Top 12 Private Villas: Cape Town & Safari

Africa is fast becoming an exclusive destination for families and groups, with exquisite private-use villas springing up around the continent’s most beautiful regions. Remote safari destinations are now much more accessible to multi-generational families and groups with children who are welcomed to Africa with state-of-the-art facilities, specialised children’s programmes, private chefs, butlers, childminders and guides. All that’s required from you is to kick back and enjoy your safari as you like, and when you like.

And what better way to start or end your family or group safari than with a few nights in Africa’s most beautiful city?

1. Villa Olivier – Cape Town

With mountains at the rear and ocean in front, Villa Olivier is perfectly positioned to take in the best of Cape Town’s natural splendour. The villa is located in trendy Camps Bay, close to the Blue Flag beaches of Clifton.

The villa has five bedrooms split over three levels, four bathrooms, a wine cellar and even a covered putting green for golf enthusiasts. Living is easy with chic, open-plan interiors that invite in the fresh sea breeze.

2. Singita Serengeti House – Tanzania

Singita Serengeti House offers utter luxury, with every whim catered to by a highly professional staff. Enjoy complete privacy and exclusivity on your African safari vacation, with two suites in the main house, two separate garden suites, a 25-metre / 82-foot swimming pool, tennis court, and views over a nearby watering hole.

Serengeti House delivers haute cuisine that celebrates quality (often home-grown) produce, the latest international trends and local culinary creativity. After you’ve settled in, consult with your private chef on your preferred menu and meal times.

3. Chongwe River House – Zambia

Chongwe River House is located in the Lower Zambezi National Park – a large wilderness that remains largely undisturbed by the modern world. The region is home to enormous elephant herds (up to 100-strong), which are often seen congregating on the banks of the Chongwe and Zambezi Rivers.

The architecture of Chongwe River House is unique, following the natural shape and curve of branches and tree trunks used in the frame of the structure. Open-sided rooms mean that you are never separated from enchanting river and mountain views, and any game that happens to be passing by (elephant are often spotted from the pool deck). This exclusive-use safari villa sleeps eight people in four spacious bedrooms.

4. Brightside Villa – Cape Town

Brightside Villa is a 5-bedroom luxury home in Camps Bay. The living area has strategically placed skylights that reveal the grand Twelve Apostles mountain range to the east, while the 12-seater dining table, sitting area and designer Miele kitchen run seamlessly into an Atlantic Ocean horizon.

This spacious beach villa is multi-tiered, so you can appreciate sea views from the top floor living area, deck and pool, as well as from the bedrooms on the first floor.

5. Morukuru House – Madikwe, South Africa

Morukuru House is truly perfect for family safaris – not only are there child-friendly facilities and activities, the house is located in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve (no need to worry about anti-malarial medication). This contemporary African homestead has a fenced garden and five plush bedrooms which are thoughtfully spaced around a courtyard for extra privacy in each suite.

You will receive exceptional service from a dedicated staff that includes a private chef, butler and safari guide. On one night during your stay, you’ll be surprised with a lantern-lit dinner under the stars in a secret location.

6. Tom’s Little Hide – Zimbabwe

Need to get away from the madding crowd? At Tom’s Little Hide in Zimbabwe you’re able to disconnect from the modern world and enjoy time with friends and family in a relaxed and intimate setting. A remote location in Hwange National Park, and the cosy, down-to-earth camp, make this destination best suited to adventurous travellers or families and friends with older children.

Many of the guides have undergone the highest qualifications and have been at the lodge for many years. This adds to the personal and authentic atmosphere of the lodge, and their passion for the bush is a large part of what will make your safari at Tom’s Little Hide so special.

Days are yours to spend as you like – exploring the farthest reaches of the park or enjoying a day of ‘armchair safari’ by the pool, which overlooks a waterhole often frequented by elephant, giraffe, zebra, impala, waterbuck and kudu. Tom’s Little Hide forms part of The Hide safari lodges which have consistently been voted amoung the top safari lodges in Zimbabwe over the past two decades.

7. Elsa’s Private House – Meru, Kenya

Elsa’s House is a decadent, private safari lodge crafted on a rocky outcrop overlooking Meru National Park in Kenya. Unashamedly romantic, the 2-bedroom villa is ideal for smaller families (up to four adults and two children) or romantics looking to splash out on a special occasion or honeymoon.

Spectacular 360-degree views often include large herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe making their way across the plains to drink from a fertile spring at the bottom of the hill. Meru is known for its healthy elephant and lion populations, and is where George and Joy Adamson released orphan lions back into the wild – a conservation success story later made into the feature film, Born Free.

8. Sea & Rock Villa – Cape Town

This contemporary Camps Bay villa boasts seven bedrooms and five bathrooms, as well as living areas on each floor. Groups staying at Sea & Rock Villa are lavished with plenty of space and privacy, with two main bedrooms featuring en suite bathrooms with a spa bathtub, shower, heated towel rails and underfloor heating.

Expansive deck areas include two swimming pools, two Jacuzzis, a gas barbeque, 8-seater dining table and sun loungers. In addition to a large open-plan kitchen and multiple living spaces, three of the bedroom suites also have their own kitchenettes.

9. Sanctuary Chuma House – Zambia

Families and friends on a trip to Victoria Falls will relish the opportunity to have this private slice of the Zambezi River all to themselves. Sanctuary Chuma House offers intimacy and tranquillity just a short drive from the adventure and excitement of the Zambian side of the Falls.

The exclusive-use safari villa has two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, and living and dining areas including a deck and plunge pool. In addition to activities at Victoria Falls, you can enjoy game drives, canoeing on the river, guided nature walks and sundowner cruises.

10. Mara Bush House – Kenya

There can’t be many things better than waking up to a family breakfast with views over the hills of the Masai MaraMara Bush House is a private retreat in Kenya’s best known wilderness and is located on the private Mara North Conservancy. You will be able to enjoy night drives and guided nature walks (not permitted in the national reserve) as well as classic day game drives.

The house has three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, and cosy living areas that lead onto the veranda. Beyond the surrounding savannahs and acacia trees, the Ol Chorro waterhole is visible where resident wildlife often arrive to quench their thirst. Mara North is home to Leopard Gorge – an important birthing and maternity ground for big cats, made famous by the BBC’s Big Cat Diary.

11. Linyanti Ebony House – Botswana

Botswana is possibly one of the most exciting places in the world for a safari adventure and is ideal for active families and groups with older children and teens. Linyanti Ebony House is located in the Okavango Delta, a lush inland delta where you can enjoy an interactive safari activities like canoeing, guided walks, big game tracking, camping expeditions, helicopter flights, boating and game drives.

Linyanti Ebony House has a traditional tented suite for small families or groups, with private facilities including a lounge, dining area, deck and splash pool. The suite has a double bed and twin beds but can also be converted into a spacious honeymoon suite.

12. Singita Castleton – Kruger, South Africa

Now the epitome of exclusive and chic safari living, Singita Castleton was once a private homestead built by the founders of the prestigious Sabi Sand Game Reserve. This historical country home enjoys a prime location on the reserve, and guests also have access to the Kruger National Park which shares unfenced borders with the reserve.

Castleton homestead combines the best of an exclusive safari experience with the charm of country life. It consists of a main house and living areas, and six separately located cottages on the grounds. Special facilities include waterhole views, a private gym, tennis court, trampoline, spa treatment room, wine cellar, and open-air boma. The Singita Wine Boutique & Gallery is located nearby, where you can sample South Africa’s best wines.

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