Five exceptional African lodges where you can learn the art of bush living

election – From Namibia to Tanzania, Botswana to South Africa, these African lodges reinvent the art of bush living in their own style.

Sip a cocktail at sunset, in front of a log fire in the silence of the bush. Waking up to the sun and wild vastness before you. Living in the heart of nature while being surrounded by noble materials with harmonious shapes and enjoying the wonders of civilization. The art of bush living has grown into an “industry” in recent years. These African lodges, each in their own style, reinvent the art of bush living.

Most Immersive: Feline Camp Botswana

Feline Field Camp tents allow you to experience African solitude. Feline Fields/Press Photo

Situation: In the Khoai region of Botswana

the pitch : Feline Fields Camp is located in the heart of the Okavango Delta. This is a real camp, private, with big tents set up right before your arrival. Furnished with beds fit for a grand hotel and antiques, it allows its guests to live a life of seclusion, the ultimate African experience. Just for you: tents, attentive staff and a dedicated dining area that would make many permanent lodges blush.

Facing the river, this experience is ideally lived for three days. The first may be the worst of your life: the surrounding animals rub against the tent in the dark, lonely night. But by the second night you get used to it. Noises sensitize you, you sleep well, curl up a few meters away from the movement in your cozy bed. The last night will surely be one of the most beautiful in life: we appreciate the fixed starry sky, the aperitif at sunset and the evening around the fire, not to mention the wonderful food prepared just for you.

Good to know: You can access this private camp in two ways: by road, which is rare enough to mention at the delta gate, or by helicopter. If the second option is less “green”, it allows you to fly over the Okavango several tens of meters above sea level. A rare opportunity, ideal for wildlife observation.

Feline Camp Botswana, from €1800 per night.

Greenest: Grumeti Hill

Tanzania’s Grumeti Hills are greenhouse gas neutral. Tanganyika Expedition / Photo Press

Situation: In Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Pitch: Imagine a lodge isolated from the earth but without the use of its swimming pool, air conditioning, running water, generators. Imagine 4X4 vehicles that don’t use a single drop of oil. Impossible in remote areas like Grumeti in the far west of the Serengeti Park? And yet. This is the work of prodigy Denis Lebeuteux who launched a small chain of charming and greenhouse gas emission neutral lodges.

Solar panels supply the electricity needs of the lodge and vehicles. Large reservoirs collect water during rare but abundant rainfall: it is recycled for the maintenance of swimming pools, water needs and the abundant vegetation that surrounds the estate. Thermal 4X4s are converted to electric 4X4s thanks to French technology backed by the Carwatt Company This lodge shows that life in the bush is not incompatible with nature conservation.

Good to know: Even if we are talking here about the “greenest” lodge on the continent, the swimming pool with a view and the massages also make it a wellness address. The table is delicious, fed by the country’s only permaculture vegetable garden located a few hours away.

Grumeti Hill. From 500 € / night

Most luxurious: Singita Lebombo

Singita Lodges offer elegant luxury without being pretentious. Singita/Photo Press

Situation: In South Africa’s Kruger National Park

Pitch: African luxury can be summed up in one name: Singita. Carved local wood, large bay windows that magnify designer furniture: luxurious but without ostentatiousness, all in elegance and harmony. Add to that the best rangers in the world, trained at the best American universities and the best chefs. Here, everyone feels exceptional and has a sense of traveling outside of time.

Good to know: Despite the price, American customers book Singita Lodge almost a year in advance. So you have to be prepared long in advance to stay.

Singita LeBombo Lodge, from €3000 per night.

The most remote: Tswalu Safari Lodge

Tiswalu can be reached in an hour and a half by plane from Johannesburg. Tswalu Safari Lodge / Photo Press

Situation: In the Kalahari of South Africa

Pitch: The Kalahari isn’t a first-time buyer’s dream, but after a few safaris it becomes. A hostile environment as remote as it is home to a jewel that safari enthusiasts know well: Tswalu. This Relais & Châteaux can be reached by a 1h30 flight west from Johannesburg. Arriving at the venue, the airport is an elegant hut. Then through dry but rich bush we discover Tswalu. Here is luxury elsewhere. The rare fauna that is offered to visitors (cats, reptiles, meerkats and other pangolins) will justify your presence in itself. But the view and serenity of the place is magnified tenfold by the exclusivity. Only a few rooms in this part of the world allow you to reserve for yourself.

Good to know: Accessible by short plane (very comfortable) from Cape Town or Johannesburg. Two nights minimum, four preferred. As the concession is private, safaris are offered on foot but also on horseback (which is quite rare).

Tswalu, from €1500/night (low season).

Most Popular: Sonop Lodge in Zanzibar

The view of the Namib lunar plain from the bed of Sonop Lodge in Zanzibar is endless. Thibodermy for Janier Hotel

Situation: Namibia’s Namib Desert

Pitch: Janier is a unique brand. Here, there is no desire to create a “chain” but to create unique addresses around exceptional natural places. Already present in Megève, Vietnam or Cambodia, they arrive with the most cinematic shock in the African country of Namibia. To be more specific, Randy. Everything is there, and even better: the view and the site are extraordinary, exclusive (necessarily) and almost inaccessible.

Tents of stilts stand between giant boulders preserved here by millions of years of erosion. The furniture is made of wood, copper and high quality textiles. From the bathroom or bed, the view of the lunar plains is endless. The precious wood and copper spyglass on the desk invites you to try to match Agatha Christie with pen in hand. But here is a unique table, placed on a huge natural promontory, designed by nature and illuminated only, by the Milky Way at night, here, sparkling with light.

Good to know: Sonop is difficult to access so stay should be long enough (minimum 3 to 4 nights). Here, everything is done to entertain you, even an open-air cinema, gastronomic or musical evening.

Hotel Sonop in Jania. From €1500/night (low season).

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