The Best African Safari Camps for Exclusive Use

Watching an elephant family cross a river a few yards from the seclusion of your private terrace is unforgettable, but imagine doing so exclusively in the company of family and friends? Hiring a camp or lodge exclusively to mark a special occasion is an epiphanous experience, with dining and activities all designed around your party’s interests. Below is a pick of the best lodges and camps for exclusive rental by Red Savannah’s African safaris expert, Chris Evans.

The Observatory – Leobo Private Reserve, South Africa
Overlooking the Palala Valley and situated at the top of an escarpment with breath-taking views, Leobo is the brainchild of entrepreneur, Rory Sweet and designers Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens. The Observatory is a private house on the estate with an infinity pool, Jacuzzi, a rooftop terrace just perfect for enjoying sundowners and an observatory atop a tower. Inside is a combination of unapologetic comfort and quirky detail. There is an ingenious chill-out area on a mezzanine level with vast cushions and the dining area is crowned with a chandelier crafted from a hippo skeleton. Very well suited for families (up to 6 adults and 3 children), Leobo is equally ideal for a boys week away: Quad biking, cross country Polaris drives, fishing, riding, game viewing, hippo camping, skydiving and clay pigeon shooting are a just few of the thrills and spills on offer.

Leobo Private Reserve South Africa (photo credit: dookphoto)

Photo credit: dookphoto

Singita Castleton, South Africa
Full of character, Singita Castleton is the original family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, set within 45,000 acres of private land in the Sabi Reserve. The main house is the social hub of the estate, with accommodation provided on an exclusive basis in six beautifully appointed cottages catering for up to 12 people. Flagstone floors, monochrome tiling, claw footed baths, botanical art and timeless furniture in aged wood create a country farmhouse atmosphere, full of charm. Guests have use of their own field guide and private Land Rover to spot hippo, cheetah, elephant, lion and hyena; there’s also a swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, spa treatment room and tennis court.

The pool at Singita Castleton in South Africa

Chongwe River House, Zambia
Beside the Chongwe River in the Lower Zambezi, Chongwe River House sits in an area famed for its magnificent herds of wild elephant. Guests need not venture far from the wooden viewing deck as animals come to the river to drink. The house itself is created around the curves of wild wood branches, with furniture carved from a winterthorn tree. Each of the four bedrooms has a waterfall shower, outside bath from where you can watch for wildlife, and a vast bed swathed with fine netting. With total privacy, activities including game drives, canoeing, fishing and bush walks can all be tailored to suit. Children (from age seven) are especially well looked after, with games, activities and meals carefully considered for younger visitors.

Chongwe River House in Zambia

Singita Serengeti House, Tanzania
Nestled on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill in the western corridor of Tanzania’s Serengeti, Singita Serengeti House sits in 350,000 acres of untamed wilderness with panoramic views over a watering hole and game-rich plains. The house has two suites in the main house as well as two garden suites, accommodating a total of eight guests, plus a swimming pool and tennis court. Interiors are comfortable and calming, with a chic cream and neutral colour palette and bleached wood furnishings. All activities are tailored, including game drives in open 4X4s, walking safaris and star gazing. Children of all ages are welcome. Singita also boasts one of the best riding safaris in Africa, with the chance to canter alongside zebra and giraffe, spot lion and elephant, and marvel at the spectacle of the sea of wildebeest during the great migration season (June – late August).

The beautiful interior of Singita Serengeti House in Tanzania

Laragai House (Borana Ranch), Kenya
Laragai House provides seclusion and comfort for up to 16 guests in a Baronial-style house on plateau, with the Lolokwe and Wamba Mountains to the north and Mount Kenya towering over the surrounding landscape to the south. When not out exploring, the house is the perfect place for families and friends to congregate socially. The grounds include a clay tennis court, a heated swimming pool with well-appointed Pool House, yoga, boules and croquet equipment and a brand new gym. Offsite, a friendly, experienced team provides fascinating guided walks, game drives, mountain biking, helicopter rides, biplane flights and riding safaris.

Riding at Laragai House in Kenya

The Manor House at Samara, South Africa
An exclusive-use property within the Samara Private Game Reserve, The Manor House sits nestled in the Karoo Mountains, beside a busy watering hole. Accommodation is in four luxury suites for up to eight guests. This fabulously contemporary homestead caters to your every whim with a house chef and butler, while beyond, Samara’s expansive 70,000-acre reserve is teeming with wildlife including cheetah, zebra, eland and giraffe, as well as the endangered white rhino.

Breathtaking view from Samara Manor House in South Africa

Contact luxury travel experts Red Savannah for more advice on travelling to any of the destinations mentioned on +44 (0)1242 787800.