Safari first-timers biggest wish is to see the Big 5. They want to watch a lioness stalk her prey, spot a leopard stretched out on a tree branch or sit close to a family of elephant at a waterhole. Africa’s top parks and reserves are filled with such National Geographic action, but between the dawn and dusk game drives – what happens back at the lodge?
Depending on where you stay, those may be the moments that you miss the most. Sitting out on your private deck, a cold drink and pair of binoculars close at hand, no distracting noises just the twittering or birds or grunt of hippo in a nearby river. It's those peaceful hours that have turned us into the safari addicts that we are.
And so, in celebration of those moments, we bring you our favourite lodge rooms with phenomenal views.
Angama Mara, Mara Triangle (Kenya)
Angama Mara has the kind of view that makes you catch your breath. Perched on the rim of the Great Rift Valley, this luxury tented camp has glass-fronted suites that look out over Kenya’s Masai Mara plains with a parade of wildlife spread out below you.
> Take me to Angama Mara
Ulusaba Rock Lodge, Sabi Sands (South Africa)
Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Rock Lodge has the best views in the Sabi Sands (especially from the well placed bathtubs!). The name Ulusaba means “place of little fear” as the rocky hill on which the lodge sits was used as a lookout point by Shangaan warriors.
> Take me to Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Vumbura Plains, Okavango Delta (Botswana)
Vumbura Plains has large and luxurious rooms with glass sliding doors letting in the views across Botswana’s Okavango Delta floodplains. Settle into your sunken lounge or out on your deck with its comfortable cushions and private plunge pool, and relax in peace as elephant wander by.
> Take me to Vumbura Plains
TIntswalo Atlantic, Cape Town (South Africa)
For a romantic hideaway in Cape Town, look no further than Tintswalo Atlantic. Set at the foot of the Table Mountain National Park, this welcoming hotel has 11 suites themed after different islands. The interiors may be different, but whichever you pick you’re guaranteed a magnificent ocean view.
> Take me to Tintswalo Atlantic
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)
Award-winning Ngorongoro Crater Lodge has a spectacular rim-side setting. Here opulent suite interiors are matched by the drama of the crater views. Have your butler draw you a rose-petal strewn bubble bath, so you can soak in the tub and gaze out one of Africa’s iconic landscapes.
> Take me to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Jamala Madikwe, Madikwe Reserve (South Africa)
Jamala Madikwe has 5 incredibly spacious villas with glass doors that fold back to let in the savannah views. The sun loungers on your private deck are a great spot to watch the comings and goings at the lodge waterhole where elephant, giraffe, zebra – and even lion! – are all regularly seen.
> Take me to Jamala Madikwe, Royal Safari Lodge
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, NamibRand (Namibia)
The chalets at Wolwedans Dunes Lodge have canvas sides that roll up, so you don’t have to get out of bed to gaze out at Namibia's desert or star-filled night skies. Staying here feels like another world, particularly at sunset when the soft light turns the dunes a magnificent red. A photographer's dream!
> Take me to Wolwedans Dunes Lodge
Morukuru Ocean House, Whale Coast (South Africa)
Morukuru Ocean House is a 4-bedroom luxury villa in De Hoop Nature Reserve. This beautiful home is a fantastic choice for families or friends: ocean views, seaside strolls, rock pools, sand dunes, afternoons next to the pool and delicious meals whipped up by your private chef.
> Take me to Morukuru Ocean House
Ruckomechi Camp, Mana Pools (Zimbabwe)
Ruckomechi offers an off-the-beaten-track safari in Zimbabwe’s wild and beautiful Mana Pools region. Stay right on the Zambezi River and fill your days with superb game viewing, tiger fishing, guided walks and river safaris.
> Take me to Ruckomechi Camp
Elsa’s Kopje, Meru National Park (Kenya)
he luxury destination of Elsa's Kopje in Kenya's Meru National Park offers you exclusive access to a wide range of Africa's wildlife. Home to a Rhino Sanctuary, you will have a unique opportunity to spot the more than 40 white rhino and 20 black rhino and their calves.
> Take me to Elsa's Kopje