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Our favourite owner-run lodges in sub-Saharan Africa

From the moment you arrive, these camps and lodges will make you feel at home. You can expect warm hospitality from your hosts with care and attention given to every aspect of your stay. From your morning coffee to your camp-fire tipple in the evening, and your safari in between, you can count on a very personalised and fulfilling experience.

Below we list just a few of our favourite owner-run camps and lodges in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Giraffe, El Karama Lodge, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia , Kenya
Bedroom, Interior, El Karama Lodge, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia , Kenya
El Karama, Cottage Veranda, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya
Fly camping, El Karama, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya

El Karama

El Karama – meaning ‘treasured possession’ in Swahili – is a small, family-run lodge with a reputation for great, home-produced food and impeccable sustainable travel credentials. Murray and Sophie Grant live on-site with their two young children and provide one of the most heartfelt safaris in Kenya.

Located in a wildlife sanctuary on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, the lodge sits on 14,000 acres of private land and is still a working cattle ranch. Encounters with lions, leopards, elephants and buffalos are thrilling, particularly at night during the famous sleep-outs in their specially designed hammocks.

Stay at El Karama

Lewa Wilderness, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya
Lewa Wilderness, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya
Pool, Lewa Wilderness Lodge, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya
Lewa Wilderness Lodge, Laikipia, Kenya
Lewa Wilderness Lodge, Laikipia, Kenya

Lewa Wilderness Lodge

The Craig family has been entertaining visitors at their home, Lewa Wilderness, for the last 30 years and it shows. Tucked away on a hillside, this homely lodge overlooks Lewa Conservancy’s Eastern Marania Valley.

Given the lodge has grown naturally over the years, there is an eclectic but welcoming mix of buildings and styles. All of the cosy cottages come with their own four-poster beds, fireplaces and verandas from which to enjoy the views.

This is much more a country house or homestead than a safari lodge. Given the huge choice of activities on offer and the inclusive approach to hosting families, this is a great choice for larger groups with younger children.

Stay at Lewa Wilderness Lodge

Game Drive, Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves
Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves, South Africa
Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves, South Africa
Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves, South Africa
Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves, South Africa
Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves, South Africa
game walks, Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves, South Africa
Tanda Tula Safari Lodge, Western Kruger Private Reserves, South Africa

Tanda Tula Safari Lodge

Tanda Tula is a very well established tented camp in the heart of the Timbavati on the western border of the Kruger National Park. Each of the twelve comfortable tents overlooks a riverbed and evoke a feeling of days gone by. Not only is the service unsurpassed but it is a real pleasure to experience the wilderness from a tent. The sounds of the night, the stars overhead and the smell of dew in the morning just can be appreciated as easily in a room made of bricks and mortar.

Tanda Tula is involved in a large number of community and conservation initiatives in the local area. Care is at the heart of everything they do and this includes the staff, the neighbouring communities and wildlife. The camp has been one of the chief benefactors of Save the Elephants South Africa.

Stay at Tanda Tula Safari Lodge

Aerial View, Three Trees at Spioenkop, Durban, South Africa
Three Trees at Spioenkop, Durban, South Africa
View from Hotel, Three Trees at Spioenkop, Durban, South Africa
Three Trees at Spioenkop, Durban, South Africa
Bedroom-The Three Trees at Spioenkop-Kwazulu Natal-South Africa
Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Living Space-The Three Trees at Spioenkop-Kwazulu Natal-South Africa
Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

Three Trees at Spioenkop

Three Trees Lodge at Spioenkop is located on the side of the famous hill of Spioenkop, overlooking the secluded Spioenkop Game Reserve in the valley below. This traditional corrugated iron farmhouse is surrounded by a typical Natal veranda, where meals are often served. The lounge and dining area are elegant flowing spaces, separated only by a fireplace and decorated in a welcoming farmhouse style, and with double doors opening out to the veranda. The lodge also has an elevated pool and a sun deck.

The lodge specialises in the history of the 2nd Anglo-Boer War with the Battle of Spioenkop being the focal point.

Stay at Three Trees at Spioenkop

Camp Fire fron Deck, Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Lower Deck View, Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park, Botswana

Muchenje Safari Lodge

Situated within the Chobe Forest Reserve on the quieter western side of Chobe National Park, Muchenje Safari Lodge sits high on an escarpment with extensive panoramic views over the Chobe River and Caprivi floodplain.

This owner-operated camp is the only camp in the area and has 10 comfortable stone and thatch cottages and one family cottage offering a friendly, intimate, homely atmosphere. The main lodge is set under thatch and shady trees and is open-sided to make the most of the excellent views. There are a comfortable lounge and dining area, a viewing deck perfect for sundowners, a reference library, a small gym and a large swimming pool with cool shady spots and deck chairs. Activities at Muchenje include early morning and afternoon game drives, full-day game drives, bush game walks, Chobe River cruises and village visits.

Stay at Muchenje Safari Lodge

Exterior of Main Lodge, Waterberry Zambezi Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia
Waterberry Zambezi Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia
View from Terrace, Waterberry Zambezi Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia
Waterberry Zambezi Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia
Pool, Waterberry Zambezi Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia
Waterberry Zambezi Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia

Waterberry Zambezi Lodge

Just a 30-minute drive from Livingstone town and upstream from the mighty Victoria Falls on the banks of the Zambezi River is the informal and friendly, Waterberry Zambezi Lodge. An attractive riverside setting in a secluded position, Waterberry boasts wonderful views across the river to the Zambezi National Park.

Activities from Waterberry include a transfer to and from Victoria Falls, a marked nature trail around the lake and boats for fishing, sunset cruises or island picnics.


Don’t miss the opportunity for your safari adventure.

Get in touch with our experts to create your tailor-made adventure to Africa.

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