Exterior of Singita Kwitonda Lodge
Image Courtesy of Singita
Hotels

8 Stunning New Safari Lodges to Add to Your Bucket List

The African safari experience gets a major upgrade at these shiny new lodges, where innovative design, exceptional service, and unparalleled wildlife sightings are just the beginning. Time to check in.

Exterior of Sonop Lodge
Reception of Sonop Lodge
Bedroom at Sonop

Images Courtesy of Zannier Hotels

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Sonop Lodge, Namibia

The edge of the world is a place. That place is called Sonop, a hotel in the far reaches of the Namib Desert in the Karas—a region considered remote even by Namibian standards. Just 10 rooms sit precariously on top of huge boulders; inside, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Telescopes, intricate and vibrant carpets, and copper bathtubs all add to the illusion that you’re in the 1920s, while dune buggies and horseback rides are the main modes of transport for spotting desert-adapted cheetahs and leopards. When you’re not enjoying a treatment at the spa or a dip in the heated infinity pool, you’re probably hanging out in the cocktail and cigar lounge, competing in a round of billiards while reliving the day’s adventures.

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Bedroom at Singita Kwitonda Lodge
Singita Kwitonda Lodge bar
Singita Kwitonda Lodge Bathroom
Singita Kwitonda Lodge deck
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Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House, Rwanda

Luxury has come to the hills of Rwanda. This year, Singita adds another tick to the tally with Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House, named after a silverback gorilla who once resided in Volcanoes National Park, where the hotel resides. Just eight suites surround the main lodge, all built from reforested wood and other sustainable materials, and include features like fireplaces, heated plunge pools, and a covered veranda for taking in the property’s 178 acres. Kataza House, a private four-bedroom villa, takes things further with a private chef, media room, and gym. No matter what space you choose to unpack your bags in, a sumptuous home base is guaranteed for those with gorilla trekking on the itinerary.

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Bedroom at Tuludi Camp, Botswana
Swimming pool pavilion at Tuludi Camp, Botswana
Fire pit at Tuludi Camp, Botswana
Exterior of Tuludi Camp, Botswana
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Tuludi Camp, Botswana

The Khwai Private Reserve houses one of the richest concentrations of wildlife in all of Botswana, and you’ll get a front-row seat to the action at Tuludi Camp—the newest sleep from National Selection. Here, seven tented rooms sit on stilts over Okavango Delta floodplains and are impressively spacious (we're talking over 1,000 square feet). When you tire of the views (impossible!) from your plunge pool, sunken deck, outdoor shower, or hanging day bed, curl up in the treehouse library and listen to the sounds of the delta from high up in the tree canopy. That is, when you’re not spotting wild dogs and waterbuck from a 4x4 Landcruiser or plying the waterways via a traditional mokoro.

RELATED: The Most Luxurious Safari Getaways in Africa

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Bedroom at Royal Malewane
Living area at Royal Malewane
Verandah at Royal Malewane
Large Farmhouse Pool at Royal Malewane

Images Courtesy of Royal Malewane/Mark Williams

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The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, South Africa

Truthfully, there isn’t hotel by The Royal Portfolio we don’t love. South Africa is designer Liz Biden’s muse: she’s made her mark with The Silo in Cape Town and Birkenhead House on the coast (one of the most stunning cliffside hotels in the world), and Royal Malewane in Greater Kruger National Park is her sweet safari foray. The lodge was so popular, she had to open additional space—dubbed The Farmstead—where a new lodge, three suites (each with their own private pools), and an eight-person villa channel Biden’s love for contemporary flair. In fact, it's impossible to take a bad picture, what with all the jewel-toned velvet sofas, patterned armchairs, antique doors from Zanzibar, and art everywhere you turn by both African and international artists.

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andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Image Courtesy of andBeyond

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andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

Old is new again at andBeyond’s Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, which emerges from a bold, top-to-toe makeover in October that puts all eyes on its staggering desert surrounds. All 10 rooms are retrofitted with skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows take up entire walls for easy oryx and zebra spotting, and there’s even an observatory (this is one of the world’s best places to stargaze, after all) complete with its own 12-inch telescope and resident astronomer. Of course, there’s more adventure to be had outside, and the lodge is your hook-up for quad biking, hot-air ballooning, dune dining, and more.

RELATED: 8 Gorgeous Hotels Perfect for Stargazing

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Bedroom at Nyamatusi Camp
Bathroom at Nyamatusi Camp
Pool at Nyamatusi Camp
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Nyamatusi Camp, Zimbabwe

When it comes to Zimbabwe (or Zambia, for that matter), nothing beats a stay along the iconic Zambezi River, which acts as a border between both countries and is a year-long lifeline for native wildlife. Mana Pools National Park—one of the least developed parks in Africa and, therefore, one of its most pristine—is the backdrop for Nyamatusi Camp, a six-tent lodge built along the riverbanks with show-stopping views of the water. Each understated room comes with its own plunge pool, but the best views are had first-hand in the bush, where guides lead you on walking safaris and in canoes in search of crocodiles and hippos.

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Bedroom at Wilderness Safaris Magashi, Rwanda
Living room at Wilderness Safaris Magashi, Rwanda
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Wilderness Safaris Magashi, Rwanda

Back in 2017, Wilderness Safaris made headlines when it opened Bisate Lodge outside Volcanoes. For their second Rwandan venture, they decided to trade the forest for savannah and wetlands and turned to another national park, Akagera, on the country’s opposite border near Tanzania. Like Bisate, Magashi features just six suites—tents, in this case—that look out over Lake Rwanyakazinga and offer a new way to spot the Big Five. In fact, Akagera is one of Africa’s recent success stories: with poaching all but purged, lion and black rhino have been reintroduced to the park in just the last few years. Boat trips into the wetlands are the best way to spot resident hippo, crocodile, and countless bird species including the endangered shoebill stork.

RELATED: The 14 Most Beautiful Lakes in the World (See If You Agree)

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Guest room at andBeyond Tengile
Bar at andBeyond Tengile
Exterior at andBeyond Tengile

Images Courtesy of andBeyond

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andBeyond Tengile River Lodge, South Africa

From above, you might never know andBeyond Tengile River Lodge existed. Slated wood rooftops are flat and covered with sand to blend into the landscape, and each of the nine villas are set so far away from each other, they feel more like private residences than a cohesive unit. (At more than 2,000 square feet, they’re also among the largest in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve and come decked out with luxurious details like hand-painted animal print fabrics and terrazzo floors.) That’s the magic of Tengile, made all the more impactful when guests arrive and are met with 180-degree views of the Sand River and all the wildlife—elephants, birds, rhinos—it attracts. That it’s all built sustainably is the icing on the proverbial cake.

Check Prices for andBeyond Tengile River Lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

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