Safari Hot List 2019

­There’s a lot to look forward to in 2019! As African Safari Experts, we like to start the year with our review of exciting new properties, along with a look at anticipated lodge openings and the refurbishing of favourites in the year ahead.

Here’s our Safari Lodge Hot List for 2019.

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (Namibia)

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

A refurbishment allows a lodge to refresh, take on clients’ feedback and relaunch better than ever. andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is doing just that and will be re-opening in October 2019 with a bold new look! Located in the heart of the ancient Namib Desert, this secluded oasis looks out over seemingly endless horizons and starry night skies.

With 10 air-conditioned suites featuring in-room fireplaces and skylights above the beds – this is the perfect place to rekindle romance. Now, a 9-month makeover is set to add a layer of glam: floor-to-ceiling windows will fold back to open up the view and state-of-the-art sustainability innovations will allow for outdoor showers and private splash pools.

Why we love it: The most romantic star-studded skies in Africa.

Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sands (South Africa)

Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sands

The new Cheetah Plains is an ultra-luxurious and high-tech lodge situated alongside the Kruger National Park, in South Africa’s Sabi Sands. These sleekly minimalist and striking houses were designed by internationally acclaimed interior design studio ARRCC, who describes the spaces as: “luxury planes meet vast panoramas”.

Each exclusive-use house includes every contemporary luxury from a temperature-controlled wine cellar and heated swimming pool to your suite’s dressing room, double rain shower and bath with bushveld views. Also included in your stay is your own game vehicle, field tracker, butler, chef, housekeeper, groundsman and spa therapist.

Why we love it: For their electric game drive vehicles and over-the-top luxury.

One&Only Nyungwe HouseNyungwe (Rwanda)

A magical destination, One&Only Nyungwe House lies within a working tea plantation, surrounded by incredible forests. The largest mountain rainforest in Africa, Rwanda‘s Nyungwe Forest is home to 13 primate species including black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys and chimpanzees.

You’ll need a good couple of days to experience all there is to do here including chimpanzee trekking, helicopter flips, archery classes, forest canopy tours and hiking trails to beautiful waterfalls. As for the accommodation, the rooms and suites all have stylish interiors, private balconies and every luxury you’d expect from One&Only.

Why we love it: Lazy afternoons by the infinity pool, unwinding in luxurious surroundings with green as far as the eye can see and monkeys playing in nearby trees.

Shipwreck Lodge, Skeleton Coast (Namibia)

Shipwreck Lodge, Namibia

By now you may already have seen pictures of Shipwreck Lodge (also featured in this blog’s banner image). This unique property is the only lodge within Namibia’s Skeleton Coast National Park and, since its opening last year, has shot to the top of wish lists around the world.

Stay in one of 10 shipwreck-style cabins, kept cosy with faux fur blankets and wood-burning stoves. Guided drives take you out into this astonishing desert wilderness; the rolling sand dunes and dry riverbeds home to springbok, oryx and desert-adapted elephant. Sunset are spectacular, and the setting is like nowhere else on earth.

Why we love it: The unique design of this lodge and extraordinary beauty of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast.

andBeyond Tengile River Lodge, Sabi Sands (South Africa)

andBeyond Tengile River Lodge in the Sabi Sands

andBeyond Tengile River Lodge welcomed its first guests in December 2018. Tengile means “tranquil” in the Tsonga language, a name well suited to this phenomenal location. Each of the 9 suites opens onto a private stretch of the Sand River, with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a bit of armchair game viewing while soaking up the river views.

Inside each suite you’ll find a master bedroom, sunken lounge area, beautiful big bathroom, and you own bar and dining area. The attention to detail in both the suites and main lodge is fantastic, with a mix of natural materials alongside pieces by South African artists and designers. A hot new choice for a luxurious Big 5 safari!

Why we love it: Whether you’re lying in bed, soaking in a bubble bath or sharing a drink – you’ve always got those beautiful river views.

Nyamatusi Camp, Mana Pools (Zimbabwe)

The newest addition to the famous African Bush Camps brand, Nyamatusi Camp is set in the depths of Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Remote and wild, it’s on the banks of one of Africa’s oldest rivers. The six luxury tented suites look onto the river and each have a plunge pool, air-conditioning and indoor-outdoor showers.

Go on walking safaris, feel the earth beneath your feet, and meet the African animals that use the Zambezi River as a life source.

Why we love it: Walking safaris with top Zimbabwean guides – some of the best in the industry.

Magashi Camp, Akagera (Rwanda)

Magashi Camp, Akagera

Magashi Camp overlooks vast Lake Rwanyakazinga in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. This Wilderness Safaris tented camp is set to receive its first guests in May 2019, however, senior guides have already started exploring the area and report that: “Although we expected wildlife sighting to be good, they have surpassed everything we hoped for”!

The first high-end property in Akagera, Magashi will offer expertly-led game drives, guided walks and boating safaris. The camp will have just six tents, each with an uninterrupted lake view; while the main area will include a luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, wine cellar and pool.

Why we love it: This spectacularly wild setting holds the promise of superb game including plenty of predators (especially leopard!) and more than 520 bird species.

The Farmhouse at Royal Malewane (South Africa)

Luxury Farm Suite and The Farmhouse pool at Royal Malewane

Opening in May 2019, The Farmstead is set to echo the exceptional standard of Royal Malewane. It’s all about “rustic luxury” here with three Luxury Farm Suites, as well as the main Farmhouse which will be run as a private villa with 3.5 bedrooms.

Liz Biden, whose distinct design style can be seen in The Silo in the V&A Waterfront and La Residence in Franschhoek, has a talent for creating elegant, inviting spaces. With The Farmhouse, her focus is “light oak, gentle hues of blue and white, and comfy sofas on wide verandas”. We can’t wait to see the results!

Why we love it: The attention to detail of Royal Malewane, and excellent Big 5 game viewing.

Tuludi, Okavango Delta (Botswana)

Tuludi, Okavango Delta

Sitting in a 250,000-hectare conservancy, Tuludi is the new premier camp by Natural Selection in Botswana that’s opening in July 2019. The stylish camp with 7 rooms is located on the northern edge of the Okavango Delta, so you have views of floodplains and the nearby shady leadwood forest. Go on game drives or walking safaris, sit by the firepit with a G&T or take a dip in the elegant pool – this is a true Delta experience!

Why we love it: A treehouse library, the tents have a hanging chair, outdoor bathtub and shower… and each tent is 100 square meters, need we say more!

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