By Brooke Porter Katz
Updated: July 10, 2019
Courtesy of Singita

An African safari is the type of getaway that stays with you long after you’ve returned home. And how could it not? It’s an unparalleled opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat — whether it’s massive herds of wildebeests during the annual migration, elephants cooling off in a watering hole, giraffes play fighting, or a pack of painted dogs zoning in on their prey. Throughout the southern and eastern Africa, there are an overwhelming number of safari lodges to choose from — and our readers have selected the best of the best.

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. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

RelatedThe World's Best Awards 2019

After two years at No. 1, Gibb’s Farm in Tanzania has fallen to No. 2 — still an impressive showing. Set on a working farm near the Ngorongoro Crater, it has 17 cottages; guests can even pitch in with daily activities like making bread and harvesting vegetables. One respondent commented, “You cannot beat Gibb's Farm; it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world with staff that could not be better. The rooms are incredible, and the food is fresh and absolutely delicious!” Yet another put it simply: “Mind-blowingly amazing!”

RelatedThe Top 10 Safari Outfitters

Singita is synonymous with world-class safari lodges, so it’s no surprise that the operator has two winners in the top three: Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa took the No. 1 spot, while Singita Grumeti in Tanzania came in at No. 3. The first is set in a privately owned game reserve next to Kruger National Park — and guests are all but guaranteed to spot elusive leopards. Grumeti, meanwhile, sits next to Serengeti National Park and is ideal for those who want to witness herds of migrating wildebeests and zebras. “Singita Grumeti is a special place on a private concession with some of the best game viewing in the region. Their conservation efforts and community outreach is commendable,” said a respondent.

Read on to see how other safari lodges in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Zambia stack up.

10. Matetsi Victoria Falls, Matetsi Private Game Reserve, Zimbabwe

Courtesy of Matetsi Victoria Falls

Score: 95.95

More information: matetsivictoriafalls.com

9. andBeyond Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Courtesy of andBeyond

Score: 96.19

More information: andbeyond.com

8. Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Courtesy of Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Score: 96.22

More information: fourseasons.com/serengeti

7. Lion Sands Game Reserve, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Courtesy of Lion Sands Game Reserve

Score: 96.60

More information: lionsands.com

6. The Highlands, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Courtesy of Asilia

Score: 96.84

More information: asiliaafrica.com

5. Londolozi, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Courtesy of Londolozi

Score: 97.45

More information: londolozi.com

4. The Bushcamp Company’s Mfuwe Lodge, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Courtesy of Bushcamp Company

Score: 97.87

More information: bushcampcompany.com

3. Singita Grumeti, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Courtesy of Singita

Score: 98.12

More information: singita.com

2. Gibb’s Farm, Karatu, Tanzania

Courtesy of Gibb's Farm

Score: 98.56

More information: gibbsfarm.com

1. Singita Sabi Sand, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Courtesy of Singita

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 98.59

More information: singita.com

When Ebony Lodge opened in 1994, it was the first time travelers could access the privately owned 45,000-acre Singita Game Reserve. Boulders Lodge followed shortly thereafter, and since then both properties have been beautifully updated, offering some of the most luxurious accommodations in the region. Each property has 12 suites with their own private plunge pools — ideal for taking a dip after a day exploring the bush on game drives and guided walks. One respondent gushed, “Amazing lodge, impeccable service, fantastic food, and incredible game viewing experience.”

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.

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