Africa is synonymous with luxury hotels, camps and lodges, with some of the finest places to stay anywhere in the world
21 Jun 2021
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Top 10 Luxury places to stay in Africa
Africa is synonymous with luxury hotels, camps and lodges, with some of the finest places to stay anywhere in the world found in expected, as well as unexpected, corners of the continent. Occupying prime locations, offering superb food, wine and services, as well as excellent spas and a range of activities, you will want for nothing when staying in the best places that Africa has to offer. Whether you are looking to stay in luxury accommodation throughout your trip, or have one “highlight” place to spend a few days, our expert team will be able to recommend the right combination of places to you stay for the ultimate trip. Here is a selection of some of our favourite places to stay from cosmopolitan Cape Town to the plains of the Masai Mara and everywhere in between...
The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa
One of Cape Town’s newest and most innovative luxury hotels, The Silo is found on the upper floors of the city’s Zeit Mocaa Museum, housed in an old grain silo in the V&A Waterfront. The panoramic views across to the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain and the city are the very best that Cape Town has to offer, with the rooftop swimming pool, bar and restaurant being an especially popular feature with guests.
The bedrooms are all uniquely designed and furnished, with the interiors put together by the owner Liz Biden. The furniture pieces are all unique and really enhance the luxury feel that The Silo is renowned for. Floor to ceiling windows, again uniquely designed, allow guests to enjoy the views from the beds. The food here is outstanding, as one would expect from one of the city’s best hotels, helping to showcase South Africa as one of the culinary capitals of the world.
The service is truly personalised but discreet, with guests never wanting for anything during their stay, but there is never the feeling that staff are hovering which can often make guests uncomfortable. All told, a stay at The Silo is a truly unique experience and one visitors cherish for many years after they have stayed.
Leeu Estates, South Africa
Perched on the hillside overlooking the quaint winelands village of Franschhoek, Leeu Estates offers visitors to this iconic part of South Africa one of the most luxurious stays they can have anywhere in the world. The bedrooms are huge, with deep, soft carpets, all of the amenities one could wish for and stunning views down the Franschhoek valley.
The same feeling of space prevails in the main areas of the hotel, with plenty of comfortable sofas and private areas where guests can hide away and relax. The sprawling gardens are home to an array of intriguing sculptures whilst the sparkling swimming pool is an ever-popular feature with guests and staff are always on hand to serve drinks and food on the pool terrace.
The food is superb, focusing on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and complemented by an outstanding wine list, with many of the wines coming from the adjacent Mullineux Estate. The hotel has access to a number of walking trails through the mountains and guests can take a picnic basket with them to enjoy a quiet lunch overlooking Franschhoek. A superb take on contemporary luxury, Leeu Estates is amongst the very finest hotels that Franschhoek has to offer.
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, South Africa
The Sabi Sand is one of Africa’s prime wildlife viewing locations, benefiting from its location adjacent to the world-famous Kruger National Park. If you are looking to enjoy world class game viewing then it makes sense to enjoy it from a world class lodge, which is exactly what Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is.
Found in its own private area, with no other lodges around, the feeling of privacy is apparent throughout your stay, a key element in luxury African experiences. Spacious suites with indoor and outdoor bathrooms, lounge areas and huge beds are strung away from the main lodge and also boast their own plunge pools and covered terraces with sofas and hanging chairs – perfect for lazy afternoons.
The main area of the lodge boasts panoramic views across the bush, with elephant often seen in the afternoons thanks to the presence of a nearby waterhole. The food and drink offerings here are truly amongst the best in Africa, with menus that are the envy of some of the finest restaurants anywhere in the world and a wine list to match. Dinners in the wine cellar are one of the signature experiences here and the excellent spa offers a comprehensive range of treatments to enjoy in between game drives. Definitely a spot for those who enjoy the finer things in life, Earth Lodge is truly amongst the finest lodges that the continent has to offer.
King’s Pool, Botswana
Botswana’s wild and remote Linyanti region was long the preserve of more adventurous safari goers, attracted by the absence of crowds and amazing wildlife, but they often had to forgo some of the luxuries usually associated with a Botswana safari when staying here. A few years back King’s Pool stepped up to fill that void and has recently been reimagined and refurbished to sit amongst the very finest lodges in Botswana – no small feat given the competition.
Vast suites sit on wooded decks to allow a cooling breeze to flow through, with sunken lounges, large outdoor decks and private plunge pools for guests to relax in between safaris. The main lodge offers guests the chance to socialise with one other and enjoy the lovely food, varied wines and warm, natural hospitality for which King’s Pool is renowned.
Tie all of these elements in with incredible wildlife viewing, both in terms of variety of animals and numbers, a huge range of activities and superb guides, it is easy to see why King’s Pool commands such a following amongst safari aficionados. This is a truly magical place to spend a few days as part of a Botswana safari and perfectly complements all of the other luxury lodges that the country is renowned for.
Jack’s Camp, Botswana
The heart of the foreboding Magkadigkadi Pans is one of the last places you might expect to find one of Africa’s most renowned luxury safari lodges, but that is exactly what you get in the incredible Jack’s Camp. The legacy of legendary explorer Jack Bousfield, the camp is an oasis of tranquillity and offers guests a truly unique experience when staying here.
The camp has a strong Moroccan feel to it, with lots of deep red colours, traditional rugs and furnishings, which really elevate how special the experience of staying here is. Bedrooms are very comfortable and spacious with shaded verandas overlooking the pans, whilst the main area, including the shaded swimming pool offer guests the chance for privacy or socialising depending on how they feel.
The range of activities is a hugely attractive reason for visiting Jack’s Camp, with guests able to go on drives on the pans, quad bike trips, visit meerkats at sunrise and spend time with the indigenous bushmen who live on the pans. There is also the chance to visit beautiful Kubu Island which featured on Top Gear’s Botswana road trip and even spend the night camping there. Jack’s Camp is a truly special spot, beloved of all its guests and a place many desire to return to time and time again.
Zambia has long had a reputation of offering some of the finest game viewing anywhere in Africa, but often lost out on guests as there wasn’t anywhere to stay that rivalled the continent’s finest camps. This all changed in 2014 when renowned safari operator Norman Carr Safaris opened Chinzombo on the banks of the Luangwa River in the South Luangwa National Park.
Accessed by a short boat trip across the river, the feeling of luxury at Chinzombo is immediate as you step in to the vast dining and lounge area, complete with outdoor firepit that overlooks the river and the park beyond. There is a strong historical connection with Norman Carr at Chinzombo as it was his summer base camp for expeditions in to the park and the main area is adorned with photos and memorabilia of his time there.
The colonial theme extends in to the canvas-sided suites which are wonderfully comfortable and boast their own private plunge pools which are shaded by groves of trees and overlook the Luangwa River. Discrete, personalised service is the order of the day at Chinzombo, with simple but delicious cuisine, excellent wines and a lovely range of cocktails that are served at sunset overlooking the river. Chinzombo was a pioneer for bringing luxury lodges to Zambia and remains the leading option if you are looking to indulge yourselves when visiting the country.
Cottar’s 1920s Camp, Kenya
Tucked away on its own private concession on the plains of the Masai Mara, Cottar’s 1920s Camp is a throwback to safaris of old, offering guests a glimpse of how the pioneers explored Africa, albeit with all of the luxuries of a modern safari. Owner managed by legendary guide Calvin Cottar whose family have been guiding and exploring the Mara for generations, Cottar’s is the last word in luxury in Kenya.
The camp has a very traditional feel to it, with spacious canvas tents boasting their own indoor and outdoor bathrooms and sitting areas, stunning views over the Mara and gloriously comfortable beds. The communal area of the lodge is a wonderful space where guests can relax between safaris and enjoy the company of the genial staff who help to make a stay at Cottar’s such a special experience.
Superb food is complemented by a varied wine list and meals are served in a variety of inspiring locations around the camp. A beautiful swimming pool offers panoramic views of the plains of the Mara and is the perfect place to cool off in the heat of the afternoon. If classical experiences are your thing then there are few finer options in Kenya than Cottar’s, it is a wonderfully elegant place to spend a few days and offers easy access to some of the finest game viewing Africa has to offer.
Jabali Ridge, Tanzania
The wilds of southern Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park are one of Tanzania’s best kept secrets, with amazing predator and elephant sightings to be had in this land of towering baobab trees and gently flowing rivers. For a long time it was somewhere for the hardier safari goer only, with simple tented camps very much the order of the day. The opening of Jabali Ridge changed all of that and immediately placed Ruaha firmly on the radar of luxury safari enthusiasts from across the globe.
Set on a hillside with panoramic views of the park, the lodge is centred around the open-plan main area, complete with a gin bar, communal and private dining areas as well as a secluded swimming pool nestled amongst the rocks. The suites are nicely spread from one another and have large decks at the front where guests can relax in a hammock in the afternoons and take in the compelling views across the park.
The service, food, quality of guiding and access to amazing wildlife viewing all come together to make Jabali Ridge a truly special spot. Off the beaten track, hard to get to and undoubtedly expensive, it certainly isn’t for everyone, but those who do make the journey down here cannot fail to be captivated by the magical experience that a stay here offers. Truly special.
Serra Cafema, Namibia
The wide expanse of the Kunene River marks the border between Namibia and Angola and is a land of endless sand dunes, secluded oases and home to the nomadic Himba people, one of Namibia’s most notable tribes. It is also home to the remarkable Serra Cafema, a stunning lodge right on the banks of the river and a true adventurers paradise. Large suites look out across the river and offer guests a haven of tranquillity in which they can relax and enjoy the incredible views.
The décor and artwork is influenced by the local Himba people, as it is the large main area which is open-fronted and also looks out across the river. The food here is remarkable, all the more so for the remote location of the lodge, which is only accessible via light aircraft flight, helping to make it a truly unique and luxurious offering.
Activities with the highly experienced guides include walks and drives through the dunes, sundowner drinks by an oasis, boat trips on the river and of course the chance to spend some time with the fascinating Himba people. If you treasure experiences that few others ever get the opportunity to enjoy the Serra Cafema is undoubtedly the place for you – the remote location, range of experiences and quality of the lodge all tie together to help make this one of Namibia and indeed Africa’s most compelling places to visit.
Baraza Resort & Spa, Zanzibar
No trip to Africa is complete without a visit to one of its Indian Ocean beaches and there is a huge range of places to stay, from basic bungalows to incredible luxury resorts. However, if you are looking for the last word in beachside luxury then it is hard to look beyond Zanzibar’s Baraza Resort and Spa. Found on the east of the island, this is a small resort with a very traditional Zanzibari feel to it, from the architecture and décor to the white robed staff and outstanding food – it really is Zanzibar through and through.
The villas are found along the beach and set back in the gardens and all come with their own walled gardens, private pools and indoor sitting areas meaning they are superb for those who value their privacy. Two restaurants and bars offer a superb range of food and there is a large swimming pool for guest to enjoy if they don’t want to swim in the sea.
A range of watersports can be enjoyed or you can simply relax on the soft white sand beach and enjoy the sunshine. Beach holidays should be about doing as much, or as little, as you please and a stay at Baraza is no different, albeit one where you stay in one of the finest beach hotels anywhere in the world.
Now that we've tempted you with some of the best places to stay in Africa, all that's left to do is get in touch and speak with one of expert Africa travel consultants. We're perfectly placed to plan your ultimate tailor-made luxury safari to Africa.
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