It is always a special experience to watch wild animals in their natural habitat and feel the hum of nature. Get a unique perspective of your environment, from a game drive or bush walk to private plunge pool, a relaxing massage, restaurant-quality food by candlelight and freestanding bathtub. Here are some destinations where you can experience first-class wildlife viewing, superb food, wine and personal service.
Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa
The South Africa’s most famous national park where you’ll find 147 mammal species, including the Big Five, hippo, cheetah, wild dog and sable antelope. Singita Lebombo Lodge provides you with luxury inside the national park, where the suites seem suspended over the river and you can enjoy stargazing or luxuriate in a spa treatment. Private concessions that share unfenced borders with Kruger allow for exclusive game drives that go off-road to get really close to sightings. At Ngalaga Safari Lodge you can also enjoy night drives and bush walks, and it has its own waterhole for 24-hour viewing.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
There is an exclusive and authentic in Botswana. You can enjoy a lone Time with the wilderness and the ultimate luxury in the Okavango is exploring a pristine ecosystem chock-full of wildlife from elephant, leopard and lion to wild dog. You can glide quietly through the waterways in a mokoro (dug-out canoe), visit Duba Plains for classic safari style with leather couches and wooden writing desks or Sanctuary Chief’s Camp for its private dining area and terrace pool. At Vumbura Plains, enjoy abundant wildlife and the magic of a hot-air balloon ride over the Delta, available between April and September.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
South Luangwa holds one of Africa’s largest concentrations of wildlife. There are 60 mammal species, including elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, wild dog and ‘specials’ like Thornicroft’s giraffe, Crawshay’s zebra and Cookson’s wildebeest. You can join walking safaris and day or night drives, indulge in a spa treatment or sleep out under the stars. Chinzombo is on a bend of the Luangwa River and has panoramic views and at Tena Tena you can watch from your bed as wildlife comes to the river to drink. The bathrooms are open to the elements for a close-to-nature feel.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, the Big Five and 500 bird species, Serengeti is a great choice for wildlife viewing, especially big cat sightings. The chic Singita Mara River Tented Camp overlooks the river in Northern Serengeti and has an extensive cellar of premium wines. At One Nature Nyaruswiga Serengeti, in Central Serengeti you can enjoy the plunge pool, Jacuzzi, stargazing deck, wellness treatments and gourmet food. Take a hot-air balloon ride to get a bird’s-eye view of wildlife on the plains.
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
The Masai Mara is home to the northern part of the Great Wildebeest Migration between July and October – with river crossings in August and September – but packed with resident animals all year round. It is the most classic East African safari, a place rich in wildlife and scenic plains dotted with trees. There’s plenty of luxury touches and superb food at Angama Mara, which overlooks the plains – a perfect view for relaxing with a gin and tonic. Soak in a free-standing copper bath with a view, listen to the grunting of hippo and wildebeest, or enjoy a picnic on the plains. The ultimate Mara experience is hot-air ballooning over the winding Mara River and looking down on elephant, wildebeest and lion.