on Dec 13, 2019 in
Nothing stays still in the world of luxury travel to Africa, and it can be hard to keep up-to-date with all the new openings and refurbishments that happen on a weekly basis across the continent. From the southern coast of South Africa to the Masai Mara in Kenya, here is a selection of 5 of the best openings from the last 6 months that you may have missed.
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, South Africa
Located in the most exclusive area of the De Hoop Nature Reserve and only a 3 hour drive away from Cape Town, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge provides a magical beach experience in one of the most impressive coastal reserves on the continent. This area is known for some of the best whale watching on the planet when from July to November, southern right whales make the long journey back from the Antarctic. In addition to whales, large pods of dolphin and all sorts of marine life can be spotted, providing guest with an incredible marine safari.
The main area at Lekkerwater is the heart of the lodge and has a lovely dining area with an open kitchen and a lounge with a wraparound deck from which to enjoy the fabulous views.
Each of the 7 rooms are positioned along a 6-kilometre stretch of private beach, complete with stunning views of the Indian Ocean and all its marine wildlife. The rooms take inspiration from the natural beauty of the reserve and are earthy and comfortable. In addition to this, they also have wood-burning stoves to take away the chills of the sea breeze in the winter mornings and evenings.
Nimali Mara Camp, Tanzania
Located in the Northern Serengeti on a small kopje just 35 minutes from the Mara River, the small and intimate Nimali Mara Camp has been set away from the hustle and bustle of safari vehicles and enjoys easy access to the migration crossings points. This part of the Serengeti stretches all the way to the Kenya border and is made up of a stunning mixture of valleys, open grass plains, small rivers and rocky kopjes.
The migration comes through this area between July and October, as the herds of wildebeest and zebra head to and back down from the Masai Mara reserve, making this one of the best places to view a famous Mara River crossing. As well as morning and afternoon game drives with an experienced Nimali Mara guide, guided walking safaris and balloon safaris can be arranged.
The new camp fits naturally into its surroundings amongst the trees and boulders. The main guest areas consist of a lounge and dining tent, and there is also an infinity pool set within a natural cave.
Each of the 8 suites have glass fronts so that guests can enjoy the incredible views, and in addition there are 2 honeymoon/family suites that each have a private plunge pool and lounge area that can also be converted into another room for families travelling with children.
Puku Ridge Camp, Zambia
Puku Ridge Camp has recently re-opened after being completely rebuilt earlier this year, and lies nestled in a game rich area of South Luangwa National Park. This is a luxury camp with every comfort, yet it is intimate and friendly with just 8 tents and panoramic views over the floodplain below.
The camp offers a full range of game drives and night drives in the South Luangwa National Park using open 4×4 vehicles driven by a knowledgeable guide. The region is abundant with elephants, lions, wild dogs, buffalos, hippos, wildebeests and antelopes – many of which will also be easily spotted as you lounge on your balcony or in your private plunge pool as you relax between activities.
The huge tented rooms are furnished with natural materials and lovely textiles, and the comfortable beds are draped in mosquito netting and overhead fans help to keep you cool. The bathrooms have a bathtub as well as both indoor and outdoor showers, and the extensive deck has a panoramic views which can be enjoyed from the seating area, plunge pool or a table which is there for private dining in your room.
Unusually for the area, each of the rooms also has its own star bed from which you watch the beautiful night sky and feel even closer to the nocturnal wildlife as the hyenias and lions call out across the plains below. Of course, if you then feel it gets too chilly (or the sounds start to unsettle you), you can always pop downstairs to the main bed in the room!
Mara Nyika, Kenya
Meaning “Large Plains or Great Plains,” Mara Nyika is an intimate bush camp consisting of 4 tents set in a valley straddling a small stream under a canopy of umbrella thorn trees, all with views out over the plains.
Guests here have the opportunity to explore the private and exclusive 50,000 acre Naboisho Conservancy, the second largest conservancy in the greater Masai Mara region. The conservancy model combines the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, tourism and enhancement of livelihoods for the local communities.
The 4 tents have each been built on a raised deck under the tree canopy to offer guests awe inspiring views out over the bush. They each have an en-suite bathroom with a shower, copper bath tub, double basins and hot and cold running water.
In addition, Each of Mara Nyika’s guest tents comes with a pair of high-quality binoculars for guest use as well as a professional Canon camera set, including a Canon 5D camera body and Canon 100-400mm and 24-70mm lenses.
As from June 2020, the camp will be reconfigured to feature 5 guest suites as well as a private 2 bedroom Mara Nyika Jahazi Suite. This suite will include the services of a private butler, chef as well as having its own dedicated private game viewing vehicle and guide.
Camp Maru, Botswana
This is a real throwback to the authentic safari camps of days gone by. Camp Maru is shaded by a small grove of giant leadwood trees and consists of just 6 luxurious safari tents, offering an intimate and exclusive safari experience in the Okavango Delta.
The camp is located in a private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, on the edge of a permanent lagoon which attracts a whole host of animals and birds in all shapes and sizes. Guests can enjoy game drives both in the day and at night, along with guided bush walks and mokoro excursions. The area around the camp is incredibly diverse, including mopane woodland, acacia trees, savannah, floodplains, permanent channels and tiny islands to explore.
This region is also well known for its spectacular year-round game viewing, with daily sightings of elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, zebra and other plains game. Notable predators such as lions, hyena, African wild dog and the elusive leopard are often seen regularly.
The main guest area has both an open air lounge and dining tent, along with a shaded veranda and welcoming campfire. Each of the safari tents are styled after the romance of the 1930s safari, and overlook the lagoon which is always a hub of activity.
Paul Campbell is a Co-founder and Managing Director at Travel Butlers. Travel Butlers are specialists in tailor-made safari and beach holidays to Africa and the Indian Ocean.