6 Jaw-Dropping Safari Lodges That Will Completely Rewrite Your Bucket List
Few adventures embody the romance of escapism quite like an African safari. AnneMarie Meintjes, deputy editor of VISI magazine and co-author of striking new book Safari Style Africa, says the word itself is "an irresistible invitation to pack up and go." The stunning coffee table book will make you want to do exactly that—pack a linen shirt and khaki pants in a vintage trunk, board a tiny bush plane, and explore some of the most remote pockets of Botswana, Namibia, and more.
"I'm often asked, 'What's your favourite lodge?'" says Dook, the photographer and creative force behind this new book. "As I have photographed so many high-end places for my work over the years, it's an obvious question. But there's no obvious answer."
Safari Style Africa aims to answer this question, spotlighting all of the incredible destinations and lodges the esteemed travel photographer has visited over the years. His goal? To inspire you to add a safari to your bucket list. "An African safari should be at the top of your bucket list because it's not just a holiday, it's an incredible, memorable experience—and now you can do it in a little more style." Take a peek at six stunning lodges from the book and update your bucket list accordingly.
Singita Explore, Tanzania
This mobile camp is about as close to nature as it gets, writes Mientjes. "Up to six tents, for a single group, are pitched and set up according to the requirements of each booking," she says, noting that guests have a private guide, chef, camp host, and staff. "There is no distraction by the decor or the accommodation; the focus is all on the surroundings and their immensity," she explains. Although the interiors are described as simple, they look pretty spectacular to us.
Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana
You won't find any traditional canvas tents or thatched roofs here. Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge was designed to mimic the endangered pangolin, a rare, scale-covered mammal. As a result, both the interior and exterior are wonderfully unexpected. Inside, curved wood beams cocoon long cushion-lined sofas, creating a sprawling yet intimate space. The bedrooms are modern and understated, with blonde wood walls and orb-like glass pendant lights.
Paravel Crossbody Capsule Leather-Trimmed Canvas Shoulder Bag ($265)
Mabote Lodge, South Africa
A vacation to South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup was the unexpected spark that caused a French family to build their dream lodge, far away from the bustle of Paris. Located in Waterberg, a region in the north of Limpopo known for its vast mountain ranges, the private escape features wood ceiling beams, paneling from railway sleepers, and local artworks and décor. "The owners' brief was simple: They wanted uncluttered and African, but in a contemporary way," interior designer Chris Browne of Fox Browne Creative told Visi. "They did not want it to be too designer and intimidating."
Located in the Kenyan highlands, Arijiju looks both perfectly at ease in its wild surrounds yet also slightly out of place. The design was inspired by a 12th-century monastery in Provence, which can be seen in the simple rooms, copper bathtubs, and stunning internal courtyard. Although remote, Arijiju offers plenty to do. In addition to game drives and mountain biking, it can also be used as a base to explore the forests of Ngare Ndare and the lakes of Mount Kenya, which are a short helicopter ride away.
Ngala Tented Camp, South Africa
A stylish and contemporary retreat, Ngala Tented Camp has all the trimmings of a five-star hotel, despite its location on the boundary of Kruger National Park. "Pastel and pattern make for a radically fresh take on safari style," writes Meintjes, and it's certainly a welcome change. Lacy screens, mint armchairs, and hand-carved archways make the inside of this camp just as eye-catching as its surrounds.
Zarafa Camp, Botswana
Zarafa Camp is a favorite for good reason: The Relais and Chateaux property is furnished in nostalgic East African safari décor that transports guests to a bygone era. The camp itself consists of just four guest tents that overlook Zibadianja Lagoon and is the passion project of two National Geographic photographers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert.
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