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Safari Hotels / Africa Hotels / Wilderness Safari / Zimbabwe Hotels / Hwange National Park / Linkwasha / → All Tags
Wilderness Safaris runs about 50 camps and lodges across Africa in Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Each camp differs not only in its appearance and location but in its target market. Some, like Ruckomechi, are rustic and aimed at adventure travelers, while others, like the brand-new Linkwasha, are built to entice luxury travelers into the bush. Last month, we were one of the first groups of guests to stay at the latter as it kicked off its first season of operation.
Linkwasha translates to mean an “elephant game route,” and the name makes sense for a place built in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, as it has what you might call a bit of an elephant infestation issue. In 2003, there were 19,000 living in Hwange. Today, there are 45,000. While the population growth is not such great news for environmentalists (elephants are extremely destructive), it is a welcome boom for tourists. Linkwasha’s property is built adjacent to a watering hole with a deck, plunge pool, and fire ring. In this sense, the camp is built directly into the bush and encourages guests to interact with it.
Hotel Reopenings / Safari Hotels / India Hotels / Rajasthan Hotels / Tent Hotels / Glamping / Relais and Chateaux Hotels / Sujan Hotels / → All Tags
The bad news, guys, is summer is ending.
The good news is, winter means opportunities to do things you couldn’t face in summer – like sleeping outdoors in India. Especially when it’s tiger season.
This month sees the (re)opening of three tented camps from Sujan in Rajasthan: Sher Bagh, in Ranthambhore, the Serai in Jaisalmer, and Jawai Leopard Camp.
Sher Bagh (top pic) isn’t new, but it’s been completely renovated for the 2014 season, with all tents getting their ensuite bathrooms refurbished and enlarged (yes, ensuite bathrooms being enlarged - as you can imagine, these aren’t your ordinary tents). Two new suites have also been created – one with a walled garden, one with a private pool (and both with butlers). The location, meanwhile, is tiger central – 81% of visitors last year saw at least two per day.
The problem with safaris is that everyone’s doing them now, and in the age of Instagram, you need more than a close encounter with a member of the Big Five to impress your pack.
Step forward Savuti Camp in Botswana. It’s already your outdoorsy, tented safari camp, situated in the Okavango Delta. But now it’s introduced a “sleep-out” option – two outdoor decks, each sleeping four, overlooking the Savute Channel, far away from the main camp (a 20-minute drive or a 45-minute boat ride – take your pick). The only neighbours are the hippos, buffalos, waterbucks, baboons, and other animals you won’t have heard of.
If Lord Grantham were ever to take a trip to Africa, this is where he and other denizens Downton Abbey would lay their heads for the night. But today, even heads of state, royals and celebrities head to Sasakwa to soak up the authentic African ambiance and the expansive view of the vast Serengeti plains below.
The elegant, turn of the century manor house is counterbalanced with a carefully collected and well-curated mix of evocative African artifacts. It gives the posh property an African savvy meets boho chic appeal.
Before even laying eyes on our African safari camp in Kenya's Masai Mara region, we had quite a few beliefs and expectations for the property. We had heard so many terms to describe them - "glamping" comes to mind - and given the price tag that sits between $500-$1000 a night, we figured we would be completely out of touch with the wilderness, whisked away from reality and into another world as it tends to go at high-end luxury hotels in cities.
But that turned out to be far from the truth, and a few things surprised us about our stay at Mara Plains Camp.
There is a process that goes along with writing about a hotel, and the photos we present on the site are a big part of it. We always strive to use original photos that we personally took, but because the most important thing is to show the hotel as accurately as possible, this travel writer also peruses the website of the property as well as the rest of the Internet to see if there is something that would better accomplish that goal.
So with a story in mind about the Giraffe Manor Hotel in Kenya, I made my way onto social media to look for some good photos.
Yet the problem most of the time with stock photos of hotels is that they don't represent reality, typically involving dramatized situations, like a woman whipping her hips across the edge of an infinity pool, a rose-petaled bedspread, or a picture of a random plant. They try to tell a story, but you can just feel the phoniness. The same goes for a hotel's social media pages since most hotels just repost whatever is on the website.
When I began to browse the Giraffe Manor's Facebook page, the interaction between the guests and the giraffes seemed so overdone. Until I looked up towards the right hand corner and realized the photos had all been posted on the hotel's wall by guests. When I figured out that they are real and taken by a regular person and not a photographer hired by the hotel, I had trouble holding back a smile. I am not a big supporter of zoos or animal captivity, but it helps that the manor was originally set up as a breeding center for the endangered Rothschild Giraffe.
Safari Hotels / Kenya Hotels / Africa Hotels / Laikipia Hotels / Sanctuary at Ol Lentille / → All Tags
The first thing you'll notice upon arrival at the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is the panoramic view of the Northern Kenya landscape. Filled with rolling hills and acacia trees, the camps of the Laikipia region offer travelers the chance to look down on a safari region, an incredible perspective that differs greatly from the scenery found on the flat savannas of the Masai Mara (see our bro Jaunted's breakdown of the two regions).
Because Laikipia is dry and hilly, it is unsuitable for many animals, such as lions. But what it lacks in wildlife it makes up for with sweeping views and cultural experiences not as easily accessed in other safari regions. Specifically, we're talking about the direct connection between the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille and the Maasai Tribe that inhabits the area.
Hotel Amenities / Safari Hotels / Kenya Hotels / Masai Mara Hotels / Laikipia Hotels / Nairobi Hotels / → All Tags
During our trip to Kenya, we stayed in a variety of safari camps in the Masai Mara, Laikipia, and Nairobi reserves. As you'll see next week when we begin to highlight them, each camp is a little bit different in terms of what it offers in design, decor, service, and food.
Despite those differences, one amenity was common and consistent throughout. Because the camp rooms are all open air and the nights can get chilly, a hot water bag is placed in the sheets during turn-down service. The bag is soft and covered with a liner that keeps it insulated, welcoming those who return to their rooms after dinner with warm sheets. Depending on your preference, you can either lay on it, next to it, or simply remove it and enjoy the heat it has already created under the covers.
This week, HotelChatter's Will McGough is touring around Kenya to check out the latest happenings at some of the safari camps throughout the country. The tour started and will finish in Nairobi, but there will be visits to the Laikipia, Masai Mara, and Watamu (Mombasa) regions along the way.
Next week, we'll feature a few properties and give you the scoop on what to expect in terms of lodging within the different regions. We'll also pass on anything unique about specific properties, from service to decor, and of course have plenty of photos. But for now, feast your eyes on this incredible view from the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille.
We've lusted after the exotic and luxurious safari hotels found in Africa for quite some time now. But if you're seriously considering a trip to Africa, you might be overwhelmed by the different places to go and things to do.
Here comes followme2AFRICA to the rescue. followme2AFRICA is staffed with travel experts who are dedicated to helping you decide on the best itinerary for your trip. Want to go on safari? They can tell you which one is best and book it for you. Same goes for luxury train travel in South Africa, road trips through the winelands and hotel accommodations.
You can peruse all the destinations in Africa that followme2AFRICA serves here. In the meantime, the folks at followme2AFRICA have given us a Top Ten Travel Tips for Africa with a majority of the advice focusing on travel to South Africa. Hopefully, this should help in your planning. And remember, wherever you end up, let us know about it!
We're approaching the dry season in Africa, which means it's prime time to embark on a fabled safari. Contrary to what you'd think (dry season just sounds unappealing), it's actually the best game-viewing period because the vegetation is thinned out (better viewing) and the animals are more predictable and fully dependent upon fewer permanent supplies of water.
Abu Camp in Botswana shares its location with a population of elephants, allowing guests to engage and physically interact through a variety of activities: Elephant-back safaris, mud-bathing, training, veterinary care and sleeping perched up above the herd.
The digs are pretty sweet, we must say. The camp is comprised of six suites, each with an outdoor shower and large balcony. The setting makes for one hell of a happy hour, putting your feet up and looking down upon the elephants and out over the Okavango Delta. Check out the eye candy below in our photo gallery! You can see even more here.
A little slice of Africa has jumped continents and headed to Australia with Queensland's newest luxury tents of the Jabiru Safari Lodge. Trade the rhinoceros for a 'roo' and elephants for emus with this eco-lodge.
Located just about an hour inland to the tropical north Queensland town of Cairns, Jabiru is smack in the middle of the Atherton Tablelands, more specifically, the Mareeba Wetlands. Being in the center of all of this bushland gives two perks; lots of animals and limited cellphone service. Come here to relax and catch some of the native wildlife either from the porch of your tent or daily safari tours.
With a choice of the Deluxe Safari Tent or the Eco Safari Tent, you won't leave disappointed, since each of the five tents have all the comforts of home like fridges, lights and private bathrooms. If you prefer to feel like you are 'roughing' it a bit more, go with the Eco-Tents as those have solar power and gas stoves.