Africa may conjure up images of the antithesis of luxury to those not in the know. However for discerning traveller seeking distinct experiences in style, Africa is all the go. Eco luxury resorts and safaris in the Southern African states offer lavish semi-permanent camps that open up onto jungles, savannahs and legendary dunes. Privileged guests not only get up and close with endangered species in their natural habitat put money back into the local economy to protect the magnificent creatures against poachers and ensure their survival.
Here is just a taste of what the wilds of Africa have to offer the indulgent adventurer.
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, South Africa
This eco luxury resort is owned by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines so you know it’s going to be stylish and forward thinking. Set in a private, 13,500-hectare Sabi Sand reserve on the border of the Kruger National Park this lavish lodge is adjacent to wildlife paradise; Africa’s big 5 elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions and leopards.
The sumptuous suites of its Rock Lodge are literarily carved into the 800 foot looming rockface above central Sabi Sand offering sweeping views and breathtaking blood red sunsets. Alternatively the Safari Lodge is hidden away in the wilds of the bush like a super luxury jungle house with swinging Tarzan style bridges linking them to the reset of the resort.
The resort features an award-winning spa, freshwater pools, a wine cellar and a bush observatory for stargazing. It also offers exclusive opportunities to shoot the wildlife- with your camera of course- and produce wildlife shots worthy of national geographic.
Prices start from $680 per person.
Abu Camp, Botswana
Situated near the Okavango Delta, one of the few remaining wetland wilderness in Africa and a safe haven for elephants, the Abu Camp combines luxury camping with interaction with the endangered elephant community. For the record, some of the money spent on park permits will go back into protecting the elephants from poachers.
The luxury tents are cleverly designed with unique high, wide and airy canvasing style so you will really need the air conditioner in the evening. The six tent suites all have en-suites, generous decks with glorious sunset views, an indoor and outdoor shower, and stylish African inspired furnishing that give you a taste of the old days of Dr. Livingston but with sheer opulence and openness.
Prices from $625 per person.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Uganda
The Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is nestled within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in western Uganda and designed to blend into the jungle. Seated in one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, what calls most privileged tourist is its access to the elusive mountain gorilla. Guests experience an expertly led gorilla trekking expedition daily on their doorstep and on many occasions, don’t even need to leave the camp to see the gorillas peering back through the mist at them. Once again the presence of tourists and the fees to park help keep the gorillas safe from poachers. The camp boasts eight spacious double tents, each with private wooden verandas and soaking bathtubs overlooking a lush rainforest.
Prices from $455 per person.
Wolwedans Dune Camp, Nambia
Namibia has become a hot destination ever since Brangelina started holidaying here (Angelina even gave birth here in 2010). This is one of several luxury camps in the heart of a Namibian private nature reserves.
Wolwedans Dune Camp is right next to an 800 foot-high sand dune in the world’s oldest desert, the Nambid desert. Just 12 paying guests are accommodated in the six tents erected on wooden platforms, each with a spacious deck for sleep-outs under the stars. Scenic drives take guests through ancient geological formations, and near fascinating flora and fauna. The ever changing hues of this colorful tinted desert are stunning and you won’t believe the sunsets.
The main tent-houses is a lounge and dining area with an open-plan kitchen where you can chat to the chef as he cooks up spectacular gourmet dinners and where you can crack open a fine African wine and share tales with other exclusive guests.
Prices from $195 per night per person.