March 28

Top Luxury Safari Lodges in Africa

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March 28, 2022

When looking for the top luxury safari lodges in Africa and expecting nothing but the very best, doing your research is essential. Not all safari lodges are created equal, and the one you choose can make or break your experience. Luckily, our Travel Experts are seasoned safari-goers who have tried and tested them first-hand. With our decades of experience, we've decided to put together a list of our ultimate top luxury safari lodges in Africa. Bookmark this blog for that dream trip to Africa! Or why wait? Start planning with us today.

A sunrise safari at Kwandwe

Sunrise safaris are soul-stirring

Our Ultimate List of Top Luxury Safari Lodges in Africa

Africa offers different types of safaris, from the classic Big 5 safari in Kruger National Park to malaria-free safaris in verdant KwaZulu-Natal, Great Migration safaris in vast East Africa and gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Here are our favourite places to stay for the ultimate African experience.

1. Silvan Safari Lodge, South Africa 

Accommodation Type: 6 luxury suites, including a family suite (Leadwood Suite)

Silvan Safari is an experience from start to finish. In fact, don't just take our word for it; take it from the world! Silvan has been voted World's Leading Luxury Safari Lodge for the past four years in a row! 

silvan-safari-drone

The Manyeleti carves a natural path that runs right past Silvan Safari.

The Silvan Safari experience is all about celebrating Africa's interconnectivity in one of the best safari destinations, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. With one of the highest population densities of leopards anywhere in the world, you'll get to see this elusive big cat frequently! The lodge has all the luxuries you'd expect from  the world's top safari lodge. However, what really makes it special is that each (massive) suite is uniquely decorated, inspired by the trees found in the area. Of course, each suite has it's own private plunge pool overlooking the riverbed below, so keep an eye out for the occasional visit from an elephant dipping its trunk into your pool for a drink. Oh, the photo opportunities! 

Another reason why we love Silvan Safari is its gin experience. Gin is the classic safari drink as it's said to have anti-malarial properties, and Silvan has curated one of the biggest collections out there! Work (or rather, sip) your way through them all! You can even take a sippy cup on safari to keep the party going.

What Makes Silvan Safari Special?

  • Prime destination with high density of leopard
  • Wide range of gins as well as other tipples
  • Silvan Studio meeting all your wildlife photography needs 
  • Onsite Ansellia Spa for pampering 

Perfect for: The traveller with discerning taste

Interiors of main lounge area at Silvan Safari

The ultra-luxurious Silvan Safari 

2. Londolozi Private Granite Suites, South Africa 

Accommodation Type: 3 luxury suites

There's a reason why Londolozi Private Game Reserve is one of the top luxury safari lodges in Africa that we continually send our guests to. They are true African safari pioneers, leading the way in luxury safari lodges. And their Londolozi Private Granite Suites is one of our top places to recommend to our guests, especially for couples in search of the perfect romantic getaway! 

The preeminent safari experience meets a fever-dream of relaxation and solitude - Londolozi

Romance on the river, Image Credit: Londolozi

As one of their most exclusive accommodation options with only three luxury suites, you have all the privacy your heart desires. It's also part of the esteemed Relais & Châteaux portfolio, giving you peace of mind that you can trust them with your honeymoon! Overlooking the Sand River, you don't have to go further than your verandah to see wildlife. In fact, the elephants often amble past the outdoor bath and private plunge pool for a VIP safari experience! 

If you're a keen photographer, the photo safaris offered here are some of the best you can find, and you don't even have to bring all your equipment along as you can rent professional-grade Nikon and Canon cameras and lenses during your stay. Their unique Healing House also brings wellness to your stay with anything from the expected like heavenly massages to more innovative treatments like sound therapy. Regardless of how much or how little you decide to do, Londolozi's Private Granite Suites will undoubtedly be a highlight on your honeymoon.

What Makes Londolozi Private Granite Suites Special?

  • Very exclusive with only 3 suites for the utmost privacy
  • Ideal for a honeymoon but can also be taken out for exclusive-use by group of friends or family
  • Healing House a wide range of wellness treatments 
  • Private plunge pool and outdoor bath right on the river

Perfect for: A honeymoon you'll never forget

3. Jock Safari Lodge, South Africa 

Accommodation Type: 12 luxury rooms 

Jock Safari Lodge was the very first private lodge granted a concession in Kruger National Park, so it's been around for a while and then some! 

Sala at Jock Safari Lodge

Sleep under the stars, Image Credit: Jock Safari Lodge

The lodge is a celebration of the local Shangaan and Zulu cultures while incorporating luxury safari experiences. Its longstanding history offers fascinating insights and stories about South Africa's heritage, with mementoes displayed throughout the lodge.

This is also an excellent lodge for families with kids as they offer a curated Kids on Safari programme to keep those little ones entertained and learning. Other activities include game drives, wilderness walks, fauna and flora exploring, birdwatching, and even a game of golf at Leopard Creek.

What Makes Jock Safari Lodge Special?

  • First private lodge granted a concession in Kruger National Park
  • Many children activities on offer 
  • Play a round of golf at Leopard Creek
  • Wilderness walks, to admire flora and fauna, birds, and wildlife

Perfect for: A family holiday

Boma-Dinner in der Jock Safari Lodge im Krüger Nationalpark

Boma dinners are magical, Image Credit: Jock Safari Lodge

4. Kruger Shalati Safari Lodge, South Africa 

Accommodation Type: 31 rooms, consisting of 24 Carriage rooms and 7 Bridge House rooms

This new and exciting luxury safari lodge is perfect for someone looking for something a little bit different. And Kruger Shalati certainly is different!

The best view from the overhanging pools at Kruger Shalati

Sunsets have never looked this vibrant

Set in a permanently stationed train on the Selati Bridge, you find yourself in a unique setting within Kruger National Park, overlooking the Sabie River, a popular watering hot spot for the local wildlife. So, you'll safari from your bed, the overhanging pool, the deck – everywhere you go!

The entire experience focuses on high-end adventure, while the afro-centric interior will delight interior design enthusiasts. Even though you might be "stuck on a bridge", there's much to do. From twice-daily game drives, a game of golf in the bush at Skukuza, or simply enjoying the views from the pool, you'll be in safari heaven.

What Makes Kruger Shalati Special?

  • Unique setting in a train on a bridge
  • View of the Sabie River frequented by wildlife 
  • Interior is a celebration of local African artists 
  • Glass-walled rooms for best views 

Perfect for: The traveller who has seen it all

5. Ecca Lodge at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Accommodation Type: 3 double suites and 3 family suites

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge is located in Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, found between the banks of the Great Fish River in South Africa's Eastern Cape. The reserve is well-known for being a haven for some of Africa's endangered wildlife, so every safari experience focuses on protecting the rich biodiversity and many wildlife species that the Eastern Cape boasts.

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

The luxurious Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Image Credit: Kwandwe

The lodge is ideal for families or a small group of friends who want to add a safari to their South African trip. At this specific lodge, you can also enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with an exclusive booking, and design your own safari timetable. It's perfect for your next family holiday as they treat your children like the VIP guests they are, with a welcome gift and specific activities for them like scavenger hunts, baking and pizza making, African bedtime stories, and much more! Childminders are also available at an additional cost. 

The unique landscapes and area's many activities are a huge drawcard. Activities include bush walks, game drives, fishing, campfire cooking, community activities, conservation activities such as rhino monitoring drives and planting spekboom, South Africa's "wonder plant".

What Makes Kwandwe Ecca Lodge Special?

  • Exclusive, malaria-free safari experience
  • Family-friendly with plenty of activities to keep little ones entertained
  • Private wooden decks with outdoor showers
  • Unique safari destination in Eastern Cape 

Perfect for: Exclusive-use safaris for groups of friends or families 

A bedroom at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

One of the spacious rooms at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Image Credit: Kwandwe

6. Little Madikwe Hills Lodge, South Africa 

Accommodation Type: Two-bedroom villa that can accommodate 4-5 guests. You can add 2 neighbouring luxury suites to accommodate 8 guests in total.

Little Madikwe Hills offers a malaria-free, family-friendly adventure with a high likelihood of seeing African wild dogs! But what makes Little Madikwe Hills special is that you can book it out exclusively, and set the pace of your day, and on top of that  you won't have to share your personal chef, game-viewing vehicle, ranger or butler with anyone else!

Located in Madikwe Game Reserve with a thriving African wild dog population and other endangered species, safari takes on a deeper meaning here. And there's so much to see as it's one of the biggest game reserves in the country. Madikwe used to be a cattle farm, but today it's a thriving Big 5 wildlife paradise home and has over 300 bird species.

Little Madikwe Hills Lodge

Your home away from home in Madikwe, Image Credit: Little Madikwe Hills

They focus on families, with specific activities and games to entertain children and parents alike, and you can organise a childminder if parents need a break. There's also a Junior Rangers and Kiddies experience that offers informative and engaging activities so that they can learn while also having fun!

What Makes Little Madikwe Hills Lodge Special?

  • Your own personal chef, butler, game ranger and game drive vehicle
  • Known for its thriving African wild dog packs 
  • Landing strips at lodge means you can reach Madikwe within 50 minutes from OR Tambo Airport
  • Plenty of children activities and personal childminders on hand

Perfect for: Family holidays with all the extras

African wild dogs at Madikwe

African wild dogs on safari at Madikwe, Image Credit: Little Madikwe Hills

7. andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge, South Africa 

Accommodation Type: 6 luxury suites 

andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge offers an easy combination of malaria-free Maputuland bush safari and beach adventures. And the luxury suites all boast incredible views of the surrounding landscape. 

&Beyond Phinda Rock Lodge et sa superbe vue

Every suite has an incredible view, Image Credit: andBeyond Phinda

What really makes this lodge stand out is that it offers so much within easy reach of Cape Town or Johannesburg. A malaria-free safari combined with beachside adventure? Sign us up! Then of course the views are what will make it difficult for you to leave your suite. As the name suggests, it's perched on the edge of a cliff, offering panoramic views. The plunge pool and wooden deck will steal much of your time as you sit and stare at the breathtaking bush. The outdoor shower and bathroom that opens up to the wild also makes it extremely romantic. 

Activities include walking safaris, tracking safaris, sleeping out under the stars, day and night game drives, conservation activities, and local Zulu village tours. Then there's the nearby Maputuland beach explorations, allowing you to go on scuba safaris, seeing and learning more about the turtles, and more.

What Makes andBeyond Phinda Rock Special?

  • Malaria-free destination close 
  • Unbelievable views of Leopard Rock bushveld 
  • Walking safaris, day and night game drives
  • Nearby aquatic activities at Maputa Beach like seeing turtles and scuba diving 

Perfect for: A romantic getaway that combines bush and beach

View from the Phinda rock Lodge balconies

A safari dream in KwaZulu-Natal, image credit: Phinda Rock Lodge

8. One&Only Gorilla's Nest, Rwanda 

Accommodation Type: 21 treehouse-style luxury lodges and suites 

One&Only Gorilla's Nest located in Rwanda is ideal for adventurers seeking the tranquillity and wellness that you can only find in the wilderness of Africa. 

Your nest in the Rwandan jungle

Your nest in the Rwandan jungle

The entire resort is centred around a wellness experience and to simply sit back and soak up the serenity of the Rwandan rainforest. Other than the prime positioning for gorilla trekking, it's this contagious calm that makes it one of our favourite lodges in Africa. 

The many, many wellness facilities and offerings include anything from a cold plunge pool, fitness centre, sauna, stand-alone spa, hiking, bike riding, yoga, and more. The luxury lodges and suites all have inviting fireplaces, viewing decks, alfresco showers and stand-alone baths, all designed to get you to slow down and savour your surroundings. 

What Makes One&Only Gorilla's Nest Special?

  • Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
  • Wellness treatments and experiences 
  • Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Research Centre and cultural excursions
  • Treehouse-style lodges and suites with rainforest views  

Perfect for: An African wellness retreat

9. Bisate Lodge, Rwanda 

Accommodation Type: 6 luxury en-suite Forest Villas

Bisate Lodge in Rwanda has been frequented by big names worldwide over the years since it opened, including Ellen DeGeneres. So, you definitely know that there's something special about it! 

Bisate Lodge Exterior in Rwanda

The Opulent Bisate Forest Villas, Image Credit: Bisate Lodge

Bisate is a unique accommodation offering, with nest-like pods overhanging the slopes of an eroded volcanic crater. This offers a romantic yet different setting for your gorilla trekking adventure! The interior is just as special, with modern warmth inspired by local art and culture.

It's also right next to the Volcanoes National Park, giving you easy access to the park's gorilla trekking paths. Other activities include sipping on the spectacular wines from their curated collection, spa treatments, cultural visits, birdwatching, visiting Dian Fossey's grave, and more.

What Makes Bisate Lodge Special?

  • Unique setting in long-dormant volcano
  • Short drive from Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking adventures 
  • Modern architecture with nod to local heritage and culture
  • Incredible views from each villa makes it very romantic 

Perfect for: Luxury gorilla trekking adventures 

Interior of Bisate Lodge

Luxury in Rwanda's forest, Image Credit: Bisate Lodge

10. Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Rwanda 

Accommodation Type: 8 luxury suites 

Singita is a brand that needs no introduction. They have set the benchmark in luxury safaris over the years and are known for their curated wines, wellness offerings, and sustainability efforts. 

Exterior of Singita Kwitonda Lodge deck and pool

Your slice of jungle paradise, Image Credit: Singita Kwitonda

At Singita Kwitonda Lodge in Rwanda, you also find yourself at the closest lodge to the Volcanoes National Park, home to over a third of the world's remaining mountain gorillas. 

The luxury suites all have private heated plunge pools, large windows for the best jungle views, and in-and outdoor fireplaces for a crackling fire to complete the picture. Other activities include village tours, hiking and walking, wellness, cycling, and much more. 

What Makes Singita Kwitonda Lodge Special?

  • Closest lodge to Volcanoes National Park 
  • Sustainability plays an important role in your luxury gorilla trekking safari
  • Wellness treatments and wine experiences 
  • Village tours and cycling tours 

Perfect for: Travellers who are eager for adventure 

Singita Kwitonda Lodge Bathroom with a view

The perfect place to unwind, Image Credit: Singita Kwitonda Lodge

11. Singita Faru Faru, Tanzania 

Accommodation Type: 9 luxury suites, two of which can accommodate families or small groups

Singita Faru Faru is a "piece of Serengeti royalty" because it offers an incredible East African safari experience. This luxury safari lodge is found in the west of the famous Serengeti National Park, which plays host to part of the Great Migration.

Singita Faru Faru - one of the best romantic African experiences

Experience the beauty of the Serengeti

Singita Faru Faru is architecturally stunning and somewhat different from what you might expect from a traditional safari lodge. It's also in the ideal safari setting overlooking the Grumeti River, offering daily wildlife surprises that will fill you with wonder. As an essential water source for the animals, it's the local stomping grounds!

Furthermore, this very Grumeti River is home to one of the most dramatic scenes in the Great Migration show. It's here that the animals encounter one of their biggest challenges of crossing the Grumeti River, filled with ravenous crocodiles ready to pounce. You can just imagine the drama! Birders will be delighted by the fascinating bird species found flitting around Faru Faru due to the nearby riverine forest habitat.

What Makes Singita Faru Faru Lodge Special?

  • Prime location overlooking Grumeti River, playing host to part of the Great Migration 
  • Hot air balloon safaris for bird's-eye view of the Serengeti 
  • Excellent wines and in-house sommelier and Premier Wine Direct Service to send your favourites back home
  • Bush spa treatments 

Perfect for: A Great Migration safari in ultimate luxury

12. andBeyond Bateleur Camp, Kenya 

Accommodation Type: 9 Tented suites and 1 Interleading family suite

A classic and intimate tented camp set in a private corner of the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, andBeyond Bateleur Camp is the ideal place to stay for adventurous families. However, please note that travel to Kenya is recommended for children eight years and older. Children under five years old are not allowed on regular game drives, whereas children between six and 11 can join at the lodge manager's discretion. 

Bateleur Camp's tent in Kenya

Your tented suite, Image Credit: andBeyond Bateleur Camp

A dedicated interleading Family Suite is perfect for two adults and two children. Given the location of this tented camp, you'll feel like you're right in the heart of East Africa! andBeyond's signature WILDchild programme also offers activities explicitly suited for children. For example, nature walks, soccer with the camp's team, learning how to make fire the local Maasai way, visiting nearby villages, helping to prepare breakfast for a ranger on a game drive, and creating colourful beadwork.

Because you're staying on a private concession, you also get access to bucket-list-worthy activities such as bush walks, night game drives and dinner under the stars.

What Makes andBeyond Bateleur Camp Special?

  • Ideally located to witness the Great Migration 
  • Day and night game drives on offer 
  • Cultural tours to learn more about local Maasai tribes
  • Bush walks and hot air balloon safari adventures 

Perfect for: A Great Migration adventure with the family 

View from Bateleur Camp's deck

View from the deck, image credit: &Beyond Bateleur Camp

13. Angama Mara, Kenya 

Accommodation Type: Two separate but identical camps with 15 luxury tented suites each, including two sets of interconnected family suites. 

Angama Mara is located on the rim of the Great Rift Valley and looks like it's balancing on the edge. This special location means that you get the most incredible dramatic views over the Maasai Mara that stretches as far as the eye can see. Our guests have described it as "dreamlike", among other things!

Angama Mara Tented Camp in Kenya

Sweeping views over the Masaai Mara, Image Credit: Angama Mara Tented Camp

It's this beauty that immediately hooks guests when they arrive at Angama Mara. But this location is more than just beautiful and offers plenty of adventure. From sunrise hot air balloon safaris to photographic safaris, walking along the edge of the Great Rift Valley, or learning more about the Maasai Mara culture by visiting local villages, there's plenty to satisfy your lust for adventure. If you're visiting when the Great Migration passes through, you'll have plenty of opportunities to marvel at this spectacle.

The different tented suites all have 11-metre wide floor-to-ceiling glass fronts to ensure that you appreciate this spectacular view at all times, from anywhere and everywhere.

What Makes Angama Mara Special?

  • Unbelievable views from almost anywhere in the lodge
  • Maasai cultural experiences
  • Romantic picnics can be arranged on the very mountain that features on the Out of Africa movie poster
  • Hot air balloon and walking safaris offered 

Perfect for: It's perfect for families with children older than five years old, small groups, and couples looking for a romantic getaway.

A beautiful sunset at the dam on safari at Silvan Safari

A typical day at Silvan Safari  starts with a beautiful sunrise and ends with a spectacular sunset

Hey You, Yes You! Let's Start Planning

Now that the travel bug has bitten, it's time for Africa! The time to start planning your stay at these luxury safari lodges in Africa is now.

Contact our Travel Experts, and let's start planning your dream African safari. Leave the research, admin and fuss to us, and focus on soaking up every moment! See you in Africa.

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About the author 

Tania de Kock

Tania has always been an avid reader, which ultimately led to her life-long dream of becoming a best-selling author. She loves travelling, super spicy food, South African wine, and cats! When she's not reading with a glass of wine, you can find her at the nearest beach or camping, running or hiking in the mountains.

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