Over 7,000 happy Safaris later we asked our Travel Designers to play favorites.
The five properties on this page are their favorite private houses to book for a truly indulgent break in Africa. Perfect for anyone desiring an exclusive getaway… for small groups who prefer setting their own schedule and intimate gatherings where the making of memories will not include outsiders.
All five houses are set within areas of quite extraordinary beauty, they are sensitively and graciously designed, you can expect incredible guiding and they sport that crucial sixth sense one finds only in the best hotels of the world: where every one of your needs are met (often before you are even aware of having it) but staff are never in your way. In every home, your comfort in the middle of wild Africa, is paramount.
This contemporary East African Home was crafted by local materials and local hands. It is secluded but positioned high on a remote ridge to offer the very best views of the Borana Conservancy at the foot of Mount Kenya. The muted greens of indigenous cedar and wild olive trees run into the African skies at the far horizon. As far as the eye can wander, from the private terraces, the lawn, the infinity pool or even the classical marble bath of the master suite… Africa lies in wait. Animals graze lazily in the valley below while the kitchen prepares your food when, how and where you want. At Sirai House you will want for nothing, from a stable of happy horses to a cinema filled with love seats… every need has been anticipated. Truly.
Cottars Bush Villa
There is something very correct and elegant about continuity and an established history in Africa. The Cottar family has lived in the arms of the Masai Mara and the Serengeti Game Reserve for over five generations and here, where the wildebeest migrate, they have built Cottar’s Bush Villa. Designed by Louise Cottar against a backdrop of the Olderkesi Hills, the home is Global Eco-sphere Retreat accredited, welcomes up to 12 guests and is run with the same standard of service that the Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp is famous for. Utter luxury right in the midst of ‘the largest concentration of terrestrial wildlife on earth’, discrete staff and award-winning guides—honestly, it is everything on our über wish list duly ticked.
Singita Serengeti House
Carefree, contemporary living with a very smart and sophisticated safari touch. Singita Serengeti House was designed to fit your travel party like a home from home. Affording you the freedom to kick back a little and take in your stunning surroundings at your own pace. Everyone can stay really active with a gorgeous gym and perfect tennis pavilion, but there will be no judgement if you spend more time in the tented spa suite or enjoying the uninterrupted views of the grassy plains from inside the house. The fully serviced home can accommodate 8 guests with 2 suites in the main house and 2 garden suites. Never wanting to leave is a common refrain.
Chongwe River House
When you rather fancy the best views in the Lower Zambezi and elephants wandering freely through camp, then Time + Tide Chongwe River House should be your first thought. The Chongwe River winds lazily around this splendidly curvy, two story, four bedroomed home. Atmospheric mountains form the backdrop and the ambience in camp remains relaxed and in touch with nature at all times. The level of comfort and service is astounding for one of the wildest parts of Africa. A plethora of safari activities can be arranged to explore every corner of this rare and private paradise. And of course, at the end of the day you will return again to your lovely home under the winterthorn trees, where you can dream while the giant elephants quietly keep watch.
Zarafa Dhow Suite
We cannot have a ‘Favorite Safari’ list without including a tent, now can we? Then again, The Zarafa Dhow Suite is not exactly your fisherman cousin’s tent. The only way to reach Zarafa is by air (around a 50-minute flight, aircraft and weather depending). This exquisite tented villa under flowing beige canvas might be one of the largest tents ever built on the continent. Complete with heavy wood floors and brass and copper claw-footed bath she is environmentally innovative with open fire and copper flue to heat the room in winter. A Cappuccino machine ensures the perfect beverage to accompany the blissful views over the crystal Zibadianja lagoon with hippos, elephant and a staggeringly prolific selection of other wildlife gathering throughout the year. Zarafa might be the best excuse to run away from home you have heard today.