The timeless safari camps we love to recommend
We work with well over 800 safari camps and lodges throughout Southern and East Africa and the Indian Ocean, so in our 20 years plus of organising safari holidays we’ve seen plenty come and go. There are some though, that have featured on our itineraries almost constantly over the last two decades. Each of the hand-picked properties we work with offers something special, and there are, of course, many we could mention, but here are some timeless safari camps which are firmly on our list as some of the favourites we love to recommend.
Ant’s Nest, Waterberg, South Africa
Ant Baber is a multi-tasking miracle. He has run a successful wildlife conservancy for over 30 years, protects rhinos, leads fabulous riding safaris, is a superb walking guide, delights our guests at his lodges Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest with his endless good humour, and will come up with a plan to suit everyone.
‘My children still talk about the time we spotted a mother rhino with her two-day old calf. Talking to her quietly as we approached, Ant held her confidence in the most amazing way. If even the rhinos respect and trust him, it’s no wonder Ant’s Nest has been a favourite with our guests for over 22 years.’ Alice
Musango Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe
Steve and Wendy Edwards’ island home in Lake Kariba is the setting for their lovely, owner-run, Musango Safari Camp. Steve has dedicated his life to the wildlife and wilderness of Zimbabwe, working for national parks and anti-poaching organisations before starting Musango. He is a wonderful raconteur and guide, with encyclopaedic knowledge of the history, habitats and wildlife here.
With access to a private concession on the ‘mainland’ lakeshore adjacent to Matusadona National Park and a small private island to retreat to for the night, Musango is a little gem that offers much more than just wildlife.’ Francis
Schoemans Skeleton Coast flying Safari, Namibia
The history of the Schoeman family is ingrained in every part of Namibia’s wild Skeleton Coast. Read Amy Schoeman’s book on this absorbing place and you will realise that, when on safari with one of her four sons, you are in the most knowledgeable of hands. This extraordinary band of brothers guide exceptional flying safaris along 400 miles of rugged coast, turning inland across the dunes to look for desert adapted wildlife and meet the nomadic Himba tribes. It is one of Africa’s finest adventures.
‘The depth of the knowledge and the understanding of their habitat will stay with me as one of the best things I have ever done in Africa.’ Alice
River Club, Livingstone, Zambia
Peter Jones started the River Club with rooms on the river bank some 11 miles upstream from Victoria Falls. Over the years it has become a charming oasis of tranquillity with spacious suites overlooking beautiful gardens and the Zambezi beyond. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy a sense of history with tea on the terrace, dinner in the library, or croquet on the lawn.
‘I worked with Peter when we were both raft guides on the Zambezi River in the early 1990s. He’s a great character and his super lodge is one of our original favourites that we are still happy to recommend.’ Richard.
Nsefu Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Apart from some upgrades over the years, lovely Nsefu Camp remains largely unchanged since it was built in 1951. Tucked away in the Nsefu sector of the South Luangwa National Park, it enjoys wonderful wildlife with good populations of elephant, buffalo, leopard and lion. In fact, so good is the habitat here, this part of the park was first gazetted in 1966, five years before the South Luangwa National Park came into being. Robin Pope Safaris took over the camp in 1998 and still runs it today.
‘I spent four years working in the valley, two of which with Robin Pope Safaris, so know Nsefu well. I love the cosy, traditional thatched rondavals, the wildlife here is fantastic and the guides are among Zambia’s finest.’ Lucinda
Lewa Wilderness, Lewa, Kenya
The Lewa Conservancy was one of the very first private conservancies to be established anywhere in Africa; the Craig family had worked the land at the northern foot of Mt Kenya as a cattle ranch for several decades before deciding to return it to purely wildlife country. Their original family home is now an owner run safari lodge, and the family have been hosting guests here for more than 40 years.
‘With large numbers of endangered species resident on the reserve, Lewa is a genuinely superb place for wildlife enthusiasts and is very varied and beautiful too.’ Francis
Klein’s Camp, Serengeti, Tanzania
Tucked into a corner of the Serengeti, Klein’s Camp was inherited by andBeyond and started out fairly simple in style. It has been significantly upgraded since then, but still benefits from being away from the areas of the park that can become busy on occasions and the well drilled guides and trackers know the area very well.
Even if you choose to sit on your deck and take in the views, rather than head out on a wildlife drive, this is an area of wilderness you can enjoy. It’s incredibly scenic and full of animals and birdlife. Richard
Ol Malo, Laikipia, Kenya
Perched on the edge of a cliff with uninterrupted views over the deep valley and dramatic hills of the Laikipia plateau, Ol Malo was built by Rocky and Colin Francombe in the early 1990s and is still run by the family today. Now onto the third generation, Rocky and Colin’s grandchildren can be found running around the lodge and are shaping up to be the next owners, guides and helicopter pilots. This beautiful family home is set on a 5,000 acre working ranch and wildlife sanctuary where guests can enjoy a unique glimpse into life here and the local Samburu community.
‘With a focus on fun and adventure, activities include riding, camel treks, walking, day and night game drives and sleeping out under the stars, there’s an all- round appeal here.’ Becky
Okavango Horse Safaris, Okavango Delta, Botswana
There is a real joy to being on safari with someone who knows their patch inside out, and nowhere is this more evident than with PJ and Barney Bestelink at Okavango Horse Safaris in the heart of the Okavango Delta. These two know their horses, the effects of seasonal weather changes, and even the habits of individual animals, and have an uncanny knack of predicting wildlife movements so you have the best safari possible.
‘PJ and Barney have been involved in Botswana safaris for as long as I can remember. When you ride with the owner of a safari you realise the care and attention they put into every aspect; horse welfare, stable management, feeding and farrier visits. They become the master of many trades including being brilliant story tellers and bar attendants.’ Alice
Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, Mauritius
Nestled below the striking Le Morne mountain, the Paradis is a Mauritius property our team has been visiting with their families since the early years of the millennium, with Charlotte, Richard, and Alice all having stayed with children of various ages. Richard’s daughter was just two and his wife pregnant when they stayed and, like many of our clients, he was impressed not only with the property’s location but the individual attention they managed to give to every guest despite being a relatively big hotel.
‘Coming to a beach property from the intimate environment of a safari camp can be difficult, but Paradis has delivered over the years and continues as a favourite.’ Richard
We would be delighted to help you plan a safari or beach holiday staying in some of these timeless safari camps and beach hotels. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.