To stay or to roam? That is the African question. The following new and improved accommodations, from Indian Ocean island resorts and highland volcano lodges to hotels in working vineyards and solar-powered desert camps, capture the continent’s diversity. Meanwhile, the latest tours take roads less traveled, from the desert of Sudan to migratory grounds in Zambia.
The Lodge at Feline Fields
In the Kalahari Desert, the new solar-powered Lodge at Feline Fields aims to use low-impact tourism to drive conservation in the region. Its six suites include three tented rooms and three two-story villas with their own pools. Rooms come with fat-tire bikes for rides to the main lodge, which is home to a swimming pool, lounge and dining room. There’s also a tennis court and outdoor gym, and guests can take the bikes out on safari accompanied by a guide. Twice-daily game drives comb the Kalahari to spot hyenas, wild dogs, elephants and meerkats, and the lodge offers excursions to a Bushmen village nearby. Rooms from $750 a person, all inclusive; felinefields.com.
In a quiet suburb of Nairobi, the art-filled OneFortyEight boutique hotel neighbors a giraffe sanctuary. Leora Rothschild, the owner of Colorado-based Rothschild Safaris, which uses the hotel on its Best of Kenya trip, reports that monkeys, peacocks and warthogs roam the gardens, accessible to guests of the inn’s eight rooms. At the nearby African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Center, also known as the Giraffe Center, guests can feed the animals by hand. Other area attractions include Nairobi National Park and the former home of the author Karen Blixen, now a museum.Rooms from $365; one-forty-eight.com.
Sofitel Tamuda Bay
The Riff Mountains are the backdrop of the new beach resort Sofitel Tamuda Bay, located on the north coast of Morocco in M’diq, about 20 miles east of Tangier. The Lebanese architect Galal Mahmoud takes a contemporary approach to traditional Moroccan design in whitewashed brise soleil exteriors and lattice screens at the 104-room resort. The family-friendly hotel includes a children’s play room, a spa with a hammam and hydrotherapy treatments, a yacht for sea charters, and three restaurants and bars. Rooms from 108 euros (about $114); sofitel.com.
Chobe Water Villas
On Namibia’s northern Caprivi Strip across the Chobe River from Chobe National Park in Botswana lies the new Chobe Water Villas, a collection of 16 stilt-supported suites with generous terraces on the water and rear terraces facing the bush. Guests can watch wildlife directly from their rooms; the river draws hippos, crocodiles and hundreds of species of birds. Directly across from the villas lies Kasikili Island, home to elephants, lions and antelopes. Daily safari drives and river cruises further explore the national park, then return to the main lodge, home to a restaurant, bar, library and infinity swimming pool. Rooms from $445 a person, all inclusive; chobewatervillas.com.
Lanzerac Hotel and Spa
In the wine-producing Stellenbosch region, Lanzerac Hotel and Spa has been remodeled to update the 17th-century Cape Dutch retreat. Antique and contemporary furnishings fill the 48 individually designed rooms, each with a terrace and now complete with updated bathrooms. By the year’s end, the property plans to open a new spa. Food and wine are a major draw to the Lanzerac Wine Estate on which the hotel resides, and the refurbishments include a new wine-tasting room. There are also three restaurants and a whiskey bar that draw day-trippers from Cape Town, about an hour away. Rooms from 4,730 South African rand (about $342); lanzerac.co.za.
Next to Volcanoes National Park, Wilderness Safaris’ Bisate Lodge will open in June with six elevated, dome-shaped villas facing the park’s volcanic peaks. The company moved 106 farms to make way for the lodge, and has replanted over 7,000 indigenous trees to restore the landscape. The resort’s common areas include a lounge and wine cellar, but the real attraction is the endangered mountain gorillas in the park. Guests can go on treks to see them or the more active golden monkeys. Rates from $1,100 a person, all-inclusive; wilderness-safaris.com.
Nine villas overlook the Indian Ocean at the new Zawadi Hotel on Zanzibar. Guests can snorkel just off the property, take the daily trip to a protected lagoon or join a scuba-diving trip to deeper waters. On land, a half-mile jogging path winds past chin-up bars, benches and weights, creating an exercise circuit. Though boutique in size, Zawadi offers a beach bar, lounge and dining room. Free shuttles connect the hotel to three sibling Zanzibar Collection properties with access to a spa, tennis courts and a beach club. Rooms from $560; zawadihotel.com
The owners of Thanda Safari, a private game reserve in South Africa, bought a nearly 20-acre beach-fringed island in the Indian Ocean and built a single-use villa that can host up to 10 adults and nine children in the Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve. Opened in the fall, Thanda Island comes with a tennis court, gym, glass-rimmed swimming pool and a boat house filled with snorkeling, scuba-diving and fishing equipment as well as kayaks, paddleboards and sailboats. Rentals cost $10,000 a night, all inclusive, with a minimum stay of three to seven nights, depending on the season; thandaisland.com.
Pinnon Safari Lounge
In Kafue National Park, the new Pinnon Safari Lodge offers affordable safaris off the beaten track. The British owners Lyndon and Ruth Pinches worked for anti-poaching organizations in Malawi before setting up Pinnon with the goal of protecting wildlife in the Zambian park by returning profits to anti-poaching efforts there. Two of four tented chalets on the banks of the Kafue River are already open, with another two opening in May. Solar-powered facilities include the rustic restaurant and bar. The lodge offers twice-daily game drives in Zambia’s oldest national park, home to the Big Five as well as unusual antelope species and 470 species of birds. Rates from $150 a person, all inclusive; pinnonlodges.com.
Adventure Life takes an active approach to Namibia in its new 12-day trip. Travelers will climb the vast sand dunes at Sossusvlei, go sea kayaking on the Skeleton Coast and take game drives in Etosha National Park and the private Ongava Reserve. The trip also visits the Huab Conservancy in Damaraland, home to the endangered black rhino, and overnight at the new Huab Under Canvas, a semi-permanent conservation camp with platform tents. Travelers will track the rhino with conservation rangers in an area also known to attract klipspringers, elephants, hyenas, leopards and African wildcats. Running April through October, trips start at $5,755 a person; adventure-life.com/Namibia.
The adventure outfitter Exodus Travels promises more pyramids than Egypt with its rugged new 12-day small group trip in Sudan. Leaving the capital of Khartoum, travelers will take four-wheel drive vehicles into the Sahara for eight nights of camping in two-person tents and one night at a more glamorous permanent camp. En route lies the confluence of the Blue and White Nile Rivers, the Gala Abu Ahmed fortress dating from 400 B.C., ancient Egyptian temples, prehistoric petroglyphs, Nubian archaeological sites and the pyramids of Meroe. From $3,955 a person; exodustravels.com.
Timed to catch major migrations in Zambia, Wildlife Worldwide’s new fall trip, led by the well-known safari guide Robin Pope, will visit Liuwa Plain and Kasanka National Parks. October rains draw herds of wildebeest and zebra to the Liuwa Plain, where travelers will stay in the new six-villa King Lewanika Lodge. In Kasanka, game drives will witness the spectacle of up to 10 million fruit bats flying from their roost at dusk and returning at dawn in what is considered the world’s largest mammal migration. During the course of the 10-day trip, travelers will transfer between the parks and the capital of Lusaka by light plane.
[Source:-New Yourk Times]