As we begin to travel and explore the world again, there’s no doubt that we’ll be looking for private experiences and every opportunity to stay away from the crowds, for that sense of true freedom. Escaping into the wilderness on an African safari is the perfect solution – and with small and intimate camps that are perfect for exclusive use, you can finally get together with family and friends for that reunion celebration. Below are my top picks for the private camps you can book out for your private slice of African wilderness.
The Manor at Samara, The Great Karoo
Samara Private Game Reserve, located in the Great Karoo, is the ideal off-the-beaten-track option in South Africa. Nowhere captures that feeling of space and complete disconnection better than Samara’s 67,000 acres of spectacular wilderness. By the time you reach your destination, you’ll most likely be some of the only humans for miles around. Easily accessible from the Garden Route, Samara is also just 40 minutes from the historical town of Graaff-Reinet, and is a fantastic choice for families as a malaria-free destination. Despite classing itself as a Big-Five Reserve, I would describe Samara as a wilderness experience with an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy, including horseback riding, mountain biking, bush walks or cheetah tracking. For ultimate exclusivity, I’d suggest booking The Manor on an exclusive-use basis to be able to enjoy private activities and a programme completely tailored to you.
Lamai Private, Northern Serengeti
This stunning exclusive-use camp located in the northernmost region of the Serengeti makes it possible to finally go on the Tanzanian safari that you have been dreaming about, whilst still avoiding the crowds. The private camp has just four bedrooms (including a children’s twin), a sitting area, dining room and pool. All being separate from the main camp (Lamai Serengeti) allows for total privacy and flexibility and is a great choice for families or a group of friends. The Lamai Wedge is a very remote area within the park and thanks to your private guide, avoiding those other vehicles won’t be a problem. The effortlessly cool and laidback East African style of this camp, combined with the outstanding service and top quality guides make this one a real winner.
Laragai House, Borana Conservancy
What could be better than an exclusive use home located in the Borana Conservancy in the heart of Kenya? With eight bedrooms, 32,000 acres to explore and the Big Five, this is the perfect choice for a group or multi-generational family. With direct flights to Nairobi, and private charter flights easily arranged to and from Laragai’s airstrip, the logistics couldn’t be simpler. I recommend spending at least five nights here to really get the most out of the area. Laragai is an excellent base to explore Northern Kenya and there is an abundance of activities on offer. Try helicopter trips up the mountain for your hand at trout visiting, a private visit to Reteti elephant orphanage or quad biking in dry riverbeds before spending a night fly camping under the stars. The possibilities are endless!
Colina Verde, Machangulo Peninsula
If you are looking for a family beach escape, but want to escape the busy crowds in Europe, then my top pick would definitely be Colina Verde – an exquisite private home located in the remote Machangulo Peninsula in Southern Mozambique. This is the ultimate home away from home, complete with seven bedrooms and fully serviced with a chef and an experienced resident management couple. Spend your days under the warm Mozambican sun enjoying the many activities on offer, from snorkelling and sandboarding to fat bikes and fishing! Sitting on a secluded dune with incredible 360-degree views out over the Indian Ocean, this extraordinary villa is hard to beat.
Barclay Stenner Safaris, Okavango Delta
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