In the wilds of Africa, surrounded by rolling grassland plateaus and watering holes where animals gather, you will find some of the world’s most luxurious (and most expensive) hotels and private game reserve lodges. Boasting intimacy and the finest service, here are our top five game lodges in Africa.

Image courtesy of Singita

1. Singita Sabi Sand

On the edge of Kruger National Park lies Singita Sabi Sand Game Reserve. With an abundance of game, including the Big Five, Singita Sabi Sand, trusted guardians of 45,000 acres of land, offers guests a stay steeped in luxury and excitement.

You can choose from three luxury lodges: Singita Boulders, Singita Ebony, and Singita Castleton.

Known as one of the world’s best lodges, Singita Boulders sits on the banks of the Sand River. Its open-aired elegance and rustic charm were inspired by the natural formations and geography in the area; the boulders and the curve of the riverbeds. Giving a shoutout to the safaris of old, Singita Ebony Lodge has a camp feel with its thatch roofs and use of canvas accents. There are 12 Ebony Lodge suites, each coming with their own plunge pool. Singita Castleton consists of a main house with communal living spaces, and six individual cottages for up to 12 people. The lodge offers guests an exclusive chance to reside in the former family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather.

Game drives run twice a day, and Singita Sabi Sand offers guided safari walks, spa treatments, visits to local villages, and archery.

Image courtesy of Singita

2. Royal Malewane

With its classic old-world feel, quirky colonial design and animals roaming freely, it’s little wonder Thornybush Game Reserve is not only one of South Africa’s top lodges, but also one of the best hotels in the world.

Thornybush Game Reserve exudes luxury. Each of the eight suites (including two separate two-bedroom Royal Suites) are air conditioned, have a private plunge pool and are designed to perfection. If you want to step the luxe vibe up a notch, the six-bedroom villa comes with a private chef.

The sunrise and sunset game drives with the expert trackers and guides, are sure to thrill as they tackle the area both on and off the path. Lions are common in the area along with the rest of the Big Five, which are sure to set your heart racing and your camera working in overdrive. When the game drive is over and all you want to do is relax, Thornybush Game Reserve has you covered. Its award-winning Bush Spa will leave you feeling like you’re floating on a cloud.

Image courtesy of The Royal Portfolio

3. Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge

Of course, Sir Richard Branson would pick a top-notch location for his luxury game lodge. Located at the Western end of Sabi Sand, where game viewing is a-plenty with the Big Five, baboons, impalas and cheetahs roaming, Ulusaba has two breathtaking accommodations.

Rock Lodge sits atop (you guessed it!) a rocky peak known as a koppie. Bringing together tribal elements and textiles with natural materials, the eight rooms each present their own unique design, and each come with their own private infinity pool. The Safari Lodge can be found amongst the trees, where animals wander to quench their thirst from a nearby waterhole. You can stay in treehouse-like rooms with rope swing bridges connecting you to the common areas.

You can relax with a spa treatment, work up a sweat with a game of tennis or explore the plains of Africa and the local wildlife.

Image courtesy of Sabi Sands

4. Londolozi

This family-run paradise has welcomed guests for the better part of a century. Set along the Sand River, Londolozi (Zulu for “protector of all things”) is one of the most famous safari lodges in South Africa. It’s easy to see why, with plenty of leopards roaming around, its conservation efforts and its Relais & Châteaux accommodations.

There are five accommodations to choose from. If you’re in the mood for a kid-free holiday the adults-only Granite Suites offer unparalleled luxury followed closely by Tree Camp and Pioneer Camp. For families, Founders Camp and Varty Camp are larger and have a stronger focus on all those fun family activities.

With over 90 years of safari experience, Londolozi sure knows how to impress. They have activities for everyone, from game safaris and walking safaris, to spa treatments and excursions into the local villages. It’s a cultural experience of epic proportions.

Image courtesy of Londolozi

5. Lion Sands

As the only lodge with access to the perennial Sabie River and with one of the four master trackers in the world onsite to help guests with sightings, Lion Sands is unique game experience. The collection of lodges are individually designed ranging from chic luxe to contemporary fusion.

At Lion Sands you can choose you lodge to suit your style. Whether thats the lavish Lion Sands River Lodge which boasts 20 thatched rooms. Or the ultra-luxe Ivory Lodge. Both lodges are the only properties to offer a safari in both the River and Sand River ecosystems, boasting some of the most spectacular game viewing the region has to offer. You will experience a level of luxury not found in many places.

For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book this incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.

Image courtesy of Lion Sands