Africa boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, thus providing some truly incredible safari destinations. For some, the word safari may conjure up images of camping sites or bare self-catering accommodation, but if you want to immerse yourself in nature, you don’t always have to rough it. There are many luxurious establishments across the continent that go above and beyond to bring guests every comfort in some of the most wild, beautiful settings.
Here are six first-class African safari destinations that should be on your bucket list:
1. jack’s camp, botswana
Placed near one the most beautiful spots in Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pans, Jack’s Camp offers luxes tents that will make you feel like royalty. Named after Jack Bousfield, who stumbled on the site while on a trapping expedition in the 1960s, this East African safari destination overlooks glittering salt pans and stunning nature scenes.
With intricately woven Persian rugs on the floor and cotton sheets on the beds, you will be transported into an opulent world that is juxtaposed with wild, untamed nature surrounding it. The camp’s 10 tents boast en suite bathrooms, but if you’re looking to be more in touch with the great outdoors, outdoor bathrooms offer up a fabulous experience. To keep things as authentic as possible, there is no electricity, running water or WiFi. But the staff are at your beck and call to make the experience as comfortable as possible.
Jack’s Camp offers a range of activities, including bush walks, horseback safaris, spa treatments and swimming in the tent-covered pool.
2. angama mara safari lodge, kenya
Inspired by the Swahili word for ‘suspended in mid-air’, Angama Mara is an elegant safari destination that sits on the rim of Africa’s Great Rift Valley in Kenya. From this vantage point you can best view the vast landscape below. This includes sites where scenes of the classic film Out of Africa were filmed. There are 30 tented suites separated into two camps, each with gorgeous views. Both camps have their own guest area, kitchen and dedicated staff.
The suites are kitted out with glass frontage, allowing guests to take in the views at all times, while wooden decks ensure luxury lounging. For families, each camps has has four sets of interconnecting tents. Rest assured that you’ll have all the modern-day amenities, with a butler service that will make the experience extra special.
Those wanting to get even higher will be happy to know that Angama Mara offers hot-air ballon safaris. Those wanting to stay on the ground can look forward to walking safaris, photography expeditions and opportunities to meet the local Masai people.
3. chinzombo luxury camp, zambia
Set on a sweeping curve of the Luangwa River, Chinzombo adds a touch of sophistication and style to the untamed natural beauty of Zambia. This exclusive safari destination has six villas, each with its own private pool. To complement the verdant setting, the villas have grass and canvas walls, while air conditioning ensures the hot climate won’t cause guests any discomfort. The spacious living areas open to the stunning views that surround the camp, including Luangwa River and roaming animals.Gigantic centuries-old trees add to the serenity. You can even opt to spend a night outside and sleep under the twinkle of stars.
Chinzombo is near one of the most game-rich areas of the national park, and its staff will help you to see the most on your safari. Safari options include day or night game drives, walking safaris and seasonal boat safaris. For maximum pampering, indulge in in-villa spa treatments.
When you stay at Chinzombo, a portion of the proceeds of your stay goes towards funding the North Luangwa Conservation Programme, which oversees a rhino breeding and reintroduction project.
4. matetsi river lodge, zimbabwe
The Zambezi river is known for being one of Zimbabwe’s most spectacular sites, and Matetsi Riverhouse, on a 15km private stretch of the river, provides the ultimate riverside getaway, where you can take in the beauty of the river from exclusive camps situated along its bank. There is the Matetsi River Lodge camp, which has two river-facing camps with eight suites in each camp. These offer every comfort, including splash pools, indoor and outdoor rain showers, and a deck. A butler will cater to your every need.
For those who would like even more privacy, the Matetsi River House is ideal. It boasts four air-conditioned bedrooms, indoor and outdoor lounges and a private swimming pool. The house also has its own safari vehicle, private chef and butler. Matetsi as a whole has a spa, shopping complex and private wine cellar.
Guests can embark on game drives, dabble in some fishing and enjoy river canoeing. There are also excursions to the majestic Victoria Falls, where a range of activities are on offer.
5. sossusvlei desert lodge, namibia
Swop out rivers and trees for the raw, stark beauty of the desert. At the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia, you can experience all of this first hand. Located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei is one of the most iconic places in the country, thanks to its rolling brick-red sand dunes.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge boasts 10 air-controlled villas, from which you can best enjoy the solitude and tranquillity of the desert. When the day gets too hot, take a dip in the pool, which is fed by water from an underground spring. Dine by latern-light and enjoy the view of the stars in all their glory. A skylight above each bed provides amazing views of the night sky.
Look forward to hot-air balloon safaris, nature walks and quad biking, and stargazing at the fully equipped observatory.
6. ngorongoro crater lodge, tanzania
What can be more dramatic than staying on the rim of Tanzania’s famous Ngorongoro Crater, which was once a gigantic volcano and today the largest intact caldera in the world? The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is somewhat of a contradiction. Once inside, you’d may find yourself imagining a elegant villa somewhere in Europe, but turn around and you’ll be met with the gorgeous Tanzanian landscape. Ngorongoro’s architecture and decor is exceptionally ornate and reminiscent of classic French style – expect brocade sofas, gilt mirrors, beaded chandeliers and panelled walls.
There are three camps to choose from: two camps have 12 suites and the other has six. Each suite is outfitted with a fireplace for chilly nights, while impeccable vistas of the area can be enjoyed from every room, including the bathroom. WiFi, a wine cellar and private butlers ensure guests have all the creature comforts they could wish for. Enjoy an in-room massage, a walking tour or game drive on the crater floor.