These are the best luxury safari experiences in Africa

Jamala Madikwe in the North West Province voted as Best Safari Cuisine Experience. Picture: Website

Jamala Madikwe in the North West Province voted as Best Safari Cuisine Experience. Picture: Website

Published May 15, 2024


It’s Africa Month and the continent’s biggest selling point is wildlife tourism. After a four-year hiatus the Safari Awards are back celebrating the best in wildlife tourism experiences in Africa.

Founded by Henry Hallward in 2007, the awards are renowned for recognising the finest safari lodges, camps, and conservation efforts across the continent.

The awards also highlight the remarkable achievements of establishments and initiatives dedicated to preserving Africa’s natural beauty and wildlife.

According to Hallward, the Safari Awards 2024 received 32571 votes from 1842 voters. The awards also received 1309 nominees from 14 countries on the continent including Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Zambia.

Winners of the Safari Awards were announced at the 14th Safari Awards Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony at Elangeni Hotel in Durban ahead of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024, which was held from May 13 - 16.

Below are some of the winners from the night.

A luxury suite at Singita Pamushana. Picture: Instagram

Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Pamushana Safari Lodge is set in Zimbabwe’s remote southeast, within the 115 000-acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.

The lodge is perched high on a sandstone ridge overlooking the shimmering expanse of the Malilangwe Dam and it features eight elegant suites all with private plunge pools.

The design of the lodge draws inspiration from the rich tribal history of ancient Zimbabwe.

Singita Pamushana was the biggest winner of the night walking away with three awards.

The lodge received the Best Safari Experience in Africa, Best Safari Spa/ Retreat and Best Community Focused establishment, recognising its steadfast commitment to community empowerment and sustainable tourism practices.

Jamala Madikwe, South Africa

Jamala Madikwe Lodge is set in Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province.

The luxury safari boutique lodge boasts five free standing luxurious villas with individual rim-flow pools and salas, expansive wooden decks, private outdoor showers and views of the property’s waterhole and open savannah.

Jamala Madikwe won the award for Best Safari Cuisine acknowledging its culinary excellence in offering guests an exceptional dining experience amid the wild landscapes of South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve.

Tongabezi, Zambia

Tongabezi is an eco-lodge in Zambia hidden on the banks of the Zambezi River.

The lodge combines romance, luxury and a hint of adventure just 12km upstream of Victoria Falls.

It has a selection of houses and cottages, each embellished with interiors lovingly chosen from around Africa and guests can immerse themselves in nature and experience unique dining and river activities.

The lodge is the winner of the most romantic safari destination in Africa.

Greystoke Mahale on the banks of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. Picture: Website

Tanda Tula Safari Camp, South Africa

Tanda Tula Safari Camp is in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

The newly re-architected Tanda Tula Safari Camp takes full advantage of its position on the Nhlaralumi River to create intimate guest experiences across the breadth of the camp.

The safari camp is the winner of Best New Safari Property in Africa for 2024.

Greystoke Mahale, Tanzania

Greystoke Mahale is set on a white sandy beach at the foot of the Mahale Mountains, overlooking Lake Tanganyika.

The Mahale Mountains are home to one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Africa and guests get to witness them as they go about their daily lives.

The lodge features exotic open-fronted rooms, looking out across the soft sand beach and crystal-clear water.

Greystoke Mahale was victorious as Africa’s Best Location.

Notten’s Bush Camp, South Africa

Notten’s Bush Camp is a jewel within the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, which means “the land of the rising sun” in the locally spoken language, Shangaan.

With splendid panoramic views, this private game lodge is the perfect place for peace and relaxation while watching animals meander past.

The camp received the award for Best Value Safari Experience in Africa.

A wooden deck cabana on Mnemba Island in Zanziibar. Picture: Website

andBeyond Mnemba Island, Tanzania

&Beyond Mnemba Island is an idyllic tropical gem located off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar.

It has 12 luxuriously rustic palm-frond bandas peeking out onto white coral sand beach from the dappled shade of the casuarina pine forest.

This tiny island offers an exclusive retreat and is celebrated for its conservation efforts. It received the award for Best Marine Safari Experience.

Sirikoi, Kenya

Sirikoi is surrounded by 68 000 acres of pure wilderness of the renowned World Heritage Site, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

The lodge boasts four luxury tents, the Sirikoi cottage and private Sirikoi house perfectly positioned along the spring-fed Sirikoi stream. Sirikoi offers a range of unique and adventurous activities for all ages to experience and explore the wilderness and wildlife.

The lodge received the award for Best Family Safari Experience.

Camp Mana, Zimbabwe

Camp Mana is a tented safari camp on the banks of the Zambezi River in the iconic Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. It accommodates a maximum of 12 guests and offers simple elegance, old world style and unpretentious luxury in the wilderness.

The camp has a minimal impact upon the delicate environment and strives for sustainability.

The lodge won an award for Best Walking Safari Experience.

An elephant feeds on fruit outside a tent at Camp Mana in Zimbabwe. Picture: Website

Singita Serengeti House, Tanzania

Singita Serengeti House offers a refined yet luxuriously comfortable experience on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill in the Serengeti.

It boasts uninterrupted views over the Serengeti plains and outdoor dining decks provide ideal vantage points from where to observe the daily wildlife activity at the busy waterhole nearby.

The lodge took the honours for Best Safari House.

Other winners include:

Ride Botswana Riding: Best Riding Safari

Jack’s Camp, Botswana : Best Safari Guiding Team

Mara Elephant Project, Kenya: Best Wildlife Conservation Organisation

Cottars 1920s Camp, Kenya: Best Ecologically Responsible Safari Property

Serian’s Serengeti Mobile (Lamai/Kusini), Tanzania: Best Mobile Safari

Rwanda Tourism Development Board Tourist Board, Rwanda: Best African Tourism Board