Our team of LuxVenture® experts at Ker & Downey® Africa continue to stay ahead of the game on everything luxury, and everything Africa. Our Little Black Book is our own personal hot list of the best camps, lodges and hotels across the continent. This treasury of secrets holds the key to some of the finest luxury lodges in the land, and we’ve decided to share some with you.
The world of travel is constantly (and rapidly) evolving. In fact, the selection of exceptional luxury properties in Africa is so vast, it almost makes the choice of where to go seemingly impossible. And Southern Africa is no exception. The region is extraordinary, boasting a variety of undulating plateaus, wild coastlines, stark deserts, untamed bushveld and one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. It is no wonder Southern Africa is a top bucket list destination.
Our Little Black Book of luxury lodges in Southern Africa is another collection of the finest properties, hand-picked by us for you – the discerning adventurer. Here is a sneak peek into our collection…
Are you ready?
Located on the banks of the Munde stream, Time + Tide’s King Lewanika is the first and only luxury safari camp in Zambia’s wild and isolated Liuwa Plain National Park. The park, considered one of Africa’s last great untamed wilderness regions, is a fascinating wild space with wide open landscapes and seemingly endless skies. Proclaimed a protected area in the early 1880s by King Lewanika himself, it is the oldest national park on the entire continent.
The exclusive camp comprises five luxury safari tents, and one luxury 2-bedroom family tent. Built using sustainable materials and run entirely on solar, the camp is designed to fully immerse guests into the wild, without compromising on style and comfort. Each spacious tent comes with a large lounge, indoor and outdoor showers, and panoramic views of the wilderness. The area is home to some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife including growing populations of cheetah, hyena, lion and a very special annual wildebeest migration. Guests can enjoy day and night safari game drives, guided bush walks, and boating or canoe safaris in between soaking up some of the most beautiful vistas on the planet.
Jack’s Camp is one of the most iconic camps in Africa, surrounded by the vast, untamed wilderness of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana. Just one of three exclusive camps in the one million-acre private wildlife reserve, Jack’s enjoys an array of unique desert-adapted wildlife including playful resident meerkats, brown hyena, oryx, and Kalahari lion during the day, and the elusive nocturnal aardvark, porcupine, honey badger and bat eared fox.
Though the legendary camp went through a full rebuild and renovation in 2021, it still retains its iconic and endearing old-world charm and style. Bedouin-style luxury canvas tents are adorned with artefacts and rich textiles from around the world. Private plunge pools and indoor and outdoor showers offer a refreshing respite from the heat, and magnificent views of the Kalahari landscape can be enjoyed from the private verandah. The camp also comprises a luxurious spa tent, nomadic Persian teat tent and spacious mess tent which is home to the renowned Natural History Museum in Botswana, African-themed library, antique pool table and a well-stocked drinks chest. Jack’s Camp is like a fairy-tale, creating an intimate yet impressive safari experience like nowhere else in Africa.
Deeply rooted in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Xigera (pronounced ‘kee-jera’) is a luxury safari lodge designed to enchant guests and offer unrivalled access to the most exceptional wildlife experience. Located in the western reaches of the Moremi Game Reserve overlooking the floodplains of the Delta, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is abundant with life and breathtaking riverine forests, papyrus wetlands and tawny grasslands.
Nestled under a natural awning of ancient indigenous trees, Xigera raises the bar of the luxury safari camp in Botswana. 12 opulent suites, including a two-bedroom Family suite, are individually designed and, like the rest of the camp, showcase 80 of the continent’s most internationally acclaimed artists and designers. Human-sized hand woven ‘nests’, a copper-clad fireplace in the form of Xigera’s emblem – a lily – and a totemic fire-pit sculpture are just some of the extraordinary pieces of a truly groundbreaking collection. Couple the beauty of the lodge with the most incredible eco-systems and amazing wildlife sightings from the moment you fly into camp, and you’ll understand why Xigera is an unrivalled offering in the Okavango.
Ultra-luxurious The Residence by Atzaró – cape town is a private mid-century villa in Cape Town, South Africa, ideally situated at the foot of the iconic Table Mountain. This prime location in what is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world does not disappoint. The villa boasts sensational, panoramic views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, the sprawling city bowl and Atlantic Ocean from every room on every floor. It is the perfect location to experience all the beauty and adventure of the Mother City in style.
The sprawling mountain-side haven comprises seven suites, multiple opulent living spaces and dining areas, a wellness suite, gym, indoor and outdoor kitchens, numerous decks and terraces and an outdoor pool. All suites and living spaces are beautifully designed and elegantly appointed, abundant with light and open to the spectacular natural surroundings. This contemporary exclusive-use villa is also fully serviced with a house manager, housekeepers, maintenance and concierge, meaning you don’t need to lift a finger during your stay.
Located in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve – South Africa’s most celebrated wildlife area – Cheetah plains is the undisputed home of the private, sustainable safari and considered a pioneer in its class. Wildlife is abundant in this region and you are almost guaranteed sightings of the famous Big Five, and much more. Offering guests an eco-safari of unrivalled quality, it is no wonder Cheetah Plains has won multiple awards and continues to epitomise the ultimate luxury safari experience in the country.
Cheetah Plains is made up of exquisitely appointed private Plains House villas, accommodation up to eight guests per house. These opulent safari hideaways are tucked away, offering utmost tranquillity and exclusivity. Each villa comprises luxury guests suites, living and dining areas, outdoor boma with fireside dining, a swimming pool and deck, wine cellar, and fully-equipped chef’s kitchen that, of course, comes with a private chef. Along with your chef, the rest of your exclusive hospitality team is made up of a host, spa therapist, and a best-in-class field guide and tracker team dedicated to you for the duration of your stay. Passionate about sustainability, your twice-daily game drives are taken in Cheetah Plains’ state-of-the-art Land Cruiser electric safari vehicles – a bold advancement towards zero-emission game viewing.
Set in over 50,000 hectares of pristine nature, on a reserve formerly used for hunting, Habitas Namibia is both a luxury hideaway and conservation project in one. The reclaimed reserve is a photographer’s dream with acacia-studded plains, rolling hills and rocky hilltops making up the enchanting landscape, typical of the Namibian savannah. Ideally located just 45 minutes from Hosea Kutako International Airport, this sustainable sanctuary offers an immersive wilderness experience that goes beyond the traditional safari.
The camp comprises 15 luxuriously-appointed tented suites, all elevated above the sweeping savannah on a rocky hill, boasting panoramic views as far as the eye can see. Each suite is integrated into the environment, designed and built using natural materials, local crafts and handmade furnishings. A range of wellness experiences are on offer including traditional treatments using Himba ochre and Khoi herbs, as well as sunrise yoga and sound journey meditations in the bush. Guests can also enjoy daily game drives and guided bush walks to catch sightings of the reserve’s resident wildlife including leopard, cheetah, white rhino, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. Plans to introduce elephants to the reserve are also underway.
Established by Great Plains Conservation in 2016, the private 128,000 hectare Sapi Game Reserve is an extraordinary wildlife sanctuary bordering Zimbabwe’s famous Mana Pools National Park. Previously used for hunting, the reclaimed reserve is now home to endangered painted dogs (African wild dogs), lions, leopard, buffalo, elephants and more. These animals are all seen regularly around Tembo Plains Camp – part of the Great Plains Réserve Collection, awarded to camps of the highest level of luxury. It is also the only luxury Zimbabwean safari camp to be a proud member of Relais & Châteaux.
Tembo Plains Camp lies on the riverbanks of the mighty Zambezi, tucked away amidst thick riverine forest for utmost exclusivity and privacy. The camp comprises just five suites, including one beautiful 2-bedroom suite with a shared lounge, dining area and private pool – perfect for families or two couples traveling together. Each of the four double (or twin) suites also have their own lounge, spacious deck with private swimming pool and outdoor dining area. Indoor and outdoor showers, as well as exquisite handmade bathtubs add a nice touch to the opulent offerings. The suites also all come with high-quality binoculars and a professional camera and lenses for guests to use on their safari. If Zimbabwe is a safari destination on your radar (if it’s not, it should be!), put Tembo Plains Camp on the top of your list.
Get filled in on some more secrets from our Little Black Book by contacting a LuxVenture® Designer and planning your Southern Africa safari adventure today! We’ve got your back all the way.
See you out there!