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Our Favourite Wilderness Safaris Camps

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Written by
Tess Van der Winsor, Angela Thomas, Jody van Merode, Iain McConachie & Tamara Potash

Here at Jacada Travel, we believe in making a difference through travel. We also make sure that our partners are on the same mission. One of our most trusted partners in Africa is Wilderness Safaris, a leader in low-impact luxury travel.

The brand shares its passion for the continent with a collection of incredible safari camps spread across six countries. At the lodges, ambitious sustainability efforts are put in place to help preserve biodiversity, conserve wildlife and uplift local communities.

But with so many lodges to choose from — about 40 — narrowing down the very best is no easy feat. They are vast and varied, teeming with incredible wildlife, with a plethora of unique and unforgettable experiences. And when you stay at a Wilderness Safaris camp, you’re also supporting the group’s efforts to empower local communities and preserve the natural environment around them.

To help you get inspired for your next African adventure, we have put together a list of some of our favourite Wilderness Safaris camps, of which a few are newly renovated. From Botswana's floodplains to Namibia's otherworldly landscapes, passing by the lush mountains of Rwanda, these are the 10 finest Wilderness Safaris lodges in Africa, according to us.

Best Camps in Botswana

 

This landlocked country in southern Africa is where the Wilderness Safaris story began; the group’s very first first camps were located in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Today it has more than 20 camps in the country, allowing guests to experience everything from the famous Kalahari Desert to the diverse wildlife of the floodplains. If you’re looking for an exclusive safari experience, Botswana is one of the best places in the world to go.

Mombo Camp

If you want to see what African ecotourism is all about, Mombo is a good place to start. It’s Wilderness Safaris’ flagship camp, established in 1990 and rebuilt in 2018. It’s located in the Moremi Game Reserve: the first protected area in the Okavango Delta.

Over the years Mombo has won awards from Condé Nast Traveller, Travel + Leisure and others, helping it to earn its reputation as ‘The Mother of all Camps’. It features eight luxurious guest suites, which were recently refurbished using much of the same material to preserve the spirit of the original camp. 

Mombo’s biggest draw is the incredible access it offers to wildlife, and to predators in particular. This is one of the only places in Botswana where you have a good chance of encountering all of the Big Five. It’s also a great place to see the results of the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project.

 

Best for: wildlife

DumaTau and Little DumaTau

Set in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, DumaTau and Little DumaTau are among the top destinations in Botswana for wildlife viewing. These riverfront camps let you get up close and personal with all of the area’s native species, including magnificent mega-herds of elephants. 

DumaTau provides unmatched opportunities for observing animals in their natural habitat. It includes eight tented suites, each with its own private deck. There’s also a brand new spa, a boutique and a library where you can relax after each day’s adventures. Nearby Little DumaTau offers four large guest suites of its own, with just a bit more privacy.

Both camps provide access to the Savuti Channel and the Linyanti River floodplain, plus sweeping views of Osprey Lagoon. You can go on daytime or nighttime game drives, guided walks, boat trips or even helicopter excursions – all of which will give you the chance to experience the area’s rich biodiversity first-hand.

 

Best for: birders and families

Abu Camp

Of all the Wilderness Safaris camps in Botswana, Abu stands out for its unbeatable comfort and one-of-a-kind setting. Located in the massive Abu Private Reserve, this luxurious camp is perfectly camouflaged in a riverine forest deep within the Okavango Delta.

Abu Camp includes just six suites, which are clustered around a communal lodge. Each building is made of wood and canvas, blending in perfectly with the environment. In the lodge you’ll find a dining room, bar and library – although you might never want to leave the peaceful privacy of your own suite and its private plunge pool. 

As for activities, Abu offers all kinds of safari experiences, from classic game drives to mokoro (traditional canoe) rides. The camp is particularly focused on the conservation of native elephants – so we highly recommend it if you’re interested in learning more about this specific species.

 

Best for: elephant encounters and families

Best Camps in Rwanda

 

Rwanda is at the cutting edge of ecotourism, with multiple initiatives underway to restore its forests and their rich biodiversity. From mountains and volcanoes to rainforests and savannahs, this country is a treasure trove of natural beauty and adventure. Wilderness Safaris has two camps in Rwanda, each of them promising a life-changing experience.

Bisate Lodge

Right on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, Bisate Lodge offers exclusive access to one of Rwanda’s most breathtaking landscapes. From its spot on the side of a volcanic crater, you’ll have views of the misty mountain forests where some of the world’s rarest species reside.

Here you can choose from six en-suite villas, each with its own private deck and cosy fireplace. The buildings are set into the hillside, with thatched roofs and a spherical shape modelled after traditional palaces. This may not look like the classic safari setting, but it’s the perfect choice for seasoned travellers who want to experience something new.

 

The star attraction at Bisate is gorilla trekking, which gives you the chance to see majestic silverback gorillas up close. You’ll also be able to spot golden monkeys and many other animals. These endangered species are finally gaining strength, thanks in large part to the conservation and restoration projects that Bisate is involved in. You can even help with the reforestation efforts by planting a tree sapling yourself.

 

Best for: gorilla trekking and architecture lovers

Magashi Camp

Right on the shores of Lake Rwanyakazinga, Magashi is a tranquil retreat where you can rest and recharge. Of course, you’ll also want to spend some time watching the incredible animals that call the area home – from hippos and crocodiles to giraffes and buffalo.

Magashi Camp includes six roomy tents looking out over the water, furnished with soft earth tones and canopy beds. You can enjoy a lakeside breakfast on the terrace, and then head out for a game drive, boat ride or catch-and-release fishing trip. We usually recommend this camp for those who want a slightly more relaxing safari experience.

This camp is situated in Akagera National Park, which has been magnificently restored in the last several years after much of it was destroyed. Now it’s a haven for endangered species, including the lions and black rhinos that were recently reintroduced here. Magashi provides the perfect balance of comfort and natural wonders, creating a truly memorable getaway.

 

Best for: Big Five experiences, couples and groups of friends

Best Camps in Namibia

 

Namibia is a hidden gem for intrepid travellers, full of wide open spaces and underexplored spots. There are seven Wilderness Safaris camps spread across the country, from the stark Skeleton Coast to the red dunes of Sossusvlei. All of them offer exceptional luxury and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but our three favourites are particularly special.

Damaraland Camp

Set in the middle of the Huab River Valley, Damaraland Camp allows you to immerse yourself in the desert. You can observe its unique wildlife up close, learn about the area’s indigenous cultures and stare up at a starry sky unlike any you’ve ever seen.

Damaraland Camp consists of 10 adobe-style en-suite units, each with a private deck. There’s also a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, campfire area and communal boma where you can socialise with other guests and locals. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself not only in the wilderness, but also Namibian culture. 

This is the perfect place to see desert-adapted elephants and many other species. If you’re interested in learning about community-based conservation, you can speak with members of the Torra Conservancy. And if 6,000-year-old rock art sounds like your cup of tea, Twyfelfontein is only a short trip away.

 

Best for: dramatic landscapes and photography

Hoanib Skeleton Coast

On the northwestern edge of Namibia, Hoanib has a privileged location within the harsh Kaokoveld Desert. In fact, the only way to reach it is by plane – so if you’re ready for a remote escape, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one than this. If you’d rather be a bit closer to civilisation, however, Damaraland Camp might be more your style.

Each of Hoanib’s eight tented suites has its own shaded deck, providing the perfect spot to enjoy some truly astonishing stargazing. The entire camp runs on solar power, making the most of its desert surroundings and reducing its environmental footprint. 

This is also the perfect home base for exploring the Skeleton Coast’s strange and ominous landscape; seeing desert-adapted species in the private Palmwag Concession and the Hoanib Riverbed; or learning about the mysterious Strandloper people. All of these experiences are only made more striking by the rough and rugged surroundings.

 

Best for: desert-adapted wildlife and photography

Little Kulala Camp

You can’t go to Namibia without visiting the desert that gave the country its name – and Little Kulala makes a trip to the Namib even more tempting. This charming camp provides exclusive access to the legendary landscapes of Sossusvlei, Dead Vlei and much more. 

After a recent refurbishment, Little Kulala has cemented its status as one of the region’s most elegant and comfortable camps. Its 11 suites are all climate-controlled and designed to maximise your contact with the desert. Whether you’re gazing through floor-to-ceiling windows or relaxing on your private rooftop, you’ll be fully immersed in the environment.

During your stay at Little Kulala, you can enjoy guided excursions on foot, by bike or even in a hot air balloon, in addition to daytime and nighttime game drives. Back at camp, there’s a lounge, library, craft boutique and wine cellar: the perfect recipe for relaxation. 

 

Best for: couples

Best Camps in Zimbabwe

 

Zimbabwe has long been known as one of the world’s best safari destinations, but it still flies under many travellers’ radar. That means you’ll have the chance to see all the most sought-after species – minus the crowds. In addition to its many game territories, this country is home to magnificent sites like Victoria Falls, Mana Pools National Park and more.

Linkwasha Camp

Zimbabwe has six Wilderness Safaris camps, but Linkwasha holds a special place in our hearts. Located in Hwange National Park, it offers incredible safari experiences in the nearby Ngamo Plains, plus private concessions where there are no other humans in sight.

Linkwasha offers eight luxurious tents, each of them featuring colourful artwork inspired by the local culture. Shared spaces include a winter lounge with a cosy library, a swimming pool and an elevated star bed, where you can spend an unforgettable night deep in the wilderness.

At Linkwasha you can expect to see elephants, buffalo and all manner of predators. Wildlife sightings are especially common in the dry season, when the concessions’ solar-pumped water sources attract an abundance of animals. There’s even a watering hole right beside the camp, so you’ll have a front-row seat throughout your whole stay.

 

Best for: first-time safari goers

Best Camps in Zambia

 

If there’s one country in southern Africa that seems to have it all, it’s Zambia. This landlocked nation boasts no fewer than 19 national parks, some of the continent’s best conservation programmes, and all kinds of exceptional experiences – including the legendary walking safaris created by Norman Carr, a pioneer in conservation. 

Toka Leya Camp

This distinctive destination is located on the shores of the Zambezi River, just a few kilometres from the mind-blowing Victoria Falls. Toka Leya is a stunning spot to relax by the water or get your adrenaline pumping – or a bit of both. It can also be a great change of pace from the hotter and drier environments of many other safari camps. 

Tucked into the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, the camp is a haven of luxury and sustainability. Toka Leya’s 12 suites offer impressive river views, and are connected to the main areas by wooden walkways that wind through the trees. Each one has its own solar panel and is thoughtfully designed to blend in with the forest. 

Thrill-seekers will find plenty to do here, from white-water rafting to bungee jumping over the falls. If you prefer more calming activities, you can join riverside yoga sessions or simply sit back and watch as hippos, antelope and countless other species wander by the camp. 

 

Best for: couples and families

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