What makes a safari luxurious? It starts with the location: one that feels remote and exclusive, whether it’s in a secret corner of one of the continent’s much-celebrated national parks or a tucked-away private concession that’s also teeming with wildlife. Then there’s the accommodation: probably a cleverly designed lodge with gourmet food, flawless service and imaginative, one-of-a-kind ways to get into nature that go beyond the usual game drive. Finally, there are the links to the local communities that add a rich cultural dimension and a strong focus on conservation to preserve these precious ecosystems for the future. To help you find your dream adventure, we’ve picked our favourite safaris for every type of luxury lover.
1. Governors’ Grand Safari
Family-run Governors’ is known for its award-winning tented camps and its Grand Safari crops up regularly on lists of the best luxury holidays in the world. This is accommodation that’s a destination in its own right – or at least it would be were it not for stiff competition from the heart-stoppingly lovely and wildlife-rich landscapes in which it’s invariably set. You’ll discover the Great Rift Valley from the comfort of a former farmhouse on the shores of Lake Naivasha, where you could catch leopards mid-hunt on a night-time game drive. At Laikipia, home will be a ranch with a handful of immaculately styled cottages dotted around the grounds and a programme of activities that mixes game drives with cultural and behind-the-scenes discoveries. Finally, you’ll fly to the Maasai Mara and the tented camp where the Governors’ story began half a century ago; there are lions on the doorstep and grazing animals often pass right through.
Find out more about Governors’ Grand Safari.
2. Best of Botswana and Victoria Falls
A safari in Botswana is exclusive almost by definition. All but swallowed up by the vastness of the pristine wilderness that surrounds them, its high-end, low-impact lodges are so remote that the only way to reach them is by the tiniest of light aircraft: a thrilling, game-spotting adventure in itself. From these select bases, you’ll head out in a host of ways – 4×4, mokoro (traditional canoe), motorboat or on foot – to come face to face with the teeming wildlife of the incredible Okavango Delta and the plains of Chobe. Rounded off with the contrasting delights of Victoria Falls just across the border in Zimbabwe, where you can cruise the Zambezi in vintage style or zoom above it on zip wires, this 11-day itinerary is a dream for couples of all ages and stages.
Find out more about the Best of Botswana and Victoria Falls itinerary.
3. Kenya SkySafari
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime African adventure, a SkySafari in Kenya whisks you effortlessly between exclusive tented camps in national parks and private conservancies on a bespoke Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft. You’ll soar high over the country’s spectacular landscapes and game-rich plains and enjoy extraordinary experiences, from a night in a four-poster bed under the stars to spotting an array of incredible wildlife from the back of a camel or on foot with a Samburu guide. This superb 10-day fly-in safari is an excellent option for a honeymoon or you could fill the plane’s eight seats with your own family for a private multi-generational getaway to celebrate a special occasion in style.
Find out more about the Kenya SkySafari.
4. Tanzania’s Great Migration
Filled with both drama and moments of extraordinary serenity, this wildlife-packed nine-day tour takes in one of nature’s greatest shows. Travelling at your own pace by private 4×4, you’ll stay in intimate eco-camps in stunning and truly away-from-it-all locations where even the baths come with breathtaking views. At the heart of the adventure is Africa’s biggest wildlife event – the annual migration of around two million wildebeest, plus zebras and gazelles, between the north and south of the Serengeti and back again – for which you’ll have a front-row seat. It’s not all about animal encounters, however; if you choose, there are Maasai village visits, barbecues in volcanic craters and sundowners in the bush to be savoured.
Find out more about the Tanzania’s Great Migration itinerary.
5. Unsurpassed Zimbabwe
Combining a world-famous sight with less-trodden spots, this 13-day Zimbabwean odyssey begins – how could it not? – at the natural wonder of Victoria Falls. You’ll have time to sample the delights of this deservedly popular spot, including colonial-style hotels and a host of optional activities from sunset cruises to canopy tours. From here, you’ll hopscotch by light aircraft between the country’s most blissfully remote wild places, from national parks known for their elephant populations to UNESCO-listed watery wonderlands, staying in award-winning eco-lodges where the views from your tent will be out of this world. As well as action-packed game drives, activities include boating safaris and canoeing trips, both particularly serene ways to immerse yourself in the landscape.
Find out more about the Unsurpassed Zimbabwe itinerary.
6. Rwanda’s Gorillas and Kenya’s Maasai Mara
When it comes to wildlife encounters, there are few with such rarity value as a meeting with Rwanda’s mountain gorillas in one of their last remaining strongholds. Equipped with a precious permit – numbers are strictly limited – you’ll make two morning treks, leaving you with time to soak up the ambience and enjoy the extensive facilities of your African-chic treehouse lodge on the tranquil fringes of verdant Volcanoes National Park. Bucket-list goal achieved, you head to Kenya’s iconic Maasai Mara for a more classic safari experience, staying at a luxurious, intimate camp with an unbeatable location beside the Mara River. This is big-cat country, but there are also rhinos nearby as well as some of the Great Migration’s most dramatic river crossings, so incredible sights are all but guaranteed.
Find out more about the Rwanda’s Gorillas and Kenya’s Maasai Mara itinerary.
7. Luxury Samburu & Maasai Mara Fly-in Safari
Mara Bushtops is consistently voted among the top lodges in Kenya thanks to facilities that include an extensive spa that’s won a fistful of World Luxury Spa Awards. On this indulgent safari, you can intersperse memorable encounters with the Big Five on the Mara’s acacia-studded plains with pampering sessions-with-a-view using natural local products, or just spot zebra and giraffe from your private hot tub while your butler mixes you a cocktail. The other half of this classic safari adventure is Samburu – a scenic flight away – named after the local semi-nomadic people, which offers a beguiling mix of simple pleasures such as dining under the stars at your small and charming eco-camp and tracking animals so rare they’re known as the Special Five.
Find out more about the Luxury Samburu & Maasai Mara Fly-in safari.
8. Tanzania SkySafari
With the same core premise as the Kenyan SkySafari – transfers with panoramic vistas by bespoke Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, high-end accommodation and carefully curated experiences – the Tanzania version hits the heights with stops in the country’s most celebrated national parks. You’ll travel in VIP style to wildlife havens such as remote Tarangire, staying in a lodge in the trees where many of the staff are Maasai; drop in at an old-world manor house on a coffee estate between Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara; and revel in the peace and quiet of a five-star tented camp in the Serengeti that’s in the path of the Great Migration. As well as classic game drives, the 10-day itinerary includes indulgent activities from a lavish picnic lunch in the Ngorongoro Crater to a bean-to-cup coffee tour.
Find our more about the Tanzania SkySafari.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Gemma, who's travelled extensively in Tanzania. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it on their own. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot to enjoy your sundowner.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656