WE all have that bucket list of jaw-dropping destinations we want to see one day.
The trouble is, that list may not be exclusive. Thousands of other people also may have those place names scribbled on paper and tucked away in a drawer or lying somewhere in the back of their minds to visit.
And there’s nothing worse after planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip to arrive at that special place, only to find you’re sharing it with thousands of others on the same day!
Jostling for a spot in front of the Mona Lisa in The Louvre in Paris or on the front deck of the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls is the stuff of nightmares.
So is staying in a noisy, crowded hotel where all the sun lounges are taken and reserved, or the only tour times left are when you want to sleep in or have planned a game of golf.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to holiday at your own pace, reclaim some privacy, yet truly relax without lifting a finger?
Rothschild Safaris has the answer to this vacation dilemma on your great African adventure.
Our Travel Designers can help you explore Africa’s most-prized destinations, then relax within your very own oasis of style – a private villa.
These villas are so much more than a “home away from home.”
Our favorite and most highly recommended accommodation providers can arrange for families and small groups to stay in the lap of luxury away from the crowds yet still connected to all the facilities, entertainment, and services the lodges and camps can provide.
How about your own private cook to whip up your favorite pancake stacks for breakfast, fire up a makeshift barbecue in the bush or serve dinner by candlelight under a canopy of twinkling diamonds on your veranda with a view?
Why not arrange for your guide to pick you up at 4am to see the first rays creep over the horizon to produce a golden sunrise. Or at 5pm for sun downers by the waterhole?
You can stay out as long as you like on each game drive. Maybe linger a little longer as the “baboon telegraph” goes into action or bid farewell to a group of giraffe and zebra to go cheetah trekking.
No other travelers will dictate how you’ll spend your day, when your safari will begin or end, and where your journey through grasslands or savanna, sand dunes or mountain passes will take you.
We can introduce you to some of the most intimate, secluded, beautifully furnished and architecturally private villas and properties in Africa that will have the “wows” escaping your lips before you’ve even been on safari.
And if your time is limited or you want to see as much of this awe-inspiring continent as possible, may we suggest your own pilot flying you in by private aircraft.
Rothschild Safaris has on-the-ground assistance to get clearance throughout your trip, no matter how you are arriving into the country.
Our optional risk-analysis consultant partner will provide you with efficient global security advice which is up to the minute on all regions we recommend.
That will take a load off the planning stage and provide a safe environment for you and your family.
Below you will find our tried and tested properties that we firmly stand by when it comes to traveling with family and friends and wanting that all exclusive experience. By combining a few of these inspiring lodges you will experience the Africa we know in ultimate style yet with that all-important privacy.
Most important don’t let any of this overwhelm you, simply pick up the phone, have a chat with one of our Travel Designers and let them get to work on your plan.
Morocco, The Sahara Desert – Dar Ahlam Nomad Camp
No trip to Morocco is complete without spending time in the Sahara. With a plethora of camps to choose from, we have selectively chosen a few exclusive camps – all individually offering a private and unique experience in the Sahara. Dar Ahlam is one of our favorites. This camp is booked exclusively, which means you don’t have to share. Sand dunes ripple in every direction. Lanterns lead you along the path to dinner around the campfire, with the sky awash in stars. Days of adventure may include visiting newfound nomad friends who make their homes in nearby caves. For some of those, you may be the first foreigners they have ever seen.
Botswana, Okavango Delta – Little Mombo
This is the spiritual home of the rhino reintroduction project and is known as “the place of plenty”. And plenty is correct. The wildlife numbers on this private conservancy are off–the–charts incredible, including massive concentrations of plains game and predators. We love Little Mombo because, with just three rooms, you can take over the camp with your small group and call all the shots. What a wild experience!
Botswana, Selinda Reserve – Selinda Explorers Camp
This is “explorer style,” so it’s not for those looking for uber luxury. Rather, this camp is all about connecting with the wild. Large copper jugs hold your hot and cold water in your private tents, for example. No frills but it ticks the boxes for being incredibly remote and perfect for the adventurous soul. With your small group or family, this camp becomes yours exclusively.
Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park – Nyungwe House
Gorilla trekking is high on the list for most travelers these days. But for those who wish to see a little more besides these amazing apes, there is nothing quite like spending a little time in these architecturally interesting and secluded villas in Nyungwe National Park, bordering one of Africa’s oldest rain forests. Head out into the park with your guide who will lead you through the protected jungle to trek for one of East Africa’s rare chimpanzee populations and troops of colobus monkeys.
We have quite a few camps in this region, so it’s hard to choose our favorite – they are all so very different. Our Travel Designers will help to find the right one after getting to know you, your family or group, and learning your travel style and what you are looking for. All of that really helps us in determining the best properties.
Kenya, Borana Conservancy – Lengishu Lodge
This is a luxury home for up to 12 guests exclusively and an easy option for couples or family groups, especially if you are wanting a diverse property. Game drives, horse riding, learning about conservation, rhino tracking … that’s all part of the package. The area is home to the Big Five, allowing you to enjoy safari adventures by game drive vehicle or horseback and from the air, along with hands-on conservation experiences, accompanied by your own private guide. While you are always encouraged to explore the many great safari adventures in the conservancy, this property has a wide range of facilities to enjoy when you simply wish to relax and unwind in your own “oasis.” With a gym, billiards table, infinity pool, studio and petanque pitch, not to mention a wonderful in-house masseuse, Lengishu is a peaceful refuge from everyday life in itself and a perfect way to end your journey before heading home.
Kenya, Borana Conservancy – Sirai House
At the foot of Mount Kenya, this luxury private home sits on a secluded estate with spectacular views in all directions. Crafted with local materials, this is for those sharing a love of architecture, design and location. Besides regular wildlife activities on the property, what we recommend is a day flight to the Blue Pools, Mount Kenya, the Singing Wells, Lake Bogoria, Sugata Valley and Lake Turkana. This property is perfect for couples traveling together (we don’t recommend young children) to be romanced by Kenya.
Kenya, Laikipia – Ol Jogi
Funky, unique and with an interesting history, this private ranch becomes yours for a few days. Staff members are on hand to do everything so you can simply enjoy every moment at this property. You’ll be amazed at the learning experience as Jamie, your tour guide, is a phenomenon. With sweeping views of Mt Kenya, the area is home to a variety of wildlife, so Jamie can ensure your days are exciting and action–packed. We will never forget basking in the glow of sunset, sipping sparkling French champagne, overlooking the plains – just stunning.
Kenya, Masai Mara Game Reserve – Cottars Villa
You’ll have the Mara all to yourself here as you step back in time. Take a drive in a traditional safari vehicle and then on your return, immerse yourself in the warm splendor of a ball and claw bathtub. This luxury private villa in the Masai Mara Game Reserve exclusively accommodates up to 12 guests. In between game– viewing activities – walks, game drives, night drives and cultural interactions – you can enjoy a dip in the lap pool.
Kenya, Masai Mara Game Reserve – Tangulia Mara Camp
One of the best things about Tangulia Mara Camp is Jackson Looseyia, who will spoil you rotten. For all our clients who stay here, we book Jackson because, by the time you leave, you will be crying with laughter and begging to stay for more! This quaint, modest camp is not about the furnishings or the French champagne: it’s about Jackson, his knowledge and spellbinding stories. It’s what the true Africa is all about.
Tanzania, Tarangire National Park – Forest Chem Chem Lodge
Perfect for the family, bordering Tarangire National Park, this lodge allows your group to enjoy this exclusive wilderness area on your terms. Wildlife roam freely here in peace and without fences and you have it all to yourself. We love how this little camp is operated to absolute precision. From the accommodation, to the guides and the delicious array of food, this is perfection from your arrival to your departure.
Tanzania, Serengeti National Park – Serengeti House
In a private conservancy within the Serengeti, this refined African home is available for exclusive use – an ideal option for families or a group of friends. The Serengeti can get busy and we often find our clients opting for this private home that comes with your own chef, guide and host at your beck and call. Time it right and the annual wildebeest migration may be passing through during your stay.
Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls – Matetsi River House Villa
Welcome to this fabulous private space for a group of family or friends. The stylish, authentic lodge sits right on the Zambezi River, just 25 miles downriver from the magnificent Victoria Falls – considered the largest fall of water in the world and one of our favorite places to spend time. What we love about this lodge, besides the incredible location (nothing beats being on the river!) is the ability to kick your shoes off and give yourself a little “me time”. A safari can be all–encompassing: you are constantly on the go, up early and late to bed. It’s all so very exciting. But this stunning villa allows you to take it slow, break up the days on the go, and be part of the ultimate African dream. With staff on call to fulfill your every need and, of course, a host of activities on your doorstep, you are in charge of just how active you wish to be.
Zimbabwe, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve – Pamushana Lodge Malilangwe House
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is one of the most remote reserves you could ever hope to visit. And within this reserve lies one of the most luxurious, stunning private lodges, perched high on a sandstone ridge. The villa sleeps 10 in total and has a private infinity pool. High concentrations of the endangered black rhino make your game drives all the more riveting. With plenty of bush walks, drives, excursions to rock–art sites, community visits and our favorite – the sundowner boat cruises, you and friends or loved ones will have plenty to keep going non–stop. In between, you must make a little time for both a spa treatment and the wine class. Meals at Pamushana are a gourmet delight. Be prepared to indulge in sampling everything – and so you should! Nothing is too much trouble, and always served with a fabulous cocktail. You would never know you are so far off the beaten track.
South Africa, Kruger National Park Private Game Reserve – Royal Malewane Africa house
The diversity of options and activities make South Africa a perfect destination for that multi-generational family trip. Known for the classical safari, Kruger National Park private reserves are home to some incredible private lodges. Africa House sits top of our list. Besides offering regular wildlife activities to view the Big Five, other experiences we encourage while at Africa House include: a helicopter over the Panorama Route exploring the surrounding mountains and the famous Blyde River Canyon; a hot–air balloon flight over the Lowveld; visiting a creche – a humbling, emotional and educational journey for so many children; enjoying a game of golf at Leopard Creek; and, of course, a little pampering at the Bush Spa.
South Africa, Kruger National Park Private Game Reserve – Cheetah Plains
Game drives here are incredibly silent as you sneak up on a pride of lions – all thanks to Tesla, that’s right you will travel in style while at this camp. The private houses at Cheetah Plains are set in the game–rich Sabi Sand Reserve, offering a private and indulgent safari experience. Each private house has an expansive heated swimming pool and sun deck where you can relax in between activities. At night, enjoy the private wine gallery while your chef prepares whatever your heart desires … and then some.
South Africa, Kalahari – Tarkuni
Once home to the Oppenheimer family in the secluded Kalahari, these private suites can be made up as evening star-beds for those wishing to experience the thrill of sleeping under the vast Kalahari skies. Tswalu land is not shared with guests from other concessions or lodges. This means that there are no areas that are off-limits and you can spend as long as you wish at sightings or indulging in your own specific interests. Our clients most often encounter species that prove elusive elsewhere – from aardvark and pangolin to Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra.
South Africa, Cape Town – Ellerman House villa
Live like a local (well, sort of – a very spoiled one, that is!). This stunning villa sits on the slopes of Lions Head in a quiet residential area with possibly the most incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean in all of South Africa. Enjoy the benefits of hotel living with the advantage of complete privacy and flexibility. We often book the villa for a multi-generational family or a groups of friends traveling together. Apart from the many activities we will arrange for you in the city and surrounds, enjoy several interesting experiences at the villa itself. The wine gallery, for example, is a must-see, and if you love art, the studio offers some eye-catching, unique pieces. Partake of drinks on the lawn while the sommelier entertains you with his knowledge and, if time permits, a spa treatment is simply divine. As well as this distinctive Cape Town experience, be prepared to have your fill of South African dishes … the food here is amazing and just keeps coming!
South Africa, Cape Town – The One Above (One & Only penthouse suite)
To be “front of house” on the waterfront, but not have to deal with the milling crowds, is a dream come true in this decadent penthouse suite. From the city’s most exceptional address, you can enjoy exclusive, private views of the harbor as well as Table Mountain. Order in from Nobu in the main hotel – our favorite classic Japanese restaurant with a little Peruvian influence – and you may never want to leave.
South Africa, Hermanus – Grootbos Private Villas
This is an ideal location from which to begin your trip. We fly you into Cape Town and within two hours of your arrival, you will be relaxing at this fabulous retreat set among fynbos, an abundance of plants, birds, mammals and amphibians. With so much to see and do here, we suggest you allow a minimum of three nights. If you care about organic living and fresh, locally sourced produce like us, you will feel like you are in seventh heaven! Apart from the activities at this naturally stunning property, we highly suggest a morning of whale watching. Or for the adrenaline junkie, try shark cage diving if you dare, just a short drive from the reserve. Nearby are intimate wineries, the chance to go horseback riding along the beach or saddle up a pony for the little ones and indulge the senses on a visit to an organic farm. This is all such a far cry from city life!
As the exclamation mark to their jaw-dropping journey through Africa, many of our clients love to spend a few nights at the beach. Here are our favorite beach villas. Some are a little obscure and we like it that way!
Seychelles – North Island
The world took notice when Prince William and Duchess Kate spent their honeymoon here. A small, granite speck on a map in the tropical Seychelles, the island was recently purchased by Marriott Hotels for their Luxury Collection. The private villas are nothing short of breathtaking. What we most love about this island is the privacy, the flexibility (your chef will cook whatever you wish and staff will take you wherever you want to go), and the diverse activities. If diving is your thing, you will love this island – simply slip on your gear and off you go. Otherwise, just kick off your shoes and relish this barefoot paradise.
Kenya Coast – Sirai Beach House
There is the great migration and then there is Sirai Beach House! This private home overlooks the Indian Ocean from a clifftop and is infused with flavors of the Kenyan coast. You need a minimum four-night stay but trust us, you will not want to leave because all six suites offer captivating views of the ocean. Healthy eating is central to the experience with locally sourced ingredients and trips to browse the vibrant local markets among the activities on offer. Snorkel, kayak, try out the paddle boards, go kite surfing, wake boarding or deep–sea fishing – all within a stone’s throw away. If that’s not enough to fill in your downtime, how about taking in the stunning sunset aboard a dhow cruise, having a round of golf and soaking up the sweeping views of the infinity pool and ocean of sparkling diamonds, framed by ancient baobab trees – a reminder that you are, indeed, in Africa.
South Africa, De Hoop Nature Reserve – Morukuru Ocean House
This beautiful ocean retreat is truly special, set in the classic De Hoop Nature Reserve. Think pristine white beaches and dunes lapped by the Indian Ocean, as well as limestone cliffs, rock pools, wetlands and coastal fynbos. Apart from bird watching, since the area is home to more than 260 species, you will not run short of things do to. Picnics on the beach, dune boarding, massages, snorkeling, whale watching, bike rides and hikes are all on tap to satisfy the whims of everyone in your group.