Long gone are the days when a safari had to mean roughing it in the wilds.
From opulent hotels to private reserves and classic tented camps, these are our experts' favourite luxury safari lodges in Africa.
Tswalu offers a totally different style of safari in South Africa, located in the largest private reserve in the country. The Kalahari Desert provides a burnt-orange, vast setting for some of Africa’s rarest wildlife. Following wild dogs on a hunt was a particularly memorable experience for our travel designers, who drove alongside them as they chased down their prey.
Staying at Tswalu feels like being in a David Attenborough documentary. You can also track the great, black-maned Kalahari lions or the elusive pangolin, and spend time with the habituated meerkat colonies. The reserve is also naturally malaria free, making it a great place to travel with children.
Lebombo is a perfect mix of 5-star South African Lodge hospitality and truly remote African wilderness. It’s a great place to combine with a trip to Cape Town and the winelands – you can explore the winelands and then find some of our favourite wine at Lebombo.
They have a huge selection of South African wine to go with the perfect food that comes from the kitchen that also houses the Singita Chef school, so you know there is top notch quality all round. It’s remote, the landscape is wild, and the guides are brilliant.
Incredible opulence in a game-rich private reserve within Kruger National Park. The hotel is made up of just eight rooms, all of which have stunning views. In the common area, you can watch rhinos come to drink at the waterhole from the bar.
The spa is a real oasis, and the lodge provides some of the best food you can eat while on safari. They also house their own wildlife rehabilitation centre, highlighting their dedication give back.
Hoanib Desert Camp
This is a camp that captures the vast space and endless horizons of Namibia so well. The scorched earth and specially adapted fauna and flora contribute to make this camp as unique as lodges in Southern Africa can get. It is also one of the only camps with rare desert elephants as your neighbours.
If luck strikes, you may also witness the critically endangered desert lions of Namibia. To confuse the senses even more, you can traverse a few dunes and dip your toes into the icy Atlantic Ocean.
Wolwedans is an enormous private reserve in the NamibRand Nature Reserve with a collection of small, chic lodges and camps, all of which is powered by solar energy.
Fantastic service, unique nature walks and its totally desolate surroundings make this one of our top safari lodges in Africa.
The Grumeti is a great addition to the Serengeti area. Situated on a hill that is close to the local communities hearts, a well-timed visit to Sasakwa will give the ultimate bird’s eye view of the passing migratory herds on the plains below.
A visit here is a perfect combination of an award-winning luxury lodge and the wild and raw experience of seeing the Great Migration. It is a perfect place to end a safari and enjoy 6 star-luxury, while knowing that your stay is benefiting the local communities and wildlife.
Angama Mara is a very exciting addition to the classic tented camps in Kenya, offering a high level of luxury, with lots of thoughtful extras in the rooms. The location on a hilltop overlooking the plains is breathtaking and unbeatable. Another big draw here is the spot where Meryl Streep & Robert Redford had that iconic photo taken, used to promote the film Out of Africa. Nowadays guests can enjoy a gourmet picnic in this exact location, and create their own romantic memories.
Add to this an organic garden where lunches can be enjoyed, the Masai beading workshop (take any garment and let the Masai ladies customise it with flair), the spa pavilion with the most well equipped gym of any lodge in Kenya, a beautiful pool with plenty of sun loungers. All of that gives you a luxurious safari resort suitable for any discerning and well heeled guest.
Sasaab is different from other safari lodges in many ways, from the Moroccan-inspired design to the activities you can do there, to the Samburu people themselves. The activities here are quite unique – we love the camel rides and fly camping in the dry river bed. One of our favourite things about Sasaab the people you meet there: the friendly Samburu guides and trackers.
You also have the possibility to do a community visit and see an incredible warrior dancing ceremony that culminates in the slaughter of a goat, which you can opt out of witnessing – but still very interesting!
In the middle of the Malilangwe Trust and perched on top of a hill overlooking the vast expanse of Southern Zimbabwe, this lodge truly captures the spirit of Zimbabwe. Offering the highest standards of luxury and providing incredible sightings throughout the huge reserve, the experience at Pamushana is truly unique.
The colours and decor are true to the Zimbabwean spirit and reflect positivity and resilience. Pamushana also does some amazing community work with an aim to have a lasting positive impact on the local economy, mainly through education and food security programmes.
Matetsi River Lodge
Set just a little upstream from Victoria Falls on an exclusive stretch of the Zambezi River, Matetsi River Lodge is a wonderful safari lodge in a riverside private game reserve. Activities include horseback safaris, game walks, and evening sundowners on the Zambezi – all of which are must-tries.
And if you want complete privacy, you can always book the River House – an exclusive use 4-bedroomed villa with a dedicated guide, chef and butler. It’s the ultimate way to safari in style.
One of the most beautiful tented camps in Africa, Zarafa boasts just four huge, impeccably decorated tents (with private plunge pools), allowing for a completely intimate atmosphere. The lodge is situated in Selinda Private Reserve.
The reserve was set up to protect migration routes in Botswana, and is home to a rich abundance of animals. Every tent at Zarafa has given a top of the line Canon camera for guests to use while there (they’ll even be given a lesson in how to use it!).
Fresh off a complete renovation in 2017, Duba Plains is one of the best safari experiences you can have in Africa. With just five tented rooms, each with your own private butler and chef, you’ll spend your time here seeped in luxury. The game drives at Duba Plains are unforgettable, as the land is rich with diverse wildlife, and you’ll have a great chance of seeing some fascinating interactions with lions and buffalo.
Our favourite part of Duba Plains is that it sits on land leased from local communities, who receive revenue directly and make up 80% of the lodge’s staff. Plus, it works hard to leave the lightest environmental footprint they can.
One of the more contemporary and deluxe lodges in South Luangwa, Chinzombo offers signature Zambian walking safaris, fabulous game drives on the private reserve, and inspiring views from the rooms. It is chic, remote and as comfortable as safari lodges can get in Southern Africa.
King Lewanika Lodge
If exclusivity is your idea of luxury, this new lodge (run entirely on solar power) is the only one in the vast Liuwa Plains National Park, which guarantees amazing safaris without the crowds. 2.5 hours from the nearest air strip, you’ll feel the remoteness of the lodge from the second you step off the plane. It’s a must-see for seasoned safari-goers looking for some off the beaten path luxury.
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Whatever you want your luxury tour or safari itinerary to include, we’ll create something fully bespoke for you… and only you.