The Best Ecolodges & Wilderness Resorts in South Africa
Morukuru (Madikwe, North-West): With no schedules, no rules, and absolutely no pressure on guests to do anything other than relax, this wonderful little lodge combines the finest in safari luxury with fabulous service and really memorable game experiences. Not only can you learn to track lion and leopard with your personal Shangaan tracker, but you'll have your very own ranger, chef, and obliging butler, all on call to fulfill your every whim as you laze on your teak deck overlooking the Groot Marico River. Who's the king of the jungle? You are.
Singita (Sabi Sands Reserve and Kruger National Park): The much-lauded Singita offers the best game lodge experience in Africa, with a choice of styles, from plush colonial to the last word in contemporary Afro-chic, and superlative game-viewing. Elevated private viewing decks let you immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the bush without leaving your suite. Add top-notch rangers, a roving masseuse, exquisite food, and a connoisseur's selection of wines, and you're assured an unforgettable stay -- the only difficulty is deciding which lodge you prefer.
Londolozi Private Granite Suites (Sabi Sands Reserve, Mpumalanga): Long before Singita and Royal Malewane came on the scene, Londolozi set the standard in luxury bush accommodations, and it's still a class act. Of the four camps, the Granite Suites are the most luxurious, particularly the two that are right on the river -- arguably the best in the entire Kruger, with private plunge pools that drop onto the boulders that form the Sand River banks. Londolozi is justifiably famed for its leopard sightings.
Royal Malewane (Thornybush Reserve, Limpopo Province): With privately situated suites that offer every luxury, this is all about deep relaxation, enhanced by the recently expanded spa. If you can bear to leave your private pool and viewing deck (or in-room lounge and fireplace), you'll find the on-foot tracking is the country's best.
Lebala and Kwara (Kwando and Okavango Delta, Botswana): These two camps are both run by class-outfit Kwando Safaris and offer superb game-viewing, with a good mix of wet and dry-land activities. Lebala is the flagship camp, located on a massive concession shared by only one other (sister) camp, with superlative accommodations. But it's the superior game-viewing and guiding that has earned them their much-deserved reputation.
Jao Camp (Jao Concession, Okavango Delta, Botswana): Not only is this camp located in one of the finest concessions in the delta, but it is also one of the most gorgeous camps on the continent; if the price is too steep, operator Wilderness Safaris has 3 other options on the Jao concession, at virtually half the price.
Mombo Camp (Moremi, Okavango, Botswana): At the confluence of two river systems, Mombo has long been regarded as one of the best game-viewing spots in Africa, attracting large numbers of plains game and their attendant predators; for game-viewing that's much on a par, but at a much friendlier price, take a look at sister camp Duba Plains.
Linyanti Bush Camp (Chobe Enclave, Bostwana): On the edge of the Linyati marshes, bordering the Chobe National Park, this is an area that sees huge concentrations of game in the winter months, and the only lodging option here is this intimate six-tent camp. Personally run by owners Beks and Sophia, the camp offers understated luxury, superlative guiding, and exceptional value. The couple also has a small camp in the delta and offers 3-night mobile walking safaris.
Jack's Camp (Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana): Desert reserves have a very special effect on the spirit, and these classic 1940s safari camps, situated under palm trees on the fringe of the pans, offer one of the most unusual experiences in Africa. (For a more luxurious desert lodge -- we're talking swimming pools and top-end service -- head for Tswalu, in the Kalahari.)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.