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What $500 a Day Buys You in Africa’s Top Reserves

What $500 a Day Buys You in Africa’s Top Reserves

When most people hear the words 'all-inclusive holiday', they imagine a fly and flop break on some exotic beach. And if you look at TripAdvisor’s Top 25 All-Inclusive Resorts for 2015 you'll see exactly that: large beachside hotels from the Maldives to Mexico. These are resorts where you can leave your wallet in your room and not worry about any nasty bills at the end of your stay (providing you’ve picked the right meal plan!) 

But what about Africa's lodges and tented camps? When it comes to an all-inclusive holiday, an African safari is the real deal. And while it’s true that you may not get a choice or swimming pools or resort restaurants; what many of these small, exclusive properties offer instead is your own private pool overlooking a waterhole and gourmet dinners served under the stars. Then there are the twice-daily game drives, expert guides, walking safaris, bush breakfasts, sundowner stops – and everything (and I mean everything) is included in your daily rate.

TripAdvisor's top resorts are priced at around USD 350 to USD 600 per person per night. Here’s what that same price tag will get you in Africa’s top safari destinations:

Lion Sands River Lodge, Sabi Sands (South Africa)

From USD 510 per person / per day

Lion Sands River Lodge deluxe suite
Each luxury room has a king-sized bed, lounge area, full en-suite bathroom and private wooden deck.

Lion Sands River Lodge bathroom and game viewing
The bathroom opens onto a private deck and outdoor shower * Early morning game drive 

Lion Sands River Lodge has 20 thatched chalets set along the bank of the Sabie River. Here luxurious accommodation and butler service blend with superb game viewing - Sabi Sands is one of the best places in Africa to see leopard along with the rest of the Big 5 (lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo).

> Take me to Lion Sands River Lodge.

Shamwari Bayethe Lodge, Eastern Cape (South Africa)

From USD 430 per person / per day

Shamwari Bayethe Tented Camp
Tented luxury at Shamwari Beyethe with its spacious suites, private decks and plunge pools. 

Shamwari Bayethe main lodge and massage
Between drives there's plenty of time to relax at the main lodge or opt for a massage at the spa.

Shamwari Bayethe has 12 air-conditioned tents, each with a plunge pool. Tents are very private, and since they're tucked into the bushes you'll often see warthog or antelope wandering by. Being in the Eastern Cape, Shamwari is malaria-free and close to the beaches of the famous Garden Route.

> Take me to Shamwari Bayethe Lodge

Kariega Settlers Drift Eastern Cape (South Africa)

From USD 360 per person / per day

Kariega Settlers Drift Tented Camp
The Settlers Drift tented suites are truly beautiful with polished wooden floors and stylish finishes.

Settlers Drift accommodation and activities
One of the spacious tented suites * A morning coffee stop close to a journey of giraffe

Settlers Drift is the newest 5-star offering in Kariega Game Reserve. The lodge has nine tented suites, each a staggering 110m² in size! Kariega includes a wide range of activities in their daily rate: game drives (with a maximum of 6 guests per vehicle), river cruises, fishing and guided walking safaris.

Take me to Kariega Settlers Drift

Xugana Island Lodge, Okavango Delta (Botswana)

 From USD 510 per person / per day

Xugana Island Lodge
Xugana Island Lodge has comfortable reed chalets overlooking a peaceful lagoon.

Mokoro safari and al fresco dining
Explore the delta waterways by mokoro * Sit down to al fresco meals served on the lodge deck

The only way to get to Xugana Island Lodge is by boat. Hidden away on a forested island, this water-based camp offers a secluded escape in 8 reed-and-thatch chalets deep in the Okavango Delta. Lie in bed watching the sunrise, then set out to explore by mokoro, motorboat or on walking safaris.

> Take me to Xugana Island Lodge.

Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe National Park (Botswana)

From USD 510 per person / per day

River-view room at Chobe Game Lodge
The lodge's rooms are all river-facing, and have been recently revamped with a fresh new feel..

Deck & river safari at Chobe Game Lodge
An unbeatable setting right on the Chobe River * Quiet electric boats get you up close to wildlife  

Chobe Game Lodge sits right on the Chobe River, famous for its vast elephant herds. Although this is a larger property (42 rooms) you’ll still find plenty of quiet places along the riverside boardwalk or the many terraces where sun loungers invite you to settle in for some relaxed game viewing.

> Take me to Chobe Game Lodge.

The Elephant Camp, Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)

From USD 508 per person / per day

Luxury tent at The Elephant Camp
The Elephant Camp has 12 tented suites on a private concession in Victoria Falls National Park.

The Elephant Camp waterhole & breakfast deck
The camp waterhole * When water levels are high you can see the spray from Victoria Falls

The Elephant Camp lies close to Victoria Falls, yet still feels like a safari camp. Along with elegant accommodation and delicious cuisine, a stay here includes all sorts of activities: meet the sanctuary elephants, take a walk with Sylvester the cheetah and have sundowners overlooking Batoka Gorge.

> Take me to The Elephant Camp 

Little Makalolo, Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe)

From USD 508 per person / per day

Tent interior at Little Makalolo
Little Makalolo tents are simple but super comfortable, and have both indoor and outdoor showers.

Little Makalolo Tented Camp
Outdoor lounge * Little Mak wild and is unfenced, so game viewing often continues at camp

A lovely little camp with six traditional-style safari tents. At ‘Little Mak’ you really get the feeling of being in the wild: tents are simple but very comfortable, the guiding is excellent, there’s plenty of big game about - and you also have the option of a night out in their incredible star bed.

> Take me to Little Makalolo Camp.

Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, NamibRand Nature Reserve (Namibia)

From USD 320 per person / per day

Wolwedans Dunes Lodge
Roll up the canvas walls of your chalet and snuggle in bed watching the sunrise over the dunes.

NamibRand Nature Reserve and oryx
The surreal beauty of the NamibRand * Gemsbok (oryx) are often seen close to the chalets

Wolwedans Dunes Lodge has wooden chalets with canvas sides that roll up to let in the Namib Desert views. Staying here feels like another world, particularly at sunset when the soft light turns the dunes a magnificent red! Fantastic for photography, star gazing and a unique safari experience.

> Take me to Wolwedans Dunes Lodge.

As South Africa's leading luxury tour operator we're the first to find out about the latest travel deals. Contact a safari expert to find out more.

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