The Most Stylish Safari Lodges to Book in Africa

Observe elephants and other wildlife from the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Observe elephants and other wildlife from the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge | Courtesy of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge / Expedia
Sara Essop

Whether it’s your first or 50th safari, there are few experiences more thrilling than driving through the bush seeing wild animals in their natural environment. Make sure you experience a game drive in Africa from the comfort of these handpicked lodges bookable with Culture Trip.

1. Angama Mara, Suswa Mara Triangle, Kenya, for all-inclusive indulgence

Safari Lodge

Luxurious balcony with red chairs at the Angama Mara, with spectacular nature views at dusk
Courtesy of Angama Mara / Expedia

Seemingly suspended in mid-air, high above the Masai Mara and the Great Rift Valley, this hilltop haven provides the perfect base for witnessing the biannual Great Migration, where over 2m animals travel from the Kenyan Masai Mara to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The posh tented suites are glass-fronted, which makes it even easier to enjoy the endless views before dining on freshwater fish from Lake Victoria. The best way to get here is by plane from Nairobi.

2. Kariega Settlers Drift, Kariega Game Reserve, South Africa, for next-level luxury

Safari Lodge

Large lounge at Kariega Settlers Drift, with grey sofas, wooden beams and modern pendant lights
Courtesy of Kariega Settlers Drift / Expedia

Named after the 1820 settlers who once guided their wagons across the Bushman’s River, this luxurious camp consists of an opulent main lodge and nine contemporary tented suites overlooking the river from viewing decks. Apart from the daily safaris, water enthusiasts can also try river cruises, fishing and canoeing, while twitchers will love spotting elusive species of birds. Don’t miss the Ostrich Nest signature breakfast of potato and biltong.

3. Great Fish River Lodge, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa, for traditional tranquillity

Hotel

Great Fish River Lodge at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, with a rustic, cosy and luxurious interior under a thatched roof
Courtesy of Great Fish River Lodge at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve / Expedia

Located on the lush green banks of the river it takes its name from, this homely lodge inspires relaxation with classic African-inspired decor, from local art to bold patterns. As one of five lodges in the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, the nine spacious thatched suites at Great Fish River Lodge feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows with uninterrupted views of wildlife passing by and private decks with plunge pools. In between safari activities, you can relax on the viewing deck or in the library with a nice glass of red.

4. Kapama Karula, Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa, for splendid isolation

Lodge

Elegantly decorated open-plan lounge at the Kapama Karula, with wooden beams, a skylight and grey sofas
© Kapama Karula / Expedia

The flagship lodge of the game-rich Kapama Private Game Reserve bordering Kruger National Park, Kapama Karula consists of expansive villas in the bush, with wraparound glass sliding doors opening onto outdoor decks with plunge pools with spectacular views of the Klaserie River. The name of this uber-stylish lodge means a place of peace in the local Shangaan language, and the thick tree canopy and views back this up. Elevate your morning espresso with a springbokkie shooter, made from peppermint liqueur and Amarula Cream.

5. Thorntree River Lodge, Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia, for river-front relaxation

Safari Lodge

Warmly lit, cosy suite at the Thorntree River Lodge, with sliding glass walls, a candle-lit wraparound porch and water views
Courtesy of Thorntree River Lodge / Expedia

With an enviable setting on the banks of the Zambezi River, just a few kilometres upstream from the magnificent Victoria Falls, this lodge is one of the most attractive in Zambia. Taking advantage of its river setting, the infinity pool and the rest of the communal areas seem to merge seamlessly with the water. Activities are abundant, with visits to the waterfalls, canoeing and cultural visits in addition to rhino tracking and game drives. Soothing interior shades of blue, grey and white in the suites mirror the nearby water.

6. Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, for a sumptuous safari sanctuary

Hotel

Three elephants roaming Serengeti National Park, with Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the background
Courtesy of Four Seasons Safari Lodge / Expedia

Soar over one of the most exciting game reserves in the world in a hot-air balloon, or relax by the pool watching the elephants at the nearby waterhole – there are many pleasurable ways to keep yourself occupied at this smart, spacious lodge. Take your pick of the elegant rooms, suites or villas with infinity-edge pools, outdoor showers and views of the savannah or the waterhole. Make memories, sipping on a refreshing gin and tonic from a viewing deck as the sun sets.

7. Governor's Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya, for an authentic African safari

Safari Lodge

Romantically lit tent at Governors Camp at night, surrounded by trees
Courtesy of Governor's Camp / Expedia

The first permanent tented camp in Africa has been in its original location since 1972. Nestled in the forest, along the meandering banks of the Mara River, it is home to hundreds of hippos, crocodiles and birds. The camp was once reserved solely for Kenya’s colonial governors, hence its name. The 30 classic safari-style canvas tents either have views of the river or the Mara plains and are equipped with all the conveniences of a luxury hotel.

8. Selinda Camp, Selinda Reserve, Botswana, for nature-themed nurture

Safari Lodge

Suite at Selinda Camp, with a thatched roof in front of a pink sunset sky
Courtesy of Selinda Camp / Expedia

Set on the banks of a spillway in the Selinda Reserve, between the Okavango Delta and Chobe, this attractive camp has four uniquely designed suites with thatched roofs, canvas ceilings and decor inspired by local culture. Sip a glass of chilled white wine by your private pool deck after a day of spotting elephants and lions with the binoculars and cameras on loan during your stay.

9. Etosha Safari Lodge, Etosha, Namibia, for hilltop high life

Safari Lodge

Outdoor pool at the Etosha Safari Lodge, with far-reaching views over the surrounding landscape
Courtesy of Etosha Safari Lodge / Expedia

This delightful hilltop lodge oversees a vast expanse of mopane woodland, where zebras, giraffes, antelopes and other creatures roam freely. The elevated outdoor deck is perfect for sundowners and stargazing, while the balconies of the traditional German colonial-style cottages also overlook the woodlands. The twice-daily game drives will take you to Etosha National Park, one of the largest national parks in Africa, which is only a short drive away.

10. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, for butler-serviced bliss

Safari Lodge

Viewing deck at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge overlooking the lush greenery below
Courtesy of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge / Expedia

This award-winning lodge near Victoria Falls is perched on a ridge overlooking a shimmering waterhole in the Zambezi National Park, which attracts a steady stream of wildlife. Sleep soundly in open-plan rooms, designed in earthy tones and whitewashed brick, before breakfast buffet with fruits and eggs. The main lodge is built on split levels and resembles an open-plan treehouse, while the viewing deck features rock pools. Don’t miss the Vulture Culture Experience, which takes place daily at lunchtime.

Alex Jordan contributed additional reporting to this article.

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