Safari.com’s Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa

Safari.com’s Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa

A trip to Africa is best described as an expedition to the wildest of motherlands – slowing down to observe and photograph the natural environment and unique encounters with wildlife and fascinating people that call Africa home. It’s about engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, horse riding, shark cage diving and exhilarating game drives; before happily returning to a comfort lodge that knows you by name and can make a really good gin and tonic. The experience of luxury travel has become favorable amongst even the most discerning travelers and Africa proudly boasts some of the world’s leading hotels and lodges. Offering the best of the best, here are our picks for the Top 10 luxury lodges in Africa.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Singita Pamushana

Location: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve teems with birds and wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as the roan, the sable antelope and one of the largest concentrations of the Black rhino in the world. The diversity of game includes the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant), the Little Six antelope (klipspringer, oribi, grey duiker, steenbok, grysbok and Livingstone’s Suni), and the Magnificent Seven raptors (Black, Fish, Crowned, Tawny, Bateleur and Martial eagles, African Hawk). Other game commonly sighted include; giraffe, zebra, impala, wildebeest, hartebeest, hippo, crocodile, terrapin, wild dog, and hyena.

dining table at Singita Pamushana lodge
The dining deck at Singita Pamushana Lodge overlooking the dam below.

More than 500 species of birds have been sighted in the area, including many raptors.

Accommodation: The accommodation offered at Pamushana includes 4 one-bedroom suites, 1 two-bedroom family suite, 1 three-bedroom family suites, 2 two-bedroom suites with a private plunge pool and a five-bedroom villa.

Will my room have an outdoor shower?

Experiences: Pamushana Lodge offers a wide range of activities. Guests can look forward to morning and late afternoon-into-evening game drives led by professional guides and trackers, black rhino tracking, secluded hides near waterholes for up-close animal and bird watching, guided nature and bird-viewing walks, visits to local rock art sites, boat cruise safaris, local community visits, and tiger-fishing trips.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Sussi & Chuma Lodge

Location: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Livingstone, Zambia

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is a world heritage site situated along the upper Zambezi River. It’s also home to the “Smoke Which Thunders” or better know as Victoria Falls. The 66 square kilometer park provides sanctuary for various antelope species, zebra, giraffe, warthog, and a variety of birds and smaller animals. Elephants frequently cross the Zambezi River and walk freely through the Park.

drone photograph of Sussi & Chuma lodge in Victoria Falls
An aerial view of the unique Sussi & Chuma Lodge riverside.

Accommodation: Sussi & Chuma boasts twelve spacious Sussi tree-houses, connected by wooden walkways, and two secluded two-bedroom Chuma houses.

What do the tree-houses look like?

Experiences: Sussi & Chuma offers a variety of exciting activities such as game drives in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park with sightings of the varied wildlife. Sunset river cruises, walking safaris, fishing, and guided excursions to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls are offered, as well as cultural tours of Livingstone and the Maramba Village.

The lodge funds the Nakatindi Community School, which provides education to over 400 pupils, many of whom are orphaned. Guests have the heart-warming opportunity to visit the Nakatindi Village and school during their stay.

For the more adventurous travelers, the lodge can arrange white-water rafting, bungee jumping, micro lighting, jet-boating, and the Flight of Angels which is a scenic helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Ellerman House

Location: Bantry Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Named as the “Best City in the World”  by the UK Telegraph for five consecutive years, Cape Town is a city that offers extraordinary experiences and attractions.

Bantry Bay is an upmarket suburb that is located on the slopes of Lion’s Head – a sandstone formation that is flanked by Signal Hill and the iconic Table Mountain. Bantry Bay is regarded as the most wind free area in Cape Town which is ideal when visiting Sanders Rock Beach

Ellerman house's views get it into top 10 luxury lodges in Africa
The endless views of the Atlantic ocean from the deck of a suite at Ellerman House.

Accommodation: Ellerman House boasts eleven rooms, two suites, and two three-bedroom villas that are individually decorated.

Does the hotel have a fitness center?

Experiences: Cape Town has so much to offer so we do recommend chatting to one of our Experts for more information on tour options. Ellerman House does however offer unique guest experiences which include wine tastings of the hotels’ impressive 7500-strong collection, signature Winelands tours, tours of the hotel’s contemporary South African art gallery, art tours in the city and Winelands, and art tour at Zeitz MOCAA. For some downtime, guests can indulge in signature treatments offered at the Ellerman House Spa, or enjoy some wholesome Cape Malay inspired dishes served in the hotels’ restaurant which overlooks the Atlantic ocean.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Dulini Lodge

Location: Dulini Lodge is situated within the world-renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve which forms part of the greater Kruger National Park.

The private Sabi Sands Game Reserve is 650 square kilometers in size and shares a 50-kilometer unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sands is renowned for its big cat sightings, in particular the elusive leopard, making the Sabi Sands the ideal place to see Africa’s famous Big Five. Other species to be seen on the reserve include cheetah, waterbuck, zebra, wild dog, various species of antelope, jackal, hyena, and the rare honey badgers and pangolin. For keen birders, the Sabi Sands boasts over 300 species which include the kingfisher, bateleur, black-bellied bustard and the African hawk eagle.

the deck and plunge pool at Dulini lodge in the Sabi Sabi reserve
The perfect afternoon relaxation spot at Dulini Lodge including the plunge pool.

Accommodation: Dulini Lodge boasts six beautifully appointed Suites

Will my suite have a pool?

Experiences: Guests enjoy off-road dawn and dusk game drives conducted in open safari vehicles and led by professional rangers. Guided bush walks afford a more up-close encounter with the fauna, flora, and smaller wondrous creatures of the bush.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Abu Camp

Location:  Abu Private Concession, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The 400 000 acre Abu Concession provides sanctuary to an abundance of wildlife including wild elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, large herds of buffalo, and several species of antelope. As for predators, Abu Camp game drives afford the opportunity of seeing spotted hyena, leopard, lion and possibly even a pack of wild dogs.

The Abu Concession’s diverse range of habitats (from grasslands and woodlands to lagoons and waterways) is home to around 380 bird species. Bird watching is therefore fantastic with sightings often including the Lesser Jacana, Pygmy Goose, Wattled Crane, Coppery-tailed Coucal and Rosy-throated Longclaw amongst others.

Exterior view of Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta
Abu Camp is famous for the way in which the camp seamlessly blends into its environment.

Accommodation: Abu Camp boasts six spacious Tented Suites.

Will I experience an outdoor shower?

Experiences: Walking with the resident elephants, observing activities such as mud bathing, discussions on elephant conservation, day and night game drives to view the amazing diversity of wildlife in the Abu Concession, birding, boating safaris, mokoro excursions (traditional dugout canoe) which are accompanied by the Abu herd, and seasonal fishing on a catch and release basis. The camp supplies all the fishing equipment.

There is also a Star-Bed platform that sleeps two guests.  The double-story Star-Bed has its own bathroom with shower, toilet and basin on the lower deck and the bed upstairs under a large mosquito net with a viewing deck over the elephant enclosure. The ultimate immersion experience into the sensory world of the elephant can be experienced by sleeping out under the stars.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp

Location: Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa

The Sabi Sabi Game Reserve forms part of the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve which is 650 square kilometers in size and shares a 50-kilometer unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sands is renowned for its big cat sightings, in particular the elusive leopard, making the Sabi Sands the ideal place to see Africa’s famous Big Five. Other species to be seen on the reserve include cheetah, waterbuck, zebra, wild dog, various species of antelope, jackal, hyena, and the rare honey badgers and pangolin. For keen birders, the Sabi Sands boasts over 300 species which include the kingfisher, bateleur, black-bellied bustard and the African hawk eagle.

The lobby and lounge at Sabi Sabi little bush camp
The interior decorating at Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp is one of the great features of this luxury lodge.

Accommodation: Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp boasts six twin-bedded chalets.

Does my room have a view?

Experiences: Guests enjoy dawn and dusk game drives conducted in open Land Rovers and directed by professional guides and local Shangaan trackers. Guided bush walks afford a more up-close encounter with the fauna, flora, and smaller wondrous creatures of the bush.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Baines Camp

Location: A private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango is famed for its big cats and birdlife, and guests can participate in a variety of game and bird viewing activities. The diversity of landscape and vegetation affords spectacular sightings of large herds of impala, wildebeest, zebra, tsessebe, and the rare sitatunga and lechwe antelope. In the dry season, large numbers of elephant and buffalo flock to the region in search of fertile grazing grounds and water. Predators which include lions, cheetah and packs of wild dogs can be seen hunting in the open grassland.

The reserve is home to over 400 species of birds, including the African fish eagle, Bateleur, Crested and Wattled cranes, Black-tailed godwit, Sacred ibis, Green pigeon and the rare and elusive Pel’s fishing owl.

a bath tub at the elevated suites at Baines camp - a top 10 luxury lodge in Africa
The perfect romantic spot for an evening soak in the elevated suites at Baines Camp.

Accommodation: Baines Camp boasts five elevated luxury Suites.

Can I sleep under the stars?

Experiences: Guests enjoy morning and evening game drives – often combined with motorized boating excursions when water levels are high. Guided bush walks afford a more up-close encounter with the fauna, flora, and smaller wondrous creatures of the bush.

Alternatively, guests may pole along the tranquil waterways in a mokoro and view the animals from the water.

The living with elephants activity is a must-do. This leisurely walk with two semi-habituated elephants is an extraordinarily enriching experience, giving guests a chance for personal interaction with these gentle giants.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Ulusaba Rock Lodge

Location: Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa

The Ulusaba Private Game Reserve forms part of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve which is 650 square kilometers in size and shares a 50-kilometer unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sands is renowned for its big cat sightings, in particular the elusive leopard, making the Sabi Sands the ideal place to see Africa’s famous Big Five. Other species to be seen on the reserve include cheetah, waterbuck, zebra, wild dog, various species of antelope, jackal, hyena, and the rare honey badgers and pangolin. For keen birders, the Sabi Sands boasts over 300 species which include the kingfisher, bateleur, black-bellied bustard and the African hawk eagle.

ulusaba rock lodge top 10 luxury lodges has endless views of the Sabi Sand private game reserve
Ulusaba rock lodge is perched perfectly for endless views of the incredible Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Accommodation: Ulusaba Rock Lodge boasts a Master Suite, Makwela Suites, Rock Cliff Rooms and a two-bedroom Rock Suite.

Do the Rock Cliff Rooms come with a view?

Experiences:  Guests enjoy dawn and dusk game drives conducted in open Land Rovers and directed by professional guides. Guided bush walks afford a more up-close encounter with the fauna, flora, and smaller wondrous creatures of the bush.

Other optional activities include the scenic Panorama Route, helicopter flights over the bush, and an authentic Shangaan experience with a visit to the local villages surrounding the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp

Location: Western corridor of the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Singita Grumeti is a 350 000 acre conservancy located adjacent to the Serengeti National Park – the home of the Great Mammal Migration. The Grumeti which encompasses grassy plains, riverine forests and woodlands is home to an abundance of wildlife including lion, elephant, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, hippo, buffalo, leopard, and cheetah to name only a few. This region offers great game viewing all year round.

The Green Season in particular, which runs from November to March, is lush and the plains of the Serengeti are filled with offspring and thousands of migrant birds.

The Serengeti is also believed to have the largest population of lions in the world (more than 3,000).

Tented suite at grumeti serengeti tented camp - a top 10 luxury lodge in Africa
The eco friendly tented suites at Grumeti Serengeti give visitors a real sense of being in the wild.

Accommodation: Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp boasts ten opulent en-suite Tents.

Will I see crocodiles from my room?

Experiences: Guests can look forward to daily game drives in Land Cruisers, the once in a lifetime experience of gliding through the air over the reserve on a hot air balloon, visits to the Environmental Education Centre which was developed for the young people of the local communities, and rejuvenate your mind and soul with treatments offered at the lodge’s spa.  

Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa – Naboisho Camp

Location: Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya

A true wildlife haven, the Mara Naboisho Conservancy has a high density of game with a large number of big cats residing in the area. Naboisho has one of the highest lion densities in the world with over 100 lions living in the conservancy. There is also an impressive number of elephant, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra living in the region with regular sightings of the endangered African wild dog. A bird lovers paradise, Naboisho Conservancy is home to 266 bird species.

In addition to the abundance of resident game, the Mara Naboisho Conservancy also serves as a vital migration corridor for the little-known Loita Migration, which sees up to 5 000 wildebeest and 1 000 zebras move through the area annually from the Mara Reserve to the Loita Plains in the east.

Tented suite at naboisho camp in greater masai mara region
The perfectly appointed tented suites at Naboisho Camp.

Accommodation: Naboisho Camp boasts nine spacious Tented Suites.

Do any of the suites accommodate families?

Experiences: Guests enjoy twice-daily game drives, walking safaris that explore the fauna, flora and smaller wondrous creatures of the African bush, bush picnics, cultural and community visits, hot air balloon safaris, horse riding and fly camping. Game drives in Naboisho are conducted in either seven-seater open game-viewing vehicles or five-seater closed vehicles and led by a team of professional guides. As the conservancy is privately owned, Naboisho is able to offer off-road game drives and night drives.

Planning a trip to Africa can be a daunting prospect for a first time or even seasoned traveler, with these top 10 luxury lodges, and thousands more to choose from. We here to make your life easier and help you plan a vacation that best suits you.

2 Replies to “Safari.com’s Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Africa”

  1. It’s very tough to pick 10 Judy, and right you are – Londolozi should definitely be included as an honorary 11th member of the list. Their lodges are just superb.