Sumptuous Private South African Safari VillasJanuary 31, 2022
There’s no more opulent (or pandemic-safe) African safari option than a stay at a private luxury villa. Happily, Micato partners with some of the most exclusive independently-booked estates on the continent—many of them in the safari mecca of South Africa. As well as providing every comfort imaginable, from dedicated butlers and chefs to expansive private pools and spa areas, these villas also grant you and your family fabulous access to some of the most famously beautiful and wildlife-rich preserves on the planet. Here are a few private safari villas to consider as you plan your next vacation.
Occupying its own private section of the spectacular Sabi Sand Game Reserve—which abuts the world-famous Kruger National Park—the exquisite Cheetah Plains marries contemporary high style with a commitment to environmental sustainability. Each of three palatial, solar-powered “Plains Houses,” which can accommodate up to eight guests apiece, comes with its own team of staffers, heated outdoor pool, dining lounge, and wine gallery. The sleek, Afro-minimalist architecture has won numerous awards; the interiors are decorated with modern African artworks; and the outdoor deck looks directly over a watering hole where animals gather every day to drink. When it’s time to venture out for game drives, you can know you’ll be bringing Cheetah Plains’ ecological ethos with you: The property maintains a fleet of low-impact electric safari vehicles.
Royal Malewane Africa House
Set in the private, Kruger-adjacent Thornybush Game Reserve, Royal Malewane’s stately Africa House evokes the classic elegance of days gone by. Accommodating up to 12 guests, the manse features six plush suites kitted out with silk-upholstered furnishings, Persian rugs, and giant soaking tubs, all surrounding a communal courtyard with a swimming pool and alfresco dining area; each also has its own private deck and outdoor shower. While onsite, you’ll be catered to by Africa House’s own chef and butler (though you can also pop over to Royal Malewane’s main safari lodge for a spa treatment). The off-property pursuits include privately guided Big Five-spotting game drives, bush walks, birding, and hot-air balloon rides.
Situated in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa’s largest privately owned game park, this far-flung private villa promises—and delivers—a full-immersion-in-the-wilderness experience. Tarkuni Homestead‘s five-suite, traditionally thatch-roofed lodge, accessed by its own private airfield, nestles into a sweeping valley beneath the Korannaberg Mountains, and the interior spaces, stylishly designed with native stone and woods (and even whole tree trunks), echo the outdoor landscape. Up to ten guests can enjoy the property’s private plunge pool, alfresco dining boma, firelit lounges, and star bed—and the ministrations of a dedicated chef, who specializes in sustainable cuisine. Your explorations of the wildlife-rich southern Kalahari, whether by jeep, on horseback or on foot, will make you and your party feel like you’re the only safari travellers for miles—and you will be.
Sleekly modern, airy, and luxurious, the expansive five-bedroom Kubili House villa, set in the Thornybush Game Reserve manages to feel both urban-chic and harmonized with surrounding nature. The property includes three swimming pools, a spa and steam room, and multiple decks that look directly over a wildlife-frequented watering hole; a dedicated chef tailors meals, and an in-house concierge attends to your every need, from scheduling daily yoga classes and massages to procuring fine spirits and cigars. A private field guide is on hand to accompany all your excursions—and these needn’t be simple daily game drives. Kubili House guests can also make use of three specially equipped camping vehicles for overnight safari adventures.