The luxury safari industry has changed – no longer will the best linen and gourmet food suffice to qualify a camp or lodge for luxury safari status – now several factors go into deciding whether a property is of the luxury safari kind or not, and we’re delighted to say these added qualifications are all for the better of the safari industry. Now a luxury safari property has to be set in the most remote and wild location possible, with lots of wildlife or something spectacular to look at – there must be guides who’s knowledge defies belief and it has to be small, very small and exclusive. But most important of all they must have a strong community and conservation aspect to qualify as a true luxury safari destination. Luckily all of our luxury safari properties contribute generously to funding hospitals and schools in the local area and often have pioneering conservation projects on the go – here are a few of our favourite luxury safari properties (in no particular order) for 2015:
Richard Roberts who started Richard’s River Camp is a famous guide and conservationist in Kenya, and he has always had a knack of employing the most charismatic charming and knowledgeable staff, so the camp atmosphere is wonderful, as is the location of this newly refurbished luxury safari camp which has quirky Moroccan style tents and a lawn which often sees lions lounging, and hippos fighting. Set in a private conservancy there will not be a person in sight but will be fantastic game viewing and authentic Masai cultural experiences.
Tassia is one of the most unique and spectacular luxury safari lodges in Kenya which has views that stretch to Samburu, and sits at the same height as birds of prey soar – here the emphasis is about getting out into the bush with the Masai and an expert walking guide and really experiencing remote Africa as it should be.
Tarkuni is the Oppenheimer’s old house, situated in this vast area of the Kalahari – it is truly magical and the five newly renovated suites have just been made into the most luxurious safari option in South Africa by far all with their own star beds for those nights you want to enjoy watching the milky way twinkle down on you. This vast area of pristine Kalahari comes complete with meerkats and Kalahari lions.
This lodge is extremely luxurious and just eight suites, but that is not it’s real appeal – the real appeal as a luxury safari camp comes when you look at it’s location – set in 51,000 acres of private wildlife conservancy here you are guaranteed not to see another soul and enjoy absolute exclusivity on this pristine land which includes fresh water springs, rivers, plains and forests.
This five tent bush camp is the sister camp of Chem Chem Lodge which is also a wonderful proposition when it comes to luxury safaris – this vast private concession borders (unfenced) Lake Manyara on one side and Lake Burunge on the other. The bush camp has a charm to it that cannot be under-estimated and this luxury tented camp often has big game wondering through camp, so good is it’s location.
6 Kuro Tarangire – Tarangire, Tanzania
Kuro Tarangire is the most quirky and individual luxury eco safari camp in Africa – here you can rest assured your footprint on the environment is nil, but enjoy luxury safaris as they should be, all about the wildlife. Kuro is a magical experience which one will never forget, alongside game drives in Tarangire which are remote, wild and full of elephants.
Ruaha is perhaps the most under valued jewel of Tanzania – the game viewing here is sensational and there are very few people. This luxury camp is intimate and the perfect luxury safari option to enjoy the wonderful big five game viewing which Ruaha so often comes up trumps with. Combine Ruaha with it’s sister camp in the Selous, Sand Rivers, and you will not only receive free nights, you will have one of the most magical and unforgettable experiences Africa has to offer.
The South Luangwa has become a little busy apart from down in the South, where all of the Bushcamp Company’s fabulous camps can be found – here the game is a little sparser but the reality is there are no people – there are wonderful views of a lagoon directly in front of this luxury safari camp, and views of the Chindeni Mountains. You really feel as if you are experiencing real Africa.
The Lower Zambezi is the least popular when you compare it to the South Luangwa but this is wrong, the Lower Zambezi is completely magical and again there are very few people here. Sausage Tree is one of Africa’s top luxury safari camps and has a relaxing informal atmosphere despite the fact that it is extremely luxurious.
10 Norman Carr’s Liuwa Plains Camp – Liuwa Plains, Zambia
The Liuwa Plains is the only other part of Africa apart from the Mara and Serengeti where one gets the vast open rolling plains – they are truly magical and in 2015 Norman Carr will operate a luxury tented camp here, on four and five night packages – here you can see wild dog and cheetah thriving, and the second largest wildebeest migration in the world. It is truly exquisite here and in 2016 a new extremely luxurious camp will be built here, Kokomo.0