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Africa offers many incredible places to stay, from luxury safari camps and plenty of glamping options, to boutique hotels and farm stays on wine estates. If you are looking for unique experiences in unusual accommodations, we’ve compiled a list of some of the unique places to stay in Africa, where nature influenced the architecture and the results are simply jaw-dropping!

1. Bisate Lodge, Rwanda

Bisate Lodge lies in the natural amphitheater of an extinct volcanic, perched dramatically on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, , with spectacular misty views of the brooding Bisoke and Karisimbi volcano peaks rising through the Afro-alpine forests. While gorilla trekking is the star attraction, nearby Volcanoes National Park offers other adventures: climbing Mount Bisoke, visit to the Gorilla Guardian Village, golden monkey trekking, or a visit to Dian Fossey’s burial site. Bisate Lodge has been awarded numerous accolades. Both the architecture of the lodge, and the interiors of the opulent Forest Villas beautifully embody the traditions of Rwandan royalty. Edifying cultural interactions, sophisticated, health-conscious dining, and exuberant hospitality – all make your stay superior.

IMAGE: Edifying cultural interactions, sophisticated, health-conscious dining, and exuberant hospitality – all make your stay superior at Bisate Lodge, Rwanda.

2. Chisa Busanga Camp, Zambia

Chisa Busanga Camp was built to mimic its surrounds through beautiful architecture and environmentally conscious design. Chisa is the Nyanja word for ‘birds’ nest’, and the rooms were inspired by the weaver bird nests that decorate the trees here. Sitting on a small tree-lined island, the camp uses only solar power as do the game drive vehicle and bicycles used to explore the watery dambos beyond. Chisa Busanga Camp celebrates the natural and cultural heritage of the Busanga Plains, a place that will leave an indelible imprint on your mind. Hidden away in the trees, the Chisa Busanga Nests weave together luxury and romance while immersing you in the enchanting wilderness of the Busanga Plains. Wake up to elephants walking through the mist that rises off the drying floodplains below; fall asleep knowing that you sleep a little closer to the stars. It’s hard not to be captivated by this fairy-tale! Each room has its own private deck, you can opt to dine privately overlooking to vast plains from your nest.

IMAGE: Wake up to elephants walking through the mist that rises off the drying floodplains below; fall asleep knowing that you sleep a little closer to the stars at The Chisa Busanga Nests.

3. Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana

Drawing its inspiration from nature, andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge features breathtaking architecture that is serene, earthy and organic. Boasting a modern style that blends perfectly with the environment, twelve elegant suites are elevated above the landscape and feature magnificent Delta views, as well as private plunge pools, cosy fireplaces and secluded nooks. An interactive kitchen creates delicious meals, while a beautifully situated massage sala offers a selection of relaxing massages.

IMAGE: Stunning Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge is situated in a private wildlife concession adjacent to the Moremi Game Reserve and offers exceptional game viewing opportunities.

4. Birds Nest at Segera Retreat, Kenya

Overlooking snow-capped Mount Kenya, luxurious Segera Retreat is found on Laikipia’s savannah grasslands, home to the second-highest density of wildlife in Kenya. Game drives, guided nature walks and cultural activities showcase the environment, facilitated by an Experience Host and Guide. Here you also have the opportunity to rest like a bird in the incredible Nay Palad star bed. Perched atop a tower, it offers a bird’s eye view of the surrounding terrain. From the outside, the star bed looks like the untidy eyrie of a giant eagle; once inside, it is revealed to be a perfectly luxurious mini-lodge for two, with the option to sleep out under the Kenyan night skies – a truly magical experience you’ll want to share with someone very special.

IMAGE: Perched amid the treetops on a river teeming with wildlife, the Segera Retreat’s Bird Nest offers views of the plains by day that are matched only by those of the stars at night.

5. Shipwreck Lodge, Skeleton Coast Namibia

Uniquely designed around the enigmatic shipwrecks that line Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, there’s nowhere on the continent quite like Shipwreck Lodge. In fact, there’s nowhere on the continent quite like the Skeleton Coast. It’s a raw, rugged and impossibly remote slice of African wilderness, where towering dunes and wind-swept plains roll as far as the eye can see, buffeted by the icy Atlantic seas. But there’s much more to the area than simple isolation. Stay at Shipwreck Lodge and game drive in search of desert-dwelling fauna; discover the enchanting desert flora (succulents and lichens); sit atop the dunes as the sun sinks below the horizon; spend the day beach-combing for whale bones and debris from centuries of shipwrecks; and marvel at the geologically-remarkable Clay Castles.

Shipwreck Lodge

IMAGE: Stay in some of the most unique and dramatic accommodation on the continent at Skeleton Coast Shipwreck Lodge; not many can say they’ve slept in a shipwreck!

6. The Silo hotel, Cape Town South Africa

The Silo is an exclusive five-star hotel towering above the V&A Waterfront surrounded by the natural wonder of South Africa’s Mother City. The Silo Hotel has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa). Zeitz MOCAA houses Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art. The exterior of the building was designed by Thomas Heatherwick. From the outside, the greatest visible change to the building’s original structure is the addition of the ingenious glass windows inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors. These multi-faceted windows, each housing 56 panels of glass, bulge outward as if gently inflated. By night, this transforms the building into a glowing beacon in the Table Bay harbour. Heatherwick Studio was tasked with figuring out how to repurpose 116 massive concrete tubes, which were built in the shape of a honeycomb. Instead of redesigning the body of the museum, the firm simply installed floor-to-ceiling windows that followed the hexagonal patterns of a honeycomb found within beehives. It was an easy solution that elevated the space by letting in plenty of natural lights.

IMAGE: The Silo Hotel is a celebration of art, style, architecture, and design and set in the heart of the V&A Waterfront Complex in Cape Town.

7. Ngaga Camp, Republic of Congo

Odzala Discovery Camps – Ngaga Camp, Lango Camp and Mboko Camp – are gaining fast traction with travellers who visit to experience the western lowland gorillas, forest elephant, bongo and many more species. Located in the Ndzehi Forest on the western boundary of Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Ngaga Camp is surrounded by towering trees, dense marantaceae forest, dappled sunlight, the scent of fresh rain and delicate sounds of an equatorial African rainforest. The camp is situated within the overlapping home ranges of several groups of western lowland gorillas, three of which are habituated. A team of permanent researchers and trackers from nearby communities work with the gorilla families on a daily basis. Guests of Odzala are led on expeditions by established guides and trackers into the forest in search of this critically endangered species. Chalets are found on stilts in the dense forest overlooking the Ndezhi Forest and are constructed from natural materials such as locally woven raffia palm panels. Chalets are raised above ground and boast a 360° wraparound walkway. Forest walks, night walks and more are available. Track western lowland gorillas respectfully with research trackers and guides, observe gorillas’ behaviors and see them in context of their forest.

IMAGE: A star deck and fire pit are found on a deck below the main living area, perfect for pre-dinner drinks while watching the sun set over the forest at Ngaga Camp, as you prepare for trekking Western Lowland Gorillas in the rainforest of The Republic of Congo.

8. Chongwe River Camp, River House and River Suites, Zambia

Dotted along the riverbank, Time + Tide Chongwe is set at the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambezi Rivers which wind through the forested valley, creating a haven for wildlife like lions, leopards and wild dog. Enjoy the best views in the Lower Zambezi at this family- and elephant-friendly camp! Its classic tents are designed to make the most of what Mother Nature provided. Each has a panoramic view along the Chongwe River, a spacious open-air bathroom, a porch with comfortable lounge chairs, and features local textiles and handcrafted furniture.

IMAGE: The Lower Zambezi National Park is best known for its impressive variety of safari activities—enjoy game drives and walking safaris on land, take to the rivers on a boat cruise or canoeing safari, or to try your hand at tiger fishing, all from the comfort of one of the Chongwe Camps.

9. Elewana Tarangire Treetops, Tarangire National Park Tanzania

On the path of an annual elephant migration, Elewana Tarangire Treetops sits alone in a 312km2 community wildlife area bordering Tarangire National Park, amid a landscape of rolling and baobab-studded hills. Elevated “treehouse” suites are perched high up with views over the adjacent baobab and marula trees, giving Elewana Tarangire Treetops an adventurous and exotic feel.  Encasing an impressive baobab tree, the spacious and tranquil dining room, reception and lounge overlook the swimming pool and a waterhole that sees a steady flow of wild animal visitors.

IMAGE: With the natural beauty of the hills and dry river beds begging to be explored, guests can enjoy guided walking safaris, day or night time game drives and the enchantment of bush dining when staying at the Elewana Tarangire Treetops Lodge.

10. Singita Lebombo Lodge, Kruger National Park South Africa

Get up close and personal to astonishing African wildlife at Singita Lebombo Lodge – just by getting out of bed. Singita Lebombo Lodge is an architectural icon in the safari world. Inspired by the perching nests of eagles, the glass cuboid suites cantilever out from the rock face and offer panoramic vistas across the Sweni River and climbing hills beyond.  The interiors are as spectacular as the lodge’s dramatic situation: lavish lounging, dining and pool areas and cutting-edge contemporary style which fuses glass, slatted wood and bleached branches with natural, textured fabrics and luxury amenities.

IMAGE: Brilliantly bold and contemporary space, suspended above the N’wanetsi River in the Kruger National Park, Singita Lebombo offers sumptuous private suite spaces, a wine studio, library, rooftop terrace, an interactive kitchen, espresso bar, deli and an additional 25metre lap pool. Makes it hard to leave the lodge for your safari drives, but it’s worth it, we promise!

In this article
  • 1. Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
  • 2. Chisa Busanga Camp, Zambia
  • 3. Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana
  • 4. Birds Nest at Segera Retreat, Kenya
  • 5. Shipwreck Lodge, Skeleton Coast Namibia
  • 6. The Silo hotel, Cape Town South Africa
  • 7. Ngaga Camp, Republic of Congo
  • 8. Chongwe River Camp
  • 9. Elewana Tarangire Treetops
  • 10. Singita Lebombo Lodge

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