Get ready to safari in style. These new or recently-renovated camps combine nature and luxury.
Photography: Courtesy of Great Fish River Lodge1 of 11
If you're thinking about a safari honeymoon, you might be expecting to rough it. But if making camp isn't exactly your style and you still want to explore arid plains and see the famed wildlife, consider a luxury African safari. This wild, action-packed honeymoon option become popular over the years, which has led to the opening of several high-end bush camps and lodges located in the heart of the action. Inside these luxe dwellings (many of them tents!), you'll find a balance between refined décor—inspired by the rich culture and history of Africa—and modern amenities. The result? A true safari experience, with the finest comforts known to man—the ultimate combination for the adventurous just-married couple.
We've rounded up the best of Africa's new safari camps to give you and your spouse a taste of what's out there. The following properties are embedded into the continent's most picturesque areas, including Tanzania's Ruaha National Park, Botswana's Okavango Delta, Rwanda's Nyungwe National Park. And while each country brings new sights, animal species, and activities, these properties (no matter the location) serve up the very best of the wild. The incredible modern touches, like private swimming pools, fitness centers, and full-service spas, are just bonuses.
At the following camps, go on game drives in your personal car by day, then dine beneath the stars by night. In between, take exploratory hikes through gorilla territories, swim under waterfalls, and sip on gin and tonics as you watch a pod of hippos from your tent. To call one of these camps home for a week or two is to experience uninterrupted Africa first hand, in style.
Photography: Courtesy of Bateleur Camp2 of 11
Located on the Maasai Mara National Reserve, this Kenyan camp by andBeyond is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, which will be complete in 2018. The new-and-improved guest tents will feature verandas, deep bathtubs, and al fresco showers—in addition to the two new swimming pools, a fitness center, massage sala, and coffee bar located in the main facility. Rates from $680 all-inclusive per person, per night.
Photography: Courtesy of Phinda Rock Lodge3 of 11
Phinda Rock Lodge
Two decades after its original opening, this intimate lodge (also from andBeyond!) has never looked better. After closing its doors for a complete remodel, the Zululand, South Africa, residence reopened in May, redesigned in an African adobe style. Today, the residence boasts an earthy gray color palette, hand-embroidered linens, French doors, private verandas, and a rooftop terrace, perfect for dining beneath the stars. Rates from $675 all-inclusive per person, per night.
Photography: Courtesy of Jabali Ridge4 of 11
This new, remote property from the Asilia, located in Tanzania's Ruaha National Park, will usher in a new level of privatized luxury. Void of tourists, the property's only neighbors are zebras, giraffes, and lions. With eight suites with private decks and rain showers, this residence is the ultimate romantic getaway. Before you leave, enjoy a morning bush walk and a picnic breakfast. Rates from $715 all-inclusive, per person, per night.
Photography: Courtesy of Mombo Camp5 of 11
Mombo and Little Mombo Camps
While Wilderness Safaris' Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp are in the middle of major rebuild, the new dwellings, opening in February 2018, will "remain rooted in an authentic bush-camp offering," said COO Grant Woodrow. Powered completely by solar power and designed with an "extremely light eco-footprint," these camps are the perfect choice for environment-conscious travelers—their construction has disturbed the natural landscape as little as possible, leaving more room for the indigenous wildlife. Rates from $1892 all-inclusive per couple, per night.
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Photography: Courtesy of Nyungwe House6 of 11
With 22 luxury suites and villas, this One and Only residence is located on a working tea plantation on the edge of Nyungwe National Park—thought to be one of the oldest in Africa. Guests can discover the wildlife—including black and white colobus monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabey—from their rooms or up close on exploratory treks. Want to get even closer? Nestled into a nearby forest of eucalyptus trees, a community of endangered Mountain Gorillas are thriving and up for visits. Rates from $1,100 all-inclusive per couple, per night.
Photography: Courtesy of Sable Alley7 of 11
This new bush camp from Natural Selection overlooks a lagoon connected to the Khwai River—just a short distance from the renowned Moremi Game Reserve. From anywhere in the camp—like its wide deck, swimming pool, bar, or 12 tents—guests have uninterrupted views of the hippos, elephants, and buffalo that come to drink. With the help of expert guides, get closer to the wildlife from a "mokoro," a traditional dug-out canoe. Back at camp, lounge with your love in an oversized tent, furnished with king sized beds, crisp linens, and both indoor and outdoor showers. Rates from $570 all-inclusive per person, per night.
Photography: Courtesy of Bisate Lodge8 of 11
Situated next to the renowned Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Wilderness Safaris' newest property opened its doors in June 2017. Comprised of just six spacious villas, the residence is the ultimate spot for gorilla watching, since its land was recently reforested to improve the endangered animals' habitat. Guests can trek through gorilla territory, plant indigenous trees, and visit the local coffee farm. Vino-lovers will enjoy the lodge's spectacular wine cellar, which hosts wine and coffee tastings, movie nights, and educational talks. Rates from $1,100 all-inclusive, per couple per night.
Photography: Courtesy of Gomoti Plains Camp9 of 11
Machaba Safaris' Gomoti Plains residence, located on the edge of the Gomoti river system in Okavango Delta, Botswana, is the perfect combination of wilderness and luxury. The proximity to the river gives travelers another type of wildlife to study—travel by boat in the river's shallow waters to discover the intriguing aquatic wildlife of Africa. Take a dip in the camp's swimming pool, and spend evenings in the stocked library. Rates from $510 all-inclusive per couple, per night.
Photography: Courtesy of Duba Plains Camp10 of 11
As far as luxury goes, this bush-camp residence by Great Plains Conservation might just be as good as it gets. Guests have access to their own game drive vehicle, expert guide, butler, and chef, so you can feel relaxed and taken care of for the duration of your stay. That dedication to comfort comes in handy in the evenings, after you've spent the day exploring the lodge's 77 acres of woodland and flood plains. If you're an amateur photographer, be sure to ask about the residence's specialized boat, equipped with camera mounts and swivel chairs. Rates from $1,650 all-inclusive per couple, per night.
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Photography: Courtesy of Miavana11 of 11
Located in North East Madagascar, Time + Tide's Miavana property is one of the few high-end camps in the area. Guests are picked up from the Antsiranana Airport by helicopter before being driven to one of the 14 private villas, each with their own private pool and deck area. By day, relax poolside with a book, or venture into the wilderness's waters for snorkeling, scuba diving, and kite surfing. On land, search for the golden brown sifake, one of the rarest and most endangered breeds of Lemur, that can only be seen in this single spot in Madagascar. Rates from $2,500 per person, per night.