With many people starting to think about their next travel adventures, we take a look at some of Africa’s top luxury retreats and why these are great places to visit once travel restrictions are lifted.
Each offers a safe haven to reconnect, not only with loved ones but, with the beauty of nature in some of the world’s most stunning locations. From safaris to stargazing, camp dining to conservation, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Escape to the Cederberg Mountains at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, a refuge for both body and soul. Set deep in South Africa’s Cederberg Mountains and just three hours from Cape Town, the property offers a wilderness experience for guests to truly reconnect with nature. With 7,000 hectares to explore and just 16 rooms and suites accommodating a maximum of 32 guests, this South African National Heritage Site allows guests to immerse themselves in breath-taking surroundings.
The ultimate seclusion could be achieved by staying in either of the two private villas Koro Lodge and Cederberg House, situated away from the main area of the reserve. Both are fully-inclusive, complete with a personal guide, chef and private swimming pools.
The healing properties of Bushmans Kloof are unique; guests can inhale the beauty of their surroundings on wildlife walks and tales of ancient Bushmen. A predator and malaria-free UNESCO World Heritage Site, guests could access exquisite bushman paintings and its on-site Heritage Centre, which includes permanent exhibits photographs and specialist talks. The secluded Riverside Gazebo is ideal for taking in panoramic views from the outdoor spa gazebo, perched alongside the tranquil waters of the Boontjes River.
Rates at Bushmans Kloof start from £206 per person per night. Rates for the exclusive-use Koro Lodge start from £1,419 per person per night. These include all meals and select activities at the property.
Samburu, in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District, is renowned for its visual appeal and utter remoteness – a place of rich, natural diversity and home to the incredible Samburu tribe. The Safari Collection’s lodge in Samburu – Sasaab – was born out of the need to create a community tourism project to help protect and preserve this remote wilderness area and the Samburu tribe.
Located close to the Buffalo Springs and Samburu National Reserves, Sasaab is a place of rich natural diversity within the surrounding varied landscape, including the ‘Samburu Special Five’: the Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Gerenuk antelope and Somali ostrich. Each of the nine Moroccan-styled rooms at Sasaab are over 100m² with an enormous open-air bathroom and private plunge pool. From the veranda, guests can take in the remarkable views across the Laikipia Plateau toward the jagged peak of Mount Kenya, with the position of Sasaab on the river naturally facilitating watching the herds of elephant that come to bathe.
In addition to the unbelievable wildlife spotting opportunities, whilst staying at Sasaab, guests can enjoy exhilarating activities including stargazing, camel rides and beauty treatments at the property’s rejuvenating SpaSaab. Guests can also spend a night or two fly-camping under mosquito net tents in the wilderness, beginning with a four to five-hour walk along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, where travellers can take in the sights, sounds and smells of this untamed and remote part of Kenya.
Whilst at Sasaab, guests also have the opportunity to discover the Samburu Tribe’s unique culture that visually expresses traditions through dress and dance. Led by local Samburu guides (who take them on game drives), a special experience for guests includes a sunset dance by the Samburu Warriors on the dry riverbed below the lodge.
Rates at The Safari Collection’s Sasaab start from US$750 (approx. £647) per adult per night sharing on a full board basis.
Located on a dramatic riverbend in the remote Lamai triangle in Tanzania, Singita Mara River Tented Camp offers a truly “off-the-grid” experience for guests. The camp’s remote and unspoilt setting in 98,000 acres of untouched wilderness includes access to some of the world’s most prized and private game-viewing opportunities, including breath-taking views of the renowned migratory route traversed annually by more than a million wildebeest.
The epitome of sustainable tourism, the camp relies entirely on a custom designed solar system for its power and the use of recycled and natural materials, wherever possible. Guests are also hosted on a full board basis as part of the nightly rate – including bespoke wine-tasting with a sommelier (Singita’s wine list encompasses 222 labels and 20,000 bottles, with many exclusive to Singita guests) and front-row seats to pristine wildlife within a 40,000-hectare private concession.
Singita Mara River Camp was also designed by award-winning South African Interior Designer Cécile and Boyd. The attention to detail, combined with an atmosphere that enables guests to make an authentic connection with nature, has produced, arguably, the most beautiful interiors across the Singita portfolio.
Rates at Singita Mara River Tented Camp from approx. £1,100 per person per night, on a full board basis, including twice-daily open Land Rover safaris and return road transfers between the airstrips and lodges.
Specialist safari operator, Mavros’ Safaris offers travellers the bucket-list chance to be personally guided by, none other than, award-winning conservationist Clive Stockhill on its Gonarezhou Game Count Safari. With over four decades of experience in the bush, Clive is one of the most sought after guides in Zimbabwe and the founding father of the very first CAMPFIRE (Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources) project, which originated in the Mahenye community, and was a catalyst for the idea of ‘community led conservation’ throughout Africa.
Guests will spend the first three nights of the itinerary at Chilo Gorge Tented Camp at Mohave in Gonarezhou National Park and the birthplace of Colin’s CAMPFIRE philosophy all those years ago. Over the course of these few days, travellers will have access to untouched corners of wilderness, seeing the world and its wildlife in its most natural state.
The camp is made up of four en-suite double or twin rooms with hot and cold running water and meals to be enjoyed under the shade of trees or in a canvas boma. The itinerary also includes a night spent away in a mobile camp in the Jamanda Conservancy. Clive has been working closely with the community on this project for some time as this will be the first opportunity in history that record wildlife species and population numbers in the Jamanda Wilderness Area.
The conservancy is a private partner of Chilo George, which hires 95% of staff for the local community. Travellers will have unrivalled access to this undiscovered corner of the Earth and discover all the creatures that dwell within and be the first to witness the beginning of their empowerment through this project.
Mavros Safaris offers an exclusive Gonarezhou Game Count Safari from £5,500 per person. Price includes return flights, private guiding from Clive Stockhill and four nights full-board accommodation.