In past surveys, African properties have dominated this list, but this year’s top honors go to the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, outside Chiang Rai in Thailand. Properties in the Galapagos and India also occasionally interrupted the string of African camps and lodges.
Chiang Rai, Thailand — Lavish jungle camp set on a picturesque hillside overlooking Myanmar and Laos. Fifteen air-conditioned “tented” accommodations feature every amenity. Personalized adventure tours include elephant trekking, Mekong River excursions and more.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa — Superb luxury lodge on a private tract of riverfront land in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve bordering the unfenced boundary of Kruger National Park. The property offers game drives in open Land Rovers with tiered seats for unobstructed viewing of the “Big Five.”
Okavango Delta, Botswana — Lavish enclave facing a floodplain in an area teeming with wildlife (including a large leopard population) near the northwest tip of Chief’s Island. Raised on stilts, the spacious, fan-cooled tented suites feature private verandas.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa — Deluxe riverside enclave under a canopy of ebony trees on its own private game reserve adjacent to Singita. The five independent, family-run camps are connected by trails, each compound offering sweeping decks for observing wildlife in the river below.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania — Exotic lodge perched on the 7,000-foot rim of the fabled crater. Inspired by Maasai tribal structures, the enclave comprises 30 thatched bungalow suites divided among three separate camps.
Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador — Stylish central lodge and nine safari tents in a transition zone between cultivated land and the national park, offering inspiring panorama of northern and western Galápagos islands.
Okavango Delta, Botswana — Distinctive camp known as the preeminent place to ride African elephants, set on a 450,000-acre private concession in the heart of the Okavango Delta. The six elegant accommodations are idiosyncratic structures that are part tent, part cabin.
Mozambique — Lavish, ecologically sensitive lodge on Benguerra Island in the marine reserve of Bazaruto National Park. Eighteen spacious air-conditioned villas built on low stilts over the sand provide private plunge pools, and beachfront lounging salas.
Kalahari Desert, South Africa — Distinctive game reserve in a 245,000-acre conservation area at the edge of the Kalahari Desert. The property offers game drives in Land Rovers, horseback safaris and bush walks to view species like are desert black rhino, Kalahari lion and cheetah.
Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania — Unrivaled luxury safari lodge in a 350,000-acre private concession, set on a hilltop overlooking the Serengeti plains and offering one of the grandest views in Africa. Other amenities include a dignified British Colonial-style main lodge and equestrian center.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa — Refined riverside enclave, comprising 12 expansive, air-conditioned suites that evoke the colonial era with antique furniture, 19th-century prints and African artifacts. Game drives take place in open Land Rovers, and the property also offers guided safari walks.
Meru National Park, Kenya — Traditional lodge in Meru National Park, named for the lioness featured in “Born Free.” (Joy and George Adamson lived nearby.) This property is less opulent than lavish South African lodges, and suitable for more adventurous and experienced safari travelers.
Ranthambore National Park, India — Luxury camp at the edge of Ranthambore National Park, a four-hour drive from Jaipur. Wildlife-viewing is by six-seat mini-Jeep, with excursions under the control of the local state government.
Kruger National Park, South Africa — Fifteen contemporary timber-and-glass loft-style suites with striking baths occupy rocky ledges backdropped by the rolling Lebombo hills, situated within Kruger National Park. The property offers Land Rover safaris, bush walks and stargazing safaris.
Ranthambore National Park, India — Wilderness camp at the edge of Ranthambore National Park, four hours by train south of Delhi and three hours by car southeast of Jaipur. The fanciful tented enclave offers dining and library/lounge pavilions.
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa — Strikingly designed enclave offering majestic views from a rocky outcrop in Madikwe Game Reserve. The reserve’s large mammal species include buffalo, cheetah, elephant, leopard, lion, black/white rhino and wild dog, as well as more than 350 bird species.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania — Intimate camp of just six tents, overlooking a huge U-shaped bend of the Mara River and providing a front-row seat from which to observe wildebeest crossings. Private outdoor terraces hold small dining tables, plus loungers from which to survey the river.
Addo National Park, South Africa — Stylish safari camp 90 minutes from Port Elizabeth in the center of the malaria-free Addo Elephant National Park, home to the world’s densest population of elephant, as well as lion, leopard and rhino.
NambiRand Nature Reserve, Namibia — Dramatic and elegantly appointed lodge set atop a 750-foot sand dune in a private reserve close to Sossusvlei. Nine stylish wood/canvas chalets built on low stilts above the sands come with en suite baths and private verandas.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya — Sumptuous property within a private conservancy on Lewa Downs, with clear-day views of snowy Mount Kenya. Natural water hole attracts abundant wildlife. Activities include visits to the Lewa rhino sanctuary, where guests are able to walk in the bush with baby rhinos.
By Hideaway Report Editor
Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the
unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the
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