Sandibe's interior is a tad Safari Generic. But the camp's real draw is location, location, location. It's deep in Botswana's Okavango Delta, with a front-row seat on the great seasonally flooding basin that many consider the last best place for viewing African game. Forget Land Rover traffic jams converged upon a dozing lion. Instead think of poling silently through the delta in a mokoro to pools where inyala drink and elephant clans come for their Saturday-night bath.
Reserve through Conservation Corp. Africa; 27-11/784-7077, fax 27-11/784-7667; doubles from $770.
To visit these African lodges, fly directly to Johannesburg. From there, a small-plane flight or a five-hour drive will take you to Singita, Makalali, or Garonga. Regularly scheduled flights deliver you to Kilimanjaro via Nairobi for Ngorongoro in Tanzania, or to Maun for Botswana's Sandibe. Any number of outfitters can help you plan your itinerary; I used Classic Encounters (888/808-1999 or 212/972-0031, fax 212/972-0032).
Singita Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa; 27-11/234-0990, fax 27-11/234-0535; doubles from $1,300. Singita comprises both Ebony Lodge and Boulders Lodge (for a total of 16 rooms) and borders on Kruger National Park. The rate includes three meals per day, two open Land Rover game drives, and laundry and valet service.
Makalali Private Game Reserve Makalali Conservancy, Harmony Block, Gravelotte, South Africa; 27-11/883-5786, fax 27-11/883-4956; doubles from $710. Four 12-bed camps, each with its own swimming pool. The rate includes three meals per day, two game drives, guided walking safaris, refreshments, and laundry service.
Garonga Makalali Conservancy, Hoedspruit, South Africa; 27-11/804-7595, fax 27-11/802-6503; doubles from $480. An intimate camp with only 14 beds. The rate includes three meals a day, all drinks, two game drives, and laundry service. Reiki, reflexology, and aromatherapy treatments are extra.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania; doubles from $800; reserve through Conservation Corp. Africa (27-11/784-7077, fax 27-11/784-7667). Three 12-bed camps. The rate includes three meals a day (lunch can be a picnic on the crater floor), all drinks (excluding champagne), two extended game drives, refreshments, laundry, and personal butler service. Excursions to Olduvai Gorge are additional.