Room With A View
Safaris are unforgettable encounters, made all the more memorable with a room with a view.
“Safari” is the Swahili word for “travel”, but that’s not all they are – trips into the wilderness in search of adventure are only part of the story. Close encounters with the planet’s most fascinating beasts, unforgettable scenes of natural beauty and the sense of having had an unrivalled experience are all goals for visitors to safari parks across Africa. To compliment your Africa adventure, some of the continent’s best safari lodges provide luxurious accommodation whilst also bringing the magic of the wilderness to your balcony.
Safaris are holidays with a difference, an entrance into another world – one most travellers will only ever get to experience on this type of trip. That means planning before you go is crucial – what could well be a once-in-a-lifetime vacation needs careful planning, especially when it comes to the area you choose to visit.
Which country to choose for your African safari?
The vast continent of Africa certainly isn’t one homogenous block. Each country, region and reserve offers a different experience, and indeed a different view. That’s why choosing the right safari for you is so important.
Depending on what you are looking for and the budget you have in mind, it’s wise to plan ahead and choose the trip designed to meet your expectations. When asked to envisage a safari, most would think of a 4×4 slowly rolling in vast wilderness, with adventurers on board ready to snap pictures with their enormous cameras. And while it is true that safaris in 4x4s cover long distances that optimize the chance of encounters with different species, there are other ways to feel like you are on safari, even when the view from your accommodation is what keeps you right in the heart of nature.
South African Safaris
South Africa is characterized by the greatest diversity of animals the continent has in one place and is therefore dotted with nature reserves, national parks and private game reserves in which to see them.
A trip here alone is enough to satisfy anyone looking for a unique experience, from dramatic landscapes and African wildlife, to the sunrise over the Indian Ocean. The safari spots here are unrivalled, though: seeing the Big Five, flying over the plains of Kruger Park in a hot air balloon, and relaxing in salubrious surroundings in the midst of the wilderness are all possible on the same trip.
South Africa is also the country which arguably offers the best choice of accommodation on the continent.
nThambo Tree Camp
Blended into its surroundings in the heart of the Kruger, nThambo Tree Camp, nThambo Tree Camp is a small-scale safari lodge located in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve. It shares a non-fenced border with Kruger National Park and allows visitors to explore the famous Big Five of Africa in a magical and intimate setting.
This exclusive lodge has an outdoor pool and bar for guests to relax, perfect for unwinding after a day spent out on the plains or for soaking up the rays instead.
The delicate balance of nature is very important to the nThambo Tree Camp which is now seeking to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible. The focus here is on providing visitors with an intimate encounter with the African wilderness, so the camp has an outdoor lounge and a dining room with magnificent views of the Drakensberg mountain range, while the chalets themselves all have their own terraces, featuring stunning views of the surrounding bush.
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge
Buffelsdrift is a lodge situated on the scenic Garden Route in the heart of the Klein Karoo. The area around the Swartberg Mountains still has its authentic bushveld character with local vegetation here typical of the Cape Floral region, a stunning World Site Heritage visitors should endeavour to take in.
The family-friendly Buffelsdrift lodge is located on the edge of a large natural water point and nestled in breathtaking scenery. It is also a paradise for animals, with elephants, rhinos, buffalo, giraffes, meerkats and hippopotamuses all residing on the lodge’s vast grounds. The huge panoramic terrace invites visitors to relax and observe the animals and landscape below, offering an idyllic setting with views over everything safari-goers have travelled this far to see.
The lodge’s main building offers guests a living room with a fireplace to relax inside in the evening, while it is also equipped with a restaurant, bar and pool for those wishing to take a break from nature.
Choose between a waterfront tent which takes you right to the water’s edge on stilt terraces – ideal for watching the sunset – or a horizon-view tent, where the elevated position offers visitors a magnificent panoramic view of their surroundings.
Rocktail Beach Camp
Rocktail Beach Camp is a cosy lodge which lies in the Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve, on the Indian Ocean, in the KwaZulu-Natal region. The camp faces the Maputaland Marine Reserve, just 700m from the beach, and is one of the best diving destinations in the world thanks to a rich marine life of dolphins, whales and large schools of fish.
Sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach between October and March, but all year round visitors can enjoy a multitude of activities such as surfing, fishing, horse riding or quad biking. Just like in Buffelsdrift, the lodge is equipped with a swimming pool, a lounge, a bar and large terrace with superb views of the ocean, perfect for visitors who want to take a break from animal viewing. Rocktail Beach Camp offers en-suite bedrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a private terrace to enjoy the stunning views of the forest and the ocean.
To experience a Namibian safari holiday is to discover an unforgettable variety of scenery. Especially if you have the chance to visit the Himbas in the Kaokoland, observe the elephants and lions in the Damaraland or fly over the Namib Desert to the Sossusvlei dunes in a hot air balloon at sunrise. Namibia offers an extraordinary journey through time and gives visitors a real sense of freedom.
Namibia Kulala Desert Lodge
Located on the 21,000-hectare Kulala Wilderness Reserve, on the edge of Namib Naukluft Park, Kulala Desert Lodge extends to the heart of the Namib. This exclusive camp made up of 12 canvas chalets on wooden platforms, offers both a magnificent view of the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei mountain range and vast plains.
For an even more unforgettable experience, the lodge’s beds can be moved onto the roof so travellers can sleep under the starry sky and create their very own observatory in the middle of the vast wilderness far from light pollution and city skies. Kulala overlooks a stretch of water and is the ideal place to admire the sunrise over the desert or snap photographs to keep as souvenirs.
With the vast range of natural experiences on offer in Namibia, there’s also the option of taking a tour of the country by stopping off at numerous lodges along the way as part of a tailor made self-drive tour.
The most famous Botswana safari visits take in the Okavango Delta, one of the most naturally fertile places in the world, and one which shines like an emerald in the heart of the dry and arid Kalahari desert. Known as ‘Africa’s Eden’ this is a reserve home to vast swathes of game and endangered species as well as being a stunningly beautiful setting and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But Botswana is not only an up and coming safari destination blessed with amazing wildlife, it is also a country with a unique culture as well as being the homeland of the first human population on earth, the Bushmen.
Located right next to the Chobe National Park, Chobe Bakwena Lodge is an eco-retreat on the Chobe River. Bakwena is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the road. With cosy rooms offering stunning views, an excellent restaurant and great owners dedicated to making your stay in their sanctuary unique, this lodge is a true Botswana gem. The lodge is the perfect place to learn more about the rich local culture in an authentic – and naturally beautiful – African setting. Nestled under the shade of Acacia trees, each room offers a river view with its fauna and flora. The setup of the rooms and the lodge means it is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the amazing views of Chobe National Park.
Located south-east of the Okavango Delta, in the famous Moremi Game Reserve, Okuti surprises with its architecture, making it one of the most original lodges in Botswana. The rooms and public areas were built according to the model of “mosasas”, the local name given to houses made of reeds, which are totally integrated into the surrounding nature. The lodge therefore consists of rustic bungalows with en-suite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, and a terrace overlooking the river, allowing visitors to eat outside and enjoy the surrounding nature in the evening while also enjoying an aperitif by the fire. During the day or between safaris, visitors can relax and unwind, comfortably sitting by the swimming pool.
Botswana may not be Africa’s most famous safari destination but it is gaining in popularity and prestige. It’s not hard to see why given the offerings above, but that’s not all this fascinating country has to offer. With a rich variety of lodges to explore, Botswana should be right up there in the minds of anyone thinking of heading off on a safari adventure.
The magic of African safaris is found in up close and personal meetings with animals in their natural environment, the discovery of wondrous locations filled with adventure that will stay in the memory forever, and the feeling of relaxation when taking in the drama of an African sunset after a day spent in the company of awe-inspiring animals. Choose the room with a view that best suits your safari dreams and remain connected to the wilderness at all times of day.