If you’re planning an African safari holiday, you’re probably hoping to see the “Big Five”: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. From Tanzania to South Africa, Africa is home to some of the most amazing, luxurious and unforgettable safari lodges, with every detail meticulously planned to ensure your stay is out-of-this-world. Here’s a selection of our favourites – the “Big Five” of safari lodges, as compiled by TravelManagers’ Sally Barron.
1. Jacks Camp, Botswana
A unique camp in a private area of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert, Jack’s Camp features luxury desert tents furnished with exotic, Bedouin furniture and rare African art, ensuite bath, amenities and organic toiletries. It’s also the only camp in Africa with a swimming pool tent and a tea tent. Your dinners will be served by candlelight and matched with fine wines, and your stay will include phenomenal astronomy evenings, private game drives that offer the chance to encounter Kalahari black-maned lions and rare brown hyenas. Be sure to allow some time during your stay to visit Meerkat Manor.
2. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Crater lodge is without doubt one of the most architecturally spectacular safari lodges in Africa, with a design that is influenced by the Maasai style. Its colonial-style interiors combine vast amounts of antique plump cushions and voluptuous raw silk curtains, while chandelier-lit bathrooms, a personal butler service and fine dining give the lodge a well-deserved reputation for excellence. The suites are thatched and stilted to ensure breath-taking views all round, with excellent opportunities to spot the Big Five, springbok and many more wild animals.
3. Royal Malewane, South Africa
This luxurious lodge is nestled in the western fringe of the of Kruger National Park within the famous Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, and features palatial suites with private pools and gazebos, your own personal butler and chef, a masseuse and private safari drives. An outdoor Vichy shower will have you feeling even closer to nature, while the lodge’s expert guides will provide an unrivalled wildlife experience, including the Big Five and wild birds in abundance.
4. Londolozi Private Granite Suites, South Africa
This luxury safari lodge in Kruger National Park is flanked by an extrusion of granite rocks, an effect that’s echoed by its décor, which uses bold materials and a silvery charcoal and elephant-grey colour palette. The suites convey an elegant feel, each with its own private heated swimming pool. The camp creates an intimate and unforgettable experience of Africa and her wildlife, with high teas, gourmet food and night safaris, plus a sunset river bar and a sunken cocktail lounge suspended high above the Sand River.
5. Matetsi River Lodge Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, also known as “The Smoke that Thunders”, is the largest waterfall in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. The Matetsi Villa and Suites are canopied in the shade of massive riverside trees and redefines luxury accommodation: each suite has a lovely bathroom and private veranda with exceptional views over the mighty Zambezi. Beautiful natural finishings are complemented by the works of local artists, and include a complimentary mini bar, a private chef and butler. Enjoy the ever-evolving menu and extensive wine list, enjoy sundowners in the bush and take a helicopter flight over the thundering falls to round off your experience.