According to the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards – the “longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry” – Africa is pretty special. It features heavily in the 31st annual awards – in fact, in the “Best Resorts in the World” category, Africa takes an amazing 13 of the 50 spots on the list! Here’s a quick look at these über-luxe properties if you’re looking for a seriously special getaway:
46. Richard’s River Camp
Kenya’s Mara North Conservancy
This luxuriously chic tented camp is ideal for those seeking an immersive safari experience. Richard is a third-generation safari expert and conservationist, and his set-up offers a casual safari elegance that will leave you wanting more.
35. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
This private wilderness reserve in the Greater Kruger offers the opportunity to spot more than the famed Big Five. Here you’ll enjoy game drives in open-sided vehicles and a choice of accommodation from colonial-style lodges to the Earth Lodge, the “most environmentally sensitive lodge in Africa”.
26. Ol Jogi Home
Kenya’s Laikipia region
Exclusivity and remoteness go hand in hand at this incredible 60,000 acre wildlife conservancy in North Kenya. It offers exclusive use, brilliant safari experiences and a wholehearted commitment to conservation. Game drives, horseback riding, fishing and a hammam-style spa are a few of the experiences on offer.
24. Morukuru properties
South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve
This spot offers a wonderful family-friendly, malaria-free safari experience. Beyond the Big Five, you’ll get the opportunity to spot the Magnificent Seven – which adds cheetah and African wild dog to the list. Expect stunning vistas, luxurious villas each designed lavishly and differently, and three properties to choose from. This is the ultimate for any family safari.
23. Vumbura Plains
Set among wild fig and sausage trees, this stunning camp offers an impressive wildlife experience where you’ll stay in pure style – and likely encounter every animal imaginable.
19. Singita Lebombo Lodge
South Africa’s Kruger National Park
The number-one game reserve in the country, this 33,000-acre private concession boasts the best of the best, with fewer tourists and vehicles to contend with, spectacular scenery to savour, discreet service and sumptuous accommodation. This is a sexy safari and ideal for honeymooners or lovebirds.
16. Makanyi Private Game Lodge
South Africa’s Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
With just seven rooms, this lodge offers total luxury but in a relaxed setting that feels like a super-luxe family home. This is the place to go if you’re wanting something chic, intimate and laid-back.
13. Royal Malewane
South Africa’s Greater Kruger region
This is a very elegant affair in Thornybush Private Game Reserve with sophisticated suites and palatial six-bedroom Africa House. Ideal for families or couples seeking privacy, here you’ll be away from the Kruger crowds and guaranteed great wildlife sightings with brilliant guides.
11. Chindeni Bushcamp
Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park
This is our kind of camp, with just four enormous canvas tents up on stilts affording lovely outlooks and safari simplicity. Game drives and walking safaris are on offer here so it’s an adventure paradise for the active.
9. Royal Chundu Luxury Lodges
Zambia’s Zambezi River
Away from – yet easily accessible to – the thunderous Victoria Falls, this property is super-suave, with its pops of colour in a classic lodging. Stay at the River Lodge, with rooms suspended on stilts facing the river, or on Katombora Island flanked by baobabs and Jackalberry trees. This is an ideal ‘rejuvenation’ stay in between a more active safari experience or two.
7. Marataba Safari Lodge
South Africa’s Marakele Concession
This malaria-free beauty offers an alternative from the traditional Big Five safari experience because here you can walk and game drive. Beyond that, it’s ideal for families to just embrace time together in a wilderness that’s nothing short of spectacular.
6. Singita Sabi Sand
South Africa’s Greater Kruger region
Expect Cape Dutch charm, a beautiful antique collection and outstanding guiding, not to mention every creature comfort under the sun. New additions include a wine cellar, state-of-the-art kitchen and full gymnasium.
5. Angama Mara
Kenya’s Great Rift Valley
Only a few years old, this spectacular lodge sits on the Oloololo escarpment, commanding views over the Mara Triangle. There are 15 suites in each of the two camps – 180° panoramas of the savanna through their massive glass fronts will take your breath away, as will the slick service, friendly hospitality and epic safari experiences.