Anyone with an interest in wildlife, habitats and adventure will have a safari on their bucket list. Whether you're in search of the big five in Africa, evoking memories of the jungle book in India or seeking exotic wildlife in Latin America, we know the very best luxury hotels, camps and lodges to stay in. Here are our top 10 hotels for a luxury safari holiday:
Leobo Private Reserve, South Africa
Yep, you read that right, you get an entire Reserve, and it will blow your mind. Leobo is situated in 12,000 acres of prime game-viewing territory and comes complete with its own chef, masseurs and butler. Activities are completely tailored to you, be that a starlight safari with an astronomer or paintballing in a helicopter. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Also yes. The family holiday to end all family holidays.
Zarafa Camp, Botswana
If any safari destination can claim to be 'hot' right now, it's the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The sheer diversity of wildlife on show is mind-boggling and the scenery isn't too shabby either. Throw the beautiful Zarafa Camp into the mixing bowl and you have a recipe for success. It's the details that make this tented camp so special (and we all know we're all about the details); from private swimming pools to professional cameras and lenses for guests' personal use to private chefs, it has it all.
Greystoke Mahale, South Africa
If you're in dire need of 'getting away from it all' and the mere mention of the words 'remote' and 'exclusive' have you reaching simultaneously for your passport and the phone (to ring us, obvs), then the fabulous Greystoke Mahale in western Tanzania will be right up your street. The only way to access this camp is by plane and then boat as it is nestled on the edge of a huge jungle, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The pièce de résistance? Chimpanzees - there is no better place on the planet to observe them in the wild.
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, Namibia
The Namib Desert wouldn't be the most obvious African wildlife destination but its stark beauty, awash with a colour-wheel of rich reds and browns set against the beautiful blue sky is positively drool-worthy. And what better way to experience such beauty than from the comfort of your own bed? At Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, guests stay in chalets on stilts with one side comprised completely of canvas, which opens up to reveal uninterrupted views of the stunning surrounding scenery.
Jawai Leopard Camp, India
The word 'camping' strikes fear in the hearts of many a traveller, the word 'glamping', however, is a real buzzword in the travel lexicon at the moment. Jawai Leopard Camp comprises just eight eco-friendly tents located in the rambling hills between Jodhpur and Udaipur. And when we say tents, we mean spacious, luxurious tents adorned with funky art, plush furnishings and wooden decking. It's the perfect setting from which to see leopards in their natural habitat. Camping schmamping.
Caiman Lodge, Brazil
Our first entry from the Americas jumps straight in at the deep end with the Pantanal, the largest inland delta in the world and by far the best place to see wildlife in Brazil. Think jaguar, monkeys, snakes and endless birdlife. Caiman Lodge offers guests the opportunity to explore the surrounding environment with guided tours in specially adapted vehicles, in canoes or on horseback, rounded off with a nice dip in one of the lodge's two pools. Dreamy.
Lapa Rios, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the leader of the pack in terms of eco-tourism with a whopping 25% of the country protected in National Parks. Lapa Rios very much marches to the beat of the eco-drum by blending seamslessly with its surroundings using locally sourced materials. The result? A completely laid-back vibe leaving guests feeling, at the risk of sounding like a complete cliché, truly at one with nature.
Ol Malo, Kenya
Located on the side of a cliff in Kenya's Laikipia region, Ol Malo can lay claim to not only being one of our favourite safari lodges of all time, but as having one of the best swimming pool views in the world. Not only is this lodge situated perfectly for game viewing (all the big names are there - lion, elephant, giraffe to name but a few) but it also borders the tribal heartland of the nomadic Samburu tribe. To sum up, it's every culture vulture's dream.
Mahua Kothi, India
Seeing tigers in the wild is surely atop many a bucket list and, while India is becoming increasingly more pro-active in its conservation and anti-poaching work, there is a very real danger that one day these majestic beasties will no longer exist in their natural habitat. The phrase, see them while you can, springs to mind. Mahua Kothi's beautiful Kutiyas (or jungle huts) make the perfect base from which to head into the wildlife reserves of central India. And it's not just tigers on the spot-list but sloth bear, leopard and wild boar to name but a few.
Singita Lebombo, South Africa
It's back to South Africa for our last entry and Singita Lebombo, arguably the country's most luxurious safari camp. Think sleek, chic interiors with dramatic views over the bush. Speaking of the bush, the camp is located in an area of the Kruger National Park that is renowned for the density of wildlife on show there. Quite simply, safaris don't get much better than this.