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5 of the hottest hotel openings in southern Africa in 2019

With the ever growing demand for luxury travel, it doesn’t come as a big surprise that there is a growing number of luxury hotels opening too. Southern Africa is not missing the boat with several new openings in 2019. Here are 5 of the hottest hotel openings which you need to put on your “to do” list. The Farmstead, Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa This new project which will be the newest addition to the famous Royal Portfolio is situated in the Thornybush Game Reserve, which borders the Kruger National Park and where the wildlife roams freely between the two areas. Having extensive experience with luxury properties, of which one is the Royal Malewane which is situated a mere 15 minutes from the Farmstead, this promises to be one of the most luxurious safari lodges to date in Southern Africa. The combination of impeccable service, prime wildlife viewings and amazingly luxurious accommodation will make it hard to find anything better. Everything is taken care of, from the time you arrive to the moment you leave this amazing place.The Farmstead consists of only 3 luxury farm suites and 1 farmhouse (with 4 bedrooms), making it perfect for larger groups or families to book the Farmstead exclusively, making it the ultimate luxury safari getaway. By far the hottest and most anticipated hotel opening in South Africa this year. Opening the 1st of June 2019. Tuludi, Khwai Private Reserve, Botswana If the Okavango Delta is on your list, then you might want to wait till July as that’s when Tuludi will open. This luxury lodge will have 7 rooms, all in a specific tree-house style but with luxurious and sophisticated interiors. All the rooms will have a plunge pool, even though there is a large swimming pool at the main area. You will also be giving back to the local communities and the eco-tourism initiatives in the area when staying over here, as part of the proceeds go straight back into that. Tuluni is also a Tswana word that describes the markings or colours of the leopard. Must be a sign for some great game viewing over here. Opening July 2019. Sonop, Namib desert, Namibia A luxurious tented camp which is situated in the Namib desert. Designed as a refined British colonial experience from the 1920’s but with all the modern touches to make sure you’ll experience a unique time in this remote place. The 10 spacious tents will be furnished with antiques, beautiful carpets and precious wood to give you even more the feeling of traveling back in time. Of course there is a gastronomic restaurant, cocktail and cigar lounge, outdoor heated infinity pool with its own pool bar, spa and so much more. You will have the choice between one or two-bedroom tents, all with their own panoramic views over the beautiful desert. Rather enjoy the open-air cinema, or one of the different telescopes at night to discover the stars? Not a problem, as Sonop will surely make you forget that you are in the middle of the desert. Opening summer 2019. Magashi Camp, Akagera National Park, Rwanda Wilderness safaris is known for its luxurious safari camps and this new addition is located in the Akagera National park which might not ring a bell but this park has a very healthy population of wildlife running around, including the big 5. It also boasts almost 500 species of birds for those who love our winged friends. Consisting of only 6 spacious tents, this lodge will give you a very private feeling. All of them have uninterrupted views over Lake Rwanyakazinga. The style pays homage to the traditional Rwandan culture, which blends in perfectly with its surroundings. Have a drink at the bar area, or in the evening around the fire pit, while you enjoy the sounds of the savannah. Opening May 2019. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop, De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa We couldn’t end this top 5 without at least one new beach retreat. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge just fits the bill as it is positioned in one of the most glorious coastal reserves in Africa. This location is also famous for some of the best whale watching on the planet (the whale season runs from July to November). The name Lekkerwater literally means “the place of good water” and I’m sure it will soon be associated with “the place of good beach experience”. The seven rooms will have a six-kilometre private beach right in front of them, teeming with fish life and including stunning rock pools. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the rooms make sure the spectacular vistas off the Indian Ocean that is right in front of you. Opening April 2019. Are you planning on visiting one of these amazing properties? If so, which one and why did you choose it?

Kristof Eyckmans

Kristof Eyckmans is a travel writer from Antwerp, Belgium. He’s been living all across the globe and while he loves wildlife and nature, he can still enjoy a good urban jungle.

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  1. No doubt about my first choice out of this bunch: Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop, De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa. According to my maths with just seven rooms and a six kilometre private beach thst’s just under a kilometre of beautiful beach for each room. We could be talking honeymoon territory here.

    1. Well, there are many amazing places to celebrate your honeymoon, but very few will give you that amount of beach space, that’s certainly a fact :)

  2. There was a time when going on Safari was actually quite a gruelling experience. Also without a lot of comforts you had to make do and make the best of things. Fortunately those days are long gone. I loved this sentence from the piece on Sonop – “Of course there is a gastronomic restaurant, cocktail and cigar lounge, outdoor heated infinity pool with its own pool bar, spa and so much more.” Of course, one would expect nothing less!

    Nowadays, it really is only the very best for those people fortunate enough to be on Safari and that’s fair enough as most of them have already travelled thousands of miles to get there.

    1. Luxury safaris have always been around, though not as abundant as nowadays.
      It does however make more people willing to experience a safari, as some are often affraid of the lack of basic luxury.

  3. My friends never believe me that going on safari is very tiring and that you need to flop on a beach and relax afterwards. To me the Lekkerwater Beach Lodge looks like the ultimate post safari chill-out paradise. After all those bumpy dawn game drives you just have to relax by the ocean.

    1. Safari’s are very tiring indeed! Early morning, late evenings…but all so worth it. If you can combine it with a great beach lodge afterwards it does make it even more worth while…

  4. Increasingly I think that more and more people are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their travels. There are a lot of people like me who think that they should be giving when they go on holiday. Consequently, I’d be interested in the Private Reserve in Botswana. I like the idea of making a contribution to the local peoples though I would like to see these people and find out how the money is helping them.

    1. People are indeed more aware of their environmental impact and the tourism industry is trying to accommodate that concern as much as possible. A lot of the lodges give back to local communities, often because they are located on the land of the locals, or to improve the education or living conditions of the less fortunate.Hence why lodges like these are so important, as they make the visitors happy, but also help more than just the people working there.

  5. You make a good point about the sounds of the Savannah. With a safari there’s almost always something happening. Usually the only time that you can have a snooze without missing too much is a post lunch siesta. That’s why I love safaris. They are a totally immersive experience and you never know what you’ll see or hear next.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. If it isn’t a totally immersive experience, you’re either at the wrong lodge, or not fully safari proof J

  6. The Okavango Delta has been on my list for quite some time now. I couldn’t point it out on a map but I know that I’ve seen so many scenes filmed there for TV wildlife programmes. I can almost hear David Attenborough’s voiceover now. It has become such an iconic destination that I’m sure all wildlife lovers will want to get there. The luxury lodge makes it all the more appealing. I love the idea of having my own private plunge pool. How luxuriously decadent is that?

    1. I admit there’s little better than relaxing in your own private plunge pool while overlooking the savannah and its animals. Preferably with a nice drink to keep you company.

    1. I’ve visited the building site earlier last month and it looks really promising!! The Farmstead surely is the most anticipated lodge opening in 2019. Having stayed at the Royal Malewane, which it works very closely with, I have high hopes this will becomes the new “must go” place in South Africa.

  7. It’s not easy taking a big enough chunk of time off work to get away. I’ve never been to Africa. Looking ahead I may be able to slip away end of Sept beginning of Oct is that any good for game watching at these lodges from what I remember from mates safaris can be a bit seasonal. This may just be a once in a lifetime thing so I want to make it work.

    1. End of September is a great period for most safaris, though it all depends on the parks/reserves you want to visit. The Farmstead will be perfect as it is right before the rains arrive. Lekkerwater will also be great as it is the best time to see the whales migrate.The timing for the rest of the lodges will also be good, though I suggest checking all of them seperatly and see what interests you most. Enjoy it!

  8. Part of me likes the idea of the camp in the Namib Desert, there’s an odd glamour about staying in a camp that is a throwback to the 1920s. I’m sort of fascinated by the trappings of a British Colonial experience but with the benefit of hindsight we now see colonialism as quite arrogant. Though weighing it all up I think the sense of history should make Sonop a real winner.

    1. There is something about these camps that have a colonial style to it. Having visited many of them, I can say it sometimes does make you feel differently about how the early explorers went on safaris. Sonop does look stunning so I have high expectations and look forward to see the first real pictures of the lodge.

  9. Just in time! I will be conducting a research about the wildlife in South Africa for a corporate social responsibility project and since I don’t have any relatives in the area, it’s not an easy job to look for an accommodation that may also serve my purpose. Just by reading this, I might consider staying at Tuludi, not just because of the luxury but with the notion of giving back to the locals, this is core to my research.

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