Imagine waking up at dawn and watching the sky fade through tones of purple and pink over the vast wilderness as you sip your morning coffee and prepare for your safari. From your luxurious room outfitted with top-notch fabrics and stylish furniture, you emerge into a natural wonderland, where birds and beasts roam.
Experiencing a safari is a truly unforgettable travel experience and if you are planning on enjoying this immersion in the wilderness why not do it in style? There are many superb luxury safari camps in the world where you will be pampered in the very best facilities while you explore the flora and fauna. Here are some examples of the best luxury safari camps around the world.
Mahali Mzuri, Kenya
This safari camp in Kenya was created by Richard Branson and is only around a year old so far. The 12 accommodations at the camp have canvas walls that are combined with a futuristic architecture that is defined by arcing steel girders and luxurious such as claw-foot bathtubs and refrigerators. The camp also features a spa, a swimming pool and a glamorous dining tent where you will be treated to gourmet cuisine and vintage champagne.
From your gorgeous and modern tent at this camp you can take a game drive through the African wilderness or a visit to the villages of the Maasai, one of the most intriguing and colourful cultures in the world. Branson is very much involved in the local communities – so much that he was made an honorary Maasai.
Kariega Game Reserve, South Africa
If seeing the “Big Five” is on your bucket list, a safari at this amazing luxury camp should be on your to-do list. Kariega Game Reserve is a family-owned and managed private reserve that covers 10,000 hectares and includes the Bushmans and Kariega Rivers. As well as seeing the Big Five (Cape buffalo, African leopard, white/black rhinoceros, African lion and African elephant) you might also have a chance to see zebras, giraffes, hyenas, hippos, waterbucks, wildebeest, antelope and more.
There are a few choices of where to stay, including the Ukhozi Lodge or the River Lodge. The River Lodge offers thatched suites and there is a luxurious suite with a private plunge pool at Ukhozi Lodge.
Every day begins with an early morning safari into the South African bush, where guests will be able to spot wildlife up close. You might be lucky enough to see the hippos emerging from the water after a night of grazing – or to watch lions hunting their prey. You can even complement your experience with a boat cruise down the Kariega River or take a kayak onto the river for a quiet paddle.
Singita Gremeti, Tanzania
This safari camp is one of the most elegant and luxurious wildlife destinations in the world – an enormous 350,000-acre nature reserve in the Serengeti. The best time to visit is in June when the wildebeests are migrating through the area. Another good time is August, which is best for lion sightings. The landscapes are truly stunning, with wide oceans of grass and thorn trees.
The Singita Sasakwa Lodge is glamorous and palatial, with a spacious veranda offering views over the endless Serengeti plains below. The lodge is a turn of the century manor house and it is surrounded by private cottages with a blend of East African influences and authentic European styles.
Kulu Safaris, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
This innovative safari park was the first operator of mobile tented camping safaris in Sri Lanka and the word Kulu means “Untamed” in Sinhala. These one of a kind safaris bring together luxury camping facilities and professional guides all within the National Parks of Uda Walawe, Wilpattu and Yala.
You will stay in a customised tent with hot and cold showers and enjoy gourmet dining under the stars. The experienced staff will take you on a wildlife safari in vehicles of the highest standard, sharing their extensive knowledge of the parks with you. The guides are excellent trackers so that you can experience some of the best wildlife spotting in the world. On your adventure, you might spot a number of wetland birds including painted storks, spoonbills, pelicans and lesser flamingos.
The food within the camp is excellent and is known as some of the best on offer in the region. After a full day of exploring the wilderness of Yala National Park you can sit on the comfortable chairs on the verandah and overlook the stunning landscape.
Oberoi Vanyavilas, Rajasthan, India
This gorgeous and opulent jungle resort was built to emulate the elegant grandeur of the historic hunting camps of the maharajas. It is located within the stunning Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and it is the ideal base from which to explore the natural territory of the powerful and beautiful tiger.
When you step into these elegant and luxurious interiors you will be surrounded by beautiful frescoes, textured fabrics and rich colours. This stunning resort offers guests the opportunity to see Royal Bengal Tigers in the world while being pampered in luxury. Each of the luxury tents is temperature-controlled and has a triple canopy that keeps the rooms cool. The rooms themselves are furnished with four-poster beds and standalone baths, giving them an atmosphere of luxury.
The resort is spread across 20 acres of lush and beautiful landscaped gardens and from the top of the observation tower you can admire panoramic views of the jungle. Go on a safari and see a range of wildlife at the nearby watering hole, or sip champagne as you watch the sunset.
Why You Should Experience a Safari
Despite being one of the most exciting luxury getaway opportunities available, safaris have become oddly associated with a certain demographic. When conjuring a mental image of a person likely go on safari, we might immediately picture a fifty-something man with an oversized camera hanging around his neck, dressed head-to-toe in beige.
But safaris deserve so much more than this monotonous beige stereotype. The safari experience is one which is wonderfully vibrant; one which should be shared by all ages and walks of life, as it opens people’s eyes to the remarkable world we not only live in, but share. With this in mind, we take a look at exactly why everyone must go at least once in their lifetime.
The “Big 5”
Comprising of buffalo, rhinos, African leopards, elephants and – of course – lions, the so-called “Big 5” provides many African safaris with a wonderful sense of purpose. The chances of seeing all five in a week-long safari are slight, but the possibility of doing so will keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout each day.
But to claim that the “Big 5” are the only animals worth seeing on safari would be foolhardy. The real surprises are delivered by the unexpected; the cackle of hyenas feasting together while vultures circle above them, waiting for their own turn. Safari is unique as it presents these animals in their honest surroundings, opening your eyes to the ferocity of nature.
So pack your binoculars, and prepare to be amazed.
Often just as impressive as the wildlife – if not more so – the stunning scenery on safari tours is often overlooked. Ranging from the intriguing barren landscape of Botswana’s Kalahari Game reserve to the grassy floodplains of Eastern Zambia, the remarkable stillness of your surroundings is something to savour.
Very rarely in your life will you feel as in-touch with Mother Earth as you are likely to during a luxury African safari getaway. And what’s better, many safari companies often re-invest their profits into conserving local landscapes, meaning you can sleep easy in the African heat, knowing your luxury break is also helping benefit the natural environment around you.
If you really want to immerse yourself in a safari experience, there is nothing quite like staying with a local tribe. Kenya’s Maasai People are well-known for their hospitality and willingness to immerse tourists in their culture, meaning your nights on safari can become just as exciting as your days. Be sure to embrace local knowledge too, as many locals will be eager to share their stories of personal encounters with nearby wildlife, making for fascinating listening.
A good local tour guide can also make all the difference between a good experience, and an experience that you will never forget. Choose wisely and take recommendations, as drivers are a dime a dozen in many safari destinations, but choosing the right one can completely change your whole experience.
Don’t let safaris’ adventurous reputation deceive you, whilst they are undoubtedly thrilling and intense, safaris can also be incredibly luxurious.
South Africa’s Kruger National Park is known for its remarkable variety of wildlife species and is also famous for having local resorts offering an unrivalled luxury experience. Safari-goers can enjoy cuisine prepared by some of the continent’s finest chefs and spend their evenings sampling the countries fantastic wines.
With all of the above in mind, luxury safaris really should be on your travel bucket-list for sooner rather than later. Getting up close and personal with nature doesn’t have to mean roughing it in discomfort when beautiful lodges and camps such as these exist to cater to luxury travellers.
Presenting a fantastic clash of the world of wildlife and the comforts of luxury, there really is no better time than now to start thinking about your safari destination.