Just what is the secret of the perfect African safari? Perhaps it is experiencing nature in ultimate luxury – staying in the African bush need not be uncomfortable or a chore.
Think exquisite lodges and sumptuous tented camps set in prime locations for both comfort and game viewing – you will feel as if you are in the true wilderness, without missing out on the all-important feeling of indulgence. With well-appointed en-suite bathrooms, elegant furnishings, fresh crisp linen sheets, warm blankets and hot water bottles for chilly nights, and a spacious private deck with a plunge pool, wonderful for watching the animals pass by, accommodation like this is far more luxurious than you would ever imagine a ‘tent’ could be! Dining alfresco under the stars, served by world-class chefs and appreciating wines specially selected from impressive cellars to enhance your dish, you will probably want for nothing more… but your personal butler will be on hand to take care of even the smallest request! Enjoying excellent food is an essential part of an African safari – and the best lodges and camps entice the most amazing chefs, those who are keen to take on the challenge of creating spectacular cuisine in such remote areas.
Botswana has some of Africa’s finest luxury camps, each situated on an extensive private reserve. The advantage of this type of location is that you are far from the crowds – you may not even come across another vehicle whilst on safari, so encounters with wildlife are a lot more personal. Mombo Camp is regarded as one of the most exclusive camps and it will not fail to disappoint! Situated on the north-western tip of Chief’s Island, in the Okavango Delta’s Moremi Game Reserve, the camp has a location in which guests may sense the region’s seasonal rhythms, as well as superb suites and a swimming pool overlooking the magnificent dry floodplain, which is teeming with wildlife throughout the year. This is a diverse area of mopane woodland, acacia forest, and plains, boasting prolific animal populations, including buffalo, giraffe, impala, and red lechwe, as well as plenty of birdlife. Unsurprisingly, the prevalence of herbivores means there are predators – lots of predators! – providing some of the very best game viewing in Africa. And what better way to enjoy the views, than from the lodge’s decking area, with a sundowner to hand? Another pick of the properties in Botswana is Vumbura Plains, located in the fabulous Vumbura Concession in the northern Okavango Delta – this has consistently great game viewing all year round. The lodge is simply stunning, while each of the seven large suites has a private plunge pool and offers ample seclusion and privacy. Sandibe Safari Lodge is yet another top-end camp here, lying in a private concession area on a permanent channel of the Delta, adjacent to the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Sandibe is a beautiful thatched lodge that offers quite unparalleled game viewing! Its eight stylish en-suite cottages all come with a private viewing deck, whilst the swimming pool adds that little bit of extra opulence.
The South African game reserves are in general the biggest in Africa. From sweeping bushveld to open savannahs, they are home to an astonishing array of wildlife. With some of the most productive game parks and private reserves, the country is able to offer an exciting choice of quality lodges and camps, from rustic style and comfy ambience in the heart of the African bush, to unparalleled glamour amongst the rugged landscapes of the Waterberg, all supplying great game drives. Whether you are looking for deluxe tented camps, intimate lodges, or matchless grandeur, there is safari accommodation to suit you. For example, there is the Singita Lebombo Lodge, located in the Lebombo Concession area, where the Kruger Park borders Mozambique. Here, the game viewing is first rate! The impressive lodge is contemporary in style. Each of the fifteen rooms has a large sliding-glass door leading out to a private deck complete with a day bed, where you can sleep under the stars. The service is quite exceptional, the cuisine is top notch, there is a well-stocked wine cellar, and a gym, library, and spa together provide a peaceful retreat. There is also Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, one of the only properties in the Greater Kruger National Park that has substantial access to the perennial splendours of the Sabie River. The Reserve’s River Lodge offers a range of outstanding accommodation, with eighteen luxurious thatched en-suite bedrooms. Ivory Lodge, located a little farther downriver, also affords guests exclusivity and privacy. Other properties well worth visiting here include Makweti Safari Lodge, decorated with African antiques and boasting secluded chalets offering a charming ambience! This lodge provides great gourmet cuisine, exquisitely presented and accompanied by an extensive wine list. Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is an award-winning property, whilst Londolozi Granite Private Suites is simply amazing in more ways than one! This property is very exclusive and personal – Suites and sister property, Londolozi Tree Camp, are in our opinion the best camps in the Sabi Sands.
Tanzania is a land of staggering diversity, ranging from the game-rich landscapes of the Ngorongoro Crater to the remote and wild beauty of Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park. There are luxurious properties throughout Tanzania, from exclusive resorts to romantic treehouses occupying some of Africa’s most breathtaking areas. Singita Faru Faru Lodge is set in Grumeti in northern Tanzania. This is a small yet perfectly formed high-end property with only eight rooms, offering exceptional service and hospitality – you will no doubt have your dream safari experience if you stay here! &Beyond Grumeti River Camp is another top pick. Situated in a remote valley, along the western edge of the Serengeti National Park, this is an excellent camp, with just ten spacious tents. It overlooks a tributary of the Grumeti River, affording an exclusive vantage point for the annual migrations. With en-suite facilities and impressive interiors, this is a little slice of stylish African decadence. We think that Sasakwa Lodge is rather special as well. Located in a private reserve within the western area of the Serengeti National Park, this is one of Africa’s most luxurious lodges, with fantastic views, delicious cuisine, and sky-high service – this is the place to be seen!
Zambia is a remarkable country. Renowned for its incredible walking safaris, offering Africa ‘up close and personal’, it has some superb lodges too. Chinzombo Lodge, located on the banks of the Luangwa River, has six luxurious villas, each with a large master bedroom and living area, in addition to a private plunge pool. If you are travelling as a family or group of friends, the stunning Luangwa Safari House, which can accommodate up to eight guests, is pretty much perfect for you. The house comes with a butler, chef, and guide, so you will be very well looked after during your stay! And one of our favourite camps in the country is Chiawa Camp, positioned within the Lower Zambezi National Park boundary. With exceptionally good guides, consistently great game reports, excellent cuisine, breathtaking views, and super-luxurious suites, all with four-poster beds and roll-top baths, this opulent camp comes highly recommended by YZ!
The mode of transport you choose will play a vital part in your overall safari experience. When you are travelling between camps, light aircraft transfers are an option – and this choice of transport will certainly enhance your experience by affording spectacular views of the wilderness areas! And, of course, travel by air significantly reduces time spent on the road.
On another level, the convenience and efficiency of chartering your own private jet – scheduled to depart at the exact time that suits you for arrival at your next National Park – must be the epitome of luxury! This method of travel will allow you to cover more ground in less time, while, most importantly, giving you the freedom to encounter the very best of Africa.
If you prefer a more exclusive and personal safari experience, then paying a supplement for a guaranteed private game drive will enable you to have more of an influence on where you explore as well as increased flexibility. You do not have to reach a compromise with other guests on where to go, what to look for, and how long to spend at each sighting. If you have a particular photography or wildlife interest, then we can match you with an experienced specialist driver/guide to ensure your requirements are met. Additionally, there are often no age limits for a private guided safari, making this an awesome option for families! It is worth noting that there are a few camps, such as the Serian properties in the Serengeti and in the Maasai Mara, where a private vehicle is offered as part of the standard package.