Travelling in Africa is an amazing experience, not least because of the world-class lodges, hotels and accommodation we have. What’s more, these properties are continually renewed, refurbished, and kept to the highest standards for a wonderful experience for every guest we send their way. Planning your 2020 travel in Africa? This is the list for you.
Each of the properties on our Hot List has either newly reopened with a fresh, redesigned interior or extra amenities, or is due to do so in 2020. We can’t wait to start planning many a vacation in Africa with these incredible lodges as the focus.
1. Sindile Lodge & Long Lee Manor (Eastern Cape in South Africa)
Shamwari’s newest lodge, Sindile Lodge celebrates the famous leopardess in both its name and style. Designed to mimic the solo leopard’s den, it blends into the surrounding bushveld while maintaining a majestic view over the Bushman’s River and surrounding plains. Sindile is isiXhosa for ‘survivor’, a testament to the leopardess that survived numerous lion maulings to raise five litters of cubs.
While Shamwari is always a great spot for a safari, we think Sindile Lodge will be enormously popular for 2020 travel in Africa, so get your bookings in sooner rather than later, folks!
In contrast, Long Lee Manor is a study in glorious colonial style. This newly redesigned lodge boasts Edwardian styled suites, a glorious rim-flow pool and an onsite spa.
Both lodges are located in the exclusive Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, a great location for malaria-free safaris. All guests can take advantage of twice-daily game drives, and professionally guided bush walks. Shamwari is home to five of South Africa’s eight biomes, attracting a wide variety of animal and bird species to the area.
2. One&Only Gorilla’s Nest (Rwanda)
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a jewel of an experience, and in true One&Only style, Gorilla’s Nest heaps this jewel with more riches. This brand new lodge has just opened in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano Range, surrounded by forests of eucalyptus and within range of five of the eight Virunga volcanoes.
Although gorilla trekking is the big attraction of the region, fascinating experiences are not limited to that alone. Visitors can experience an authentic cultural village, beautiful hiking trails, cave systems, over 165 bird species, and numerous mammals including rare golden monkeys.
3. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge (De Hoop in South Africa)
About three hours drive from Cape Town, between Arniston and Witsand on the Cape South Coast, lies the little known paradise that is De Hoop Nature Reserve. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge—literally meaning ‘place of good water’—lies on a six-kilometre stretch of pristine beach. Each year from July to November, whales and their calves stream past on their way from Antarctica. From the spacious decks — maybe even from bed!—you might see a pod of dolphins, water birds large and small, and many other marine species.
This brand new hotel is designed simply, with underlying attention to detail. Each of the seven rooms looks out over the tumbling waves, and from a distance, you can hardly see the building as it blends into the surrounding bushes. Planning your 2020 travel in Africa? Don’t discount a land-based marine safari like this one at the impeccable Lekkerwater Lodge.
4. DumaTau Lodge & Little DumaTau (Linyanti Game Reserve, Okavango Delta in Botswana)
In the Okavango Delta lies the haven of DumaTau Lodge, situated on the edge of Osprey Lagoon. This incredible lodge is currently being redesigned and revamped, to offer guests even more luxury on their stay in the Okavango. In addition, Little DumaTau is being built slightly north of the main lodge, offering an exclusive range of just four spacious tented suites. Little DumaTau even offers a coveted and romantic ‘star-bed’ experience.
The Linyanti Game Reserve—and the Savute Channel where the DumaTau lodges are located—are within range of the Linyanti Swamps, floodplains and mopane woodlands. These varied ecosystems attract a wide range of wildlife including red lechwe antelope, Burchell’s zebra, giraffe, buffalo and warthog. Predator sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyaena are also quite common, making it a wonderful place to enjoy a true Okavango safari.
5. Little Kulala (Sossusvlei in Namibia)
On the along the banks of the dry Auab riverbed in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve, lies Little Kulala. A haven of cool luxury in the hot desert, the lodge takes inspiration from nearby Dead Vlei in its use of many natural materials. With just 11 climate-controlled thatched ‘kulalas’ (kulala means to sleep in Swahili), this boutique lodge offers en-suite plunge pools and a rooftop star-bed for each suite.
Guests can take advantage of an exclusive gate into nearby Sossusvlei Nature Reserve, where they can have nature drives, walks and eco-sensitive quad biking, exploring this captivating landscape. A balloon safari offers an awe-inspiring experience soaring above the desert, one we’d highly recommend.
6. Singita Sweni Lodge (Kruger National Park in South Africa)
The Sweni River is home to our next paradise, this a lush one few would expect to find in Africa, the Singita Sweni Lodge. Each of the seven suites is tucked into the edges of the river under a canopy of trees. They overlook the perennial water source—the Sweni River—which attracts a wide variety of animals and birds, big and small. Here, guests have the feeling of being enveloped by the surrounding ancient forest.
The Lodge lies on the southeastern edge of the Kruger National Park and shares a private 33,000 acres with just one other lodge, the Singita Lebombo Lodge. This region is famous for being the home of many of the Big Five as well as four particularly imposing prides of lions.
7. Jack’s Camp (Makgadigadi Pans National Park in Botswana)
One of the most famous and storied lodges in Africa, Jack’s Camp lies on the edge of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans overlooking the glittering salt pans and glistening swathes of scorched earth. It’s a haven of old-world, colonial-style glamour, treating guests to a safari experience of yesteryear, and it’s having new life breathed into it.
What’s most incredible about Jack’s Camp, is the contrast between the stark exterior moon-like landscape, and the splendour and luxuriousness of the interiors of the Lodge. Due to reopen in April 2020, we can’t wait to see their iconic pool pavilion and tea tent in all their refurbished glory. Make sure you get your booking in early for 2020 safaris in Africa at Jack’s Camp, or you may have to wait until 2021 for the pleasure!
8. Kwessi Dunes (NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia)
If we had to pick one new lodge we’re really excited about that’s opening in 2020, it would be Kwessi Dunes on the east edge of the NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia. In the style of Jack’s Camp, this lodge contrasts the baking red-orange dunes of the surrounding landscape with opulent and quirky interiors that are sure to delight.
Each of the 12 climate-controlled rooms features indoor and outdoor showers, and have their own ‘stargazer’ rooms that are completely open to the heavens. Out in the desert where there is no light pollution, the celestial display is just awe-inspiring. This looks to be a hot destination for 2020 travel in Africa, so don’t miss out.
9. Xigera Safari Lodge (Okavango Delta in Botswana)
Pronounced ‘kee-jera’, Xigera Safari Lodge is experiencing a complete refurbishment and is due to reopen in June 2020. A true water lodge in the Okavango Delta, it is located on the accurately named Paradise Island in the heart of the Delta. With just 12 suites, Xigera is designed to preserve the natural environment and runs on 100% solar power.
The surrounding Delta spends the bulk of the year full of water, allowing guests to explore palm-filled islands, riverine forests, interwoven channels and expansive floodplains by traditional mokoro or flat-bottomed motorboat. The Delta is at it’s prime between May and September, so if you want to have a 2020 safari in Africa at Xigera Lodge, make sure you book soon!
10. Tanda Tula Rishilé Camp (Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa)
The last on this list, but certainly not the least, is the brand new Tanda Tula Rishilé Camp, opening late 2020. Tanda Tula means ‘to love the quiet’; celebrating the flavours, colours and tempo of Africa inspired by the warmth of the community. Founded on sound conservation practices and consisting of three tented camps, Tanda Tula connects through thoughtful safari experiences.
Rishilé Camp, meaning ‘sunrise’ in Tsonga, is still in the building process but we wanted to include it nonetheless! Opening at the end of 2020, the renderings make us think it’ll be as spectacular as Tanda Tula Safari Camp (pictured above). Designed with a minimal environmental footprint and with a big focus on families and privacy, the new camp continues the story of Tanda Tula with a chapter on the new, modern Africa.
Each of these camps is newly refurbished, redesigned, or due to open next year, and we are extremely excited to introduce (or reintroduce) guests to these spectacular lodges. Which one would be your first choice? Let us know in the comments, or get in touch to start planning your 2020 travel in Africa.