An African Safari is ultimately one of life’s greatest adventures, and with new routes being frequently added by airlines servicing Africa, this once in a lifetime experience is now more accessible than ever. That being said there are so many lodges and camps to choose from its hard to know who to choose, that task can become even harder when you are considering safari for the first time.

Chosen for their expert guides, abundance of game viewing and intimate yet luxurious surrounds here are our top five, personally vetted, lodge choices for your first safari experience and holiday to end all holidays!

Elephant Pepper Camp – Kenya

Elephant Pepper is the perfect base from which to explore the Masai Mara and its breathtaking abundance of wildlife. Situated within the 70,000 acres that makes up the private Mara North Conservancy, only 10km from Victoria Falls, the camp offers spectacular views of the falls’ spray and the magnificent gorges which separates Zimbabwe and Zambia. This luxurious yet intimate lodge offers accommodation in the form of twelve under-canvas suites catering for just 24 guests, perfect for a first safari. All of the camp guides have in depth knowledge of the area and are certified with the Kenyan Professional Safari Guides Association ensuring you experience everything this vast wilderness has to offer!

Tanda Tula – South Africa

Positioned right in the heart of Big Five country on the banks of the Nhlaralumi Riverbed. Tanda Tula is the epitome of luxury seclusion. Made up of just twelve luxurious tents, each one featuring its own en-suite bathroom complete with Victorian bathtub and outdoor shower. The spacious private deck overlooks the riverbed and out towards the bush – the perfect spot to enjoy sundowners whilst discussing the day sightings! Tanda Tula also offer a Field Camp giving guests a chance to experience ‘glamourous camping’ in their fabulous private use camp in the Timbavartu Private Nature Reserve. Accompanied by experienced trackers and guides, guests will be shown how to track general game and the Big Five on foot – the ultimate way to experience an Africa of a bygone era.

Savute Safari Lodge – Botswana

Savute boasts one of the largest summer Zebra migrations in Africa, which sees thousands of the animals move from the rivers in the North of the Chobe National Park to the grasslands and full watering holes of the South West, the migration is always followed by large numbers of predators making this astonishing sight unmissable for both experienced safari goers and those visiting for the first time. Guests are accommodated in one of Savute’s twelve, sympathetically furnished, thatched Chalets each one featuring an expansive private deck, large living area and en-suite bathroom. An opportunity not to be missed is the spectacular sight of the resident Elephant herd, meandering past the camp’s shaded swimming pool on their way to the channel to drink, bathe and play – just make sure your camera is to hand!

Madikwe Hills – South Africa

A fantastic first safari experience – Madikwe is not only home to the Big Five (Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino and Leopard) but also to a wealth of over 66 mammal species, combined with its unrivalled location in the middle of the Madikwe, gives guests a huge game drive advantage over other lodges. Again, welcoming just 24 guests, Madikwe Hills offers seclusion whilst, thanks to their dedicated team, meeting your every need. The camp’s 10 glass fronted suites sit scattered yet unimposing into the hillside, this vantage point offers guests the chance to spot wandering animals making their way to the watering hole without even leaving the comfort of bed!

Serengeti Safari Camp – Tanzania

One of the first mobile camps in Northern Tanzania, Serengeti Safari Camp offers those visitors experiencing safari for the first time the chance to encounter Africa’s wildlife up close without damaging the environment within which they live. The Camp is designed around its location to fully take in the awe inspiring sight of the yearly Wildebeest migration – the mobile nature of the camp ensures visitors have the best viewing experience possible (though camp will not move during guests’ stay). The 6 open plan tents provide the accommodation, each with an en-suite to the rear, eco flush toilets and safari-style bucket showers. The main dining room with fireplace is situated in the middle of the line of tents with the added feature of a separate library/ bar tent nearby. Whilst you may not have your swimming pool and spa facilities, Serengeti Safari Camp allows guests to truly experience an African safari as it would have been, and perhaps, ought to be!