Safari. Thrilling expeditions, hair-raisingly close encounters, and total oneness with nature. There’s just something about the wild that appeals to the human soul.
But what if you could go all David Attenborough and completely and utterly indulge yourself, all at the same time? We’ve tracked down some of Booking.com’s finest safari spots to help you do just that.
Forget lugging heavy gear and sweating it out in the savannah – these retreats have got hot tubs, haute cuisine, and plush king-size beds to dive into after the day’s explorations.
Marataba Safari Lodge – Hartebeesfontein, South Africa
Marataba Safari Lodge takes glamping to its wildest conclusion, with 15 tented suites in the heart of Marakele National Park. Crimson-hued mountains and grassy bushveld provide a dramatic backdrop to the entire stay – from a morning shower on your private deck to dinner and drinks under the pink and orange sky. And when you’re not bouncing along on a game drive, or gliding down the river on the ‘Miss Mara’, a glassy pool and cosy lounge await.
Lion Sands Private Game Reserve – Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
At Lion Sands, five immaculately designed lodges occupy the bushveld and banks of the Saiba River. With one of these as your basecamp, you’ll seek out South Africa’s ‘Big Five’ from an environmentally-adapted Land Rover, with a world-renowned ‘master tracker’ at the helm. Brave enough to leave the lodge behind for a night? Book in at a treehouse, where animal calls keep you company as you tuck into a gourmet picnic and prepare for the most unusual sleep of your life.
Four Seasons Tented Camp – Golden Triangle, Thailand
The Four Seasons’ treetop tents transport you back to the 19th century for a distinctly ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ adventure. Here, a specially designed package takes care of everything – and that means everything – from the essential stuff like airport transfers to treatments in the outdoor spa and unforgettable treks with rescued elephants. For a few days of complete indulgence and seclusion, those with a big enough budget can hire out the entire place!
Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara – Talek, Kenya
Olare Mara Kempinski is found on the edge of the Ntiakitiak River, surrounded by acres of savannah. Right in the thick of the Masai Mara, the lodge leases its land from the local Masai people in a respectful, cooperative partnership. You’ll bed down in one of twelve huge tented suites and quickly settle into a life where eating breakfast with the hippos is a daily event.
Sibuya Game Reserve and Lodge – Kenton on Sea, South Africa
Check in at Sibuya and you’ll be immediately whisked aboard for a journey down the meandering Kariega Estuary. Two possible destinations lie ahead: Forest Camp, or the smaller River Camp, which is recommended for families travelling with their own little explorers. Alongside exciting daily game drives, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in plenty of other activities, including fishing, canoeing, horse riding and picnicking on the nearby beach.