When looking for the best luxury safari lodges in Africa and expecting nothing but the very best, you must do your research. Not all safari lodges are created equal, and the one you opt for can make or break the experience. Luckily, our Travel Experts are seasoned safari-goers who have tried and tested the very best luxury safari lodges our continent has to offer. 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? Let’s start planning today.
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 the malaria-free safaris in the verdant KwaZulu-Natal, Great Migration safaris in vast East Africa and gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Here are our favourites in each category.
The Classic Big 5 Kruger Luxury Safari Lodges in Africa
If you’ve dreamt about coming to Africa, you’ve more than likely dreamt about going on a classic Big 5 safari in Kruger National Park. Here’s where to stay in this safari mecca.
1. Silvan Safari Lodge
For the: discerning traveller
Silvan Safari is an experience from start to finish, designed for the most discerning travellers. In fact, don’t take it from us; take it from the world as it was voted World’s Leading Luxury Safari Lodge!
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 densities of leopard in the world, you get to see this elusive big cat frequently here! The Lodge has all the luxuries you’d expect from one of the world’s top safari lodges. However, what really makes it special is that each (massive) suite is uniquely decorated, inspired by the trees in the area. Of course, you also have a private plunge pool overlooking the riverbed below, with 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.
6 Luxury suites, including a family suite (Leadwood Suite)
2. Londolozi Varty Camp
For the: wellness safari experience
There’s a reason why we continually send our guests to Londolozi Private Game Reserve, the safari original leading the way in luxury safari lodges. Londolozi’s Varty Camp is one of our favourites as it’s the very first camp they built, dating back over 90 years ago.
Renowned for their famous leopard dynasties studied over the years and with close to 100 years of experience in personalised luxury safari experiences, they’ve perfected a high-end safari experience with a focus on wellness. In fact, their Healing House is one of their other big drawcards, bringing the conventional and unconventional treatments together for a holistic wellness safari retreat experience.
If you’re a keen photographer, their photo safaris offered here are some of the best you can find, and you don’t even have to bring all your equipment on the plane as you can rent professional-grade Nikon and Canon cameras and lenses during your stay.
8 Standard chalets and 2 superior chalets.
3. Jock Safari Lodge
For the: history buff
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! This makes it a bit of a historical gem, with so many stories to tell.
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 cultural heritage, with mementoes displayed throughout the lodge.
This is also an excellent lodge for families with kids as they have 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.
2 Luxury lodges, namely the Main Jock Lodge with 12 luxury rooms and the exclusive-use Fitzpatrick’s at Jock with 3 luxury rooms.
4. Kruger Shalati Safari Lodge
For the: traveller who has seen it all
This new and exciting luxury safari lodge is perfect for someone looking for something a little bit different. And Kruger Shalati certainly is different!
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.
31 Rooms, consisting of 24 Carriage Rooms and 7 Bridge House Rooms
Best Malaria-Free Family-Friendly Safaris
Africa has plenty of family-friendly adventure opportunities. However, some luxury safari lodges focus more than others on keeping parents and their little ones happy! Here are some of our top family-friendly lodges. Bonus: they’re all in malaria-free areas!
5. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
For the: endangered species activist
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve lies between the banks of the Great Fish River in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, a unique safari destination. Kwandwe is well-known for being a bit of a haven for some of Africa’s endangered wildlife, so every safari experience focuses on protecting the rich biodiversity and many wildlife species the Eastern Cape boasts.
Kwandwe Ecca 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 also enjoy the freedom and flexibility if you book it out exclusively, so you can 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, 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 also 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”.
The Ecca Lodge has 3 double suites and 3 family suites
6. Little Madikwe Hills
For the: African wild dog lovers
Madikwe Game Reserve is famous for its thriving African wild dog populations, an endangered species in Africa. Located in the North West Province of South Africa, 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 to roughly 10,000 mammals and over 300 bird species.
Little Madikwe Hills offers a malaria-free adventure with a high likelihood of seeing African wild dogs! But what makes Little Madikwe Hills special is that you book it out exclusively, so you set the pace of your day, and you don’t have to share your personal chef, game-viewing vehicle, ranger or butler with anyone else!
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 a junior Rangers and Kiddies experience that offers informative and engaging activities so that they can learn while also having fun!
Two-bedroom villa that can accommodate 4-5 guests. You can add 2 neighbouring luxury suites to accommodate 8 guests in total.
7. Gondwana Private Game Reserve
For the: safari lovers looking for a unique backdrop
Gondwana Private Game Reserve is a malaria-free safari destination with various accommodation options ideal for families or groups travelling together.
At the Gondwana Fynbos Villas, you have an open-plan lounge with a kitchen and dining room, complete with a wraparound deck and spellbinding views of the wild framed by the mountains in the distance. Children of all ages are welcome at Gondwana, and they have a Junior Ranger Programme designed to get kids out in nature, learning, and having a lot of fun!
For adults, there is plenty to do too. These include Big 5 game drives, relaxing at the Tented Bush Spa, mountain bike adventures, daily Fynbos walking experiences, conservation activities, birding, and exploring the many other attractions the Garden Route offers.
Various options are available. Fynbos Villas are exclusive-use villas with 3 bedrooms.
Luxury Safari Lodges in Africa for Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking is one of the most memorable experiences you can have on the African continent. There are so few gorillas left in the wild. Therefore, trekking through their jungle home and meeting them face-to-face is something that will move you and leave you transfixed. Choosing the right luxury safari lodge in Africa is important for the best gorilla trekking experience!
8. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest
For the: wellness seekers
One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is ideal for adventurers seeking the tranquillity and wellness that you can only find in the wilderness of Africa. Located close to the Volcanoes National Park, it’s the perfect base from which to go gorilla trekking.
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 favourites.
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.
21 Treehouse-style luxury lodges and suites
9. Bisate Lodge
For the: romantic travellers
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 to it!
It’s 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.
6 Luxury en-suite Forest Villas
10. Singita Kwitonda Lodge
For the: travellers looking for quick access to adventure
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.
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.
8 Luxury suites
East African Great Migration Safaris
East Africa is probably best known for its annual Great Migration, moving from Kenya to Tanzania and back again as the wildebeest graze toward greener pastures following the rainfall. However, whether or not you go when this remarkable show is in town, an East African safari is something to behold! Here are our favourite luxury safari lodges in Africa to stay at for a Great Migration safari.
11. Singita Faru Faru
For the: best view of the Grumeti River and excellent wines
Singita Faru Faru is a “piece of Serengeti royalty” because it offers an incredible East African safari experience. You will find this luxury safari lodge in the west of the famous Serengeti National Park, which plays host to part of the Great Migration.
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 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 that, because of the nearby riverine forest, you’ll see some fascinating bird species flitting around Faru Faru. Don’t miss out on a hot air balloon safari while staying here! It’s simply the best way to experience Serengeti’s wonders.
Then there’s the wine. Singita is known for its excellent wine selection superpowers, and Faru Faru is no exception. As one of the most influential wine collectors, you can get your hands on (or rather, lips on) the most sought-after vintages. But you’re not just left to your own devices. You’ll be guided through the wine’s story by your in-house sommelier. Want to take a taste of Africa back home? That can be arranged too, with no need to leave all your luggage behind. Their Premier Wine Direct Service will take care of it.
9 Luxury suites, two of which can accommodate families or small groups
12. &Beyond Bateleur Camp
For the: adventurous families
A classic and intimate tented camp set in a private corner of the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, &Beyond 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.
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! &Beyond’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 range 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.
9 Tented suites and 1 Interleading family suite
13. Angama Mara
For the: unbelievable views
Angama Mara is located on the rim of the Great Rift Valley and looks like it’s almost 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!
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 local Maasai Mara culture by visiting 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. It’s perfect for families with children older than five years old, small groups, and couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Two separate but identical camps with 15 luxury tented suites each, including two sets of interconnected family suites.
Hey You, Yes You! Let’s Start Planning
Now that the travel bug has bitten, it’s time for Africa! 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.