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Fine dining, private butlers, magnificent suites – these are the camps which stand out above the merely luxurious. The standards would be admirable in a top city hotel – but done in the wilds of Africa is just incredible.
Zarafa ( tents-en-suite) Arab explorer-themed camp with Zanibari doors is a delight, on a lagoon with sunken viewing hide, built by famed photographers the Jouberts. Plunge pools, gourmet healthy food, great wines. Dhow Suites are a private villa. Exceptional. Selinda Private Game Reserve, Botswana. Member of . Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Singita Sasakwa (22 suites) You’re looking out over Africa rather than immersed in it - the views are staggering, and it's a grand manor house, with libraries, gym, cellar, tennis courts and fine dining. Amongst the best camps in Africa. Serengeti Grumeti Private Reserves, Tanzania. Member of . Child friendly. $$$$$.
The polished floors and wood paneling of what feels like endless generous public rooms – library, snooker, wine room etc – spilling onto manicured lawns where waiters silently bring freshly made sorbets and macaroons. It’s seriously decadent, grand colonial style.
Duba Plains ( tents-en-suite) Newly rebuilt camp with private pools, wine cellar and they got it spot-on; spacious rooms aren't pretentious but filled with warm old furnishings and carpets. Cooking over the fire, lovely library for idling away the down-time. Headed up by photographers who have chosen camera equipment for you. Guiding is exemplary. Okavango concession north, Botswana. Member of . $$$$$.
Chief's (11 suites) Contender for Okavango ultimate - supersized pavilions with private pools, top notch dining & wines, superb location with water and land activities. Recently completely refurbished. Close to Mombo. Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana. Member of . $$$$$.
Londolozi Private Granite (3 suites) Londolozi's very best with just 3 OTT grand, boldy decorated suites - have a bath watching animals on the river below. Can be booked exclusive use. Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Member of . Private villa. $$$$$.
Londolozi is one of South Africa’s great safari brands and all their camps are pretty decadent, but this one takes the cake with the biggest plushest suites.
Segera Retreat ( tents-en-suite) Sumptuous villas on a private sanctuary with emphasis on indulgence and relaxation. It's set in well established gardens, with a mix of traditional and contemporary structures, and studded with African artworks from the formidable collection of owner Jochen Seitz. There are 2 private villas. Laikipia Conservancies, Kenya. Member of . Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Ol Donyo (12 suites) Located on vast Maasai lands between Amboseli & Tsavo, a great conservation success which enables the movements of animals once again across these plains. Views to Kilimanjar from camp. Lots of activities incl mountainbiking & excellent horseriding. Large suites have plunge pools & tar beds on the roof (dry season only!). Chyulu Hills Nature Reserve, Kenya. Member of . Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Thorntree River (12 suites) Just been redone by top designers Fox Browne & looks very chic - solid stuctures fused with canvas in contemporary style. 12 miles from Vic Falls. Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia. Member of . Child friendly. $$$$.
&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater (30 suites) OTT grandeur with OMG views; unlike anything else - fireplaces, antiques, red roses, opulence. It's a big camp though and you need to drive down into the crater though for game viewing, in a public reserve. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Member of . Child friendly. $$$$$.
The combination of antiques, chandeliers, African treasures abd red roses makes this &Beyond flagship camp feel completely indulgent.
Little Ongava (3 suites) Atop a mountain, the super exclusive sister to Ongava Lodge - the views are stupendous, plus plunge pools and those things which make it hard to tear yourself away from your suite. Ongava Private Game Reserve, $$$$.
Mwiba ( tents-en-suite) Magnificent camp in warm copper colours with electronic sliding windows & other indulgences. Protects a vast reserve far from crowds, game isn't that great. Spa treatments, cultural interactions and sleep-outs. Private vehicle. Mwiba Wildlife Reserve, Tanzania. Member of . $$$$$.
Singita Boulders (12 suites) Tops in the Sabi Sands with sister camp Ebony, contemporary take on everything safari, dramatic décor, remarkable wine cellar. Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Member of . $$$$$.
This and sister camp Ebony redefined the luxury safari experience, and designer Boyd Ferguson has refreshed them again – top marks for elegantly furnished suites, food & wines.
&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert (10 suites) The serenity! Isolated, elegant camp in desert colours, lots of activities including stargazing. 45 minute drive to the gate to Sossusvlei. Large suites have a/c and fireplaces for the desert extremes. Namibrand Nature Reserve, Namibia. Member of . Child friendly. $$$$$.
Tswalu Tarkuni (5 suites) The Oppenheimer family’s own house on this vast reserve, recently redesigned, private and elegant - and share their love of horses by riding out amongst herds of sable and other antelope. Tswalu Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Molori (6 suites) These suites set new standards in size, plus private infinity pools, absolute privacy, exceptional attention to detail. Some find it too much for a safari camp, but if you like your luxuries laid on thick you'll love it. The 2 presidential suites can be used as private villas. Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$$.
New levels of decadence for South Africa’s Madikwe with supersized suites – even the viewing hide incorporates a whiskey bar.
Lion Sands Ivory (10 suites) The more sumptuous sister camp next door to Lion Sands River Lodge - really big suites are more like small homes, looking straight out onto the river through big windows. Clean and contemporary design, private pools. Fish Eagle is their very glamorous private villa. Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, South Africa. Member of . Private villa. $$$$$.