February 12, 2017 | Expert Africa
Safari specialist Expert Africa shares its excitement about new lodges this year:
Gomoti Plains Camp in the Okavango Delta is due to open in March. Having been thoroughly impressed with its sister-camp, Machaba, Expert Africa’s Botswana specialsists have high hopes for this brand-new camp. Plus, being in a private, community-run concession, it occupies a very exclusive location. It will consist of ten tents and, in addition to day and night 4WD game drives, the camp will offer water-based activities such as mokoro excursions and motor boat trips.
King Lewanika Lodge, currently due to open in April / May 2017 in Zambia’s amazingly remote Liuwa Plain National Park and has been designed by Africa’s top safari-lodge designers. It’s the first permanent lodge for photographic safaris in the park (the only other was primarily a researcher camp). Liuwa hosts Africa’s second largest wildebeest migration – in an ancient park that was once a royal hunting ground.
The plan is to have six luxury villas designed by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the architects whose impressive pedigree includes designing Chinzombo in South Luangwa, North Island in the Seychelles, and Mombo Camp in Botswana.
Jabali Ridge, expected to be a luxurious safari lodge, is due to open in June 2017 in Ruaha National Park – a magical, untrammeled park with excellent game populations. Now expanded to cover over 20,000km², Ruaha still only has a handful of camps. Jabali Ridge, located in a prime game-viewing area, will have excellent guides and wonderful views over the Mwagusi river.
Ikuka Lodge, also in Ruaha, opened only last summer. It will combine very well with Jabali Ridge. Ikuka Lodge is the only camp that is located up on an escarpment, giving it commanding views over the park. A recently inspection visit by Expert Africa reported stylish rooms, excellent food and service and experienced guiding in a high-quality camp with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
Bisate Lodge, right next to Volcanoes National Park, is due to open in the middle of 2017. Billed as a high-end property in a great location, it promises to provide a fantastic base to visit the famous mountain gorillas and the lesser known, but equally stunning, golden monkeys.
Gishwati Lodge, located in the new Gishwati-Mukura National Park, is due to open in 2017/2018. In 2015, the Rwandan government passed a law to create this new national park combining the Mukura and Gishwati forests, spreading from up in the north of the country near the Volcanoes National Park, all the way down to Nyungwe Forest. This is a great success story for the conservationists who have been fighting for a long time to protect this strip on the Congo-Nile divide.
Gishwati Lodge looks set to be an extremely exciting addition to Rwanda. A big plus point is that a good proportion of the profits made from this camp will go towards conservation of the area and its wildlife.
Spitzkoppe Lodge opened in November 2016 and offers travellers the opportunity to visit the spectacular Spitzkoppe Mountains – Namibia’s highest range. This very remote area, served only by very basic accommodation until now, gives walkers and stargazers access to comfortable lodgings in this magnificent landscape.
Don’t forget The Elephant Express! For 20 years a rail transfer option for safari guests to the south-east of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park has been dreamt of; now it’s a reality. The elegant Elephant Express, complete with teak tables, transports 22 passengers to a bygone era (when safari by rail was part of the adventure) along the park’s northern boundary, gliding past wildlife and wilderness, with a cool drink in hand.
For further information, or to talk to a safari specialist, call Expert Africa on 0203 405 6666 or visit www.expertafrica.com.
Expert Africa’s sister brand, Wild about Africa (0203 405 6655, www.wildaboutafrica.com), is a small group specialist – focusing on small-group trips – to Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.