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Best new lodges opening in 2019

Top up your travel bucket list

There’s nothing like a new year to inspire you to travel, especially when the year looks as good as 2019 for new safari lodges across Africa. From beach retreats with a twist in South Africa to all-singing, all-dancing lodges in the Okavango Delta and several new and very exciting openings in Zimbabwe, there’s plenty here to top your 2019 travel list. Read on for our pick of the best new lodges opening in 2019 – and then start planning that dream trip, pronto!

Best new lodges opening in 2019 - Lekkerwater beach lodge

1. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop

Garden Route, South Africa

If there’s one thing we like more than the best new lodges opening in 2019, it’s a new area to discover. Although South Africa’s De Hoop Nature Reserve isn’t exactly ‘new’, it’s still a secret to most international visitors – and most South Africans too! Currently, accommodation options include boutique eco-lodge Morukuru Beach Lodge and the rustic De Hoop Collection, but from April 2019, there’s a new player on the scene – Lekkerwater Beach Lodge. Built on the site of FW de Klerk’s Camp David, the location was chosen for its extraordinary beauty and seclusion and as soon as you set foot in the area you’ll see why. Visit for outstanding whale-watching from July to November and a fascinating dive into the history of South Africa, followed by dinner on the beach, toes-in-the-sand style…

De Hoop Coastal Reserve is a good stop on any South African Garden Route itinerary. Have a look at our route A self- drive Garden Route expedition as a starting point and simply add a stop at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge to complete your dream trip.

Opening April 2019: Read more about this lodge here.

Best new lodges opening in 2019 - tuludi lodge

2. Tuludi

Okavango Delta, Botswana

It might be another lodge in the Okavango Delta, but Tuludi isn’t any old camp, we can tell you that. Located on the northern fringes of the beautiful Delta, the intimate tented camp is actually in the exclusive Khwai Private Reserve, far from any madding crowds. There are currently only two other properties in the entire, half-a-million-acre reserve (and both are owned by the same company as Tuludi, Natural Selection Safaris) so peace and quiet really is the name of the game here – but certainly not in terms of wildlife sightings! Back at base camp, it’s all-out luxury and each tented room is a whopping 100 square-metres in size, with a private plunge pool, sunken seating areas and hanging basket chairs to aid relaxation. Safe to say, it’s one of our favourites on the list of nest new lodges opening in 2019…

Tuludi is a luxurious sort of place that will take your Okavango Delta safari to the next level. Use the route A classic journey through Botswana to start your planning, and combine a spot of adventure with some serious luxury!

Opening July 2019: Read more about this lodge here.

Best new lodges opening in 2019 - Nyamatusi

3. Nyamatusi

Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe had a bit of a moment in 2018 and that looks set to continue in 2019 with a host of new camps and lodges opening all over the safari hotspots and Nyamatusi is the first in the country on our list of best new lodge openings in 2019. First up is its location, deep in the wilds of Mana Pools National Park (we know we shouldn’t have favourites, but Mana really is up there on our list) and right on the banks of one of the oldest rivers in the world, making for stunning views and adventure by the bucket-load. Secondly, the guides most certainly deserve a mention. African Bush Camps are renowned for having some of the best guides in Zim and those based at Nyamatusi are passionate and knowledgeable and will take you closer than you ever thought possible to the big game of Mana. And the third? You’ll just have to visit to find out…

The beauty of Nyamatusi is that it will slot perfectly into just about any Zimbabwe itinerary. Take a look at our routes Ultimate Zimbabwe, or Walking safaris and canoe expeditions, both of which include stops in Mana Pools.

Opening April 2019: Read more about this lodge here.

Mana Pools
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Best new lodges opening in 2019 - beyond tengile

4. Tengile River Lodge

Kruger, South Africa

Number 4 on our list of best new lodge openings in 2019 is &Beyond’s latest uber-luxury retreat, Tengile. If somewhere plush to put your feet up in between game drives is just as important as phenomenal wildlife viewing and an incredible location, then make a beeline for this place. Perched above the Sand River in the famous Sabi Sands Reserve just outside South Africa’s Kruger National Park, each room has been designed to ‘float’ above the wilderness, creating a perfect haven of rest and relaxation. The views across the river are as a phenomenal as the lodge itself, and when you can drag your eyes away from the wildlife happenings right in front of your nose, head to the spa for a heavenly massage, take a dip in your private plunge pool or even pop to the gym.

We think a few days of wildlife-watching in Tengile would combine perfectly with some time at the beach – and our trip route South Africa’s classic bush, beach and city escape does exactly that!

Opening December 2018: Read more about this lodge here.

Best new lodges opening in 2019 - mpala jena

5. Mpala Jena Camp

Vic Falls, Zimbabwe

We’re back in Zimbabwe for number 5 on our list of best new lodge openings in 2019, this time at the country’s crown jewel, Victoria Falls. But we do have a small confession to make: the lodge has actually been up and running since August 2018, but it was simply too good not to include! As well as being the most environmentally-innovative camp within the Zambezi National Park (every single material used in construction was recycled), Mpala Jena is also one of the most exclusive and intimate with only 4, beautiful tents to choose from. It’s location in a private concession of the park is also pretty special, allowing you quick and easy access to the magnificent waterfall but also to relax and enjoy the sights and surrounds of the bush in blissful peace and quiet.

Victoria Falls is a great place to begin a trip – all you need to do is add in Mpala Jena to make it yours. Try The highlights of Southern Africa for a real exploration of the south of the continent, or stick to Zimbabwe with the route An exploration of southern Zimbabwe 

Opened August 2018: Read more about this lodge here.

Best new lodges opening in 2019 - cheetah plains


6. Cheetah Plains

Kruger, South Africa

If the name Cheetah Plains sounds familiar, you haven’t gone crazy – you’re probably thinking of the old lodge that used to occupy this prime concession in South Africa’s Sabi Sands. Well, forget everything you thought you knew and start from scratch, for the new Cheetah Plains is one of the most modern, glamorous of lodges out there. Gone are the old ronadavels and in their place will be three sparkling, exclusive-use houses that are contemporary, modern, and filled with art from Africa’s leading and up-and-coming artists. With four rooms in each, the houses are best suited to a family or group getaway and the access to a private vehicle, guide and chef means there’s absolutely nothing to worry about, apart from what you might see as you game drive (clue: anything and everything – Cheetah Plains really is that good!).

Have a look at our trip All In One and combine a stay at Cheetah Plains with the iconic Victoria Falls (from either Zambia or Zimbabwe – the choice is yours) and some time on the beach at Reunion Island.

Opening December 2018: Read more about this lodge here.

Best new lodges opening in 2019 - farmstead

7. The Farmstead at Royal Malewane

Kruger, South Africa

Ending our list of best new lodge openings in 2019 is a goody. Owned by the same group responsible for the glitzy Silo hotel in Cape Town and the even ritzier La Residence in Franschhoek, The Farmstead at Royal Malewane promises to be just as creative and breathtakingly beautiful. Located just 12 minutes south of the existing Royal Malewane lodge in the Greater Kruger (a favourite amongst those in the know!), the new country-style retreat consists of three Farm Suites and the Farmstead itself, a private villa with all the bells and whistles that you might expect. Light oak, tin roofs, wrought iron and gentle hues of blue and white will define the interiors, along with plenty of design-maven Liz Biden’s eccentric finishing touches, cool swimming pools and splashy bathrooms. We can’t wait to see the finished result!

The Farmstead is somewhere that deserves more than just a two-night stay. Add it to an itinerary like The highlights of Southern Africa and spend some time exploring Cape Town before zooming off to the Kruger for four or even five nights of game drives (and some R&R!).

Opening June 2019: Read more about this lodge here.