Over the years the level of accommodation in Africa has constantly risen, with an ever increasing demand for luxury lodges and camps. Many travellers have become used to a certain standard and do not want to sacrifice this when travelling to Africa for a safari. The top end traveller now has many excellent options to choose from and is virtually spoiled when selecting a luxury safari lodge. Every country in southern and eastern Africa now bursts with luxury lodges, but there a still a hand full of lodges and camps throughout Africa that remain known as some of Africa’s most luxurious accommodation.
One of the best known lodges in Africa can be found in Tanzania. The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is renowned for its luxury accommodation, stunning views and excellent location for years. It is still the place to go when you want to stay somewhere on the crater rim and where you can expect an outstanding service, fine dining and an unforgettable stay.
Staying in Tanzania, and within the Grumeti Reserve, you will find the Singita Sasakwa Lodge. This opulent lodge is built in the style of an Edwardian manor house, and includes everything the luxury traveller might want. From excellent food, silverware and top wines to stunning decor and design details, everything is here. Each of the rooms has its own infinity-style pool, overlooking the open plains. The Singita Sasakwa Lodge also manages the get the line between pure luxury and not being over the top just right.
Staying in East Africa, another property that belongs on the “best of” list is the Cottars 1920s Camp in Kenya. This camp makes the list because of its fantastic design which resembles a classis 1920s safari camp. Every little detail has been thought of to make you feel like a colonial explorer. Furthermore, the guides at Cottars are some of the best in East Africa which will result in a fantastic safari experience for all.
South Africa has probably the highest number of top end properties, so you’ll find the standard of lodges to be very high here as they all compete for position. However, lodges such as the Singita Boulders Lodge or Ivory Lodge are still amongst some of the most luxurious. The family owned Ivory Lodge is maybe not to everyone’s taste as it designed in a very modern way yet it succeeds at being one of the most luxurious and tranquil place to be. The rooms are more like individual villas with features such as a heated outdoor swimming pools and breathtaking views over the Sabie River. Singita Boulders in contrast has a more Afro-chic design with more African influences in the design. But as far as service, luxury and safari experience are concerned, both of these would be a very good option.
Close to both of these lodges, you can also find the Ulusaba Cliff Lodge. Being one of Sir Richard Branson’s luxury properties, it is breathtaking in terms of views and the way that the whole lodge has been built into kopjes. It goes without saying that the level of luxury, food, game viewing, etc. are world class, ensuring that your stay here is fondly thought of for a very long time.
Moving into Botswana, there are three properties here that deserve the title of “one of the most luxurious”. On the edge of the Makadikadi Salt Pan is Jack’s Camp. This stunning tented camp overlooks the wide open space of the salt pan and is set in between surrounding palm trees. The whole camp is under canvas, including a cleverly sun sheltered pool! Moving from the dry desert into the lush and green Okavango Delta, two of the best places to stay might be Little Mombo and Baines’ Camp. Both of these small camps are some of the most luxurious camps mainly due to their size and exclusivity. Baines’ Camp, for example only has five luxury suites. However, for the ultimate exclusivity, especially if travelling with extended family and friends you might like try Little Mombo, as it is only has three luxury rooms The game viewing here is, of course, as good as it gets in the Okavango Delta.
Finally, a lodge in one of my favourite locations in Africa and also one of the most luxurious places to stay is the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia. The lodge is situated in the unspoiled wilderness of the Namib Desert which features the highest dunes in the world. The lodge features ten villas with very elegant interiors that are built from stone and glass, allowing you to overlook the dramatic surrounding scenery. There is even an observatory, allowing you to do some serious star gazing.
Nicola Valentino is a Director at Opulent Africa Ltd.