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A baking African bush, tribal dances and the chance to see breathtaking animals in the wild. These are the attractions of a safari holiday. More recently the luxury traveller is looking for more than just spotting the big five in the African bush. Of course the wildlife remains important, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy a safari in absolute luxury. In this article, I share my opinion on some of the best safari lodges in Africa for 2016 including a combo idea which means that you don’t have to miss out on the beach when booking your next African safari.

Review Of Tongole Wilderness Lodge In The Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve In Malawi
Undoubtedly the best safari lodge in Malawi (in my opinion), the multi-award winning Tongole Wilderness Lodge  is designed like a raised treehouse. This Swiss Family Robinson style camp offers the perfect observation platform to watch the local elephants that come right up to the decks of the main lodge and drink at the river. Highlights here include nature walks, adventurous hikes up Kasukusuku or Chipata mountain, canoeing and fishing on the Bua River, community visits and the night-time fly-camps where you sleep under a blanket of stars. With just four riverside suites and a family cottage, this boutique camp has mastered the “ultimate luxury experience” by offering mammoth sized super comfy beds surrounded by billowing curtains of netting, powerful showers and huge private sunken baths with a view. Elegant dinners are served in a variety of settings, romantically lit by flickering lanterns. Wildlife wise, elephants are regular visitors to the lodge; crocodiles, monkeys and various antelope are often seen, as well as a host of rare birds and lets not forget those awesome stars.

Review Of Kaya Mawa Beach For Beach After Safari In Malawi
If you want to combine your next safari with a beautiful beach resort, here is your chance! Kaya Mawa (pictured above) is based on Likoma Island which is just 17 square kilometres in size, is covered in huge baobab trees and which is surrounded by sandy beaches and rocky coves. Kaya Mawa is a boutique retreat. It is built on and around a rocky outcrop, jutting into the lake with two beaches. Here you can dive and snorkel in the clear, fresh waters. Alternatively head off in a local boat to see the island, sail one of the dinghies, go waterskiing or even kitesurfing. Each cottage here is spacial, many have the rocks and trees forming natural walls, THEY are so close to the waters edge, that you will wake to the sounds of birds and waves. Three of the rooms have two bedrooms making them ideal for families. There is also a separate house from the main hotel with its own private beach. This house has 4 bedrooms, its own chef, butler, nanny and speedboat as well as a gorgeous private pool making it the perfect option for a larger family or group. This is the kind of place where food is served whenever you want (and it’s good), the staff cant do enough, and you will truly feel like you are staying on your own private island.

Review Of Cottars 1920’s Safari Camp In Kenya
Cottars 1920s Safari Camp was one of the first permanent luxury tented camps to take guests out on safaris in Kenya. Little has changed since the 1920s and it extends an era of luxury and quality, returning to the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’, reminiscent of a golden era – an era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. Accommodation consists of 6 Luxury Safari Tents, 1 Honeymoon Tent, 4 Family Tents all ensuite, very spacious and with large private verandahs. There is also Cottar’s Private House with 5 ensuite bedrooms, private living /dining area, staff, vehicles, guide and a 25m swimming pool.

The camp overlooks the Mara and Serengeti Plains in its very own private concession bordering the Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Loliondo reserves, the camp and the area guarantee privacy and an abundance of wildlife. Spot the big five and choose your season carefully, as the camp is path to the great migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra. Camp guides are highly qualified and knowledgeable of the area, who share an amazing insight into the Masai culture and the flora and fauna in the reserve. In the evening, bathe in your outdoor bathtub, have an amazing dinner under the stars (greens from the camp’s own vegetable garden) and give Bambi a hug before bedtime (she is the camp’s resident baby gazelle).

Review Of Stanley Safari Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia
Wake up to a warm breeze, the distant roar of lions and a symphony of birds. Step out onto your very own verandah and down to the infinity pool where you can gaze at the spray from the nearby Victoria Falls. Cabins here are constructed of teak and local stone and are open fronted, or are more colonial style with brick and tiled rooms which are closed.

Take a guided tour of the Victoria Falls, a game drive, or just laze by the pool and marvel at the views and the mist from Victoria Falls in the distance. If you laze for long enough the wildlife just might come and find you!

Review Of Chinzombo Safaris South Luangwa, Zambia
Chinzombo is situated on a sweeping curve of the Luangwa River and is perfect for those looking for luxury in the bush. The unspoiled wilderness of the Luangwa River and its ox-bow lagoons attracts large volumes of hippos and crocodiles, as well as over sixty species of mammals and over four hundred species of birds. See leopards, the wild dog, and three endemic species – the Thornicroft Giraffe, Cookson’s Wildebeest and Crawshay’s Zebra.

Chinzombo camp is situated on sixty acres of private land with Luangwa River frontage. The camp is ultra luxurious and shaded by ancient trees. Each villa at Chinzombo has an open plan design with a partially covered open deck, private plunge pool and a cooled sleeping area along with a huge luxury bathroom. One villa is designed for families with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. This camp offers direct access into one of the most game rich areas of the National Park making Chinzombo a truly special place.

Review Of Chongwe River Safari Camp, Lower Zambezi, Zambia
The Lower Zambezi National Park covers an area of 4092 square kilometers and hosts good populations of lion and leopard. Enormous herds of elephant, some up to 100 strong, are often seen at the river’s edge. ‘Island hopping’ buffalo and waterbuck are also common. Chongwe River Camp is situated on the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambezi Rivers, directly opposite Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools. Located on the boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park, and a very easy fifteen minute transfer from Royal Airstrip.

Chongwe is one of the oldest and most established Safari companies in the Lower Zambezi. The camp itself looks out upon the breath-taking mountains of the escarpment to the north; which is regarded as one of the most picturesque camp locations in Southern Africa. Rooms are large, with a well-appointed tents under thatch and a luxury open-air bathrooms with fittings made from natural materials. Situated under a canopy of Albida thorns and surrounded by cool lawns, they command views over the rivers.

Activities here include day and night drives, boats cruises, walking safaris or their flagship canoeing where you watch the elephants drink, or simply sit back and enjoying your sundowner soaking up the magnificent vista of the Lower Zambezi.

Review of Tongabezi Safari Lodge, Zambia
Tongabezi Lodge is a romantic safari hideaway on the banks of the Zambezi River just upstream of Victoria Falls. Accomodation is in a selection of houses and cottages, each beautifully styled with furniture and embellishments from all over Africa. Guests can dine beside the river or on their private terrace.

Truly spectacular Victoria Falls is the ‘must do’ trip from Tongabezi — the only operator allowed on legendary Livingstone Island in the middle of the Falls. From the lodge the inclusive river cruises will bring you up close and personal to sandy islands as you meander past the hippos and crocodiles of the Zambezi River. Your valet, will bring you juice and pressed coffee in the morning and will draw your al fresco bubble bath on the verandah overlooking the river in the evening. The sunsets are fabulous here. Expect wonderfully quiet nights except for the grunting hippos at the river’s edge. Bliss.

Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.