The Couples' Destination:
Lepogo Lodges, South Africa
Lapalala Wilderness Reserve is an under-the-radar area of South Africa in the stunning Waterberg region. Lepogo Lodges is set in a 50,000-hectare reserve where guests can have an authentic bush experience and spot the Big Five. It’s also one of the few luxury, not-for-profit lodges, meaning all proceeds are given back to the reserve to help protect wildlife and the local community. There are five stilted villas with outdoor ‘sky beds’ on the glass floor balcony which overlooks the Palala River – perfect for stargazing at night. Villas also have sunken bathtubs, underfloor heating and heated plunge pools. Perfect for honeymoons or romantic trips, couples can book game-drives and water safaris, or relax with yoga and spa treatments back at the lodge. In January, Lepogo Lodges will open a new camp, Melote House – keep your eyes peeled for more info.
From £769pppn on an all-inclusive basis.
The Pop-Up Camp:
Wilderness Mokete, Botswana
Wilderness Mokete opens later this month. The pop-up camp will have nine suites which will only be open for two years – the only lodge in a 50,000 hectares radius for a wild and exclusive game-viewing experience. Set between two national parks in the Mababe region, Okavango Delta and the famed Moremi Game Reserve, it’s in a unique ecosystem with dry grasslands, woodlands and the Mababe marsh. Each suite has canvas roofs that slide away for stargazing and bird watching, plus discrete design elements that blend into the surroundings. Guests can get up close to animals, hear hyenas at night and watch wildlife at the watering holes. You can also head on day or evening game drives, guided walking safaris, and nature walks. A unique opportunity to visit a truly remote location.
Suites start from £900pppn.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania is home to 25,000 species of animal, including the endangered black rhino and the densest known population of lions. Ngorongoro Lodge, Member of Meliá Collection opened its doors last month and is already at the top of our list for an unforgettable safari trip. Set in the world’s largest volcanic caldera, the hotel has 60 rooms, all of which come with stunning views of the crater and luxe interiors inspired by the Maasai culture with traditional patterns and artwork from neighbouring villages. It has some impressive sustainability credentials, too, with a modern infrared system that means the hotel is 90% self-sufficient, and products sourced from neighbouring villages. Guests can book a full-day game drive to observe Tanzania’s wildlife, visit local Maasai homes with a guide, and book balloon rides over the Ndutu Region.
Rooms start from £649 per night.
The Rare Wildlife Camp:
Sanctuary Tambarare, Kenya
Sadly, there are just two northern white rhinos left on Earth and both live in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya protected 24/7 by armed guards. Their eggs are preserved in an Italian lab in the hope of continuing the species via IVF, but until then, guests can spot the remaining rhinos alongside the Big Five at the newly opened Sanctuary Tambarare. There are ten luxury tents with Masai-inspired artwork and contemporary interiors with floating white curtains. There’s a camp chef who prepares daily meals (the bread is even cooked in the bush), as well as a team of experts to lead bush walks, game drives, and horse-riding expeditions. You might even spot one of 150 critically endangered black rhinos.
Five nights on an all-inclusive basis start from £3,995pp.
F&P Travel is a small team of friendly travel experts who take every care to plan your
perfect holiday. Earlier this year the team recruited a new Africa and safari specialist who
has over two decades of travel experience across Africa. She also has encyclopaedic
knowledge of the lodges, camps, activities and best times to visit each place – the team
currently offers trips to Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda, to
name a few. F&P’s concierge will take care of all the extras during a trip, from flights and
accommodation to childcare and once-in-a-lifetime expeditions.
The Trip Of A Lifetime:
Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge, Tanzania
The Serengeti is a no brainer for a special safari trip. Ideal for first timers, Tanzania’s unique national park is renowned for its large lion, wildebeest and hippo population, with some of the best game-viewing areas in Africa. &Beyond is one of the world’s leading travel companies, so we were excited to hear its new Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge is in the remote western reaches of the park, on the banks of a tributary of the Grumeti River. There are very few lodges in this section of the park, so guests can look forward to game drives to spot large lion prides, clans of hyena, and black-and-white colobus monkeys, found nowhere else in the Serengeti. The lodge itself is the most impressive on this list, with beautiful Tanzanian-inspired interiors, a circular swimming pool and fire pit overlooking the bush.
From £1,875pppn for full board.
The Design-Led Spot:
If you like the idea of staying in a luxury camp with cool interiors that look like a boutique hotel, put newcomer Dukes in Botswana to the top of your list. This Okavango safari camp is in the wilderness of the northern Okavango Delta, an inland river home to lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants and rare sitatunga antelopes. En-suite tents are on raised wooden decks and are kitted out with Persian rugs, plush fabrics and hand-carved four-poster beds. Guests can enjoy meals under giant ebony trees or in the communal dining tent before heading on game drives. You can even go fishing and spend a night fly-camping on a remote, lantern-lit island under the stars with a mozzie net and bedroll.
Tents from £655 per night.
The Unmissable Experience:
Serengeti Balloon Safaris x Aardvark Safaris
Serengeti Balloon Safaris is the oldest and most respected hot air balloon safari company in Tanzania, having flown over 250,000 guests over 30 years. The company has teamed up with top safari specialist Aardvark for a unique trip across the Serengeti. The six-day safari will take place from 1st- 7th November 2023, including four nights fly-camping under the night skies in cocoon tents. Each morning, guests will be flown by hot air balloon to a brand-new wilderness spot to explore and discover the area with both walking safaris and traditional wildlife drives, escorted by guides each step of the way. You’ll also have the opportunity to get hands-on with the de-snaring team from Frankfurt Zoological Society, explore the cheetah area of the Gol Kopjes, and see the eastern shores of Lake Victoria from the skies.
Six days start from £7,995pp, based on two sharing.
The Family Option:
Madikwe Bush House, South Africa
Bordering Botswana, this conservation area in South Africa’s northwest province is malaria free – ideal if you’re travelling with family and kids. The reserve’s grassland, forest and rocky Tshwene Tshwene hills are home to elephants, lions, leopards and rhinos, plus endangered wild dogs. You’ll also see hundreds of bird species, including ostriches and vultures. Last Word is a reputable family-run travel company with a collection of boutique safari camps in and around Cape Town and Kruger National Park. Its newest property Madikwe Bush House is a great option for families – kids of all ages are welcome and there’s a babysitting service, too. Guests can see the Big Five in the Madikwe Game Reserve – either on a game drive or from the property’s clever underground hide.
Price to come.
Black Tomato’s South Sri Lanka Tour
Did you know that Sri Lanka is the best country outside Africa for big game safaris? Home to the Big Five, including thousands of Asian elephants, it’s a great choice if you want to explore the country’s national parks alongside its vibrant cities. Black Tomato’s Sri Lankan tour includes seven nights exploring its tea estates, historical fortress towns and beautiful national parks, including Yala, home to the highest density of leopard anywhere in the world. You might also spot water buffalo, monkeys, crocodiles and the rare sloth bear. The tour also includes trips to Sri Lanka’s beautiful coastline, including Galle – a top spot for whale watching.
From £4,250pp for 7 nights, excluding flights.