Gone are the days when going on safari was simple. Even the concept of a canvas tent has become a lesson in design, with beautiful lodges lining the Maasai Mara, Serengeti, Kruger and the Sabi Sands. After years of safaris and countless lodges, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite design lodges in Africa. If aesthetics and masterful design is a consideration for you when splurging on safari, these are some of the most beautiful lodges in Africa.
1. Angama Mara
Situated high on an escarpment overlooking the Masai Mara below, Angama has quickly risen to fame as one of the most sought after lodges in East Africa. This lodge is a contemporary mix of classic safari tents adjoined to brick structures, allowing for all the mod cons to bring the ultimate luxuries to the safari experience. Hot water is running within seconds, each tent is appointed with a bottle of gin and whisky, with a private deck for each room to really hit that sweet spot.
2. AndBeyond Sandibe
As one of the best lodge groups in the business, AndBeyond have refined their product to reflect the highest level of hospitality with no detail overlooked. When you match that sought after AndBeyond service with Sandibe, you hit the jackpot. Sandibe is one the crowning jewels in the And Beyond portfolio thanks to its unique design that compliments the surrounds of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
3. Singita Sweni
There are few properties on the market that reflect the surreal backdrop of Singita Sweni in South Africa. Situated among treetops overlooking a riverbed below, Singita Sweni gives the illusion of being inside a treehouse living out your Tarzan dreams. Each suite features a private balcony with its own skybed, giving guests the opportunity to sleep under the stars any evening they please.
4. The Silo
Although not a lodge (rather a city hotel), we couldn’t complete any architectural list of Africa without mentioning the impressive Silo Hotel in Cape Town. Situated inside an old grain silo, the property features some of the best views of table mountain and lion’s head, so be sure to request a mountain facing view.
5. AndBeyond Sossusvlei
Having recently undergone a refurbishment, AndBeyond Sossusvlei is one of Africa’s most impressive design concepts on the market right now. There’s nothing but nature on the agenda at AB Sossusvlei, with nightly stargazing, epic sunsets and endless sand dunes to put your mind at east. If ever there were a time to disconnect in order to reconnect, this would be it.
6. Shipwreck Lodge
Located on the picturesque skeleton coast where very few people travel in their lifetime, Shipwreck Lodge is the edge of wilderness you thought you could only dream about. With tourism boosting in numbers year by year, it is hard to believe places like this still exist.
So, what’s the kicker? You’ll need to charter a flight to the skeleton coast, so the more people you can get on board the better. There are no driving routes to the lodge making this one of the more expensive options, but certainly one of the most exclusive.
7. Chongwe River House
If you are in the market for a safari lodge that celebrates the continent and its cultures, Chongwe River House is the perfect choice. This private safari home is best for groups visiting the lower Zambezi in Zambia. It is the perfect place to enjoy the natural aspects of Zambia and make use of river activities.
8. Zuri Zanzibar
If you imagine yourself sipping from a coconut on the shores of Zanzibar, then Zuri Zanzibar is sure to please even the most discerning traveller. This gorgeous lodge is a great tropical getaway to add to your safari and refresh before returning home.
9. Africa Villa
I hadn’t heard of Africa Villa until I was standing inside the jaw dropping living room with floor to ceiling views of the Masai Mara below. Africa Villa is situated above Cottar’s 1920’s safari camp, where I was staying in a modest safari tent for three nights. However if you want impressive architecture and all the trimmings that go along with it, Africa Villa is the perfect choice.