African Safari blog

What are the 3 best luxury destinations in Africa?


Firstly we need to establish what in fact constitutes luxury. To my mind it is having everything to hand which makes one very comfortable, good food, great service, friendly staff and extremely comfortable surroundings.

Virtually every African destination has accommodation to suit most tastes and budgets including a “luxury” bracket. However, the more remote and unsophisticated the location, I imagine the more difficult it must be to provide a luxury experience.

Therefore two of my favourite “luxury african safari tour” locations are in the most developed and sophisticated of African countries, South Africa. It has been suggested that South Africa is classed as a third world country only because of the very poor public transport. To my mind that is a very plausible view as I know South Africa to be a fabulous safari (and indeed holiday) destination – albeit very underrated!

My first choice of luxury destinations is Savanna Private Game Reserve, a small (9 room) lodge in the Sabi Sands. This is our (Destinations Africa’s) favourite lodge in all of Africa. While it clearly deserves the adjective “luxury” it is not over the top – as excessive decoration tends to irritate rather than impress, particularly in a natural environment such as a safari lodge. Savanna ticks every box on our checklist. Each and every one of their guides are among the best we have every come across and well equipped to perform the essential tasks of a safari guide, to educate and entertain clients and to keep them safe.

My waistline seems to indicate that the food is simply too good with sumptuous fare at every turn. The accommodation has every air-conditioned comfort one could wish for and more but it is the staff that bring the real feel of “luxury” to this delightful lodge.

Guest after guest booked in there by us, return to report a 10 out of 10 rating. We have even had clients depart from there in tears and some who return year after year – votes of confidence don’t come any more genuine than that!

Apart from the luxury of the lodge itself, Savanna Private Game Reserve is located in one of the best most diverse game reserves in the whole of Africa with incomparable leopard viewing.

My second choice of luxury destinations has to be the Mount Nelson Hotel in what has been described as the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town. An elegant old colonial “pink lady” perched at the foot of Table Mountain. Being on the fringe of town (albeit within walking distance) and away from the busy waterfront, the hotel offers a hybrid car to ferry guests short distances around the city.

In 2014 Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by the New York Times as well as topping the British Guardian list of most visited destinations in the same year. Cape Town has something for everyone, beautiful scenery, interesting architecture, vibrant cultural diversity, shopping, history, plenty of activities even including white shark diving and great food which brings me back to the Mount Nelson. High Tea at the Mount Nelson is more than a gastronomic experience, with enormous tables groaning with savoury and sweet delights, an impressive list of teas all served in the plush surroundings of a colonial drawing room.

My third and final “best luxury destination” for the moment is the Victoria Falls Hotel right out of the Karen Blixen era, with a very proud concierge standing to attention at the hotel entrance, up to his ears in braid – a most officious looking fellow!

Wart hogs feast on the lawn as the spray from the “smoke that thunders” (a literal translation of the local name for Victoria Falls – Mosi-oa-Tunya) rises virtually from the end of the veranda garden – presenting a delightful backdrop to a leisurely afternoon tea!

Some are reluctant to visit Zimbabwe, thinking their visit would somehow support or condone a ruthless and corrupt regime. The reality is that they would instead be providing much needed support of those that battled to survive the regime that cared

nothing for them. Despite the country’s transition from the bread-basket of Africa into a virtual dust bowl, the Victoria Falls Hotel has managed to retain the essence of its majestic colonial past which is a privilege and a pleasure to experience


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