Imagine waking up amid nature to watch a spectacular sunrise over the horizon with birds chirping and someone special around, or chatting with friends and loved ones around a bonfire under a starry night away from the hustle of cities. This is what makes a safari perfect and there are numerous luxury resorts and safari lodges across the globe which are redefining the concept of luxury in the wild. As everyone deserves a break and relaxation, skim through our list of some of the best getaways and pack your bags right away!
Although there is no specific time for safaris, winters are sure to enhance the overall experience and with the season around the corner, it is best to start planning. A safari experience on these dark cold nights is a perfect blend of adventure, romance and excitement. And, if you’re worried about setting up a tent or an unexpected shower, fret not, as many luxury safari lodges are waiting to welcome you with the most comfortable services even amid the wilderness.
While speaking of safari experiences, ‘African safari’ is the one that first comes to mind. It is a beautiful tropical continent full of breathtaking panoramic views that lets you experience true wilderness up close. Undoubtedly, Africa is one of the best places you can go for a jungle experience but many other countries have beautiful timberland as well that is sure to leave you awestruck.
Safari experiences have changed a lot over the years. Nowadays living in the woods isn’t as cumbersome as before. You can easily enjoy the swaying breeze, lush greens, ripples in the water and the sounds of animals while staying at a luxury property too. With some of the best hospitality experiences including delectable cuisines, you can take gorgeous pictures of nature and wildlife whenever you wish to. However, it may be daunting to find a property that suits your needs as it requires a lot of time and research, hence we have you covered.
Here are some of the best luxury resorts and safari lodges across the world
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The 145 sq km vast Ngala Private Game Reserve gracefully exists inside Africa’s largest game reserve — Kruger National Park. Trained ranger and tracker teams guide you on your jungle safari. You can get close sightings of elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, buffaloes, or hyenas. Under the shade of mopane and tamboti trees, the classic cottages exude romantic vibes and the verandas have the perfect ambience for an intimate dinner. The family cottages are spacious with a private swimming pool and a private vehicle. And, for an enchanting night under the stars, you can opt for the Ngala Treehouse Experience with your partner too.
Airlink flights are available from Johannesburg and Nelspruit to the Ngala Private Game Reserve, and it’s a beautiful drive to the lodge. Also, if you are at Eastgate Airport, a two-hour drive can take you to this haven.
Wish to experience the grandeur of sleeping in a luxury safari tent overlooking the wide arch of the Luangwa River? Time+Tide Chinzombo offers you a premium safari experience where you can stay at a traditional bush-made camp surrounded by msikizi trees and wildlife. Travellers can cruise through the waters in this affluent part of South Luangwa National Park to get a glimpse of lions, leopards and other predators. The hotel has many activities for tourists including game drives, sleeping under the stars, spa treatments and family activities for fun as well. There are private plunge pools too for that much-needed rejuvenation too.
You can easily cover the 31 km distance from Mfuwe Airport to the Chinzombo safari camp by a one-hour drive.
Situated at a private reserve in the heart of Greater Kruger National Park, Royal Malewane is one of the most popular safari lodge hosts in South Africa. The resort provides a one-of-a-kind experience of staying in the bush with comfort, style and elegance. Three luxury suites and farmhouses offer rich contemporary designs and the finest hospitality. They have an expert team to guide you through the journey to make sure you experience the best.
The Royal Malewane arranges a private air transfer to take you to their private airfield within half an hour from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. Guests can arrange their own flight to the private airstrip as well.
Ladakh is a quaint little place but quite alluring with picturesque landscapes and beautiful weather. And Chamba Camp graces the small village of Thiksey with its opulent tented stays which perfectly capture the feel of safari. Nestled in the Kunlun Mountains and the Himalayas, Ladakh possesses blue lakes, ice-topped mountains and white deserts altogether.
Travellers staying at Chamba Camp can enjoy various activities such as watching the colourful sunset from the Shanti Stupa, having a picnic lunch in the romantic setting, driving through the spectacular panoramas of the fabled Alchi Monastery or indulging in a local game of Ladakhi polo match.
Visitors can enjoy the 16 km drive with exceptional vistas from Leh Airport to the lodge.
Singita is an ecotourism and conservation brand that has taken a pledge to protect and preserve the greenwoods and wildlife of Africa. All their lodges, including their first property Singita Ebony Lodge, promote and offer eco-friendly and sustainable hospitality to the guests.
Singita Boulders Lodge is a beautiful embodiment of the comforting nature and huge boulders on the banks of the Sand river. Other than the breathtaking sightings, the 12 glass-fronted private suites with the utmost luxurious furnishings and a heated private plunge pool are some of the privileges that guests can experience here. From game drives and wine experiences, to stargazing, everything is available under one roof.
You can reach this wondrous place from Johannesburg or Nelspruit by air as offered by the resort. Or, you can take a long (about 500km) scenic drive from Johannesburg too.
Another luxury African safari lodge beside the Sand River is within the borders of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The lodge covers some areas of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park which blends the famous Kruger National Park with it. The stunning location offers great game-viewing opportunities and gives you the true safari experience. The Londolozi Private Granite suites elicit the essence of Africa’s raw flavour with a dash of modernism. They have an extensive safari schedule carefully created based on the season and animal behaviour. Bush walks, village experiences, massage, boutique shopping and private plunge pools are just added advantages of staying here.
The distance from Londolozi to Johannesburg is around 500 km which requires a six-hour game drive or you can fly to the lodge via helicopter or flights (available on request).
Diphlu River Lodge is a small but serene property in the vast jungle of Kaziranga National Park, Assam. Though it has only 12 cottages to accommodate only 24 guests at a time, it is one of the most beautiful safari lodges to stay in. The bamboo and wood thatched roofs give the interior a rustic vibe. The safari experience is extraordinary too. You can opt for a jeep safari or a boat cruise or both according to your preference.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park is home to numerous Indian one-horned rhinoceros, the Asiatic wild water buffalo and eastern swamp deer. Visitors can spot reptiles including Assam roofed turtles, water monitors, Indian python, common cobra and king cobra as well.
The sanctuary is only a 4-hour drive away from Guwahati airport, the hotel can arrange pick-up for guests on request.
Sanctuary Chief’s Camp is one of the most famous safari camps in Botswana. Located in the private concession in the Okavango Delta bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, this place is a must-visit with walking safaris being the highlight here. With gourmet food, a relaxing spa and private pools, the camp is ready to pamper you during your bushveld journey. Additionally, the wildlife action is sure to give you an adrenaline rush.
The retreat has there private airstrip which is accessible from Maun (25 minutes), Kasane (1 hour 30 minutes), Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp (15 minutes) and Sanctuary Baines’ Camp (15 minutes) by requested air transport.
Enjoying the sunset with a drink or watching the cascading Victoria falls in the tranquillity of African bushes — if these experiences are on your wishlist then Thorntree River Lodge is your perfect destination. Only 20 minutes away from one of the seven natural wonders and UNESCO World Heritage Site, (Victoria falls), this property is one of the most popular African safari lodges. Located on the arch of the Zambia river, the resort provides world-class luxury with fun activities such as bungee jumping, rainforest walking, and helicopter flips over ‘The Smoke that Thunders.’ Doesn’t this sound exciting?
The heavenly Thorntree River Lodge is only 8km away from the Livingstone Airport and around 29 km away from the Victoria falls airport.
Angama has made its name as one of the most beautiful safari lodges in East Africa. And why not? The name itself has a beautiful meaning in Swahili — ‘suspended in mid-air.’ Overlooking the greenery of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, the safari lodge offers two intimate camps of fifteen suites each where they welcome guests in their famous Kenyan style. The tented suites are perfect for adventurous people who want to explore Maasai Mara at a deeper level.
The lodge is just 45 minutes away from Nairobi airport by air. Regional airlines offer regular flights or you can also request a private charter to drop you.
Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is known for its unique architecture. The banana leaf ceiling of the private suites with glass roofs elicits a rustic vibe. And the Victorian furnishings and teak panelling look marvellous inside the cottages. The wildlife experience here is indeed exceptional. Visitors can sight endangered black rhinos, flamingos and giant tusked elephants.
You can reach this luxurious stay by taking a scheduled flight from Arusha to Lake Manyara Airstrip. The lodge receives the guests from there in a game-viewing vehicle for a one and half-hour drive.
Located at a secluded corner of Kanha Tiger Reserve, Shergarh provides its guests with an authentic experience of camping and safari with a warm homely environment and a country charm. Kanha is one of the largest habitats for Indian tigers and other wild animals including deer, rare ‘hard-ground’ barasingha, gaur, jackal, wild boars and antelopes. The camp also provides open-jeep safaris, forest walks, cycling treks and village tours too.
The retreat is well connected with different roads and accessible by air, rail and road. Guests can opt for either Nagpur or Raipur airport which is 200km to 260 km away from the lodge. If you are taking a train, Gondia Junction is the nearest railway station.
(Main image: Courtesy of &Beyond; Featured image: Courtesy of Royal Royal Malewane)
This story first appeared on Prestige Malaysia