Mara Nyika is the latest offering from Great Plains and combines delightful privacy with the expansive backdrop of the private Naboisho Conservancy. Game drives also enter the Masai Mara, but there is more than enough wildlife in the conservancy to justify this being the focus of each guest’s stay.
Mara Nyika is due to open in August 2019, but its design is such a wonderful distillation of all that is best about the Kenyan safari experience that it will have a timeless quality to it. Light canvas tents under immediately recognisable flat-topped thorn trees convey the romance and beauty of Kenya at first glance, while early reports on the local game suggesting that is prolific.
Guests will be able to channel their child as they use the suspended treehouse-style walkways between their tents and the main area. Privacy was a key consideration in the design of the camp, and is entirely in keeping with the seclusion of the setting. Mara Nyika promises guests the freedom to simply be themselves and enjoy the best of Kenya’s safari offering.
Geoffrey Kent Suite at Olonana
Geoffrey Kent is one of the pioneers of modern Kenyan safaris, and we’re sure he must be immensely proud of this new ultra-luxury suite that bears his name.
The latest addition to Sanctuary Olonana in the Masai Mara, the Geoffrey Kent Suite at Olonana is surprisingly modern in design, but its architecture is intended to make the most of its spectacular setting on the banks of the Mara River.
The two private bedrooms offer superb views thanks to the combination of floor-to-ceiling windows and wraparound decking that will allow guests to view the landscape and wildlife from every angle. The bathrooms can be opened up entirely to the bush, enabling the romance of a starlit bath. The in-suite chef is always available to create snacks and meals as required, and these can be served either in the suite or in the outdoor private boma overlooking a hippo pool.
Soft golden light and the opportunity – thanks to a dedicated private guide and vehicle – to shape their day exactly as they wish to – contributes to guests having a sense of being immersed not just in enviable luxury, but in the magic and mystery of Kenya itself.
Loisaba Lodo Springs
With just eight individual tented guest rooms, Loisaba Lodo Springs is another new luxury safari lodge in Kenya that puts a premium on privacy. That said, it’s situated in a high-traffic area – if you count migrating elephants as ‘traffic’.
The lodge is situated in the Loisaba Conservancy, a private protected area of some 57 000 acres within an important migratory corridor for these amazing animals. Loisaba is also vital to the future of lions, wild dogs and the little-known but hugely impressive Grévy’s zebra.
With views extending all the way to the jagged, snow-capped magnificence of Mount Kenya, this area really does feel like the epicenter of the safari world. The lodge draws on years of experience in creating special places of sanctuary for humans, with the combined luxuries of space and simplicity.
Everything a guest needs to feel pampered is immediately to hand, but there is nothing superfluous – in short, nothing is permitted to take away from the spectacular vistas and the sense of complete freedom. Loisaba Lodo Springs is a place to breathe deeply and slowly.
This is the latest go-to address in the Governor’s Camp Collection and is situated on a private 80-square-mile conservancy within the fabled Laikipia County. Originally dating from the 1980s, Mugie House is currently undergoing extensive renovations in order to be ready for its October 2019 opening.
From its position on a ridge, Mugie House and the nine guest cottages overlook a waterhole which is consistently popular with local wildlife (including big cats). This new luxury property offers the opportunity to enjoy moments of relaxation like afternoon tea as tropical birds flit around the gardens. Equally, more active pursuits including canoeing on the large dam that forms the focal point of the conservancy.
The numerous small islands in the dam provide ideal spots for picnic lunches (including ingredients grown in Mugie House’s own organic vegetable garden) and sundowners. While out on the water, guest may well encounter elephants cooling off in the dam.
Back at the lodge, the spa and private plunge pools will add to the relaxed ambience, and allow guests to recharge their safari batteries between game drives.
Rwanda’s remarkable renaissance continues, and the safari industry’s leading operators have not been slow to develop a presence in the land of a thousand hills. Singita Kwitonda is named after a legendary silverback gorilla – which is entirely appropriate, given the lodge’s location at the very edge of the Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park is home to Rwanda’s population of endangered mountain gorillas. As a small country with a growing population, land in Rwanda is at a premium, and Singita Kwitonda will create a natural space between the National Park and community farmland, with sustainability achieved through reforestation and using local building techniques.
One & Only Gorilla’s Nest
Reflecting the growing popularity of mountain gorilla trekking, this new Rwandan lodge is also ideally situated for great ape encounters, being right up against the towering Virunga volcanoes. This grass-thatched lodge is being built in traditional Rwandan architectural style, offering authentic style and modern comforts in the lofty realm that the gorillas call home. While hot showers and spa treatments inspired by local herbal knowledge might be expected at a modern luxury safari lodge, the 9-hole golf course is more of a surprise — the perfect way to relax after a morning trekking to find gorillas.
One & Only Nyungwe House
One & Only Nyungwe House opened in October 2018, but is still a worthy addition to our list. Nyungwe House has been converted from an existing property in the midst of a working tea plantation, and offers visitors access to Nyungwe National Park in southwestern reserve. Gorillas are not found here; rather, the emphasis is on the opportunity to encounter the many species of primates (including chimpanzees) and other animals that live in this ancient forest environment. Nyungwe House offers incredible views out over the trees, with wild orchids adding pops of color.
Wilderness Safaris Magashi
Following the successful opening of Bisate Lodge, Magashi Camp represents Wilderness Safaris’ second venture in Rwanda. Situated in Akagera National Park, Magashi will overlook the wonderfully named Lake Rwanyakazinga. It is ideally placed to offer guests an unforgettable introduction to this previously little-visited National Park. Akagera is coming back to life thanks to the reintroduction of both lions and black rhinos, which now live alongside resident hippos, crocodiles, plains game and more elusive species such as sitatunga and shoebills. Akagera’s mosaic of habitats includes open plains, woodlands, lakes, and swamps.
Andersson’s at Ongava
Due to open in April 2019, Andersson’s at Ongava represents the next generation of Namibian ecotourism destination. More than just a place to stay, this lodge will offer guests the opportunity to get involved in cutting edge conservation science, through a unique combination of modern technology and hands-on research. Interacting with resident and visiting scientists, researchers and rhino security teams will let guests participate in the most important conservation conversations currently taking place in Africa, as well as experiencing the natural wonders of this wild and remote part of Namibia.
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
This new coastal lodge, situated in the De Hoop Nature Reserve (just three hours’ drive from Cape Town) is firmly focused on giving guests a phenomenal marine wildlife experience. Just a stone’s throw from the ocean, Lekkerwater faces out onto a 4-mile long swathe of sandy beach, with the waves ceaselessly rolling in. At low tide, prolific rockpools are revealed, while between July and November, rather larger creatures take center stage as southern right whales migrate along this coast with their calves. Pods of dolphins are also frequently spotted, and fynbos walks begin right at the lodge.
The Farmstead at Royal Malewane
Royal Malewane is a name that has long been synonymous with exceptional safari experiences in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park. 2019 will see the opening of the newest venture in this remarkable, game-rich area. The Farmstead is a mere 12-minute drive from the existing lodge, with a main farmhouse and just three luxury farm suites facing out over a productive waterhole. The elevated position of The Farmstead permits incredible canopy-level Kruger views, while the service, cuisine – and, crucially – the guiding will be every bit as good as you would expect.
ABC Nyamatusi Camp
All that is best about Zimbabwe’s wild places can be summed up by Mana Pools, and, beginning next year, guests visiting this legendary National Park will have one more way to experience it. Located on the banks of the Zambezi River, this new safari camp will open a window into the world of Mana Pools, through game drives, walking safaris and canoe excursions on the river. Mana Pools is known especially for its escarpment views and elephant encounters, and Nyamatusi Camp is bound to deliver on both, making it a must-visit lodge for 2019.
ABC Nyamatusi Mahogany
Nyamatusi Mahogany takes its name from the massive, ancient trees under which the camp is being built, but it actually concentrates more on young shoots. That is to say, this family-focused new safari camp is designed to offer children (and their parents) a wonderful introduction into the world of Mana Pools. This is the ultimately family-friendly safari destination, with half of the four rooms being family suites. Kids are catered for through a range of fun yet educational “Core Club” activities, designed to create lasting family memories of this very special place.
Botswana’s Okavango Delta needs no introduction, but this new safari camp certainly deserves one. The Khwai Private Reserve is renowned as one of the richest wildlife areas within the Delta, and Tuludi will offer both the excitement and serenity that comes with being in remote, beautiful corners of Africa. Raised on stilts for optimum views, Tuludi will offer guests a tranquil sanctuary in which to reflect on the wonders of Nature that they’ll inevitably experience. Certain to join the ranks of the Delta’s most iconic camps, Tuludi will offer a perfectly balanced programme of land and water activities.
Nkasa Linyanti Camp
This new Natural Selections Camp is situated in the Caprivi Strip – an area that more closely resembles Botswana’s Okavango Delta than the more typical desert landscapes of much of the rest of Namibia. From Nkasa Linyanti, guests will be able to explore this long, narrow spur of territory which came into being through a quirk of colonial-era mapmaking. Today, with the prolific wildlife and birdlife being protected by the Nkasa Rupara National Park, a visit to the Caprivi offers a wonderful counterpoint to time spent in the drier, sandier parts of Namibia and proves that this truly is a country of contrasts.