Wolwedans Dunes Lodge
Photo courtesy of Wolwedans Dunes Lodge.

Luxury African Safari Camps Raised on Stilts

July 15, 2015

We rounded up the most elite elevated safari camps in Africa, all of which share one similar design element: They are raised on stilts. Picture suspended walkways, private verandas and raised plunge pools, all offering expansive views out over the wildlife and surrounding landscapes. From Botswana to Zambia, these luxury safari camps will have you coming back time and again.

© Sanctuary Retreats

Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma Treehouses

Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia

Twelve recently renovated thatched treehouses overlook a majestic 90-degree bend in the Zambezi, eight miles upstream from Victoria Falls in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Elevated walkways connect the suites with the lodge’s stylish public areas. Open-plan, air-conditioned suites contain king-size beds, soaking tubs, well-designed vanity areas and glass-enclosed walk-in showers; some private decks offer unobstructed river views. There is an open-air dining area on the ground floor, and nearby, a bar and a small but spectacular swimming pool at the river’s edge.

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Photo courtesy of Wolwedans Dunes Lodge.


NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

Dramatic and elegantly appointed lodge set atop a 750-foot sand dune in a private reserve close to Sossusvlei. Nine stylish wood/canvas chalets built on low stilts above the sands come with en suite baths and private verandas. The main complex includes two lounges, two dining rooms, a library, a fireplace and a wine cellar, as well as several decks (including a tea deck) that provide expansive views.

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Wilderness Safaris © Dana Allen

Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Lavish enclave facing a floodplain in an area teeming with wildlife (including a large leopard population) near the northwest tip of Chief’s Island. Two separate facilities are connected by elevated walkways: Mombo, with nine stylish guest quarters, and Little Mombo, with three. Raised on stilts, the spacious, fan-cooled tented suites feature hardwood floors, private verandas and impressive baths with indoor/outdoor showers. A series of thatched pavilions incorporates the open-air dining and bar facilities, a lounge, a well-stocked library and a gym. Both have pools.

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© Sanctuary Retreats

Sanctuary Chief's Camp

Okavango Delta, Botswana

This sophisticated camp amid a shady grove of trees overlooks an immense lagoon on the northwest tip of Chief’s Island. Recently refurbished, it reopened in June 2016 with 10 guest pavilions and one two-bedroom suite, all of which feature polished teakwood floors, sturdy canvas ceilings and siding, insect-proof net windows and French doors offering access to private verandas. Each offer air-conditioning, floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor showers and soaking tubs. Batik fabrics, African masks and native pottery enliven the bright and comfortable tents. The 2,000-square-foot Geoffrey Kent suite sleeps six and includes its own vehicle and dedicated guide, as well as a personal chef, waiter and housekeeper.

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Photo courtesy of Little Kulala.

Little Kulala

Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Namibia

The Kulala Wilderness Reserve is a luxury camp of 11 air-conditioned villas ideally located close to the immense red sand dunes of Sossusvlei. Each villa has been constructed on a raised deck, into which has been set a private plunge pool. Spacious interiors are decorated in a range of natural tones, while well-appointed baths provide both indoor and outdoor showers; each villa has a rooftop sky bed for stargazing.

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Courtesy of Tswalu Kalahari

Tswalu Kalahari

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa

This distinctive game reserve in a 270,000-acre conservation area is owned by the Oppenheimer family at the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Species include the rare desert black rhino, sables and roan antelopes, Kalahari lions and cheetahs. Nine thatched suites built of local stone and red clay feature fireplaces and opulent baths with both indoor and large outdoor showers; private verandas overlook a waterhole frequented by Kalahari wildlife. A separate five-bedroom Tarkuni villa accommodates groups of up to 10. The main house has elevated decks, a small spa, fitness center, library and outdoor heated pool with views over the desert savanna. The property only accommodates 30 people at one time, allowing conservation to take top priority.

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Photo by Wilderness Safaris and Dana Allen. Courtesy of Jao Camp.

Jao Camp

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Accessible by boat, this deluxe camp in Botswana is set on its own island. Nine thatched, canvas-sided guest chalets, tucked under canopy of ancient trees, open onto private observation verandas with daybed pavilions. Large baths feature twin sinks, freestanding soaking tubs and indoor/outdoor showers. The property also features two plunge pools, a spa and a boma for dining under the stars.

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Photo by Dana Allen. Courtesy of Xigera Camp.

Xigera Camp

Western Okavango Delta, Botswana

Bird-watchers will find this to be an island paradise deep in the heart of the Okavango Delta wetlands, within the renowned Moremi Game Reserve. Nine luxurious tents are on raised wooden platforms with en suite baths and outdoor showers. Accommodations come with king-size beds with mosquito netting and electric lights and fans, as well as sublime views over the floodplain. On hot days, guests can enjoy a plunge pool.

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Courtesy of Shumba Camp

Shumba Camp

Kafue National Park, Zambia

Luxurious camp in remote Kafue National Park, a two-hour flight from the capital of Lusaka or the town of Livingstone adjacent to Victoria Falls. Six lavish canvas-walled suites reached by elevated wooden walkways offer spectacular views from private observation decks.

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hoto by Dana Allen, Courtesy of Damaraland Camp

Damaraland Camp

Kunene, Namibia

Distinctive camp comprising 10 large adobe-style thatched lodgings in the Huab River Valley, facing majestic Brandberg Mountain. Each elevated, wood-floored tent offers a large viewing deck and an en suite bath with a shower.

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