Our top-10 safari lodges for getting truly remote

Even in the vast African wilderness, some of the more popular destinations can become a little crowded at times. However, if you have a hankering for the truly remote, there are a few hidden gems where peaceful isolation can be guaranteed year round. Here’s our top-10 selection of African safari lodges for getting well off the beaten track, from Ruaha to Selous, Kidepo and the Quirimbas.

Sand Rivers Selous

Selous is one of the largest game reserves in the world, and also one of the remotest. Less well known than its cousins in northern Tanzania, the reserve is no less spectacular. The eight open-fronted cottages of Sand River Selous are perched overlooking the floodplain of the Rufiji River. Here you can go on exciting game drives and boat cruises or simply listen to the hippo splashing about as you watch the sun set over the water from your room.

King Lewanika Lodge

Liuwa Plains National Park in western Zamia is remote … so remote in fact that it was formerly only the domain of seasonal mobile camps. However, King Lewanika Lodge, this wild region’s first permanent camp, has made it possible to visit almost year round. Experience the second biggest wildebeest migration in Africa here, and summer lightning displays that rival the best firework shows around.

Elsa’s Kopje Meru

Kenya’s far north is home to Meru National Park, made famous by Elsa the lioness in the story Born Free. From a small hilltop, Elsa’s Kopje Meru overlooks the plains of the reserve, where you can be on safari in complete isolation and tranquility. Explore the savannah on foot, or follow the strange doum-palm-fringed rivers that flow through the park in search of elephant and other inhabitants.

Apoka Safari Lodge

Truly remote locations sometimes have the best names. Located in the Karamoja region of northern Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is ‘out there’. Hidden among several granite outcroppings, Apoka Safari Lodge’s cottages offer commanding views over the savannah, mountains and valleys of Kidepo. A place where few travellers go, here you can experience an unadulterated Ugandan wilderness, and take time to meet the local Karamajong and the Ik peoples.

Tswalu The Motse

The red sands of the Kalahari are far from it all. Tucked into South Africa’s remote northern wilderness is the country’s largest private game reserve, Tswalu. Not only will you be truly alone here, but the region offers the opportunity to see uniquely adapted desert wildlife, from desert black rhino to meerkat and pangolin. With only six suites and three family suites, Tswalu The Motse offers true exclusivity.

Desert Rhino Camp

North western Namibia is a rugged, untamed and of course remote. When you first arrive the flat-topped mountains and rolling, rocky plains of Damaraland will seem almost devoid of life, but as you venture out from Desert Rhino Camp, you’ll uncover a diverse array of desert adapted wildlife that survive successfully in this seemingly barren landscape. Track desert black rhino on foot or soak up the endless horizons with a private sundowner picnic.

Jongomero

Venture further west from the already remote Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania and you’ll find Ruaha National Park. Here, tucked away in what might just be the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere’, you’ll find Jongomero. Explore these untouched and diverse landscapes on game drives or walking safaris and, for a true adventure, spend the night fly camping on a dry riverbed.

Vamizi Island Lodge

If getting away from it all is on the cards, then how about hitting a private island on Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago, arguably the most remote chain of islands on Africa’s east coast? With only six, impossibly romantic villas, Vamizi Island lodge offers the epitome of remoteness in the lap of luxury. Chill on the beach with cocktail in hand, or explore the diverse marine habitat, with over 180 species of coral and 400 species of reef fish.

Mwiba Lodge

South of the Serengeti, towards the edge of the Great Rift Valley (where you look out over the impossibly remote Lake Eyasi), is the privately owned Maswa Game Reserve, home to some of the world’s last hunter gatherers: the Hadzabe people. In the middle of this reserve, nestled among a series of boulders overlooking a river gorge, is the beautifully appointed Mwiba Lodge. Here, you’ll be ideally placed to witness the annual calving of the Great Wildebeest Migration, or simply kick back and soak in one of the last wild places in absolute luxury.

Tau Pan

In the Central Kalahari, the sense of space and remoteness is palpable. It’s the second largest game reserve in the world, and with only a handful of safari lodges – including Tau Pan – it’s the embodiment of the truly remote. Get lost in luxury while you explore this green desert in search of Kalahari black-maned lion, or walk with the indomitable San and understand a time gone by.

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