Truth be told, there are far more than five perks to staying in the best safari lodges and camps. Like at all top-end resorts, the beds will be plush and clad with the finest linens and the decor will be stunning. At top end safari camps, meals are paired with delectable wines and post-meal digestives are enjoyed around a roaring campfire; all of which is included in the price of your stay. But, there are other, less-tangible perks. Ones that aren’t easily monetized but are fundamental in rendering a lodge top-notch. Here are five that don’t all have a monetary value, but that all play a starring role making the lodge one of the best.
Privacy and exclusivity come at a price, but how much privacy can one really expect at an exclusive safari camp? Quite a bit, actually. The majority of top-end safari destinations have no more than 9 to 12 tents, cabins or rooms, keeping the overall vibe very intimate. In fact some places, such as Little Mombo Camp near Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana, have only three tented guest rooms. That’s almost like camping with a few of your best mates.
Your own private butler
Your personal butler will help ensure no small detail goes overlooked. Want a cold beer waiting for you when you return from safari? Done. Need a bath drawn while you’re at dinner? You’ve got it. Your personal butler has the uncanny ability to be at your disposal when you need them and to be out of the picture when you don’t. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having someone hover over you, and top-end safari lodges have perfected the balance between help and hover.
A big lure of top-end safari lodging is location and views. The main lodges are all constructed with panoramic views in mind, and it may surprise you to discover that you enjoy the views more from your lodge than you do from the safari vehicle. Often these lodges are constructed near a body of water that serves as a watering hole for resident animals. Or, in some instances, the lodges construct their own watering holes so that animals can congregate nearby, offering guests added viewing entertainment during their meals. Chitwa Chitwa, in Sabi Sand, South Africa, has a small lake where guests are able to watch a wealth of wildlife right from their own verandas.
Al fresco bathing
Very few things feel as decadent as an open air soak in your own private tub. How many places can you sit blissfully in hot bath while watching over a vast plain of wild animals? And, thanks to the limited number of rooms, you don’t have to even wonder if your neighbor is watching you watching the wild animals. This is exclusivity at its finest. Elsa’s Kopje, in Kenya, features outdoor tubs that almost appear to be part of the surrounding landscape.
Ease of access
Roads can be notoriously rough, tricky and, sometimes, nearly impassable, no matter which country you select for your African safari. And, since many of these luxury lodges are located in remote, secluded areas, the journey to luxury can take quite a toll on one’s body. But, these luxury lodges have thought of everything for those who are able to afford it. Most top-end resorts come with their own helipad, which not only means you’re able to reach your destination much quicker than you would in a jeep, but you also reach it with feeling like you’ve spent the last three hours on a never-ending spin cycle. The Virunga Lodge is just one example of a luxury resort with its own helipad. And, we’re told that it gets used rather frequently.
These are our top five perks for choosing a luxury safari lodge, but there are certainly many other reasons. We would be keen to hear your top perk for selecting luxury!
Javier Luque is a Co-Founder and Director of Your African Safari.