Five Best: Safari Villas

View game as you lounge in the luxury of your own private lodge


The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille Kenya

The Sanctuary's four villas, created in partnership with the Maasai community, opened in January. They are set in a conservation area, tucked into a wooded hillside, with views of the Laikipia Plateau - home to leopard, striped hyena, and more - towards Mount Kenya. Styles range from contemporary to thatched, sleeping two to six. The circular Eyrie has 360-degree views. The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, Laikipia, Kenya (0870 499 0682; www.westernoriental.com). Three nights from £1,280 per person, full board and including activities.

Luangwa Safari, House Zambia

This stunning, four-bedroom house is set on the edge of a seasonal lagoon, overlooking elephant, giraffe and other local game. Built around 25 old leadwood trees, it is one of the most dramatic private safari properties. Rooms are arranged around an open-sided "great room", with squishy sofas and a huge marble table, looking out on to a terrace and pool. There is also a game-viewing deck, or you can perch on the upstairs balcony and survey the bush and the distant Chindeni Hills.

Luangwa Safari House, Nkwali, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia (01886 853920; www.globalartichoke.co.uk). One week's rental starts at £7,500 for four adults, including transfers, private game viewing and full-board accommodation. Sleeps eight.

Wolwedans Private Camp, Namibia

Though this remote bolthole in the Namib desert sleeps up to four, it's often booked up by honeymooning couples looking for secluded romance. It's hard to blame them. The wooden framed, canvas-sided structure offers surprisingly sophisticated levels of comfort. The views are what really sell this property, though. Watching the sun rise and set across the surrounding mountains and dunes, only the hardest of hearts could stay unmoved.

Wolwedans Private Camp, Namib Rand Nature Reserve, Namibia (01488 689777; www.baileyrobinson.com). One week's rental starts at £1,549 per person, full board, with most activities, park fees and transfers from Windhoek.

Phinda Getty House, South Africa

A sophisticated villa, complete with infinity pool, Phinda Getty House is set on 3,500 acres in a private game reserve (home to the Big Five). It feels more like a chic metropolitan home transplanted to the bush than a typical safari lodge. Overlooking an extinct volcano and ringed by gently rolling hills, it comes with its own staff (including a ranger, butler and chef) and the use of a safari vehicle.

Phinda Getty House, Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa (01488 71140; www.migrationsafaris.com). One week's rental starts at £19,950, full board, with scheduled safari activities, emergency medical evacuation insurance and laundry. Sleeps eight.

Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania

Sasakwa is a complete antidote to the modern safari lodge. Great for those with more traditional tastes, this colonial-style manor house features wooden panelling, antique furnishings and manicured gardens. Its real selling point, however, is its hilltop location, which gives spectacular views over the Serengeti plains (ideal for viewing the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle).

Cottages at Sasakwa Lodge, Grumeti Reserves, Serengeti, Tanzania (020-8232 9777; www.expertafrica.com). Five nights' rental from £4,153 per person, full-board, with some activities and transfers Kilimanjaro airport to Sasakwa airstrip. Cottages sleep two-eight.

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