The Big Six: Chic African Safari Lodges

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Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Tanzania


From the outside, the nine stone, canvas and thatched suites at this lodge look like classic safari territory, but the interiors are pure contemporary chic with panoramic windows and mirrored room dividers. The communal areas are bedded into the terraced hillside and scattered with squishy sofas. A river-sand "beach" has been created for sunbathing, while a curved swimming pool overlooks a waterhole.

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Grumeti, Tanzania (00 255 27 250 8976; singita.com). Doubles start at US$2,090 (£1,393), full board.

Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge, Botswana

White ceramic hippos line the jetty at this stylish lodge in Botswana's Okavango Delta. Xudum opened in 2009. Its nine split-level safari suites have classic canopied platform beds, free-standing tubs and al fresco showers.A playful theme sneaks in with side tables made from old tyres and recycled beer cans. Each suite also has a rooftop hideout overlooking the lagoon and private plunge pool.

&Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta, Botswana (00 27 11 809 4300; andbeyondafrica.com). Doubles start at US$1,190 (£793), full board.

Little Kulala, Namibia

Kulala is the Oshiwambo word for "sleep". Guests here bed down in 11 thatched kulalas – or on the roof in a "skybed" for stargazing. The design incorporates earthy tones, curved stone walls – and trees poking up through the decking.

Little Kulala, Namibia ( wilderness-safaris.com). The Zambezi Safari and Travel Company (01548 830059; zambezi.co.uk) offers stays from £570 per person, per night, full board.

Chindeni Bushcamp, Zambia

The four opulent tents in this intimate camp in South Luangwa have recently been refurbished to offer pared-down style under cappuccino-coloured canopies. The camp is on raised wooden decking in the shadow of the dramatic Chindeni Hills.

Chindeni, Zambia (00 260 978 770 055; bushcampcompany.com). Audley Travel (01993 838 500; audleytravel.com) offers stays from £342 per person, per night.

Shompole, Kenya

Water is the central design theme at sleek Shompole, on the edge of the Great Rift Valley: the undulating white walls are topped by wave-like thatch. Water also flows through each thatched open-sided room, collecting in private plunge pools, to act as air conditioning. Materials are light and natural – local white quartz, bulrush thatch and smooth recycled fig wood, with chunky wooden beds set under billowing white netting. The lodge teeters at the top of the Nguruman Escarpment, close to the Tanzanian border.

Shompole, Nguruman Escarpment, Kenya (00 254 20 884135; wilderness-ventures.com). To Escape To (020-7060 6747; toescapeto.com) offers stays from £425 per person per night, all inclusive.

Nambiti Hills, South Africa

This private lodge reopened in March after a complete revamp. Its airy glass-enclosed dining and lounge areas open on to sweeping views of the savannah by day and starry sky at night. The eight suites feature modern four-posters and a mix of African artwork and design.

Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (00 27 31 818 0340; nambitihills.com). Doubles start at R6,998 (£623), full board.

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