Early morning wake-ups with the wild things and sunset quests out on the back of an open vehicle in the African bush. This epitomises an African safari. Add in luxurious touches, gourmet feasts and bouts of relaxing pampering in the bush at a luxury safari lodge and you have it all. The best safari lodges in Africa have thought above and beyond the game drives which can sometimes leave you, well, a little hot and dusty! You’ll need to bathe. And you’ll want to do it well.
Read on for our guide to the Best Safari Lodges with outdoor showers and baths with a wild view…
1. Kapama Karula
Located in the Greater Kruger National Park, Kapama Private Game Reserve offers an escape into a part of Africa that is beloved by all that visit it. The reserve is home to 4 lodges, with Kapama Karula being the flagship. Elegant, chic and luxurious, this lodge is perfect for the most seasoned traveller, with each of the 10 superior villas offering endless views over the riverbed below.
Getting there is easier than ever with direct Airlink flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Hoedspruit.
Bathing in the bush at Karula: From the spacious bathroom, you can step out under the canopy of the trees for a refreshing early morning outdoor shower with the birds.
For those looking for something a little more zen, the couple’s bath in the award-winning Karula Spa will leave you stress-free and squeaky clean. This safari spa is not to be missed!
2. Garonga Safari Camp
Located in the Makalali Conservancy just outside Kruger National Park, the owner-run, and managed Garonga Safari camp offers an unhurried and intimate luxury safari. With only 6 tents at Safari Camp and 3 Suites at Little Garonga, it’s no wonder it’s popular with couples in search of a perfect safari honeymoon or romantic escape.
Getting there is easier than ever with direct Airlink flights from Johannesburg to Phalaborwa or Hoedspruit.
Bathing in the Bush at Garonga: In high demand are the Bush bath and Star bath experiences – two completely private outdoor bathing indulgences offering guests a starlit soak in the African bush. This is certainly the place to come for cleansing the body and soul!
3. Rhino Sands
The beautiful tented Rhino Sands is located within the Manyoni Private Game Reserve, in Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. With only 4 Luxury tents, Rhino Sands is a perfect retreat for a small group of family or friends or even just the two of you! With the chic East-African influences running from the main areas through into the Tents, there is no compromise on luxury.
Bathing in the bush at Rhino Sands: An open-air bathroom, complete with ball-and-claw bath as well as alfresco shower, gives you the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in bubbles and the surrounding bush. You might even spot something wild looking back at you from your safari bath setting!
The all-inclusive Tongabezi, located on the banks of the Zambezi River, just upstream from Victoria Falls, has ample options when it comes to a luxurious Zambezi Lodge getaway. Built with romance in mind, each of the cottages and houses is unique and designed to make the most of the extensive views across the Zambezi.
Getting there is easier than ever with direct flights with Airlink from Johannesburg to Livingstone.
Bathing in the bush at Tongabezi: Romantic baths and showers are a key feature of the Tongabezi way of life. From the indoor tub with endless river views in the River Cottage, to the open-air bath on the deck of the Bird House or Honeymoon House allowing you to gaze down onto the river. There is no denying you will feel like you are floating away with the hippos!
5. Makakatana Bay Lodge
Deep in the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Kwa-Zulu Natal lies Makakatana Bay Lodge. Owner-managed and run, this lodge offers a unique bush and beach experience. With the estuary in the distance, each room looks out onto the surrounding bush, setting the scene for relaxed luxury.
Bathing in the bush at Makakatana: Outdoor bathing is the order of the day with both the shower and bath protected by the surrounding shrubs. You can choose to be with the birds in your safari shower or order a bottle of bubbly to accompany your bath bubbles and relax.
6. Cottars Safari
Cottars 1920’s Safari Camp is perfectly located in the Masai Mara in Kenya and is the epitome of a luxury vintage-safari from a bygone era. Taking you back in time while still offering modern creature comforts, guests are treated to a luxurious safari escape in an unspoiled Kenyan setting.
Getting there is easier than ever with flights with Kenyan Airways to Nairobi.
Bathing in the bush at Cottars 1920’s Camp: Stepping back into the early 20th century is exactly how you will feel with the unique bathing experience that Cottars 1920’s camp offers. Canvas bush baths are filled to the brim with hot bubbly water and are accompanied by a glass of bubbly and a view of the distant Serengeti plains before you.
7. Footsteps Camp
Hidden within the Okavango Delta, Footsteps Camp is a true African Safari escape with their main focus being ‘off the grid’. Small and intimate, with only 3 Meru-style tents, Footsteps Camp is called home to our weary walkers coming back from their bush trek. It is also where the Young Explorers specialist family safaris operate from. All of whom, are in need of some time to recoup and Footsteps Camp knows just how to do it right!.
Bathing in the bush at Footsteps Camp: After a long day of trekking through the bushveld with only the spoor as your compass, nothing quite beats a hot tub lit by only by the fiery glow of lanterns. Dusty, achy feet, and dirty, tired children, all love their time in the tub under the stars.
8. Lion Sands Ivory
Luxury, space, and privacy are used to describe this popular More Hotels property. Located in the Sabi Sands, the Lion Sands Ivory Villa’s are aptly named, and adorned by many who seek out their own ‘apartment’ in the bush.
Getting there is easier than ever with direct Airlink flights from Johannesburg to Skukuza
Bathing in the bush at Lion Sands Ivory: Complimenting the Villa’s, the bathrooms are no less luxurious or spacious. The options for washing away those dusty woes are between the free-standing indoor bath; or the outdoor safari rain shower. No matter which option, the clean lines, and smooth textures will leave you feeling zen and at peace.
9. Madikwe Hills
As the name suggests, Madikwe Hills is perched on the edge of a hill, overlooking the Madikwe Game Reserve. With a wooden pathway, weaving up and over rocks, leading to the 10 Suites, each with a unique layout depending on the position within the rocks and angle of the hillside.
Getting there is easier than ever with twice-daily direct Federal Air charter flights from Johannesburg.
Bathing in the bush at Madikwe Hills: Of course, no Suite would be complete without a bath and shower, but one with these views across the savanna is quite spectacular. To have a bird’s eye view, while soaking away with a glass of your favourite, is just the way we like to end or start the day while out on safari. And there’s no guilt here if you skip your game drive in lieu of some game viewing from your hillside bush bath.
10. Chongwe House
Nestled on the banks of a quiet and remote location on the Chongwe River in the Lower Zambezi National Park, lies Chongwe House. Inspired by the flow of the river, the house follows the same curves and twists from the open-plan living areas through to each of the bedrooms. Small and intimate, the house offers an exclusive retreat for a small group of family or friends.
Getting there is easier than ever with direct flights from Lusaka with Proflight.
Bathing in the bush at Chongwe House: The flow continues through to the 4 bedrooms, with each being open to the elements of the outside, really allowing you to enjoy the tranquil river setting. The bathrooms allow for the same effect with pebble-studded walls and floors creating a waterfall shower setting for that perfect safari shower.
11. Old Drift Lodge
On the banks of the Zambezi River, about 7km upstream from the Victoria Falls lies Old Drift Lodge. With its bush setting within the Zambezi National Park Zimbabwe, this luxury lodge has a perfect central location to escape the crowds of the old Victoria Falls town. Arrival by boat transfer from the river sets the scene for a romantic and unforgettable stay for any guest.
Getting there is easier than ever with direct flights with Airlink from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls.
Bathing in the bush at Old Drift Lodge: The Tented Suites are a perfect combination of clean simplistic design and the luxurious offerings from stylish touches and features. The bedroom flows seamlessly to the bathroom where the spoils continue. The choice is yours on where to wash away the dust from your safari day. With an option of either indoor or outdoor safari shower for that refreshing splash, or alternatively, the appeal might be for a little more time spent in a starlit outdoor tub with only the sounds of the local hippos in the distance.
Disclosure: Most reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.