2020 Gold List Awards: Safari and Beach Lodges in Africa

We’re proud to have been working with the best hotels, lodges and luxury safari camps across Southern and East Africa since 1998. This year, we’re pleased to find that some of our trusted partners in these regions are making an appearance on Conde Nast Traveler’s ‘Gold List’ for 2020. Read on to get inspiration for a trip where once-in-a-lifetime will only be the beginning of your African safari adventures.

In Southern Africa

When visiting gorgeous Cape Town, South Africa, be sure to use the award-winning boutique hotel, Ellerman House as your luxury haven. Nestled on the slopes of Lion’s Head, in the exclusive Bantry Bay neighbourhood, the hotel offers some of the best views of the Mother City’s Atlantic Seaboard. Exuding the elegance and grandeur of a bygone era with its sophisticated interior design and old-world architecture, one would think one has stepped onto the set of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” on arrival. Its ideal location also makes it the perfect base from which to partake in an ‘urban safari’ of all that Cape Town has to offer – summit Table Mountain, visit one of the many restaurants in the city, or stay in and sample famous local wines in the hotel’s cellar.

The remote, yet hauntingly beautiful Skeleton Coast in Namibia provides a different albeit intriguing change of pace from what you’ll experience in Cape Town. Remnants of shipwrecks and the gigantic bones of stranded whales line the desert coast as sand dunes stretch on for miles. Hoanib Camp lies amid this force of nature, providing opulent quarters from which to explore this fascinating landscape. Desert elephants, endangered black rhinos, striking sand dunes and spectacular valley views await you in the vast desert terrain. Rectangular wooden structures, housing contemporary creature comforts and topped with canvas roofs, provides an authentic safari feel without compromising 5-star quality and service. Surrounded by the endless desert landscape, you’ll want for nothing when staying at Hoanib.

Botswana’s Mombo Camp offers a more conventional safari approach than the aforementioned picks. Located in the world-famous floodplains of the Okavango Delta, at first glance, the camp seems like any other in the region – it provides ringside seats to some of the best predator action, its opulent under-canvas rooms are designed in traditional African style, and it’s set squarely in a wildlife-rich area, offering reliable big game sightings. But what sets it apart from all the other luxury camps? Mombo offers an experience that is difficult to match – from the personalised service that anticipates your needs before you do, to the friendly, expert guide whose face light’s up like a child’s when spotting an elephant. Passion and love for the job is evident in everything that the camp provides, and that make’s all the difference when on safari.

Charming old-world design meets modern comfort at Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Hotel. Step back in time when entering the Edwardian-style building, into an era of ageless sophistication punctuated with the comfort of modern amenities. A proud member of Leading Hotels of the World, an exclusive curated group of the world’s finest, top-tier hotels, Victoria Falls stands as an African luxury icon since 1904. After a day of activity in Africa’s adventure capital, it’s the ideal nest to rest your laurels – offering 5-star facilities, treatments and accommodation – where you’re made to feel like royalty from the moment you arrive to the very second you leave.

Rounding off Southern Africa’s Gold List honourees is Mozambique’s Benguerra Island Lodge. Barefoot luxury at its finest, the soft white sand and crystal-clear water coupled with authentic Mozambican hospitality and personalised service promises a carefree getaway of pure relaxation. Take full advantage of your island holiday with a romantic horse ride on the beach, a relaxing fishing expedition, snorkelling, kayaking or simply tanning as you watch the tide roll in.

In East Africa

East Africa is truly the home of safari. The Serengeti plays host to the Great Wildebeest Migration, and any safari lover will tell you that it is an unmissable experience. Need a little more encouragement? Singita Sabora Tented Camp provides an intimate and exclusive safari experience in the plains of the Grumeti Reserves. The main building and private rooms are constructed on wooden decks and lie under canvas, creating a luxury tent that meets every need without compromising on authenticity. Three-hundred-and-fifty-thousand acres of untamed wilderness and a first-class seat to the greatest nature show on earth lies in wait.

The Sabora and the Serengeti aren’t the only highlights that Tanzania has to offer. Gibbs Farm, a charming farmhouse-style lodge, lies nestled in the forested slopes of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, providing a welcome and picturesque respite in the biggest volcanic caldera in the world. Get a taste of the farm life when visiting the working coffee plantation, dairy farm and piggery, or get right in there and lend a hand with milking the cows, feeding the pigs and roasting the coffee beans.

The architectural wonder that is Bisate Lodge awaits you in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The elevated, eco-conscious treehouse-style villas set the bar for world-class safari travel. Built inside an eroded volcanic cone, villas are unique in design and opulent in execution, modelled after weaver birds’ nests and made entirely of recycled and eco-friendly materials. Not only will you stay in the lap of luxury, but you’ll be situated in the western branch of the East African Rift – a biodiversity hotspot that houses over 60 bird and mammal species exclusive to this region. The most famous of these is the mountain gorilla, whom you will have the invaluable opportunity to track on foot.

Africa has some of the most spectacular islands in the world and the Seychelles certainly fall into this category. Think white, sandy beaches, massive boulders, coastal forests and warm, aquamarine waters. If your interest is piqued, the North Island Lodge provides a fitting end to an unforgettable African bush-and-beach holiday. Chosen by Prince William and Kate Middleton as their honeymoon destination in 2011, this private island sanctuary is fit for royalty!