Hemingway put northern Tanzania (then part of Tanganyika) on the map for safari-goers in the 1930's, but the country's southern region has always been terra incognita. With a trio of new lodges developed by CC Africa (888/882-3742; www.ccafrica.com), one of the continent's premier conservationist companies, animal lovers can now explore the area's diverse ecology. Designed by South African Chris Browne (whose résumé includes Kwandwe Private Reserve's Ecca Lodge), all three camps hit bush-living high notes: locally sourced organic building materials, superb hospitality (private butlers and boma dinners are a given), and enough big game to make Ernest himself take note. Jongomero (doubles from $500, all-inclusive), set in the vast wilderness of Ruaha National Park, is classic bushveld. Lesser kudu, sable antelope, and wild dogs—nearly extinct in northern Tanzania—saunter past the private decks of the lodge's eight soaring safari tents. With a dozen postmodern dwellings on the palm-lined banks of the Rufiji River inside the world's largest game reserve, Selous Safari Camp (doubles from $540, all-inclusive) offers the chance to observe hippopotamuses and elephants from the vantage of a riverboat. To complete the circuit, guests can trade their safari gear for sarongs and head to Ras Kutani (doubles from $360, all-inclusive), a haven of bamboo and Makuti-palm cottages on the shore of the Indian Ocean. Days are spent snorkeling and hiking the preserved coastal forest (home to rare colobus monkeys), though idling on the private beach is an equally tempting option.
Selous Game Reserve
Tanzania's 17,000-square-mile Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest in the world. With a dozen postmodern dwellings on the palm-lined banks of the Rufji River, the Selous offers the chance to observe hippos and elephants from a riverboat.