Looking for that ‘Out of Africa’, luxury-in the-bush safari experience? From luxe lodges to indulgent treehouses, Africa has a spectacular plethora of rustic, yet lavish, safari camps so you can experience the world’s most elusive wildlife up close without compromising on comfort. With private pools, freestanding bath tubs and the latest mod cons, DialAFlight’s picked some top African safari spots to help make your decision a little easier:
Governors’ Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Governors’ Camp has been the base for the much-loved BBC documentary ‘Big Cat Diary’, which has followed the lives of lion, cheetah and leopard in the Masai Mara, since filming began over 10 years ago. The camps’ expert guides know the Mara and its big cats intimately owing to tracking and monitoring the families extensively. Look out for members of the Marsh Pride, the pride of lion whose home territory is close to the camp. Aside from the big cats, the magical setting on the winding banks of the Mara River is the perfect viewing place from which to see the annual wildebeest migration (July to October).
Lion Sands, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
Guests at Lion Sands lodges can sleep under the spectacular night sky in their own lavish treehouse. Originally built sixty years ago as a photographer’s platform, Chalkley Treehouse is now adorned with many of the comforts you’d experience at a five-star safari lodge. Your adventure begins at sunset when you’ll be whisked to the majestic centuries-old Leadwood Tree – equipped with torches, lanterns and two-way radio – for dinner and drinks. Listen out for lions roaring in the night, the sounds of the nearby Sabie River and gentle birdsong at sunrise.
Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve, Botswana
Set in prime wildlife territory – a 300,000 acre private reserve in northern Botswana – Zarafa Camp overlooks a sweeping lagoon and the far-reaching floodplains beyond, home to impressive herds of elephant. Guest lodgings comprise just four magnificent 1,000-square-foot tented suites (the largest in Africa) with exceptional levels of privacy, comfort and style – each with a grand copper tub, plunge pool and uninterrupted views. Professional cameras (Canon D40) and lenses are provided for guests to use during their stay.
Nkwali, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
The Luangwa Valley is vast, remote and home to a truly impressive variety of game (and over 450 species of bird). Guests at Nkwali arrive at the park by boat and have exclusive access to a private game viewing area just outside the park. The camp’s six bamboo chalets and 4:1 guest to guide ratio ensure highly personalised experience. Elephants and other game frequently drink from the river nearby, so you might be in for a surprise visit while dining in the thatched restaurant.
While not a traditional safari lodge, this play-safe hideout is ideal for safari first-timers and families with children (over eight years-old). Many of the sumptuous suites and villas have private pools with unparalleled views of the Serengeti, while all rooms have terraces for lazy “sofa safaris”. An infinity pool overlooks a natural watering hole so wildlife sightings are almost guaranteed – herds of elephant regularly turn up mid-morning, and the chances are you’ll get to see most of the Big Five from the comfort of the lodge!
Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania