The Top 5 Safari Lodges in Africa in 2018
When it came to selecting the top safari lodges in Africa, properties in South Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania rose to the top. And who could blame our readers? Home to top wildlife-viewing sites like Kruger National Park, South Luangwa National Park, and the UNESCO-protected Ngorongoro Conservation Area, these countries offer travelers the chance to see lions and leopards on the prowl, thousands of wildebeests on migration, and perhaps even an endangered rhino.
Indeed, the Ngorongoro Crater alone is home to 20,000 large mammals, and has one of the largest predator populations in the world. Which is perhaps why our readers’ No. 1 choice for the second year in a row was Gibb’s Farm, a colonial-era farmhouse located in the wider Ngorongoro area. The 1929 lodge offers two qualities sometimes rare among safari accommodation: a deep sense of history and a highly personal homestay feel. In addition to wildlife trips in the nearby caldera, this highly picturesque property invites guests to take part in the running of the farm, a working coffee estate that provides more than 90 percent of the food served in the lodge’s restaurant.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. In the hotels category — which includes safari lodges — readers rated properties on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
At No. 4 on the list this year is andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, which moved up from last year’s position at No. 9. Respondents were wowed by the property’s breathtaking views of the crater, as well as its extravagant design. As one recent guest put it, “This safari camp was just awesome, especially the architecture and the décor. The beautiful views were amazing. I wish I could have stayed here longer, and I hope to return.”
It was a strong year for andBeyond lodges overall, with their Ngala Safari Lodge, in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, placing at No. 5. The iconic Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve Lodges, near Kruger National Park, came in at No. 2, while the Bushcamp Company’s Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia’s Luangwa National Park placed at No. 3. Mfuwe has 18 standalone chalets set around two lagoons — a popular hangout for elephants, hippos, giraffes, and crocodiles.
Read on to see how these safari lodges scored with T+L readers.
5. andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa
4. andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
3. Mfuwe Lodge, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
2. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve Lodges, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
1. Gibb’s Farm, Karatu, Tanzania
An independently owned and operated lodge with just 17 guest cottages, Gibb’s Farm takes home the No. 1 slot for the second year in a row. Guests attribute its success to uniquely personal service, an idyllic, rustic setting, and cozy, home-style accommodation. They also raved about the interactive experiences they had during their stay, such as milking a cow or visiting a community healer — reflecting that visitors to Africa are increasingly craving activities that offer an authentic sense of connection to the culture of the continent, as well as its wildlife.
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.