Upscale Living Magazine has put together the top 5 of the most exquisite camps in Africa to enjoy the Safari of your dreams.
Mara Toto Camp, Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya
Leading conservation organization Great Plains is delighted to announce new sensational safari accommodation in two camps, opening this summer. The brand-new Mara Toto Camp, which is perfectly suited for families and intimate groups traveling together, opened its doors to guests on June 1st, 2021.
Located along the Ntiakitiak riverbanks on the border of the Maasai Mara Reserve, the new Mara Toto Camp is hidden in the forest, offering guests privacy and wonderful game-viewing opportunities with access to both the Maasai Mara Reserve and the adjacent Mara North Private Conservancy.
Accommodating up to 8 guests, the intimate Mara Toto Camp is perfectly suited to be hired out exclusively for intimate groups, couples, and families with children aged six and up. Designed by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the new camp will boast tranquil blue-colored interiors with leather and canvas touches harmoniously blending a feeling of comfort and adventure.
Mara Toto Camp consists of four canvas tents with spacious brass baths, along with a communal relaxation area, and indoor and outdoor dining options.
Puku Ridge, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Located deep inside Zambia’s incredible South Luangwa National Park, Puku Ridge is a completely reimagined tented camp, which combines the perfect blend of wilderness, luxury, and responsibility. Officially opened in 2020, the camp and its eight tented suites offer another level of comfort and design with custom-built, near-silent air-conditioning, rooftop star beds, and private plunge pools.
Positioned on one of the South Luangwa National Park’s prime secluded sites, Puku Ridge blends in beautifully with its natural surroundings and overlooks a wildlife-rich floodplain and waterhole, where there is always something to see. When venturing out of the camp, guests will enjoy the area’s varied landscape and its spectacular wildlife including leopards, lions, elephants, buffalos, hippos, wild dogs, the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe, and Cookson’s wildebeest, genet cats, various mongooses, civets, and honey badgers.
When not on drives or exploring the area on foot, guests can spend time in the photography hide, relaxing in the elegant lounge and terrace areas, dining on international cuisine with local influences, sharing safari stories around the fire pit, and stargazing from the star terrace with its telescope. For a little more privacy, each suite has a private deck, complete with sun loungers and a plunge pool. One of the suites’ other key features is the rooftop, four-poster star bed, where guests can sleep under the stars to the sounds of the bush (whilst still having all the comforts of their suite downstairs).
Throughout the camp, aesthetics, function, and comfort were the priority in Chiawa Safari’s vision, which has been brought to life by Luxury Frontiers, who are international experts in the design and development of experiential resorts and lodges, while minimizing the camp’s carbon footprint and repurposing many of the old materials.
Sayari Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Asilia Africa’s Sayari Camp reopened in August 2020 after a complete rebuild. The newly reimagined property opened just in time for the annual wildebeest crossings of the Mara River. Sayari has the enviable location of being the closest property to the Mara River this season, meaning Sayari guests always have a front-row seat for the drama of a crossing.
The new Sayari continues Asilia’s carbon-neutral tradition by introducing the first solar-powered microbrewery in the bush, in partnership with Wayout, a Scandinavian start-up revolutionizing the brewery industry. The new brewery will make beer and soft drinks on-site, as well as purifying water and producing sparkling water, all using solar power. The camp’s bold new look was conceptualized by designer Caline Williams-Wynn. Sayari takes its inspiration from the colorful culture of the Kuria people who call the northern Serengeti home. The spacious main area seamlessly blends inside and out, with sliding glass doors allowing for uninterrupted views of the rolling Serengeti plains. The Kuria are depicted in striking original artworks by South African photographic artist Graham Springer.
The 15 spacious tents all have views of the rolling plains ahead and reflect the iconic flat-topped hill, Turner Hill, in their design. Inside, the color palette has been inspired by the patterns in the rocks that stud the grass plain landscape, with a rich copper being the key accent color. In homage to the Maasai culture of beading, cushions are decorated with delicate beading sewn by Maasai women. Spacious decks wrap around each room and the bathroom comes complete with views of the open plains. The bathroom includes a freestanding, extra-large bath with a view, as well as both an indoor and outdoor shower.
Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania
Set in a 50,000-acre concession in the Serengeti in northern Tanzania, Singita Sabora Tented Camp has captivated guests for more than a decade with its inimitable location. The new lodge’s extensive redesign is a modern interpretation of luxury tented safaris while retaining the quintessential elements of a romantic experience under canvas.
The new forward-thinking camp features sophisticated details such as hand-stitched leather finishes, as well as durable canvas and campaign furniture, and it echoes the unmistakable spirit of classic East African adventures combined with an intuitive simplicity. Singita’s design partners, Cécile & Boyd and GAPP Architects collaborated for the creation of the new architecture and décor of the lodge, which echoes the earthy color palette of the bush. Featuring muted taupe, tan, and beige, the elegant aesthetic also includes touches of brown leather and thick beige stitching.
Mesh, canvas, and weave finish throughout provide a rich combination of textures and layers of sophisticated comfort. The exquisite craftsmanship of the custom-designed tents is extended to every chosen piece, while the placement of the camp has been subtly reorganized to make the most of its sweeping surrounds, and each tented suite enjoys breathtaking views of one of the two nearby waterholes.
The nine self-contained suites feature a seamless combination of in-and outdoor living spaces, which include private areas in which to rest, relax and immerse oneself in wellness activities like outdoor yoga and soothing guided rituals and treatments. The tents also offer private fitness areas and lifestyle units such as a beautifully curated pantry and dining area.
Tembo Plains Camp, Sapi Private Reserve, Zimbabwe
Slated to open in July 2021, Tembo Plains Camp is the latest addition to the already magnificent Great Plains portfolio and is currently being constructed in the private 291,000-acre Sapi Reserve adjacent to the Zambezi River and well-known Mana Pools Reserve. Offering only 4 guest tents and a 1 x 2-bedroom family unit with a dedicated private guide for safari, this tailor-made experience echoes the ethos of Great Plain’s founders Beverly and Dereck Joubert with exclusivity being the buzzword.
Stunning, handmade bathtubs and indoor and outside showers give the tent a sense of ‘home’ where guests can move in and live. The Wi-Fi and working areas also provide space for you to catch up on business or just manage the images from the day. Each tent comes complete with a Canon professional camera and lenses, plus Leica binoculars for guests to use whilst they are staying in camp.
With an innate knowledge of the area where Tembo Plains will be situated as well as an inherent understanding of what it takes to construct a safari lodge in a far-flung destination, Beverly and Dereck are currently designing the camp themselves, paying homage to the very ancient cultures in Zimbabwean culture and artifacts.
Painted wild dogs, lions, leopards, buffalo, and elephants are all common wildlife sightings in the Sapi Private Reserve. Activities include day and night wildlife-viewing drives, walking safaris, canoeing, and boating. “Tembo” means elephant and reflects more than just a place and a name honoring the animals on these plains. It speaks to the long and unique relationships man has with elephants, with their pace and essence being drawn on for the atmosphere in camp.