Top 10 Private/Solo-Use Villas and Lodges for Families
In today’s fast-moving world and with families often spread far apart, multi-generational travel continues to grow as a great way to reconnect and to share new and memorable experiences together. Family safaris to Africa are taking on a new dimension thanks to a growing number of new solo-use or private villas and lodges that provide the perfect setting for an exclusive family bonding safari experience. Safari Pros has curated our top new and noteworthy picks:
1. Mpala Jena, Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Located in a private concession within the Zambezi National Park overlooking the Zambezi River in the shade of the indigenous trees, the recently-opened Mpala Jena is named for the spring-line that runs through the concession and attracts an abundance of wildlife. The camp’s four Moroccan-influenced tents under flowing canvas, with open (yet netted) views of the river accommodate a maximum of eight guests in four tented rooms, plus an additional guide’s tent as required. Children from six years are welcome. Decking in front of the tent leads to a private plunge pool with views of the flowing waters of the Zambezi River. Mpala Jena Camp is one of the most environmentally innovative camps in Zambezi National Park, achieved through the use of recycled hardwoods and canvas and ensuring all the camp’s electricity needs come from solar power.
2. Mount Anderson Water Reserve, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa
A brand new, exclusive use lodge located in the dramatic mountains above the town of Mashishing, Mount Anderson is the perfect back-to-nature family retreat created to restore and protect one of South Africa’s most unique private nature and water reserves. Accommodations at the lodge consist of five spacious rooms for up to twelve guests. Each luxurious and cozy room comes with an en-suite bathroom. The Owner’s Suite is situated inside the main farmhouse and the other four rooms are located outside. Every room enjoys a private veranda overlooking the mountainside. Activities include horse riding, biking, walking to a majestic waterfall, hiking and also ziplining. There is a butler and chef included, making Mount Anderson Reserve, truly a luxurious home-away-from-home.
3. One Above, Cape Town, South Africa
This new solo-use, two-story, 15,000-square-foot luxury villa with a private elevator and wrap-around terrace boasts 360-degree views over Cape Town, including views of two World Heritage sites: Table Mountain, Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront. The penthouse has four bedrooms, sleeps eight guests and features lavish facilities such as a fully-equipped gym and sauna, two swimming pools and a library, as well as an impressive art collection by local artists.
4. Ol Jogi, Kenya
Once a private home nestled beneath a rocky outcrop in a private wildlife conservancy in Kenya (just a 45-minute flight from Nairobi), Ol Jogi accommodates an impressive 25 guests and is ideal for a large, multi-generational family safari. Everyone in the family enjoy sweeping views of snow-capped Mount Kenya, game drives and guided walks.
5. Tarkuni, South Africa
Tarkuni is more than just a luxury safari lodge, it’s the financial powerhouse Oppenheimer family’s home in the Tswalu Kalahari private reserve (South Africa’s largest), which can accommodate up to ten guests in five individual suites. The Oppenheimer name is worth its weight in diamonds in this part of the world, so it should come as no surprise that they have created the perfect serene oasis for relaxed family moments surrounded by spectacular desert landscapes. Each suite has a king-size bed with the finest cotton linen, and and en-suite bathroom and both indoor and outdoor showers.
6. Cottar’s Bush Villa, Masai Mara, Kenya
What makes the 10,000-square-foot Cottar’s Bush Villa so special is that it’s the only genuine, solo-use luxury family villa in Kenya’s Masai Mara. What is already one of the most amazing areas in all of East Africa to visit on safari becomes even more special with your very own exclusive-use property. Cottar’s Bush Villa sleeps up to 12 guests and even has a half-Olympic size pool. With breathtaking views, a dedicated guide and safari vehicle, you’ll have everything you need for the best multi-generational safari experience.
7. Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya
The Kanzi House Private Villa at Campi ya Kanzi is situated in the green Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya – the same hills made famous by Ernest Hemingway. Happily, the only kind of hunting that happens here today might be a treasure hunt organized by your private guide to keep children entertained between game drives. When booked for exclusive use, and by combining the three double rooms and two twin rooms, the house and the pool cottage can accommodate up to eight adults and two children.
8. Segera House, Kenya
This unique safari property in Kenya’s Laikipia region is a veritable wonderland for kids and adults alike. Offering superb experiences of every kind: wildlife, art and gastronomy, to name but a few, it has everything required to keep every generation enthralled. Segara serves as a s a Satellite of Cape Town’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), Segera Retreat liberally displays the striking, relevant and at times culturally and socially challenging artworks of the Zeitz Collection, With its evocative Sculpture Garden, Segera Retreat offers a cultural safari, bringing together monumental bronze, stone and steel works, land and earth art, outdoor projections, site-specific interventions and strives to represent a broad spectrum of indoor and outdoor projects. When it comes to resting weary heads, Segera House offers three vast bedrooms with savannah views that a total of six. The house also features multiple indoor spaces and a private garden and plunge pool.
9. Chief’s House, Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, Kenya
The Chief’s House is the largest villa at this signature Kenyan safari property, sleeping six. The master bedroom has a private outdoor bath among the rocks. The al fresco dining deck and cozy sitting room is the perfect family gathering spot, stocked with board games and featuring a fireplace and for those cooler Laikipia evenings.
10. Villa iZulu, South Africa
Villa iZulu was voted Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa at the World Travel Awards. This luxurious Afro-chic homestead features five suites and includes a heated swimming pool, wine cellar, library, game room and a spacious viewing deck overlooking a water hole. It’s the ultimate safari family hideaway. Villa iZulu has its own helicopter pad and separate accommodation for caregivers and VIP security officers. The homestead was designed and created for Thanda Safari’s owners, Christin and Dan Olofsson.