These four camps are some of our absolute favourites in Africa.
Why? Because they all share the holy grail sought by safari-junkies: top-notch locations, all-knowing guides and access to the best wildlife experiences in all of Africa. They’re also not scared to reinvent – and we’re pleased to let you know that these iconic camps have all been recently reimagined to a very high standard, with some fabulous new enhancements.
SERRA CAFEMA | KUNENE RIVER | Namibia
Found in the far north of sparsely populated Namibia, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote safari lodges in Southern Africa. With a recent upgrade, the lodge is set among verdant trees on the banks of the Kunene river, overlooking the majesty of hartmann’s valley and onwards to Angola. Here you’ll experience the awe-inspiring stillness and majesty of the vast Namibian landscape. Climb the Namib dunes at dawn to give you an unforgettable overview of the barren landscapes and windswept deserts; quad bike over undulating dunes for an exhilarating alternative perspective, or cruise along the Kunene River where you drift past pretty riverbanks where crocodiles laze and desert-adapted animals come to drink.
Here, you can also have an authentic and humbling cultural encounter with the semi-nomadic Himba people, daubed in ochre, as you learn how they live in symbiosis with the land. Back at the lodge, you’ll be astounded by the level of luxury, so far from home yet beautifully crafted with every detail in mind. The eight chalets are set on raised decks and made from wood, canvas and thatch to create a camp that’s totally at one with nature. The perfect base to explore a startlingly secluded corner of Namibia, this is the place to escape the world and immerse yourself in a landscape like no other.
JAO CAMP | OKAVANGO DELTA | Botswana
Located in the heart of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Jao camp’s encircling water-scapes are well-known for their beauty and prolific wildlife among the islands, riverine forests and epic floodplains. and with Jao sprucing its accommodation to new sophisticated levels, now is a great time to visit. Those who know old-timer Jao will ﬁnd the camp to be rejuvenated. A botanical theme carries throughout the lodge up into the tree canopy where ﬁve stilted pool suites can be found. Families will love the brand-new two-bedroom villas, which come with their own private-use vehicle, guide, chef and butler.
Tucked below the palm tress is a new bijou spa with a glorious pool and soothing views that stretch over the ﬂoodplains. Also new is an amazing ‘centre of knowledge’ museum featuring a two-storey-high giraﬀe skeleton, intricate maps and reems of Okavango history, which all set the scene for adventures in the Delta. Head out in a mokoro, boat or by classic game drive safari to spot prides of lion and herds of elephant. Around the water expect to see hippo, otters, owls and the lesser jacana. And with sky-high eco standards, Jao camp is a safari experience that never stops giving.
PUKA RIDGE | SOUTH LUANGWA | Zambia
In a remote part of south Luangwa sits Puku Ridge, set high up on a rocky ridge overlooking the Kakumbi floodplain. it’s one of our steadfast favourites for, among many things, its unique and stunning vista over the wildlife-rich plains of the Luangwa valley. simply the best views in Zambia.
Totally redesigned, Puku Ridge is now in the hands of the Cummings family, pioneers and stewards of South Luangwa and its proliﬁc wildlife. It was in this very park that walking safaris started some 60 years ago, a clear eco-conscious alternative to motorised game drives, eventually awarding it the distinction of the world’s ﬁrst ‘sustainable national park’. These credentials are taken through to the new lodge, which is carbon neutral, although no luxury detail has been overlooked.
Uniquely designed, the eight tented suites each has a pool and viewing deck, plus a truly special rooftop four-poster star bed for stargazing. Guiding is superb and lions, leopards and elephants are often seen in the area around the camp, as are buﬀalo, giraﬀe, zebra and of course Puku.
JACKS CAMP | MAKGADIKGADI PANS | Botswana
Deep in the Makgadikgadi salt pans of Botswana lies an extraordinary safari camp much-loved because of its distinct style. step back in time to the 1940s, where decadence and quirkiness go hand-in-hand. for true safari-lovers, this camp is a must. This year has seen a refurbishment of the iconic camp, but we’re pleased to say that its sumptuous ambience remains unchanged. Lift back the ﬂap of your now-extended Bedouin tent and be welcomed by old-world charm. Deep reds are accompanied by antique furniture and intricate textiles, and your veranda now comes with a private plunge pool. The acclaimed Persian Tea Tent remains, the swimming pool pavilion is larger with an added sun deck, and there is a new dedicated spa tent.
The enduring appeal of Jack’s Camp is the surprising levels of comfort despite the unforgiving one-million-acre reserve. Adventures await on quad bikes, breakfast with meerkats, bushman walks with the San Khosi and explorations on desert game drives. Wildlife can be seen year-round: visit in the wet season to be treated to a glimpse of the 500,000 strong zebra and wildebeest migration and expect sightings of brown hyena, plus oryx and Kalahari lions.