Picking the right place to stay can make or break your holiday, and with new lodges opening all the time, itís difficult to keep track. With so many lodges and hotels to choose from, itís not always easy to know where to start. This is our guide to the best of the newest lodges in southern Africa.
In a malaria-free reserve that has all of the Big Five and under four hoursí drive from Johannesburg, the new Marataba Walking Trails Lodge is well situated for excellent wildlife viewing. Without Wi-Fi or mobile reception, this is the place to go to unwind and have a digital detox. Only eight guests are allowed at the lodge at a time: it feels like a very private experience. The variety of terrain and vegetation provides a diverse range of walking trails, differing in levels of difficulty but all offering excellent wildlife encounters.
Only 90 minutes by road from Port Elizabeth, this new lodge has opened in a remote section of the Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. With just nine tented suites, each with their own private deck affording views over Bushmanís River, the luxury camp feels very exclusive. From grassy plains to African bushveld, the possibilities of seeing the Big Five up close are high.
The Maldives comes to Namibia this summer. In the Caprivi Strip, on the Namibian side of Chobe River, this new lodge is built on the banks of the river and accessible only by boat. With unobstructed views of Sedudu island, which is renowned for its high density of wildlife, the area is famed for its wildlife viewing opportunities. The 16 water villas are nestled under acacia trees and have a private terrace with a daybed for 180-degree views of the river and bush.
Within South Africaís Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in northern KwaZulu Natal, Rhino River Safari Lodge is the first private lodge in the park and is in the heart of Big Five territory. One of the largest wildlife parks in South Africa, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is renowned for its wide variety of birds and animal life. The park covers 96,000 hectares and comprises two reserves divided clearly by a road: these are Hluhluwe and iMfolozi, both established in 1895. This area was instrumental in pioneering the conservation of white rhinos in the 1950s and 60s and is widely credited for saving them from extinction. It is still one of the best places to see these ancient herbivores. In a low-risk malaria area and an easy drive from Durban, this is an ideal lodge to combine with a beach stay on the Indian Ocean. Being in Zululand, guests can also visit local battlefields and learn more about the Zulu culture.
Katie Cosstick is the PR Manager at†Cox & Kings.