Readers' Choice 2015: Top 20 Safari Lodges and Camps


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.

1. Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle

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.

2. Singita Boulders Lodge

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.”

3. Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp

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.

4. Londolozi

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.

5. &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

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.

6. Galapagos Safari Camp

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.

7. Abu Camp

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.

8. Azura Benguerra Island

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.

9. Tswalu Kalahari

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.

10. Singita Sasakwa Lodge

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. 

11. Singita Ebony Lodge

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.

12. Elsa's Kopje

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.

13. The Oberoi Vanyavilas

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.

14. Singita Lebombo Lodge

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.

15. Aman-i-Khas

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.

16. Mateya Safari Lodge

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.

17. Singita Mara River Tented Camp

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.

18. Gorah Elephant Camp

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.

19. Wolwedans

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.

20. Sirikoi Lodge

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.

1. Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle - © Johansen Krause 2. Singita Boulders Lodge - Courtesy of Singita 3. Mombo Camp & Little Mombo Camp - Wilderness Safaris © Dana Allen 5. &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge - &BEYOND © Stevie Mann 6. Galapagos Safari Camp - © Ken Kochey 7. Abu Camp - Wilderness Safaris © Mickey Hoyle 8. Azura Benguerra Island - No credit needed 9. Tswalu Kalahari - © Michael Poliza 10. Singita Sasakwa Lodge - Courtesy of Singita 11. Singita Ebony Lodge - Courtesy of Singita 12. Elsa’s Kopje - © Marsel van Oosten 14. Singita Lebombo Lodge - Courtesy of Singita 15. Aman-i-Khás- Courtesy of Amanresorts 16. Mateya Safari Lodge - © Paul Karnstedt Photography 17. Singita Mara River Tented Camp - Courtesy of Singita 20. Sirikoi Lodge - © Stevie Mann

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 editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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