With two new outfitters and a couple of additions to the luxury lodge scene, now's the time to plan an African vacation. Newly formed South African Airways Holidays (888/777-1138; www.karell.com; five-day packages from $1,499 per person, including airfare) enhances the southern African safari—lodging is at affordable inns and tented camps—with activities such as sea kayaking and cooking classes. Nairobi-based VirginBush Safaris (888/432-8681; www.virginbushsafaris.com; from $600 per person per day) crafts custom journeys for travelers on a bigger budget. Helicopter rides and sand-sailing treks are typical diversions. Those looking to settle in at a hotel should check into Singita Lebombo (800/545-1910; www.singita.co.za; doubles from $1,730, including all meals and excursions). The 21 glass-and-timber suites on stilts overlook the savannahs of South Africa's Kruger National Park. Between game drives, guests indulge in spa treatments and wine tastings. In Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (888/882-3742; www.ccafrica.com; doubles from $550, including all meals and excursions) also has 10 elevated suites, each with banana-bark roofs and four-poster beds, overlooking the bush.
andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
Shingled tree houses in the bush; the only lodge within Lake Manyara National Park.
Doubles From $1,900, all-inclusive
Singita Sabi Sand
Two lodges with interiors by up-and-coming African designers—Boulders is high-design rustic built into the landscape, Ebony has a vintage safari feel. Private outdoor showers and well-stocked wine cellars, plus photography-focused safaris and cultural outings to a nearby village to share meals with locals.