If you’re looking for some amazing places to stay on your luxury safari, we’ve rounded up our favorites from our honeymoon in Tanzania. Some of these luxury safari lodges are places where you’ll definitely splurge, and some were sneaky deals.
Here are our recommendations for mind-blowing luxury safari lodges in Tanzania…
The andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge — Serengeti National Park
The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is stunning and slightly bizarre: a mix between various African styles that manages to congeal into something fit for the wealthiest most eccentric Hobbit ever. This place was our ridiculously opulent home for two nights, and we wished we’d stayed for three because our room was a LIVING DREAM! It had that same Eclectic African Hobbit decor, a fireplace, big bright windows overlooking the crater below. Plus a bathroom even larger than the bedroom, with a glorious bathtub that I immediately put to use.
Among the over-the-top amenities:
- A “super butler.” Which sounded awkward at first, but which really turned out to be a super-attentive and personal waitstaff service. He’d (discretely) bring us our “wake-up call” coffees in the morning, be our waiter at lunch and dinner, and hook us up with drinks in their amazing lounge.
- All-you-can-drink booze. From the honeymoon champagne I drank in the bathtub, to the in-room gin and tonic bar, to the aforementioned drinks in their incredible lounge — you may never spend a moment sober at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
- An amazing housekeeping team that keeps a fire burning for you at night, and will draw a bubble bath for you at the end of a long safari day. Plus their all-you-can-do laundry service is a MUST when indulging in a luxury safari.
And because the Crater Lodge is within the gates to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we had a big head start on most other visitors. Which means we were one of the first cars let into the crater at dawn.
Gibbs Farm — Serengeti National Park
Our home for less than 24 hours was Gibb’s Farm — a gorgeous, old, sustainable farm turned into a world-class collection of “safari chic” cottages designed and decorated to the nines.
Gibb’s Farm gets rave reviews from travel magazines, but it’s an hour away from the Ngorongoro Crater, and it’s less an luxury safari than a fancy farm. So we were a little hesitant to book at first. As everyone knows, safaris are all about the charismatic megafauna (we find this term very amusing — and ironically pretty useful). But this place was amazing, even without animals. Well, safari animals that is…
You can visit with their happy farm animals that live there (including a baby donkey named Sebastian!). This is exactly what my WASP-ass pictures when you say “luxury safari lodge” — walls of windows open to jungle vegetation. A wooden porch that overlooks birds chirping the in the surrounding trees. A fireplace in the bedroom. And perfectly mis-matched vintage furniture.
What makes this place stand out, and worth deviating from the “safari” bit of a “luxury safari” trip is that Gibb’s Farm has a long list of activities for each day. Most revolve around the “Rhythms of the Farm” — you can help milk the cows, pick the vegetables for lunch, etc. Or you can take a walking safari in the conservation area, which borders their property. Which means you can actually be a little active (endless safaris mean not much time to stretch your legs) and might see some elephants and other wildlife at The Elephant Caves.
Plus their food is amazing — the ultimate in farm-to-table, as the place is a fresh vegetable paradise. One of our favorite indulgences was lingering at this private patio table, taking advantage of their buffet and the views while we wrote.
Ikuka Safari Camp — Ruaha National Park
I think Ikuka was one of the places that we chose based on aesthetics alone. (When you have so many choices it’s hard to narrow them down, so you get a little creative.) And it was a total win!
It has some amazing design elements:
- It’s built onto the side of a mountain, so it has some amazing views.
- They took advantage of that location with a lovely and refreshing infinity pool.
- The rooms, bathrooms, and entertaining spaces have NO WALLS — they’re open on all sides. You’re seriously just living and sleeping in nature — the most glamorized version, but still! It’s impressive.
I think our favorite moment of our stay there, besides the post-safari dip in the infinity pool, was the nap we took while a gentle rain swept over us, barely misting our toes. It was romantic as hell, and something that will probably never recreate in our lives.
The Ikuka Camp might be our most whole-hearted recommendation. We truly loved other places, but I can imagine some folks being put off by the hefty price tag of the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, and some wondering why there’s no charismatic megafauna at Gibb’s Farm. But Ikuka is just amazing. Sharing a guide on game drives could be a weakness. And it’s far from the Serengeti. But it’s a great value and the design is unbelievable.
When we close our eyes and think of our luxury safari honeymoon in five years, we’ll probably be imagining all the little details that made our stay at every one of these places so unique.