Africa: Best Private Safari Houses, Luxury Villas, Luxury Homes, Private Villas

This blog presents the best and the finest Private Safari Houses and Safari Villas in Africa.

In COVID-Era and also Post-COVID there is a need and growing demand for booking private accommodation in fully serviced Luxury vacation Houses and Private Villas. This helps to create the necessary privacy-net and safety bubble while you holiday with your family and friends in Africa.

The continent of Africa is already known for social distancing which comes naturally due to it’s pristine wilderness found in it’s private reserves, concessions and conservancies. It is also known for it’s renowned luxury camps and lodges spread across the continent, some big, others small, and few intimate enough to be booked on an exclusive basis just for your group of family and friends.

But here we are talking about fully serviced and catered private safari homes, safari houses, and luxury villas, booked as a single unit for your exclusive use. They are located not in cities, but in their own private safari concessions and private game reserves or estates, offering safari experiences and activities to match and most often surpass the best camps and lodges in Africa. This signature collection is unique, offers privacy, and luxury comfort at it’s best.

Arijiju, Laikipia, Kenya:

Arijiju is a beautiful, private home in the game-rich, malaria-free, Kenyan Highlands with rare, truly wild luxuries. The design is inspired by Ethiopian monasteries, this exceptional private house is carved into the landscape and leaves a very subtle footprint on the view to Mount Kenya. It offers 5- bedrooms and can only be rented exclusively.

Built on the Borana conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya, the land is teeming with wildlife, including the Africa’s Big Five, wild dog, and cheetah.

Arijiju is not just a safari destination but a wellness retreat too. It supports a healthy lifestyle with Home grown produce and fresh daily juice blends. There is a 25 meter infinity lap pool, running trails through the bush, a spa, Hammam, fully equipped gym, yoga deck, clay tennis court and squash court, all inconspicuously blending in to the valley, and the highly skilled masseuse and beauty therapist is available at no extra cost.

It offers 5 double en-suite bedrooms: one master and two smaller bedrooms are in the main courtyard, while two more spacious bedrooms are just outside the courtyard.

It has no age limit and children up to the age of 5 are free of charge. Child rate applies from 5 to 15 years old.

It is located in The Borana Reserve, Laikipia and offers fantastic game viewing in a privately owned conservancy.

Laikipia is a year round destination, however it can rain heavily in November and lightly in April / May.

You can reach Arijiju using three daily flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport to Lewa, or a private charter directly to Borana airstrip. Road transfers are included from there (1.5 hour from Lewa, and 15 minutes from Borana.

Sirai House, Laikipia, Kenya:

A private home in the Borana Conservancy in the Laikipia region of Kenya, located at the foot of snow-capped Mount Kenya, Sirai House sits in a secluded 250-acre estate, high on a ridge with spectacular views in all directions, surrounded by indigenous forests and game-rich Kenyan hills and plains.

Built by Kenyan craftsmen with local materials, the house celebrates a love of architecture, design and location.

Sirai House sleeps 12 guests in six suites spread across four cottages and there is also a pilot’s room. It is available for rental all year round on an exclusive occupancy basis. The minimum stay is 3 nights.

Children of all ages are welcome, however in the interests of safety, their participation in game activities is at the discretion of their guide.

Sirai House is set in 250 acres, with the suites spread out across the estate. A driver is always on hand to chauffeur you around the grounds in a golf buggy.

They have a team of 40 staff who all speak English and are always on hand to ensure your stay at Sirai is perfect.

More than 35,000 acres in size, Borana is just 17 miles north of the equator and is at an altitude of around 6,500 feet – which means the weather is warm during the day and cool at night all year round. The high altitude also means the region is malaria free.

The location of the house, one of the highest points in the Borana Conservancy and with 360 degree panoramas, is utterly unique and provides guests with staggering views from every room. Despite the spectacular position, Sirai, like a pride of lions perched high on a mountainside, sits gently in its surroundings, at one with its native African flora and fauna.

Borana is a four-hour drive from Nairobi and a one-hour drive from the town of Nanyuki.

There are daily scheduled flights by Safarilink and Air Kenya from Nairobi Wilson Airport to neighbouring Lewa Downs Conservancy airstrip from where they will collect you. It’s about 50 minutes’ drive to Sirai House, during which you are likely to be greeted by rhino, elephant, zebra and giraffe amongst the many species which live here.

There is also an airstrip on the Borana Conservancy for private charter flights, taking about an hour from Nairobi, flying past Mount Kenya, followed by a 20-minute drive to Sirai House through the Borana Conservancy. They also have a helicopter landing pad within our grounds and will arrange helicopter transfers if required.

Ol Jogi Home, Laikipia, Kenya:

Ol Jogi’s private home offers one of the most exclusive accommodation experiences on the African continent. You will have 11-bedrooms housed within eight cottages, entirely to yourself as they don’t take more than one group of guests at a time. You also have the entire 58,000-acre Conservancy to just for you.

Around the home are many common spaces, from a billiards and games room to a pool and spa, a tennis court, a wine cellar, and many other surprises to discover.

Ol Jogi’s home was built and crafted over many decades. It is a design masterpiece with a very unique style. A collection of museum quality artworks, china and silverware create an ambiance atypical of the more common offerings.

While the home is luxurious, it is also quite comfortable and relaxing. When you stay with us you will feel like it’s your own home, and the experience will be very different than what you would find in a commercial lodge.

The most valuable treasure of Ol Jogi is the amount of wildlife that resides here. Right in front of the house is a watering hole with a constant flow of wildlife. One of the most exciting features is an underground tunnel that takes you from inside the house directly to a hide at our watering hole.

Activities: Day & night game drives, Guided bush walks, Bush meals, Sundowners, Horse riding, Camel trekking, Massage treatments, Birding, Quad bike safaris, Rock climbing, Helicopter tours, Cultural community visits, Wildlife viewing from the secret tunnel.

You have option of daily scheduled flights departing Nairobi Wilson Airport to Nanyuki Airstrip to connect with road transfer to Ol Jogi which is approximately 90 minutes. Alternative is a private charter to Ol Jogi private airstrip which is then 10 minutes drive to Ol Jogi Home.

Laragai House, Laikipia, Kenya:

Laragai House is a family home built on Borana Conservancy, a perfect escape for a group of friends or a multi-generational family who would like to stay in an exclusive use property.

Located on a privately owned 35,000 acre ranch guaranteeing exclusivity.

The house sleeps 16 guests in 8-Bedrooms who are warmly welcomed by their team of highly trained staff and personally hosted. Wildlife viewings are enjoyed from horseback, open cars, on foot with rangers, or from the house itself.

Laragai house is set in magnificent splendor within a rich and colorful garden. A heated swimming pool with a deck overlooks a small dam, which attracts herds of elephant, buffalo and often prides of lion.

Laragai has 8-bedrooms divided as four luxurious double rooms and two twin rooms complete with spacious ensuite bathrooms, plus two children twin rooms sharing a bathroom. The two master bedrooms have fireplaces. The house has a dining room, bar, drawing room, pool house, TV room and a games room allowing guest to relax wherever they feel most comfortable.

Activities at the House: Day & night game drives, Guided bush walks, Horse riding, Mountain biking, Ranch visits, Helicopter & fixed wing aircraft tours, Yoga, Buggie & quad bike safaris, Tennis, Fly camping, Fishing.

Private charters can be arranged from Nairobi directly to Laragai House where you can land at the private airstrip and then it is a 10 mins drive to the house. Alternatively, scheduled flights can be arranged to Lewa Airstrip where their guides will collect you and take you on the approximately one hour game drive back to the house.

Cottars Private Bush Villa, Maasai Mara, Kenya:

A contemporary, elegant private villa, the only real luxury private villa in the Maasai Mara, Kenya.

The Bush Villa provides a luxury private stay option for 10 guests in 5 en-suite Bedrooms and comes complete with its own private 25 meter swimming pool. Offering an abundance of wildlife, a guarantee of privacy, and the highest standards of professional guiding in a luxurious and elegant safari environment.

Cottar’s Bush Villa is rented only on an exclusive basis, and comes with a dedicated staff of 8. The villa is over 10,000 square feet in size, and features a large living room, dining room, a magnificent viewing deck, and 5 en-suite bedrooms, all with stunning views. The villa has internet access throughout, satellite TV and DVD, and is powered with electric and solar energy. It comes with dedicated game drive vehicle(s) and guide(s) provided to guests staying at the Villa throughout their stay.

It is set in a unique private 7,000 acre game concession, adjoining the Serengeti and Masai Mara game reserves which have the largest concentration of terrestrial wildlife on earth – the immense wildebeest, zebra and plains game migration that numbers over to 2.5 million animals with some of the highest success rates of big five sightings in the business.

You can fly from Nairobi Wilson Airport to Keekorok Airstrip and then a 1.5 hrs drive to the Villa or a private charter to Cottar’s private Airstrip followed by a 10 mins drive to the Villa.

Sirikoi House, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya:

Sirikoi House is an exclusive property located on private land, surrounded by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya. The camp is set in a grove of large fever trees and overlooks a natural waterhole which attracts a variety of exciting wildlife.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya is not only home to endangered Grevy’s zebra, and black and white rhino but it is also a pristine World Heritage Site.

The Sirikoi House includes 3 en-suite bedrooms (a Master Suite and separate bedroom cottage with two en-suite bedrooms), which lead on to a central living and dining cottage renowned for its unique positioning and decor. There is a private deck built overlooking the wetland, perfect for private meals and sundowners.

Sirikoi House is only sold on an exclusive use basis and comes with its own private safari vehicle and guide, as well as chef and team of staff. Guests at the Sirikoi House have the choice of private dining or having meals on the main Sirikoi deck. The House is sold exclusively for 6 guests.

Guests at Sirikoi can enjoy world class wildlife viewing in the Lewa conservancy, with one of the main attractions being able to see both black and white rhino, as well as large populations of lion, buffalo and elephant. Activities on offer include both day and night game drives, guided bush walks, bush meals, horse riding, bi-plane flights, fishing expeditions on Mount Kenya and fly camping.

The Lodge is just a 20 minute drive from the Lewa airstrip, which is served by both private charters and scheduled flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport and JOMO Kenyatta International Airport – a 50 minute flight away.

Serengeti House, Grumeti Reserve, Tanzania:

Boasting endless views of the vast Serengeti plains as well as the nearby waterhole where game regularly gather to drink, this modern 4-Bedrooms African home includes a 25-metre rim-flow pool, expansive outdoor dining decks and fire pit – ensuring continuous engagements with the wilderness.

Set in the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserve, this modern safari experience includes a full staff complement and private access to an untouched wilderness on the annual wildebeest migration route.

The villa’s four boldly proportioned guest suites – each with serene bathrooms, outdoor showers and private terraces – embody refined luxury underpinned by contemporary comfort. The home also includes an eat-in family kitchen, media room, fully-equipped fitness centre, tented massage treatment suite and tennis pavilion.

Children of all ages are welcome. There are baby-sitting services available and tailormade activities to suit each family. Children’s participation in game activities is at the discretion of your guide.

They offer a Mini Rangers Course for children, which is a customised, fun-filled programme that opens up a whole new world to young explorers. It includes learning how to track animals; astronomy; bush survival techniques; game-, tree- and bird-spotting competitions, as well as nature quizzes.

Jabali Private House, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania:

An intimate, exclusive-use property surrounded by lofty, ancient baobab trees, Jabali Private House is perfect for families and friends. It has 3-bedrooms, a lounge and a dining area, plus a private pool, looking out over the dense forest that fringes the bordering Ikuka escarpment.

The house has two master bedrooms and an additional twin bedroom, suitable for families with kids or adults travelling together.

A dedicated team — including a private chef, guide and vehicle — means you can choose to spend all day out on a game drive or enjoy more time at the house relaxing around the pool or savouring a long lunch.

You also have access to facilities at the neighboring Jabali Ridge to enjoy the bar, library and spa.

The greater Ruaha area is thought to be home to one-tenth of the entire world’s wild lion population, with large prides roaming the plains. Cheetahs, leopards and packs of wild dogs are seen hunting here, too. You might also spot greater and lesser kudu, sable and roan antelope, elephants, giraffes, bat-eared foxes and some of the 570 bird species.

Night drives allow you to spot often-elusive nocturnal creatures, while walking safaris are a great way to catch sight of smaller animals and plants or learn how to track.

Jabali Private House is perfect for families with children of any age. Because it’s booked on an exclusive basis, you can plan your days based on your family’s needs, whether you want to be out tracking lions or prefer to enjoy some quality time at the house.

Mkombe’s House Lamai, Serengeti, Tanzania

The only self-contained private house in Serengeti. Set plum in the middle of one of the richest game areas in the Serengeti, this bush home from home is designed specifically with little children in mind, as well as being a great place for groups of friends.

This 4-Bedroom house has room for ten guests; four adults and six children. There are two en-suite bedrooms, each with a nearby secure and en-suite children’s room. There is no age limit at Mkombe’s House so younger children are always catered for as cots are available during your stay here.

The master bedrooms have outside showers and star-beds that can be wheeled onto the deck to sleep under the night sky.

The house comes with a private driver/guide (two if you’re a large group), a butler, a chef and a housekeeper.

The kopje landscape around the house is entrancing, but there are plenty of activities at Mkombe’s House Lamai, too, with the main focus on private game drives. Resident wildlife that can be spotted all year round, both on game drives or from the decks of the house itself, includes lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, buffalo and other plains grazers. Crocodile and hippo may also be sighted in the Mara River.

One of the biggest attractions, however, is the wildebeest migration that passes through this region on an annual cycle, roughly between July and October. Parts of the ‘mega-herd’ periodically mass on the banks of the Mara River and make perilous crossings.

Other activities include guided walks (minimum age 12), bush picnics and, of course, sundowners.

It can be reached by daily plane from Arusha, Dar es Salaam and other locations in northern Tanzania, in 2-3 hours.

Kataza House, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda:

Singita Kataza House is set within a landscape of wetlands and lush meadows with magnificent views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes.

While completely private, the villa is set alongside Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Guests at Kataza House enjoy access to all facilities and amenities at the lodge, which offers additional spaces for convivial relaxing, entertaining and dining.

The villa sleeps eight people in 4-bedrooms and amenities include:

  • Full staff complement, including a private chef and host
  • Indoor baths; indoor and outdoor showers
  • Interactive open-plan kitchen
  • Open living and dining spaces
  • Indoor and outdoor fireplaces
  • Cinema room
  • Fitness centre
  • Small wine cellar
  • Larger heated pool and smaller heated pool off master bedroom
  • Massage treatment room (guests can also enjoy in-room treatments)
  • On-site Akarabo Nursery and farm-to-table garden
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Children of all ages are welcome at the villa, but please note that the minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15
  • Access to all facilities and amenities at Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Children at Kataza House:

All activities at the villa are tailored to specifically suit the interests of each family. The minimum age requirement for gorilla trekking is 15 years, but the villa offers childminding services, as well as an array of activities to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Children’s activities offered:

  • Cooking interactions
  • Board games
  • Stargazing
  • Activity booklets with a variety of games, quizzes and games
  • Arts & crafts
  • Movies
  • Swimming
  • Birding
  • Cycling
  • Akarabo Nursery and garden tour
  • Golden monkey treks (for children over 12 years)

International flights arrive at Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. Singita Volcanoes National Park can either be accessed by a 30-minute helicopter flight or a 3-hour road transfer from Kigali.

Leobo, Waterberg, South Africa:

Observatory private villa is designed by award-winning architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, is a masterpiece, and ideal for couples or for families. It is set in a private 23,000 acre game reserve within the stunning and malaria-free Waterberg Mountains of Northern South Africa.

This remarkable house is state-of-the-art, with breath-taking views and the ultimate in luxury. Serviced by a butler, maid and chef, it also has a heated infinity pool, and a jacuzzi on the roof. There is an automated Observatory that is perfect for stargazing.

The house sleeps 6 adults and three children in 3 double rooms and a children’s triple bunk room. There is space to eat both inside and outside as well as a spectacular sunken fire pit.

It is surrounded by the diverse Waterberg region and overlooking the Palala Valley, the reserve is encompassed by rugged rocks, mountainous areas, bushveld savannah, rivers, gorges and an abundance of wildlife.

Teeming with plains game, as well as hippo and buffalo it is one of only a handful of sole-use private reserves in Africa, allowing guests full access to the entire estate and all its facilities.

Complete privacy and exclusivity is what Leobo Private Reserve is all about.

Stay at Leobo is for experiences after you complete your hard-core big cats frenzy or Big-5 safari. Activities at Leobo besides game viewing include picnics and alfresco dining, camping with hippos, quad biking, horse riding, bass fishing, target shooting, helicopter paint-balling, sky diving, mountain rope adventures, swimming with crocodiles, kayaking and phenomenal astronomy from the research grade observatory dome.

It has no age limit for children and offers activities, facilities to suit all ages.

Leobo is open all year round. May to October is warm and dry and can be chilly in the evenings. October to April is hotter. December to March experiences short rains and thunderstorms.

It is a 50 minute helicopter flight or a three hour drive from Johannesburg Airport.

Kubili House, Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa:

Kubili House is a 26,900 square feet luxury private residence set within Thornybush Game Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. The house includes 5 bedrooms, 3 swimming pools, steam room, a private game viewer and 3 fully equipped camping vehicles. The house is directly situated on the bank of the largest dam in the reserve – a principle watering hole for wildlife which can be viewed from one of the many overhanging decks.

Game drives, camping trips, archery and wellness programs are some of the activities available to guests. Kubili House offers complete solitude from the outside world and embraces the ancient understanding that there is no time in Africa. There are no schedules, no commitments and no obligations — Kubili House is where you reconnect to that which you have lost.

It offers an excellent array of activities for children including archery, pottery, cooking & art classes and making animal track moulds. Children may participate in game drives from any age; in bush dinners and camping experience from 12 years; and in walking activities and Segway safaris from 16 years.

Kubili House is a year round destination. Winter months run from May – August where the temperatures can drop and mornings and evenings are very cold. Rainy season is around January and February.

Scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport operate twice daily — from there it is a 40min road transfer to Kubili House

Private Charter flights are possible from Johannesburg directly to the Thornybush or Jackalberry Airstrip, where you are collected in an open game viewer and transferred to Kubili House.

Africa House by Royal Malewane, Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa:

Africa House is a spacious and elegant, exclusive use bush villa with 6 en-suite bedrooms either side of a central courtyard. Each bedroom is uniquely decorated with a private outside shower and deck. Antique furniture, carved four-poster beds from Mombasa, plush silk furnishings and Persian rugs create an exotic and luxurious feel. The vast front deck provides the ultimate space to relax, dine and enjoy the beautiful swimming pool. Africa House has its own private services.

Africa House is situated in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, a private game area in the greater Kruger Park in South Africa’s Limpopo province, offering you traversing rights over all 15,000 hectares of the reserve. It is home to the Big 5, as well as over 500 species of birds and 300 of trees. The Africa House is part of the highly acclaimed Royal Malewane, and it has access to it’s incredibly beautiful spa.

The house has its own private chef, butler, ranger, tracker, night watchman and game drive vehicle. Expect fine dining coupled with premier South African wines.

Africa House is perfectly designed for a families, with plenty to amuse and delight everyone. The chef will happily discuss your children’s needs, help bake some high tea treats or cook marshmallows on an open fire.

I recommend a visit to the Moholoholo Centre for an afternoon of close-up interaction with animals and birds. Whether bird-watching, star gazing or sharing the pool with elephants, family safaris at Africa House really are what great childhood memories are made of.

The closest airport to Royal Malewane is Hoedspruit. The lodge is an easy 35 minute road transfer from Hoedspruit. Royal Malewane is also easily accessible from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit. There is a private airstrip at Royal Malewane called Jackalberry Airstrip.

Plains Houses by Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sands, South Africa:

Consisting of three exclusive-use Bush Houses each equipped with 4-bedrooms, Cheetah Plains offers groups and families (four to eight guests per Bush House) a luxury safari experience par excellence.

Each house is exquisitely appointed, boast a formal lounge, dining area, expansive sun deck and swimming pool, wine gallery, chef’s kitchen, entertainment lounge and sumptuous Private Guest Suites. Booking a Cheetah Plains House secures an exclusively private luxury safari experience all to yourself.

A dedicated hospitality team consists of your intuitive, accomplished host, private chef, wellness therapist, field guide and tracker.

You also get your own private game vehicles, which are zero-emission Toyota Land Cruisers with solar-charged Tesla batteries, bolstered suspension and heated seats. It offers the ultimate in comfort, eco-friendliness and personalised safaris. Allowed off-road, they are virtually noiseless so ensure that you see animals behaving in a natural way.

Children of all ages are welcome at Cheetah Plains.

Their bespoke children’s safari program, Cheetah Cub Club, for children under 12 years old is wildly popular with the younger guests. Educational, engaging and fun, each child receives a backpack stuffed with exciting activities to enjoy on safari, with their compliments.

Their highly qualified, relatable field guides and trackers are eager to share their bush lore with young, inquisitive minds. Bush bumbles (game drives of age appropriate duration), interpretive walks in their garden or simply chatting with the team about their way of life in the bushveld helps children to forge a deep connection with Africa’s wilderness.

Cheetah Plains Private Reserve comprises an exclusive traverse area set aside for the Cheetah Plains guests. This particular area is revered for its prime game viewing, most especially the iconic species known as the ‘Big Five’.

They share their fenceless border to the east with the vast, world famous Kruger National Park and their southern border with the esteemed Mala Mala Game Reserve.

You can fly directly to Cheetah Plains on one of the daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg or Nelspruit, or via Madikwe.

Airports are located within easy driving distance to Cheetah Plains: Arathusa Airstrip is approximately a 20-minute drive within the reserve, whereas Hoedspruit Airport takes about 1.5 hours and allow 3 hours to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.

Singita Castleton, Sabi Sands, South Africa:

The beautiful stone-walled homestead and 6 double en-suite cottages are perfect for families and friends and accommodate up to 12 guests. Exclusive facilities include a Bocce court, extensive wine cellar, country style kitchen and tennis court, Trampoline for children (and adults), as well as state-of-the-art wellness facilities such as a fitness centre, yoga pavilion and double and single massage treatment rooms. An outdoor private boma with uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape allows for magical fireside dinners under the stars.

Singita Castleton is set within 45,000 acres of untouched wilderness in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve, adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park, and offers guests exclusive game-viewing opportunities to experience the abundance of an area fondly known as “Big Cat Country”.

The House comes with a team of Private staff including house manager, chef, housekeeper, guide and tracker.

Children of all ages are welcome at Singita Castleton. It offers an exciting Mini Rangers Course which is a customised, fun-filled programme that opens up a whole new world to young explorers. It includes learning how to track animals; astronomy; bush survival techniques; game-, tree- and bird-spotting competitions as well as nature quizzes.

All flights (scheduled or private charters) land at Singita’s airstrip, which is located 10 minutes drive from the lodge.

Jembisa Bush Home, Waterberg, South Africa:

Jembisa Bush Home is located in the private Jembisa Reserve (30 sq kilometers) in the Waterberg Mountains area to the north of South Africa.

It offers a wide range of wildlife and safari activities that are flexible to suit all ages and interests. Easily accessible from Johannesburg and malaria-free. Game on the reserve includes rhino, leopard, brown hyena, hippo and crocodile, with opportunities on night drives to see aardvark, civet cats and porcupines.

This area is also renowned for the significant number of Bushmen rock paintings and ancient archaeological sites, adding a further fascinating dimension to a great all-round safari experience.

Jembisa Bush House has 5 spacious en-suite double bedrooms featuring natural tones and colorful contemporary touches, with a comfortable homely feel all round. Three of the rooms have private balconies. A separate bunkroom for up to four children offers privacy for the adults and independence for the younger family members. One of the highlights at Jembisa is to spend a night camping out under the stars.

The double-storey stone and thatch house has everything you might expect of a stylish family bush retreat, with generous open-plan lounge and dining areas, a snug library and children’s play room downstairs.

A wide veranda leads down onto broad sweeps of lawn, with a viewing platform overlooking the reserve. Within the gardens, there is a floodlit tennis court, and a salt-water swimming pool with sun loungers strategically placed to soak up the sun and the views of the surrounding bushveld.

Activities at the House include swimming in the natural saltwater pool; tennis on the floodlit court; an avocado oil massage on the sundeck; bush walks on the trail of rhino or a traditional game drive, day or night, in open Land Rovers.

You can reach the House by a charter light aircraft flight from Johannesburg into the local airstrip, from where it is a road transfer of around 20 minutes. Alternatively you can reach Jembisa in 3.5 hours by road from Johannesburg.

Tarkuni Private House, Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa:

Built on the largest private game reserve in South Africa, Tswalu Kalahari is a 100,000 hectare malaria-free Reserve within the vast Kalahari ecosystem. Tarkuni Lodge is an exclusive-use villa that offers small groups and families a tailor-made desert and wilderness experience.

This private homestead has a dedicated staff, and you and your family have the luxury of designing your own itinerary. Game drives are tailored to your interests, and you can discover some of the Kalahari’s habitats and wildlife including meerkat, pangolin, aardvark, wild dog, black rhino and black-maned lions.

With accommodation for up to 10 guests in 5-suites, all the pleasurable daily rituals of safari living have been thoughtfully considered and sustainably designed.

There are several outside areas for guests to relax, sunbathe, read, dine and socialise. The property consists of a main house – complete with a lounge, kitchen, pool, veranda, and dining room.

The house comes with its own chef, guide, house manager and private wildlife viewing vehicle.

Activities at Tswalu Tarkuni include horse riding, guided walks, wildlife drives, rock art trips, educational and cultural visits, star-bed sleep-outs and. Horse riding is offered to all, with horses and trails for beginner, intermediate and experienced riders. Children are welcome on all wildlife drives, irrespective of age.

Tswalu Kalahari can be reached by daily scheduled flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Melton Manor, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa:

Kwandwe Melton Manor is a 4-bedroom private safari villa in South Africa for groups of up to eight travellers.

It is located in Eastern Cape on the Kwandwe Private Game Resrve which is one of the largest private Big Five game viewing areas in South Africa. It offers exclusivity with 54 000 acres of private wilderness, offering one of the highest land – guest ratios in South Africa.

The Manor’s 4 bedrooms offer a private refuge with a large veranda, enormous bed and a butler hatch for unobtrusive morning service. Generous bathtubs invite you to a soak and large windows provide uninterrupted bushveld views. The interactive farm-style kitchen encourages you to try your hand at combining flavours under the guidance of your personal chef. Share meals and laughter around the farmhouse table in the fresh air of the terrace.

Melton Manor comes fully staffed – a service that includes a chef, house manager, guide and tracking team.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is located approximately 65 km from the east coast of South Africa, close to the renowned Garden Route, in the malaria-free Eastern Cape.

The nearest national airport is in Port Elizabeth, which lies 160 km (100 miles) from the reserve. There are daily scheduled flights from both Cape Town and Johannesburg international airports to Port Elizabeth.

From there, it is 2 hours by road to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. The reserve also has a private airstrip and can arrange a 20-minutes charter flight from Port Elizabeth to Kwandwe private airstrip.

Sarili Private Lodge, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa:

Sarili is an oasis of exclusive luxury overlooking the grassy plains of Africa and the Bushman’s River, an impressive 5-bedroomed lodge from where you and your family and friends can watch Africa’s iconic Big Five.

Perched on the banks of the Bushman’s River, Sarili Private Lodge provides the perfect exclusive bush experience, with magnificent African wilderness at your doorstep. The modern interiors coupled with exclusive amenities, mean you’re never too far from superior comfort in the heart of the Eastern Cape.

The Exclusive use Lodge comes with a Personal staff including House Manager and Private Chef and Ranger.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, offers visitors 25 000 hectares of wildlife and birdlife rich reserve to explore.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to Africa’s Big 5 (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard), is malaria free and is situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

For children, Sarili Private Lodge is a perfect setting as the Kids on Safari Adventure Centre offers a range of activities where children can learn about the conservation efforts of the Shamwari Game Reserve in a safe, malaria free area. The lodge features a child friendly swimming pool, in and outdoor dining areas and large lounge with television and fireplace.

Shamwari offers an array of experiences you can enjoy such as Game Drives, Birding, Walking Safaris, Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Photographic Safaris and more.

You can fly using scheduled flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Port Elizabeth Airport, and then it is 1 hour drive to the Lodge.

Morukuru River House, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa:

Morukuru River House, a luxury 3-bedroom exclusive-use safari house, is perched on the banks of the main perennial Marico River in Madikwe Game Reserve.

The house is situated in a private concession in the southeast corner of Madikwe Game Reserve, located in the North West Province of South Africa. The reserve covers over 75.000 hectares, offering guests a premier safari and wildlife experience.

The malaria-free Madikwe is one of South Africa’s largest Big 5 game reserves. Its extensive grass plains are home to not just the Big 5, but also the African Wild Dog, Cheetah and a large selection of plains game, as well as over 340 species of birds.

The house comes with an experienced team including personal Chef, butler, housekeepers, safari guide and tracker, providing you with the ultimate malaria-free safari in Madikwe, South Africa.

Morukuru River House welcomes children of all ages. The junior guests are allowed on game drives throughout the Madikwe Game Reserve and are able to enjoy every magical aspect of being on safari with their parents. Children receive a Morukuru Kidz Backpack filled with Safari treasures. Children are kept busy with baking, kiddie adventures, swimming, archery, fishing and much more.

Federal Air offers daily shuttle flights from Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport to Madikwe Game Reserve. The duration of this flight is 50 minutes, followed by a 30 mins transfer by road.

andBeyond Phinda Homestead, Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa:

Tucked into the edge of a dappled forest in the north of Phinda Private Game Reserve, lies Phinda Homestead, a gracious exclusive-use 4-bedroom safari villa, complete with a dedicated ranger, tracker, butler and chef.

Phinda Private Game Reserve encompasses an impressive 28,555 hectares (70,560 acres) of protected wildlife land in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Showcasing one of the continent’s finest game viewing experiences, the reserve is home to Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino), as well as 436 bird species.

The Homestead has been configured as a modern ‘bush home’ that combines quirky details like 80’s-inspired design with local elements such as Nguni cowhides, Zulu crafts and traditional beadwork. In addition to four double bedrooms (including a fifth room suitable for a nanny, pilot, guide, chef or independent teenagers, The Homestead has a library, an interactive kitchen, a gym, its own boma and an infinity edge pool bordered by a sun deck and a fire pit. Safari-loving families and friends will revel in having the space all to themselves, including a secluded spa treatment room a short walk away.

You can choose from a range of exciting Phinda Adventures such as specialist walking and tracking safaris, a sleepout under the stars, an infrared Night Eye drive and other participative conservation experiences, such as rhino notching or pangolin tagging. Also on offer and within easy access of the reserve, are Zulu village tours, Africa Foundation community visits, a Maputaland exploration, Maputaland beach trip, night turtle drives (seasonal), scuba safaris, or an incredible ocean safari that offers you a host of marine life sightings. Specialist safaris can be arranged in advance and these focus on special interests such as birding, photographic, family and private safaris.

Airlink offers daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Phinda Private Game Reserve or you have option of Private charters from anywhere in South Africa, which can be arranged to Phinda Private Game Reserve’s airstrip.

Jaci’s Sabi House, Sabi Sands, South Africa:

Jaci’s Sabi House is an exclusive-use safari villa in the world renowned Sabi Sand Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa. It accommodates maximum 6 guests in 3bedrooms at a time on an exclusive use basis, each stay is a bespoke safari experience, tailored to guests’ every desire.

It features a locally designed Main Lodge House with a master bedroom and two twin bedrooms in a separate Cottage with spacious interiors, luxurious finishes and bespoke decor. The thatch home is the ideal destination for the ultimate bush getaway, with access to prime game viewing areas within the Sabi Sand Reserve, where you can be assured of once in a lifetime Safari experience. Your stay is complemented by a private swimming pool, indigenous garden and your own private chef, field guide and game viewing vehicle.

The Main Lodge House features a large patio and grassed viewing area, a swimming pool and open-plan kitchen/bar as well as indoor and outdoor dining facilities.

You can either fly a private charter to the nearest airstrip named Arathusa (20 mins drive to the House) or fly direct into Hoedspruit airport from Johannesburg and then a 90 mins road transfer to the house.

The Nest @ Sossus, Namibia

The Nest @ Sossus is located on the private 24,000 hectare Namib Tsaris Conservancy, which is nestled between the Nubib and Zaris Mountains, a mere thirty minutes’ drive from the gateway to Sossusvlei and the Great Namib Sand Sea which has recently been declared a World Heritage Site.

It is a private villa, open all year round and available on an exclusive-use basis, providing multi-generational families and groups of friends with one of the most personalised and luxurious private accommodations in Namibia. Complete with Wi-Fi and solar-powered lighting, The Nest comes with a private guide and game-drive vehicle, a chef and housekeeping staff. There is a swimming pool and children’s play area.

It offers 3 private en suite bedrooms (king & queen beds) as well as an additional en suite kiddie’s room, the villa sleeps upto maximum seven guests comfortably.

The Nest @ Sossus was designed using the unique structure of a Sociable Weaver nest as inspiration and it took eight years, including a three-year build, to bring this project to fruition, resulting in one of Namibia’s most extraordinary private villas in terms of both design and décor.

The Nest @ Sossus is host to many animals, including leopard, cheetah, giraffe and spotted hyena, who come from miles around to the nearby waterhole. Activities include the chance to take walks and drives through the desert landscape to spot large mammals or to simply enjoy the environment of the lodge.

The lodge is a 45-minute drive away from the Sossusvlei gates, where guests can visit the famous Sossusvlei dunes and Deadvlei. Scenic fixed-wing, helicopter and hot air balloon flights can also be arranged at an additional charge.

Otjimukona Homestead, Khomas region, Namibia

This 5-bedroom homestead is located in the most exclusive game ranch in Namibia where the guests can connect with local communities, culture, food and music while living the slow lifestyle at Otjimukona Homestead where wildlife and wellness meet.

It is situated on a 50 000 hectare reserve, near Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport where you get unlimited space, silence and the chance to really get away from the rush, turning it into the ultimate leisure and safari experience.

Otjimukona is surrounded by unspoilt bushveld and wilderness.

It is tastefully decorated with chandeliers and antique furniture, and lends itself to old world colonial charm.

It offers natural light and common spaces to gather, the private villa is where you socialize with your friends and family.

This beautiful property is booked only for exclusive use, comprises of a 3-bedroom house and a 2-bedroom self-contained cottage. Maximum capacity of 10 people in 5 bedrooms.

It is child friendly with no minimum age, and offers a special kids menu, educational game drives, learning and interacting with local Namibian tribes.

Key activities and experiences at Otjimukona include Art and crafts tours, Helicopter tours, Complete family safari, BBQ, Horse riding safari, Interactive guided game drives, Stargazing safari, Nightlife.

It is 75 km from Windhoek, and 60 km from Hosea Kutako International Airport.

Malilangwe House, Pamushana, Zimbabwe:

This elegant exclusive-use home encompasses 5 expansive bedrooms, each with its own private deck, as well as an interactive kitchen, a large rim-flow pool and various outdoor decks. Guests are encouraged to completely immerse themselves in the surrounds and enjoy wellness experiences such as yoga and soothing massages – in their suites or on one of the many outdoor decks.

Malilangwe House is one of Africa’s most remote hideaways and is set among towering trees in the pristine Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, which spans 130,000 acres of untouched wilderness. Guests have exclusive access to the reserve and its abundant wildlife makes for unparalleled game-viewing opportunities.

Children of all ages are welcome at Malilangwe House. In the interest of safety, children may participate in game drives and bush walks at the discretion of dedicated Field Guides. The lodge and villa also offer childminding services, as well as an array of activities to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

All flights land at Buffalo Range, located 45 minutes from the lodge. Scheduled flights operate from Johannesburg O.R Tambo International Airport – Buffalo Range International Airport and takes approximately 1hr 45 minutes flying time. Alternatively you can book and fly private chartered flights which can land at Lonestar airstrip, 12 minutes from the House.

Khayelitshe House, Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe:

A Private exclusive use house in Matobo Hills.

Situated in the heart of the Matobo Hills, just outside the boundary of the national park, lies Khayelitshe House. This is a home that is completely off-the-grid, one that inspires peacefulness and being at one with nature.

The private land around Khayelitshe House covers over 1200 acres of breath-taking wilderness, making it a beautiful escape from the grind of daily life.

The house has 4 guest rooms and space for up to eight guests in a remote setting. Furnished with locally crafted furniture, artwork, antiques from around the world, recycled railroad beams, and carved stones related to the history of railways in Africa, the House captures a worldwide culture in the African bush.

The house comes with its own chef, guide and staff, all who make you feel right at home and nothing is ever too big or too small.

Activities on offer here include tracking white and black rhino on foot, nature walks and hikes to explore one of the highest concentrations of ancient rock paintings in the world, or visiting the final resting place of Cecil Rhodes.

You can fly to Bulawayo from Johannesburg and then it is a road road transfer to the lodge about 65km away.

Chongwe River House, Lower Zambezi, Zambia:

Chongwe House is situated on the Chongwe River close to the confluence with the Zambezi River – a stunning spot where David Livingstone camped during his explorations along the Zambezi River.

The house is adjacent to the Lower Zambezi National Park which is known for its elephants, exceptional landscapes and excellent fishing.

The house provides a perfect stay for small groups and families, who are looking for unforgettable wildlife sightings (the Chongwe area is famous for its large elephant herds, which you can view from your own deck) and the dedication of personal house managers Scott and Kim, guide Moses, a chef and support staff.

Sleeping a maximum of eight guests in 4 individually decorated spacious en-suite bedrooms, Chongwe River House is the ideal safari destination for travellers seeking a private safari. The thatched house has been built around a frame of wild wood following the natural line of the branches, bringing nature into the house.

Children of ages 7 and above are permitted at the House.

Game drives, walking safaris, canoeing safaris, boat cruises and tiger fishing are all on offer in Lower Zambezi National Park. Throughout your stay, a dedicated staff and guiding team will look after your every need and ensure you make the most of this haven for lions, leopards, wild dog, 370 species of birds and more. At nearby Time + Tide Chongwe Camp, the wildlife hide is great for photography, and for spotting rare nocturnal creatures.

It is located a 30 minute light aircraft transfer from Lusaka to Royal Airstrip and then a 15 mins drive to the House.

Luangwa Safari House, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia:

Luangwa Safari House is in a private concession bordering South Luangwa National Park and gives access to one of the wildest and most exciting wildlife destinations on earth. This park has one of the highest densities of leopards anywhere and offers wonderful sightings of lion, elephant, giraffe and other big game.

Designed by Neil Rocher this impressive private house sits gracefully on the edge of a lagoon system frequented by large herds of elephants, impalas, giraffes and countless other species which use the lagoon as a source of water and food throughout the year. All of which is magnificently set off by the back drop of the Chindeni Hills.

During the dry season you can experience lunch on the raised deck surrounded by up to 80 elephants splashing around and enjoying the cool water.

This magnificent private house is the ultimate in luxury and the perfect getaway for families (children over 7 yrs) or groups of friends seeking an indulgent and private break.

It offers 4 bedrooms (two upstairs and two downstairs) which are individually furnished and feature big bathrooms and amazing views. There is a splendid dining table carved from a massive fallen ebony tree and lorded over by a large chandellier. The swimming pool and deck area (where lunches are often served) overlook a waterhole where elephants, giraffe and other game are frequently encountered.

Luangwa Safari House has its own team of exceptional staff including a chef, waiters and a guide and a private game drive vehicle.

Throughout the year, morning and afternoon game drives, sundowners and bush dinners are on offer. South Luangwa is also famous for its walking safaris and its a great place to get close to animals on foot. During the rainy season its possible to go boating up the Luangwa River.

It’s a 70-minute flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe and from there its a one hour drive to the house.

Tangala Private House, Victoria Falls, Zambia:

Tangala House is a luxurious family home on the banks of the Zambezi River, close to Tongabezi it lies 15km upstream of Victoria Falls. The house has 4-bedrooms, three with en-suite bathrooms, and a 13m private swimming pool. Stylishly designed and furnished, it comes with a vehicle and boat, chef, waiters and private guide all courtesy of Tongabezi.

Ideal for a Zambia family safari, Tangala House sleeps up to 8 and has a children’s playroom and a spacious kitchen-dining room. The rooms are enclosed, with large glass fitted windows to keep out the insects and allow guests to enjoy magnificent views across the Zambezi. Over 145 species of birds have been spotted from the kitchen window and elephant herds can often be seen drinking on the opposite bank.

An open-thatch veranda easily seats 10 and steps lead out onto the garden that has 250m of private river frontage. Tangala also has its own well-equipped gym with large glass windows for you to enjoy the peaceful river view while working out.

From the house you can take a banana boat and go game viewing, fishing and picnicking along the river. Over 145 species of birds can be spotted from the kitchen window and elephant herds can often be seen drinking on the opposite bank.

A visit to Victoria Falls is a must. This is the adventure capital of Africa with white water rafting, helicopter rides, microlighting, gorge swings, jet boating, elephant walks and many other options on offer.

It’s easiest to fly into Zambia’s Livingstone International Airport from where its a 30 minutes transfer to the lodge.

How to Book:

You can plan and book any of the above Private Houses, Villas using Africa Safari Experts and Boutique Travel Design Company based out of Delhi – Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd.

– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer

Published by experientialtraveljourneys

A Private Travel Designer specialising in private, luxury, experiential, transformational, off-beat, off-the-grid, bespoke, tailor-made, bespoke, authentic, sustainable journeys to destinations worldwide.

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