Safaris are savannahs of great spectacle, and not just something Adam Sandler would turn into a comedy (flop). The call of the wild brings curious travellers to Africa in search of the Big Five — African lions, African elephants, Cape buffalo, African leopards, and rhinoceros. But what if you want a little more? Here are some of the world’s most luxurious safaris that offer so much more, from adventurous tours for the adrenaline junkie, to the best Big Five-watching lodges for the discerning nomad.
#1 King of the Jungle
Where: From Cape Town to Victoria Falls, South Africa
Highlight: A 13-day-stay at four of Travel+Leisure’s best stays. It’s the ultimate all-star safari for posh nomads.
The experience: After winning the title of Travel+Leisure’s World’s Best Safari Outfitter nine times, Micato made a game-changing move by establishing the best of the best: The Travel+Leisure World’s Best Safari. The getaway begins at the one and only, One&Only Cape Town, before heading to Singita for 33,000 acres of wilderness. Finally, relax on your veranda at the famous Royal Livingstone hotel, as mist rises from the dramatic Victoria Falls. Okay, take all our money.
#2 Into The Wild
Where: Mombo Camp, Botswana
Highlight: If at all a perk, Mombo Camp is one of the world’s most expensive hotels.
The experience: Mombo Camp, also known as the “place of plenty”, packs some of the best big-five viewings in all of Africa, particularly for large prides of lion and the elusive leopard. The camp is made up of nine spacious en-suites with a long veranda, a sala, and both indoor and outdoor showers. Also in the main living area are two plunge pools and gym. You had us at lion.
#3 Can You Feel the Love Tonight?
Where: From Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa
Highlight: Spend a night out under the stars at the Molori sleepout.
The experience: The Ultimate South African Safari by Go2Africa is our pick for honeymooners. 14 days in four hotels, and plenty of activities lined up: Big Five spotting at the Kruger National Park, city exploration at the Mother City, star-gazing and a visit to the endangered Africa penguin colony at Boulders Beach. Lots of pampering, fine dining and wine sampling to unleash your animal instincts… if you catch our drift.
#4 What’s New, Pussycat?
Where: Mahali Mzuri, Kenya
ighlight: It’s the best spot in the house for watching the Great Migration. (You might be able to do some Richard Branson-spotting while you’re at it).
The experience: Mahali Mzuri is Richard Branson’s year-old 12-tented safari camp. Design-wise it’s rather spectacular, combining the basic concept of a tent with all the luxuries money can buy. Each tent is just a five-minute walk from the main tent, which shares an infinity pool and lounge area with iPod decks, a library, game console and fireplace. Setting up camp here couldn’t be easier, game drives at night, walking safaris, guided tours and even hot air ballooning can all be arranged with the lodge. Yes, hot air ballooning.
#5 It’s A Jungle Out There
Where: Royal Malewane, South Africa
Highlight: The rangers and trackers here are said to be among the best in Africa!
The experience: Fewer leave days left? For a shorter trip, we like – scratch that, we love – the nine-day Steppes Travel safari. There’s still plenty of Big Five-spotting at the Thornybush reserve just west of the Kruger National Park, and you get to stay at one very swanky lodge (this is the luxurious list, don’t forget). By day, you get to cruise around in “state-of-the-art” vehicles designed for keen photographers. When the sun sets, you return to your canopied king-size bed in a fully air-conditioned suite. What a life.