For well over a century, travellers have been intrigued by the wildlife and wilderness of Africa, with an ‘African safari’ beckoning as that once-in-a-lifetime holiday adventure. And nothing has changed… except that today’s travellers have a marvellous array of luxury tented camps and lodges to choose from for their accommodation!
And this can pose a problem! Which tour or destination or camp or lodge should you pick? To make it easier for you, we’ve highlighted some of the most luxurious African safari destinations.
The Masai Mara in Kenya
The world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve is located in southwestern Kenya. It offers its visitors not only amazing wildlife viewing but also some of the most luxurious tented camps and safari lodges in the world.
The Mara’s wildlife is unsurpassed – lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, rhinos, buffalos, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, and wildebeest, as well as many antelope species, abound here.
Bird lovers will be delighted with upwards of 470 bird species having been recorded! The drama-filled annual Great Wildebeest Migration draws visitors from all over the world. Game drives, hot-air balloon trips, expertly guided nature walks and wildlife excursions all make the experience even more rewarding.
Etosha National Park in Namibia
Called the ‘great white place’ in Ndonga, the Park gets its name from its vast 4,800km² Etosha salt pan. Etosha is a wildlife haven boasting close on 120 mammal species and well over 340 bird species. It has many man-made and natural waterholes, creating superb game-viewing spots.
Its wildlife includes endangered black rhino, springbok, the rare black-faced impala, tsessebe, kudu, oryx, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and elephant, as well as predators like cheetah, lion, leopard, spotted hyena and jackal.
The Park offers guests accommodation in relaxing, well-appointed rest camps and campsites offering stylish rooms, chalets, and tents. There is even an old German fort now offering comfortable accommodation in Namutoni Camp! The camps have restaurants, shops, gas stations, floodlit waterholes, and lovely swimming pools. Guided nature walks and game drives are on offer.
Kruger National Park in South Africa
With its vast and diverse landscapes, incredible wildlife and amazing range of accommodation and tour options, the magnificent Kruger is a top safari destination. It offers visitors the Big Five, as well as hundreds of other mammal, reptile, bird, and insect species. Then add beautiful rivers, dams, waterholes, nine different biomes with their own distinctive flora and fauna, a year-round sunny climate, and you have an unsurpassed luxury safari destination.
Game drives, guided bush walks, wilderness trails, restaurants, petrol stations and shops are available, as are diverse accommodation options. These range from comfortable self-catering rest camps with rondavels, bungalows, safari tents and cottages, to some of the best lodges in Kruger National Park.
Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania
Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is deservedly known as Africa’s lush and verdant ‘garden of Eden’. As the world’s largest unbroken caldera, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains close on 40,000 different animal and bird species in diverse habitats.
Elephants, hippos, rhinos, many antelope species, zebras, wildebeest, and buffalos all abound here. Many predators like lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, jackals, servals, and rare and endangered wild dogs thrive on this bounty.
Several luxury lodges and tented camps, with sumptuous accommodation, great amenities, food, and service, are spectacularly situated on the rim of the crater ensuring breathtaking views. Guided nature walks and game drives allow visitors close access to this wildlife haven.
Chobe National Park in Botswana
Elephant lovers, take heed! Animal-dense Chobe is a must for you with an estimated 120,000 of these soft-footed pachyderms in the Park. In the dry May to October season, they forage along the Chobe River in enormous numbers.
The Park’s Savuti area is also renowned for its dynamic predator/prey interaction with several large and powerful lion prides that prey on giraffes, buffalos and occasionally even elephants. Savuti is also home to endangered wild dogs, spotted hyenas and leopards.
With game drives, guided nature walks, luxury river cruises and deluxe accommodation in delightful riverside lodges and tented camps, Chobe ensures you the luxurious never-to-be-forgotten safari of your dreams.
Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe
As probably the best-known and most dramatic waterfall on earth, iconic Victoria Falls is deservedly regarded as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Natural World’. The Falls’ natural splendour aside, the amazingly diverse range of activities and attractions associated with it makes it a mandatory item on everybody’s bucket list.
You can do bungee-jumping, river-rafting or abseiling. Undertake a canoe trip on the Zambezi, go zip-lining through the rainforest canopy, or brave cage-diving with crocodiles. A microlight flight is unforgettable, or you can just go walking, horse-riding or cycling. Sip a cocktail on a river cruise, have tea on a velvet lawn, revel in a luxury spa, or dine on an old steam train as it chugs along. Float down the river on an inflatable raft, or sleep on a riverside beach under the stars!
Whether you opt for an affordable campsite or a luxury lodge or hotel, a romantic retreat or a family getaway, a visit to Zimbabwe’s magnificent Vic Falls will not disappoint!
A luxurious African safari may well be a once-in-a-lifetime indulgence. The fantastic destinations listed here will be worth every cent you spend on your holiday – and ensure priceless memories that’ll live in your heart forever.