Yes, ultra luxury tends to come with a high price tag, but these properties are the cream of the crop in all regards. They not only offer incredible accommodation and service, but they are also set in remote locations with access to the best game-viewing, have gifted guides, offer unique activities, and are leaders in conservation. If money is no object when planning your safari (or if you just want to daydream at your desk for a minute), these properties should be on your list.
1. Zarafa Camp – Linyanti, Botswana
Zarafa Camp sits on the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savute Channel in northern Botswana, and an area which boasts incredible densities and varieties of birds and mammals. Zarafa’s knowledgeable guides are the perfect complement to the abundant wildlife in the area. We love Zarafa because it is high-end yet approachable and evokes a sense of old-style safari. It is very low key with a high level of service in a beautiful setting. Its four large, luxuriously appointed tents host a maximum of eight guests.
This is the most exclusive property in Singita’s 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserve, the most exclusive reserve in the Serengeti. Serengeti House is a retreat for a family or group of friends where each day’s activities and meals are tailor-made and tweaked to the guests’ liking. Located on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill, Serengeti House offers breathtaking views across the endless open plains of the Serengeti. The game-viewing, the guides, the service, and the luxurious setting all come together to provide an unforgettable safari experience.
3. Mombo Camp – Okavango Delta, Botswana
Mombo Camp has a long-standing reputation for being in the best game-viewing area in the Okavango Delta, thanks to being in a private concession on the tip of Chief’s Island in the Moremi Game Reserve. The area is flooded with nutrient-rich water during the Delta’s annual floods, supporting lush grasses that attract grazers and the carnivores that hunt them. Mombo is also known for attracting some of the best guides in Botswana. The gorgeous accommodation and the excellent service makes this property worth every cent.
4. Abu Camp – Okavango Delta, Botswana
This is the home of the original elephant-back safari. The focus at Abu Camp is on interacting with the camp’s herd of 7 habituated elephants. The camp itself consists of six beautiful tents raised on teak decking and overlooking a lagoon. The staff and service are excellent. The opportunity to interact so intimately with elephants combined with the level of luxury the camp offers make it an experience you cannot have anywhere else.
5. Mara Plains Camp – Maasai Mara, Kenya
Mara Plains is a small, luxury camp located in the private Olare Orok Conservancy, just a few hundred yards north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve boundary. Staying in Olare Orok allows you easy access to the main Mara and the privacy, freedom, and superb wildlife-viewing experience that comes with staying in a private reserve. This includes night drives and walking safaris, activities not available within the national park. The camp epitomizes classic safari style while also being environmentally friendly.
Mnemba Island Lodge is set on a private island off Zanzibar with just ten en suite banda cottages, bordered on three sides by tropical beach forest and overlooking the beach and coral reef. Mnemba Island offers the ultimate in barefoot luxury with simplicity, privacy, service, and fabulous white sand beach on the famous Mnemba Atoll. Relax and enjoy some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world.