Top 10 Remote And Luxurious Places To Stay In Africa
Our guide to some of the most remote and beautiful places to stay in Africa
27 Jul 2020
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As the world emerges from the strange events of the first half of 2020 thoughts, inevitably, turn to when we will be able to travel again and where to travel to. For many, the desire to escape the crowds that can be found in the more popular parts of Africa will be palpable and there are many amazing places where visitors have the chance to do just that.
Here is our guide to some the of the most isolated and beautiful properties that the country has to offer. Remote, luxurious and with plenty to see and do during your stay, accessing such places may require a more arduous journey than normal, but the effort will be more than worthwhile for the truly remarkable experiences that each of these wonderful properties offer.
1. Tintswalo Atlantic, Cape Town, South Africa
No holiday to South Africa is complete without spending time in Cape Town but, being a small city, it can be hard to escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet. Tintswalo Atlantic bucks that trend in glorious style, offering its guests a haven of peace and tranquillity, but one within easy striking distance of the Mother City and all of the attractions that it has to offer.
Nestled away at the foot of a hillside off Chapman’s Peak Drive, right up against the waters of Hout Bay and with views across to the village, this is a wonderfully stylish property that takes full advantage of its amazing location.
Spacious bedrooms are strung out along a boardwalk that leads away from the main part of the lodge and boast wonderful views to the Sentinel mountain peak and out to the swirling waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Between August and November whales can often be seen in the bay, sometimes just a few metres from the pebble beach that runs in front of the property. A sparkling swimming pool offers the same amazing views as the rooms, whilst the beautiful main area of the lodge is a great spot to relax and enjoy the superb food, outstanding wine list and relaxed, natural hospitality that are all hallmarks of Atlantic.
2. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, Cederberg Mountains, South Africa
The clue here is in the name – Wilderness Reserve – with the beautiful Bushmans Kloof tucked away in its own private piece of land in the heart of the Western Cape’s beautiful Cederberg Mountains.
A stay here is all about exclusivity and unique, personal experiences, with guests accommodated in beautiful rooms and suites throughout the old homestead. Spacious and uniquely designed, the rooms are amongst the finest in all of South Africa and draw visitors back time and time again thanks to their style.
Guests spend their days exploring the reserve, which is famed for having over 130 ancient rock art sites, with guides on hand to take guests to them and help interpret the etchings of the bushmen who used to live here. Additionally, there is the chance to go on nature drives, cycle through the reserve, canoe on the river or even try your hand at some fly fishing. Each set of guests have their experience personally curated for them and there are no rigid timetables to adhere to.
The cuisine is outstanding, with the lodge proudly boasting its Relais and Chateaux membership, so you are assured amazing food served with some of the finest wines South Africa has to offer. There is an endless array of places for meals to be served, including the banks of the Boontjies River which is perfect for picnics.
Those looking for an even more exclusive experience here should book one of the amazing private villas – Koro Lodge or Cederberg House. This truly remarkable property is around 3 hours drive from Cape Town but is well worth the journey for those who treasure extraordinary experiences.
The endless deserts of Namibia are made for escaping the crowds, with lodges spread well apart from one another so visitors never feel overrun, even during the busy travelling season between May and October. However, if you are looking to escape other visitors completely then the stunning Sonop, in the southern part of the breathtaking Namib Desert is hard to beat.
The lodge itself is a throwback to safaris of old, with luxury tented rooms designed in 1920s British colonial décor including original pieces of furnishing from the era. They are very spacious and comfortable with the feeling of space accentuated by the roll up canvas fronts which allow stunning views out to the burnt orange sands of the Namib Desert.
Activities are conducted in the vast, unoccupied tracts of desert that surround the lodge, with guests invited to head out with guides to enjoy morning and afternoon nature drives and learn more about the remarkable desert ecosystem. They also offer horseriding trails, electric bike routes and guided walks whilst the crystal-clear night skies are perfect for stargazing. One of their unique activities is an outdoor cinema experience which is beautifully created and the perfect way to round off any day exploring this amazing area.
With wonderful food, an extensive wine list and attentive staff, there are few places in Namibia that looks after guests better. Sonop is a truly remarkable spot, far away from anywhere and a great place to spend a few days away from the crowds.
4. Kalahari Plains Camp, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
Whilst many visitors to Botswana head to its undoubted crown jewel, the iconic Okavango Delta, there are some other amazing areas to explore, with the beautiful Central Kalahari Game Reserve a true hidden gem.
Covering of 50,000km² of central Botswana, the reserve has for over 20,000 years been home to the hunter-gatherer San bushmen people, one of the most fascinating indigenous groups in Africa and there is a chance to spend time with them when visiting the reserve.
Taking pride of place as the best lodge in the reserve is Kalahari Plains Camp, a simple yet stylish tented camp and a wonderful base from which to explore the reserve. Indeed, the tented rooms all have an outdoor sleeping deck above them, meaning guests who are so inclined can spend a night, or more, sleeping under the stars – a truly unique experience and one that the clear, dry nights of the Kalahari are made for.
The focus of the activities is enjoying the wide-open spaces of the Kalahari, searching for wildlife including black-maned Kalahari lions and walking with the fascinating bushmen to learn how they survive in such a harsh, featureless environment.
Relaxing in camp between activities gives guests time to unwind, with the sparkling swimming pool a popular feature and very welcoming in the heat of the afternoon. With superb cuisine and friendly hosting, this is a great spot to get away from it all and enjoy the wide expanses of Botswana’s green desert.
Deserts, naturally, lend themselves very well to getting away from the crowds and the wide-open spaces of the Kalahari Desert are amongst the most beautiful in all of Africa.
The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, in South Africa’s Northern Cape is a truly remarkable place, accessible only via charter flight from Johannesburg or Cape Town and offers one of the most unique experiences that the country has to offer.
At Tswalu the focus is on private, truly personalised experiences, with each group of guests given their own vehicle and guide for the duration of their stay. This means that days can be planned to suit exactly what guests wish to do – from early morning visits to their habituated meerkat colony to long drives searching for rhino or black-maned Kalahari lion, the possibilities are endless. They also offer horseriding, guided walks through the reserve and the chance to learn more about some of the special projects being conducted by researchers, including a particularly interesting pangolin research programme.
The Motse is a stunning lodge which perfectly complements the beautifully curated experiences that the guides offer within the reserve. Spacious and comfortable suites have stunning views out over the desert plains, with outdoor decks perfect for private dinners.
Within the main lodge there is plenty of space for guests to escape one another, relax in between activities and enjoy the beautifully designed meals for which Tswalu is renowned. The spa is a great spot for treatments of all kinds, whilst the sparkling swimming pool is very welcoming, especially during the hot summer desert afternoons.
There are few more remote and beautiful spots on the whole continent than Tswalu and a few days here is a truly magical experience and one not to be missed.
6. King Lewanika Lodge, Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia
Few lodges in Africa can stake the claim of being the only permanent lodge within a particular park, but King Lewanika, a stunning property in western Zambia’s Liuwa Plain National Park absolutely can.
In addition to being one of the remotest lodges in the country it is also arguably the most luxurious, boasting an innovative design, gloriously spacious and comfortable rooms and a wonderful main area which is perfect for relaxing in between safaris.
With a maximum of 12 guests at any one time, there is always a feeling of solitude when staying here, accentuated by the fact all guests arrive via helicopter, surely the ultimate way to arrive anywhere. The staff to guest ratio means the experience is truly personalised, with guests able to plan their days out exploring in conjunction with their guide.
As well as game drives there will be the chance to go on guided walks, enjoy seasonal canoe safaris and wild flower viewings, helicopter flights over the park and even sleepouts under the stars.
The park is run by African Parks, a renowned conservation organisation that operates some of Africa’s lesser lights and has done a superb job in helping to conserve and grow the wildlife population. Lion and cheetah are common sightings on the open plains, as are hyena who take pride of place as the apex predator within the park, a unique set of circumstances which is part of Liuwa’s allure.
Truly off the beaten track and on the road to nowhere, Liuwa certainly isn’t for everyone but those who do make the trip up here cannot fail to be captivated by the majesty of the park and the beautiful King Lewanika Lodge.
The Katavi National Park, in the south-west of Tanzania certainly counts as an off the beaten track experience, welcoming fewer visitors to the whole park each year than some camps in the Serengeti receive on their own. Combine this with the stunning landscapes for which the park is renowned and excellent wildlife – lion, leopard and elephant are common sightings, as we some of the largest herds of buffalo you will see anywhere in Africa – and you have a truly incredible place to spend some time. Indeed, the lion hunting buffalo interactions are amongst the most intense on the continent and are a reason to visit this remote but beautiful park in themselves.
If the park itself is a throwback to safaris of old – huge herds of wildlife and no crowds – then Chada Katavi, the best camp in the park encapsulates this as well, with its laid-back yet elegant style offering a wonderfully traditional safari experience.
The tents are spacious and very comfortable, with open air bathrooms at the rear and shaded verandas at the front where guests can sit back and gaze out in to the bush. The main mess tent is the social hub of Chada where guests enjoy delicious home-cooked meals, drinks from the bar and can chat about their days exploring the bush.
The vast open plains and abundant wildlife means that game drives are very popular at Chada, but guests looking for an altogether wilder experience can explore the park on foot with their guides, as well as spend a night camping out beneath the stars – a truly unique experience and one not to be missed.
8. Mwaleshi Camp, North Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Most visitors to Zambia gravitate immediately towards the world-famous South Luangwa National Park, renowned in particular for its excellent leopard sightings and outstanding walking safaris. A side effect of the popularity is that it does get very busy, especially between July and October, which can put some keen safari goers off, especially if they are used to less crowded areas.
Step forward the North Luangwa National Park, roughly half the size of its better-known twin but far more sparsely populated with camps – just three at the time of writing versus dozens in the south. The feeling of space, peace and privacy that a visit to the North Luangwa offers is hard to replicate and it is likely the only other tourists you will see during your stay are those at your camp, with the sighting of another vehicle rarer than most wildlife sightings.
Mwaleshi Camp itself is a simple but comfortable affair, with open-sided rooms and a small communal area where the rustic but delicious meals are served. There is no swimming pool, but guests are welcome to cool off in the natural pools of the Mwaleshi River just a few paces from the camp – a glorious experience and one not to be missed.
The focus here is very much on getting out and enjoying the wide open spaces of the North Luangwa on foot so it certainly attracts a very adventurous client base, but there is a vehicle on hand for those who prefer game drives.
If you are looking for unique, rustic experiences far away from the crowds then Mwaleshi is an offering you should absolutely consider.
The dramatic rolling hills of south-eastern Kenya are somewhat of a secret spot for safari goers, known to a handful of aficionados for their stunning landscapes, varied wildlife and amazing walking experiences. This is about as away from the crowds as you can get in Kenya, with just a relative handful of visitors making the journey out here and only a small number of lodges to choose from.
Undoubtedly the best of these is the stunning Ol Donyo Lodge which boldly claims to offer the widest range of experiences of any lodge in Africa and having enjoyed a few days there it is hard to argue this point.
Day and night time game drives allow guests to explore the unique habitats that surround the lodge, home to the Big Five as well as cheetah, giraffe, gerenuk and fringe-eared oryx to name but a few species. Horse riding is one of the lodge’s signature activities with riders of all abilities catered for, whilst the terrain is also perfect for short walks and longer day hikes as well as mountain biking.
Guests can also visit a local Maasai village and school, both supported by the lodge to get a raw, true view of local life. A log pile hide is perfect for photographers or those who just like a peaceful afternoon and a wide-ranging children’s’ programme means this is a great lodge for families.
The lodge itself is beautifully designed and hard to tear oneself away from. Spacious suites are hidden from one another withing the forest and are wonderfully comfortable with private outdoor decks and their own pools. The main area of the lodge commands stunning views out over the surrounding area, has a lovely pool area and a beautiful lounge where guests can relax between game drives.
Being one of just two Relais & Chateaux properties in Kenya is also a handy distinction for discerning travellers planning their trips. A simply stunning lodge and a must for those who prefer the finer things in life.
For some time now North Island, known to many simply as “North” has been a byword for the ultimate in luxury and privacy anywhere in the world. Beloved of royalty, a-list celebrities and the world’s wealthiest who want a truly private escape, this simply breathtaking lodge, the only one on the island, is hard to beat if you are looking to escape the crowds.
Accessed by helicopter from the main island of Mahe, there are just 11 vast villas at North Island, all of them beautifully designed and put together, with guests wanting for nothing during their stay.
Indeed, guests who are so incline don’t even need to leave their villa for the duration of their stay if they don’t wish to do so, such is the space and level of luxury they afford. With private pools, outdoor dining areas and spacious interiors including lounge areas with TVs and direct access to the beach, they are miniature lodges in their own right.
Those who do venture to the main area will see a continuation of theme of space, quality, peace and tranquillity, with staff always on hand to serve food and drinks, but never hovering or being overbearing with their service.
The food, as one would expect, is outstanding, with a focus on seafood in many of the menus, as well as herbs, vegetables and other ingredients grown in the gardens by the chefs.
Whilst the temptation here is often to sit back and do as little as possible, there are plenty of marine activities to enjoy including swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving as well as bike rides and walks on the island.
Hawksbill turtles nest on the island periodically throughout the year and guests will also be able to learn about the varied conservation projects that the North Island team are involved in. Inspiring stuff and very fitting for arguably Africa’s best and most exclusive place to stay.
If you'd like to find out more about any of these properties and arrange a holiday that includes one of them, call us today on 01768 603715 or fill in our enquiry form.