Looking for a holiday that’s more on the wild side but with all the modern comforts and more? Then a Luxury Safari Stay is just what the doctor ordered – here’s our pick of the Top 10!
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There are many faces to a vacation, from taking in the sights of a city far from home to walking through ancient landmarks and revelling in the majesty of history.
A vacation can also be a chance to really experience the wonders of Mother Nature … and what better way to do that than a safari holiday in a game reserve? For those who want the wild side with the full trappings of a luxury stay, here’s our selection of the Top 10 Luxury Safari Stays!
1. Koro River Camp, Botswana
Set along the banks of the Limpopo River, the Koro River Camp offers seven en-suite boutique tents with spectacular views of the natural surroundings. Guests enjoy a spacious viewing deck, private plunge pool, indoor bath and outdoor shower. Shaded by Jackalberry and Nyala trees, the elevated decks maximise views over the Limpopo River.
Experienced guides are available for bush walks, as well as day and night game drives across the rolling landscape.
The camp also provides cooking classes to learn local dishes and photography workshops by experts, lectures on the history and culture of the area, as well as yoga sessions. You can tailor your own experience to track certain species of wildlife or focus on certain activities.
2. Zambezi Queen, Botswana
Travelling along the mighty Chobe River in Botswana gives you a different perspective on nature, more so when you’re on the Zambezi Queen – a five-star rated houseboat.
The Zambezi Queen boasts 14 luxurious suites with outer decks so guests can soak in the sights and sounds of the African riverine landscape. No expense was spared in creating this luxurious and compelling river safari experience.
Scheduled weekly departures are every Monday (two nights), Wednesday (two nights) and Friday (three nights).
The Chobe River flow s through the north-eastern part of the 11,700-square kilometre Chobe National Park which is home to a diverse array of wildlife – including lions, hippos, jackals, cheetahs and one of the world’s largest elephant populations (estimated to number more than 50,000).
3. Samode Safari Lodge, India
Considered as one of the best safari destinations in Asia, Samode Safari Lodge in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is one of the few places in the world where tigers can still be seen in the wild.
The 12 villas are inspired by the colourful vernacular architecture of the region, the distinctly Indian interiors providing tranquil and luxurious surroundings for guests in between excursions to the Bandhavgarh National Park. The grasslands and forests of the park are home to over 250 species of bird as well as 37 species of mammals.
The lounge on the first floor of the main building hearkens back to days long past with its timber flooring, two fireplaces and a large open air deck which overlooks the property.
4. Loisaba Star Beds, Kenya
Sleeping under the stars is always a novel experience, but to do so in the greatest of comfort is another thing altogether.
At the 57,000-acre Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia, Northern Kenya, you to do just that. The Loisaba Starbeds are an African adventure in themselves, where handcrafted four-poster beds are rolled out onto raised wooden platforms so that guests can sleep under the endless African sky.
The Loisaba Starbeds are located on a rocky ridge, overlooking the Kiboko Waterhole. The primary communal area offers a homely dining room, coupled with a sitting room and wooden deck to observe the surrounding Eastern Valleys.
A team of Samburu and Laikipia Maasai warriors are on-hand to act as hosts and guides for game drives and bush walks.
5. Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge, Kenya
Built on sturdy pillars that are spaced out enough to allow even elephants to pass through, the Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge is a luxurious safari escape set in the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary overlooking a waterhole and the vast Tsavo plains of southern Kenya.
The lodge has 96 unique rooms, all elevated on stilts and built across two levels with en-suite bathrooms. While the Bura Restaurant’s buffet and Kudu Point’s barbecue provide much of the meals, guests can opt for a true safari dining experience – a private bush meal that is cooked fresh to be enjoyed on the savannah.
The lodge also has a hide that allows guests the chance to observe the wildlife at the watering hole, separated from the animals by only a few feet.
6. Mahali Mzuri, Kenya
Kenya’s Mahali Mzuri luxury camp is the brainchild of British business magnate and adventurer Sir Richard Branson.
Located in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy within the Maasai Mara National Reserve in the western part of the country, the award-winning camp gives guests a chance to observe the vibrant wildlife in luxury – and if the time is right, the ‘Great Migration’ where two million wildebeest and other plains-dwelling mammals move from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania to the Maasai Mara.
Set at an elevation of 1,700m above sea level, the 12-tent camp is capable of catering up to 24 guests at any given time. In the centre of the accommodation tents is the main tent, where guests can make use of a lounge with an open fireplace and a large decked area where meals are served. There is also an infinity swimming pool for those fancy a refreshing dip.
7. Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, Namibia
Located within the Purros Conservancy in the Kaokoveld Desert to the north of Namibia, the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge provides a true back-to-nature experience minus electronic distractions such as television and internet.
Each of the lodge’s nine units looks out over the far-reaching wilderness and is fitted to provide a luxurious stay. A gazebo with day beds allows guests to chill and enjoy an open-air experience in comfort.
Due to its remote location, the lodge’s activities centre on the outdoors and include safari drives and cultural visits.
The Kaokoveld Desert plains are home to the nomadic Himba tribe as well as elephants, lions, black rhinos and giraffes. The colours of the desert landscape change dramatically throughout the day.
8. Londolozi’s Private Granite Suites, South Africa
Situated along the Sand River in the heart of the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve adjacent to South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, Londolozi’s Private Granite Suites take the safari experience to a new level of luxury and elegance in a remarkable river setting.
Bold designs and materials in silver, charcoal and elephant grey convey Africa’s raw essence with a contemporary flavour. A sunset river bar and sunken cocktail lounge are suspended high above the river, overlooking herds of elephants as they wander over the waterway.
Large doors and windows open directly onto the river, while each suite comes with a luxurious outdoor bath and heated swimming pool.
The white rhino and lion concentrations here are among the highest recorded worldwide.
9. Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania
One of Tanzania’s top safari luxury getaways is Singita Sasakwa Lodge, located in the Grumeti Reserve within the expansive Serengeti Mara ecosystem.
Constructed in the style of an Edwardian mansion, Singita Sasakwa Lodge offers 10 private cottages and a villa … each with an infinity pool. Guests enjoy panoramic views of the famous Serengeti plains, creating a sense of space and freedom.
Activities include daily morning and afternoon game drives with guides, walking safaris and community visits which are a great way to experience Tanzanian culture.
Among the wildlife likely to be encountered are bat-eared foxes, buffalo, cheetahs, Colobus monkeys, elephants, gazelles, giraffes, zebras, leopards and – of course – lions.
10. Tongabezi Lodge, Zambia
On almost every nature lover’s bucket list is Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. And if you’re looking for a five-star pampered experience to boot, then the Tongabezi Lodge along the Zambian side of the Zambezi River is just what the doctor ordered.
Tongabezi offers five river cottages and six themed houses, each with its own valet who takes care of guests throughout their stay and acts as a private concierge. The Tree House is probably the most unique, set against a basalt rock bed amidst a cluster of Ebony trees with an expansive wooden deck offering scenic views of the river.
The resort practices a free and easy policy, where there is no set itinerary so guests can enjoy excursions at their own preferred times.