Today (April 4, 2016): Top 10 most luxurious safari lodges in Africa.
Africa offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. The “Big Five” (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and the elusive leopard) take the center stage on a safari but the smaller, less glamorous animals (like impalas, zebras and hyenas) can be just as fun and exciting to see. When it comes to safaris, nothing can beat the observation of the Great Migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti or Kenya’s Masai Mara. Other great safari destinations are the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Kruger National Park in South Africa. No wonder that Africa’s 10 most luxurious safari lodges are all located within these areas. The majority of them is operated by the 3 most luxurious safari companies on the continent: &Beyond, Wilderness Safaris and Singita.
Do you agree or have a favorite safari lodge that didn’t make my list? Leave it in the comments or take my poll below.
This lodge is located right on the rim of the ancient volcanic Ngorongoro caldera, offering not only some of the best views in Africa, but also the possibility of a classic Big 5 safari as the crater floor is teaming with wildlife. Room interiors are reminiscent of an elegant baroque château (brocade sofas, gilt mirrors, beaded chandeliers and paneled walls). Ensuite bathrooms with a centrepiece of fresh roses feature huge showers and chandelier-lit bathtubs, while floor-to-ceiling windows ensure breath-taking views from all around of the incredible game-rich Crater. Versailles meets Masai in this unique African lodge!
- Hotel website: &Beyond NgoroNgoro Crater Lodge
- Other top 10 accolades: &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the world’s most spectacular cliffside hotels.
Little Kulala is situated in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve and consists of 11 climate-controlled, thatched “kulalas” (the word means ‘to sleep’) which merge impeccably into the desert landscape, each with private plunge pool. An elegant entertainment area includes a library, wine cellar, craft boutique, lounge and dining areas. Little Kulala’s interiors make use of neutral colours, gorgeous textures and natural light, and takes its inspiration from its surroundings, notably from the magnificent Dead Vlei. Desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok eke out an existence and are sparsely distributed around Little Kulala. Larger carnivores, namely spotted and brown hyena and even cheetah are occasionally present.
- Hotel website: Little Kulala
Like a collection of eagles’ nests perched along the rugged cliff faces above the N’wanetsi River, Singita Lebombo Lodge looks out regally across the landscape. This boldly dramatic lodge, home to fifteen loft-style suites, is situated on Singita’s private concession in the Kruger National Park. The exclusive concession is a richly diverse habitat, teeming with game, beneath endless African skies. Imaginative wood, steel and organic interiors, all encased in glass, create a stylishly contemporary feel in the suites and make the most of the astonishing views overlooking the river.
- Hotel website: Singita Lebombo Lodge
Named after Chief Moremi, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp is located in the world-renowned Moremi Game Reserve. The camp is ideal for an exciting African safari due to the vast numbers of animals that congregate all year round. Chief’s Island is one of the many islands created by the seasonal flood waters of the Okavango Delta and is well-known for the finest game viewing in Southern Africa, including both black and white rhino completing the Big Five. Sanctuary Chief’s Camp has twelve luxury bush pavilions, all with their own private decks as well as both indoor and outdoor showers. The split-level main deck offers expansive views over the floodplain while the dining area surrounds a fire pit on the very edge of the Piajio plains.
- Hotel website: Chief’s Camp
Singita Faru Faru Lodge is set in Grumeti in northern Tanzania, which is part of the Serengeti Mara ecosystem. Built on a gently sloping hill, this riverine lodge, positioned on the renowned migratory route traversed annually by more than 2 million wildebeests, is a place where you can quite literally expect the unexpected. Informal, unconventional and surprising at every turn, Singita Faru Faru Lodge has 7 one-bedroom suites, one family suite as well as one two-bedroom suite with private pool and is a mix of contemporary, organic style and the quirky practicality of a traditional botanist’s camp. With such close proximity to the river and plains, guests have the unique opportunity to experience a very close connection with the wilderness.
- Hotel website: Singita Faru Faru Lodge
Situated on a private reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa, this famous safari lodge hosts a maximum of 20 guests in utopian luxury and style, and is popular amongst celebrities such as Nicolas Sarkozy, Bono and Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen. Six suites with private infinity pools offer complete seclusion and stunning views, while the lodge itself has an atmospheric air-conditioned library, curio shop and dining and sitting areas with fantastic outlooks onto the bush. Two completely private suites (both sleeping 4) provide an even more exclusive safari experience, while the self-contained Africa House, a few minutes’ drive from the main lodge, is the perfect option for families or groups of up to 12.
- Hotel website: Royal Malewane
Named after a very special bull elephant, Abu Camp is set in a pristine pocket of riverine forest and blends in seamlessly with the magnificent surrounding hardwood trees. Looking out over a large lagoon, an imaginative use of canvas has created a unique and luxurious style of tent. Each of the six en-suite units has its own distinctive furnishings and fittings, imparting an air of opulence in the bush. These airy tents feature an indoor and outdoor shower, an outdoor copper bath and a generous elevated teak deck. Well-lit pathways link the guest tents with the main lounge and dining area and a well-stocked library and study, gym and swimming pool will keep you entertained while at camp. Exploring the bush is done by game drive, mekoro, walks – or by elephant!
- Hotel website: Abu Camp
Mombo Camp, situated in the northern point of wildlife-filled Chief’s Island in the Okavango Delta, is built under large, shady trees overlooking a floodplain generally filled with life. Its nine spacious en-suite tents are raised two metres from the ground, with a long veranda, a sala and indoor and outdoor showers. Mombo Camp’s main living, bar and dining areas are under thatch, while the boma adds traditional flavour to a delicious dinner under the stars. There are two plunge pools in which to soak and a gym to work off the excellent food. Little Mombo, situated on Chief’s Island, is a smaller and more intimate camp to its sister and has its own dining and lounge area and sparkling pool.
- Hotel website: Mombo and Little Mombo Camp
- Other top 10 accolades: Mombo and Little Mombo Camp also feature in my top 10 list of the world’s most expensive hotels.
Singita Boulders Lodge is set along the banks of the Sand River in Singita’s privately owned reserve within the Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Spanning more than 45,000 acres, Singita Sabi Sand is renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings. The lodge has 10 one-bedroom suites and 2 two-bedroom family suites, all with private pool, and is a celebration of the tranquillity, space, and light which flows throughout this incredibly vast area. Inspired by the geometry of the boulders on which it rests, Boulders Lodge is an inviting oasis where organic interiors integrate seamlessly with the raw African beauty outside.
- Hotel website: Singita Boulders Lodge
- Other top 10 accolades: Singita Boulders Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the most spectacular hotel bathrooms in the world.
Experience the African Bushveld in lavish comfort and style like only few will. “Unparalleled and extraordinarily beautiful in its simplicity and texture” is how Ivory Lodge has been described, and it has been recognised with various international awards. Each of the 6 suites is surrounded by untamed African Bush and are operated as a private villa. They all include a private rim flow pool, exquisitely appointed bedroom and lounge, and simply more of everything. For the more adventurous, a once in a lifetime experience and the ultimate African bush experience, you may want to opt to stay at one of the ultraluxurious treehouses operated by the same management of Ivory Lodge in the same wildlife reserve.
- Hotel website: Ivory Lodge Lion Sands
- Other top 10 accolades: Ivory Lodge Lion Sands, South Africa, also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most amazing outdoor hotel rooms and the world’s best honeymoon resorts.