Top 4 luxury safari lodges for families

If you’re looking for a jam-packed family adventure, look no further than the wild plains of Africa. Brimming with wildlife, this really is one of the world’s best destinations to immerse yourself in nature at its finest. We’ve picked our top four luxury lodges – with the big 5, untamed grasslands and unbeatable sunsets it really is the perfect place for an unforgettable family safari.

Leobo Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Situated in the heart of the world’s safari capital, South Africa’s Palala Valley, Leobo Private Game Reserve sits amidst 12,000 acres of malaria-free reserve.  The one for ultimate privacy, Leobo is available for exclusive hire, making this the epitome of African opulence, with winding verandas, luxurious hand-crafted furnishings and even your own personal butler.  If that’s not quite enough, to top it off there’s a private observatory for some unbeatable stargazing.

Leobo, South Africa

Looking out over seemingly endless African grasslands, this as close to nature as it gets. From camping in a hand-crafted tree house above hippos wallowing in the dam, embarking on a starlight safari with local astronomer Dr Phil Calcot or feasting on a traditional South African dinner around a roaring boma pit – there’s a little bit of everything, for everyone.

Ongava Camp, Namibia

Namibia’s untouched wilderness and intriguing nomadic tribal culture are just two of the reasons why this country is so fascinating. This is Africa, with a twist,  creating a truly authentic safari experience.

Ongava, Namibia

Hidden in the Etosha National Park amongst 30,000-hectare privately owned Ongava Game Reserve, Ongava Camp is in a prime location for witnessing the big 5, particularly the rare white rhino. The eight luxurious walk-in tents each come with wraparound decks and all the amenities you’d come to expect from any 5 star hotel,  ensuring the utmost comfort, with 4×4 game drives and nature walks making it impossible not to spot Africa’s iconic creatures.  A stay at Ongava Camp ensures that you’ll be right in the thick of Namibia’s bustling wildlife for one of the most memorable safari experiences in Africa, with dream-like landscapes making this one of the best places for photographers – professional and budding – to practice their art.

Azura Retreat, Benguerra, Mozambique

The one for island paradise, Azura Retreat sits on Mozambique’s Benguerra Island, in the beautiful Bazaruto Marine National Park. Nestled amidst lush flora with thatched roofs and private pools overlooking the Indian Ocean, the 17 villas have been hand-built by local craftsmen using local produce, with an emphasis on sustainable tourism and preservation of the local environment.

Azura, Mozambique

The beaches are incredible. The water is crystal clear and beneath the waves the ocean is brimming with life. It’s a little more water based than your typical safari, but with turtles, whales and dugongs (plus many more) frequenting the shores, it really does not disappoint. It’s the big 5 – but of the ocean.

Eagle Island Lodge, Botswana

Right in the heart of the Okavango Delta on Xaxaba Island, shaded by the cool branches of Illala Palms, is Eagle Island Lodge – a camping experience like no other. The tents are built on raised wooden platforms boasting hammocks, en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning for those warmer summer evenings.  Eagle Island takes ‘all inclusive’ to the next level. It’s not just food and drinks they cover – think helicopter rides over the watery plains and exclusive Mokoro canoe safaris to get up close to the thirsty wildlife congregating around the watering holes.

Eagle Island, Botswana

This is the one for adventure. Helicopter rides, canoe safaris and trips to the nearby villages – this is definitely an action-packed safari that families (and everyone else, for that matter) will love.

Tom Marchant is Co-founder of Black Tomato.

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