests. Activities revolve around the wildlife of the magnificent South Luangwa National Park, viewed on day and night game drives and walking safaris – and guests have use of a private vehicle and guide during their stay. This property is particularly suited to families (with kids above 7 years old) as childminders are available and there is a wide variety of activities on offer for children, including educational nature walks, spoor identification, stargazing, and cooking.
4. Mkombe’s House, Tanzania ($$)
Operated by Nomad Tanzania, Mkombe’s House is a superior family-orientated private home in the Serengeti National Park. This property provides private, secure, and thrilling front-row seats for young children to watch the annual wildebeest migration between July and October, in the company of a private guide. The homely atmosphere is counter-balanced by interesting, locally sourced objects, meaning it is stylish, comfortable, and very cool – especially thanks to the open-sided walls letting in a welcoming breeze. There are two main en-suite bedrooms, which are both connected to an adjoining en-suite children’s room, so the layout is ideal for two families. There are also two swimming pools, as well as a butler, a chef, and a housekeeper to keep everyone happy and relaxed in between the wildlife-packed game drives.
5. Enasoit Private Camp, Kenya ($$)
You’ll find Enasoit Private Camp in the foothills of Mount Kenya, situated on the Laikipia Plateau. It was born out of a Scandinavian family’s 30-year love of Africa, so guests can expect a few Scandi touches – think sheepskin sofas, heated swimming pools, and, decadently, a helicopter at your disposal (available for hire). This tented camp is set within a natural wildlife corridor, making it a haven for a group of 12 seeking some excellent game watching. Time at Enasoit Private Camp can be filled with guided game walks and drives, guided night adventures, bush picnics, horse riding, bird watching, or simply relaxing by the camp’s pool, watching the wildlife wander by, followed by a massage or spa treatment.
6. Saruni Wild, Kenya ($$)
Located in the heart of the Maasai Mara plains, on the border between Lemek Conservancy and Mara North Conservancy, Saruni Wild offers a truly classic Kenyan safari. With its Hemingway-styled tents, expert Maasai guides, and blissful exclusivity, it effortlessly transports guests back in time to the ‘Out of Africa’ heyday. There are just three tents here – one family unit and two standard – and Saruni Wild is often booked out privately for a large group or for several families. The tents are full of thick-wood furniture, red throws, and colourfully woven carpets, and the canvas walls open up to make the most of the scenic savanna surrounding the camp.
7. Little Ruckomechi, Zimbabwe ($$)
Younger and much smaller sister camp to Wilderness Safaris’ Ruckomechi, Little Ruckomechi is exquisitely set along the mighty Zambezi river within a private concession in Mana Pools National Park. It has four raised en-suite tents, all elegant and spacious, as well as a dining room, lounge, and plunge pool overlooking a section of the river where elephants often cross. If the camp is booked exclusively, children of all ages are welcome, which makes this a great choice for family groups or small parties with kids.
8. Footsteps Camp, Botswana ($$)
Footsteps Camp in the Shinde Concession is perfect for travellers wishing to experience the remoter areas of the Okavango Delta. With the emphasis on adventure, the accommodation is secondary to the activities – but it in no way sacrifices on luxury. Guest tents are Meru style, each with a covered veranda, and feature twin beds and some seriously snug rugs. The type of safari available here depends on the group. For all-adults, it’s a four-day walking safari called ‘Footsteps Across the Delta’, including mokoro excursions, fishing, and game drives. The safari for families is ‘Young Explorers’, a four-day educational trip. The family programme involves making bows-and-arrows, identifying tracks, and learning to cook bush style. Usually the camp only accepts guests aged 16 years and older, but when a family makes a booking on an exclusive basis children from age 7 and upwards are allowed.
9. Tom’s Little Hide, Zimbabwe ($)
Our experience of Tom’s Little Hide was second to none in terms of service! The private chef whipped up one divine and extravagant course after another, and all guilt free, no matter if it was for an early breakfast, a celebratory dinner, or simply an afternoon snack. A short walk from The Hide, a larger camp, Tom’s Little Hide is highly recommended for a group or family of six (max. 10 guests) who want to enjoy the facilities and experience of the private concession on an exclusive basis. The property has three generously proportioned and elegant rooms, a private splash pool, and a private dining area. Days here are mainly filled with privately guided drives through Hwange National Park, spotting big cats and hundreds of elephant while marvelling at Zimbabwe’s stark western landscape.
10. Crocodile Nest (Flatdogs Camp), Zambia ($)
This large tented house is a fabulous family-friendly choice for a party of four looking to explore Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. Offering quiet and exclusive accommodation, Crocodile Nest has superb views onto the Luangwa River. Natural tones and pastel interiors create a calm ambience throughout the two en-suite bedrooms as well as in the inside and outdoor living spaces. When guests are not jumping into a game vehicle and heading to the nearby Mfuwe main gate for access into the wildlife-rich South Luangwa, they can soak up the views from the private swimming pool or visit a local village on an educational tour.
If you’d like more information on exclusive-use properties in Africa, feel free to call us on 020 8547 2305 or send us an email at [email protected]