Africa Luxurious Safari Lodges
1. Angama Mara, Kenya
If the epic views from Angama Mara provoke a sense of déjà vu, it might be because you have seen them before on the silver screen. Taking its name from the Swahili for “suspended in mid-air”, the mesmerising vista of the remote Mara Triangle is the same as the one depicted in the 1985 film Out of Africa starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. This new camp, which opened last year on the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment, is the culmination of the work of safari lodge veterans Nicky and Steve Fitzgerald, who have many years of African hospitality between them. There are two camps of 15 tents created by one of the continent’s finest tent-makers with a contemporary, minimalist chic look that incorporates 33ft-wide, floor-to-ceiling windows. The lodge is also committed to the local community; among other features, there is an in-house artisan workshop where Maasai women create beaded jewellery.
Angama Mara, Maasai Mara, Kenya . Doubles from $825 (£570) per person, full-board.
2. Ruckomechi Camp, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is back on the safari map. Peeping out from the shade of acacia and mahogany trees, right on the banks of the Zambezi river, the 10 rooms of Wilderness Safaris’ Ruckomechi Camp reopen later this month with a new look. It is set in the Mana Pools National Park; this part of the country is known for its large numbers of elephant, buffalo, hippo and eland, which can be seen on wildlife drives, walks or afternoon boat trips on the river. In July a new, smaller satellite camp, Little Ruckomechi, will open further downstream, with just three tented rooms.
Ruckomechi Camp, Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. Doubles from $702 per person, full board.
3. Makanyi Lodge, South Africa
One of the newest arrivals on South Africa’s safari scene is this seven-suite lodge in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve on the edge of the country’s vast Kruger Park. The Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – proliferate here and there are game drives as well as bush walks, birdwatching, painting, guided stargazing and photographic safaris. Each of the rooms is designed in rustic yet slick safari style with a main lodge and an infinity pool, which proves the ideal place to lounge after a dusty drive.
Makanyi Private Game Lodge, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Kruger Park, South Africa. Doubles from R8,000 per person, full board including game drives.
4. Limalimo Lodge, Ethiopia
The jagged, gasp-worthy peaks of Ethiopia’s Unesco-listed Simien Mountains National Park are one of the country’s natural highlights. So too are the large colonies of Gelada monkey that populate it. Opened in January, the Limalimo Lodge is its newest place to stay, with just 12 guestrooms constructed in the vernacular style using rammed earth, wood and thatch. Guests can spend their days exploring the vastness of the surrounding landscape with its walia ibex, leopards and Ethiopian wolves.
Limalimo Lodge, Simien Mountains National Park, Debark, North Gondar, Ethiopia. Doubles from $200, full-board.
5. The Highlands, Tanzania
Tanzania’s Unesco World Heritage-listed Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most spectacular and richest wildlife spotting areas on the continent. Both the Big Five and countless other species live and visit this vast caldera that formed two to three million years ago.To escape the crowds fully, check into Asilia Africa’s newest camp, the appropriately named The Highlands, set on the slope of the Olmoti volcano. When it opens on 5 June – in good time for the spectacular annual wildebeest migration between July and October – it will become the highest of all the camps fringing Ngorongoro. There will be just eight futuristic looking, luxuriously decked-out domed canvas tents. You can be down on the crater floor for dawn safaris, enjoy bush picnics and just revel in the isolated tranquillity of the setting, when the sun begins to set over the African wilderness.