From the dusty tents of explorers to exquisite eco-conscious lodges, African safari has come a long way in the past hundred years without losing any of its romance and adventure. Today, many tented camps mirror the grandeur and opulence of days gone by, while others have completely reinvigorated the safari lodge, offering a brand new take on African aesthetics, authenticity and luxury.
You can also see, do and even taste much more – think top-of-the-range off-road vehicles, hot-air ballooning, glamping (glamorous camping), fly-in safaris and contemporary gourmet dining. The entire experience is enriched by cultural, historical and environmental orientation as well as knowing that as a guest you are integral to a sustainable and holistic conservation model. So – adventure, wildlife, cultural enrichment, highly intuitive and personalised service – what’s not to love about a luxury African safari?
15 Best Luxury African Safari Lodges:
1. Londolozi Private Granite Suites, Kruger
Londolozi Private Granite Suites deliver complete luxury and exclusivity in the Sabi Sands, one of Kruger’s finest private concessions. Just three separate suites overlook the granite rocks of the Sabi River. These beautiful views are reflected in a contemporary assemblage of stone walls, polished concrete and a bold colour scheme of charcoal, silver and elephant-grey.
2. Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is a luxurious safari lodge situated in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Emphasis is on high-quality, personalised service including private game drives in the reserve, famed for its leopard sightings. The lodge offers a sophisticated look-and-feel and features exciting sleep-outs in the bush in one of the superb treehouses.
3. Singita Boulders Lodge, Kruger
This Afro-chic lodge is set along the boulder-strewn banks of the Sand River in the sensational Sabi Sands Game Reserve, a private slice of wilderness neighbouring the Kruger. Its glass-walled and open-air spaces allow you to appreciate your magnificent surroundings in the midst of the African bush. The dining experience is second-to-none and elevated by an extensive wine cellar showcasing some of Africa's most sought-after private wine reserves.
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4. Angama Mara, Masai Mara
Perched on what seems like the very edge of the Great Rift Valley, views from Angama Mara are simply spell-binding. The well conceptualised inside-outside living areas are separated by 11m / 33ft floor-to-ceiling windows, and are adorned with exquisite handcrafted and designer furniture pieces that capture a minimal and contemporary Maasai-inspired space.
5. Sasaab Samburu, Samburu National Reserve
Sasaab is a spectacular luxury tented camp offering the ultimate safari in Samburu. Situated just outside Samburu National Reserve in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District, the landscape is dotted with mountains, wildlife and a rich cultural heritage. It is a place of abundant natural diversity with an astounding number of animals, from elephants to cheetah and wild dogs to the ‘Samburu Special Five’ (five species unique to the area): the Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Gerenuk antelope and Somali ostrich.
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6. Puku Ridge, South Luangwa
The South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is one of Africa’s hidden secrets, boasting untouched natural beauty, great walking safaris and crowd-free big game viewing. Set in this unexplored reserve lies the sophisticated and elegant Puku Ridge, with just eight luxury safari tents on an elevated ridge overlooking plain and woodlands.
7. Thorntree River Lodge, Vic Falls
Considered one of Zambia's most indulgent and contemporary safari lodges, Thorntree enjoys a tranquil setting on the banks of the Zambezi River, just upstream from the legendary Victoria Falls. Beautifully built from local timber, stone and reclaimed railway sleepers, this eco-conscious lodge strikes the perfect balance between nature and modern-day design. The large riverside suites feature indoor and outdoor lounges, en suite bathrooms with spacious tubs, and private decks with plunge pools.
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8. Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Serengeti
Singita Sasakwa Lodge is a turn-of-the-century-style manor house that is stepped in the grandeur of a bygone golden era of safari travel. It sits on top of a hill, offering spectacular views over the celebrated Serengeti plains. Located in the private Grumeti Reserve, it is a luxury safari sojourn with extraordinary wildlife encounters.
9. Jabali Ridge, Ruaha National Park
Jabali Ridge is a stylish safari camp in the wildlife-rich Ruaha National Park, set on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mwagusi River and Ikuka escarpment. This landscape is made of up sun-bleached plains, mighty baobabs and hardy shrubs. Ruaha is home to an impressive diversity of species including lion, elephant, buffalo and even the endangered African wild dog.
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10. Jao Camp, Okavango Delta
Situated on a private island in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Jao Camp is only accessible by air and delivers an unbeatable luxury African safari experience within one of Mother Nature's true masterpieces. Spacious suites are beautifully decorated with local carvings and artwork, and the spa here is considered one of the best in Botswana.
11. Xigera Safari Lodge, Okavango Delta
The Moremi Game Reserve is one of Africa's most beautiful conservation areas: a stunning montage of lily-covered wetlands, sparkling floodplains, open grassland and dappled forests. It's home to some of Botswana's best predator sightings and the celebrated Xigera Safari Lodge. Boasting some of the most luxurious suites in the area, Xigera Safari Lodge delivers boatloads of safari chic, personalised service and a very exclusive Delta experience.
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12. Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Volcanoes National Park
Set right on the edge of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, where more than a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas find refuge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge’s unrivalled position puts lifechanging gorilla trekking experiences within easy reach. Each of the eight luxurious suites features a private heated plunge pool, wellness treatment area, in- and outdoor fireplaces and large timber-framed windows that welcome breathtaking scenery and volcano views inside.
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13. Little Kulala, Sossusvlei
With an impressive array of guest activities like nature walks and drives, hot-air balloon safaris and eco-sensitive quad biking (ATV) excursions around the dunes of our planet's oldest desert, Little Kulala offers a unique experience in one of Africa's secret corners. Situated in a private reserve with exclusive access to Sossusvlei via a private gate, this luxury African safari lodge is perfect for that special occasion holiday in Namibia.
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14. Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe
Situated in Zimbabwe's far-flung southeast, the exclusive Pamushana Lodge is perched on a cliff in the 130 000-acre private Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve that borders the spectacular Gonarezhou National Park. Flamboyant suites are nestled under a canopy of trees and boast breath-taking views over a striking landscape.
15. Nyamatusi Camp, Mana Pools
The extravagant Nyamatusi is situated in one of the wildest parts of Southern Africa, on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. This camp comprises luxury canvas suites and offers an authentic immersion into an old and untouched Africa. Air conditioning in every suite, private plunge pools and a carefully curated wine cellar offer a rare luxury African safari experience in this part of Zimbabwe.
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