When we think about the amount of stunning wildlife you get to experience on an African safari, it already tops the list of dream vacations. But then you add in luxurious accommodations, decadent dining experiences, massive wine cellars and refreshing cocktails, and it makes us want to pack our bags even more. These five African lodges offer plenty of safari adventures, most of which come with a “sundowner,” or end-of-day cocktail, much like our happy hour. If you want to experience protected African wildlife with a delicious drink in hand, these five lodges offer exhilarating safaris and sumptuous accommodations.
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Elewana Kifaru House is named after the Swahili word for rhino, which is fitting for the Kenyan property—it’s located within the Lewa Conservatory, which is home to East Africa’s healthiest white and black rhino populations (the latter is critically endangered right now). The exclusive resort features five charming cottages with opulent accommodations and huge doors that open to the vibrant lawns and surrounding plains. The property’s cozy sitting room has a well-stocked bar, so you can grab a cocktail hour libation before dinner. But the real fun comes during Kifaru House’s Sundowner. After a day in the wilderness, enjoy a Gin & Tonic or glass of Champagne while you watch the sun set on the nature around you. Elewana Kifaru House, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Isiolo 60300, Kenya
The rugged mountains and endless horizons of Namibia’s Namib Desert offer breathtaking views at every turn, and they’re best enjoyed from andBeyond’s tranquil Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. The property’s 10 air-conditioned suites feature in-room fireplaces, outdoor showers and skylights for optimal stargazing. Lantern-lit dinners are served on the outdoor veranda, and the on-site, walk-in wine cellar ensures you have the perfect vino pairing to go with every meal. Adventure seekers will love Sossusvlei’s quad bike excursion, where you get to enjoy the Namib dunes and wildlife while piloting your own four wheeler. As the sun goes down and the stars begin to shine, participants get to enjoy an ice-cold libation in the serene desert. Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Sossusvlei, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia, Namibia
Located a short drive from Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Tongabezi is an all-inclusive resort that puts adventure and relaxation on the same high pedestal. The on-site houses and cottages are decorated with African art and textiles, and they feature things like treehouse designs, private pools and personal valets who act as private concierges throughout your stay. Special drinking and dining experiences pique our interest the most, from private sunset libations at the pop-up Sand Bar to a dinner on a Sampan (a flat bottomed boat) on the Zambezi River. While the game drives are not to be missed, we’re also into the sunset Zambezi boat trip, which lets guests experience the river’s ecosystem with a sundowner in hand. Tongabezi Lodge, Private Bag 31, Simonga, Zambia
Located within the Sabi Sand Reserve, Ivory Lodge features the most modern accommodations of any location on this list. Think elements of steel, wood and thatch coming together for a mid-century design that has all the makings of a luxurious South African safari. The property includes nine villas and a lodge where you can dine, drink and relax while overlooking the Sabie River. There are two guided safaris per day, but we’re into the late afternoon excursion because it includes refreshing cocktails made with fresh juices and fruit garnishes. Retire to the lodge bar for a strong pre-dinner drink as you enjoy the gorgeous natural surroundings. Lion Sands Reserve, Sabi Sand Reserve, Kruger National Park, 1260, South Africa
This luxurious riverside retreat is located on the edge of Chobe National Park, which is home to the world’s largest remaining elephant population. Each of the 14 thatched guest cottages feature comfortable accommodations, as well as private porches and gardens that are best enjoyed with a cocktail in hand at the end of a long day of sightseeing. Jump in an open-sided 4x4 for an exciting game drive, or glide along the Chobe River during a sundowner cruise as you watch elephants wade into the evening hours. Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is known for its quality food and beverage program, whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch or sitting down for a three course dinner under the stars. Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, Chobe National Park, Kasane, Botswana