We’ve got the scoop on some of the most hotly anticipated hotel and lodge openings in 2019. Some of these will open up off-the-beaten-track destinations for the first time, whereas others are catering to increased demand in popular safari areas. Here are some of the most exciting launches of 2019.
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, South Africa
In the beautiful De Hoop Nature Reserve, about three and a half hours from Cape Town, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is the newest property from Natural Selection. The ecolodge will consist of seven standalone rooms overlooking the white sands of De Hoop, one of the best destinations in the Western Cape for whale watching. From here, you can spot marine life such as southern right whales and dolphins, learn about the region’s famous fynbos and explore the beaches and nearby caves; Klipdrift Cave is where some of the earliest remains of modern human beings were found, dating back between 64,000 and 100,000 years.
Gorgeous George, South Africa
A brand-new hotel comes to Cape Town’s CBD in the form of Gorgeous George. Part of the Design Hotels brand, style is at the heart of the hotel, with a mixture of locally- and internationally-produced furnishings and art. There are just 32 rooms, but the hotel’s common spaces are open to Capetonians, so there’s sure to be a buzz, especially in the summer months. The sixth-floor rooftop pool and bar will no doubt be a highlight.
Nyamatusi Camp and Nyamatusi Mahogany, Zimbabwe
The newest Mana Pools property from African Bush Camps, Nyamatusi will operate the same way as Somalisa and Somalisa Acacia in Hwange National Park – two high-end camps, with one specifically (though not exclusively) for families. Nyamatusi will have six tents and Nyamatusi Mahogany will have two tents and two family units. A truly wild safari destination, Mana Pools is in northern Zimbabwe by the Zambezi River and is one of the best places in Africa for bush walks. The park is closed during the wet season, from December to end of March.
Magashi Camp, Rwanda
This is Wilderness Safaris’ second property in Rwanda, their first being the wildly popular Bisate Lodge, a gorilla trekking ecolodge in Volcanoes National Park. Magashi is in Akagera National Park, which has been managed and restored by the international conservation group African Parks. They have successfully reintroduced the Big Five back into the area and the camp will allow ecotourism to sustain their conservation initiatives. Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the capital Kigali, the lodge and Akagera are easily included in Rwandan itineraries, helping to make the country a destination in its own right and more than a gorilla trekking add-on to an East African safari.
The Farmstead, South Africa
A new addition to Royal Portfolio’s Kruger-based Royal Malewane safari lodge, The Farmstead will open on 1 May. 12 minutes away from Royal Malewane, the new accommodation will have three suites and the Farmhouse, which is a four-bedroom exclusive-use villa with a private chef, butler, guide and tracker. The main lodge will have a gym, spa treatment room, fire pit and deck looking over a waterhole. All of this will be done up in Liz Biden’s distinctive eclectic and luxurious style. The land is leased from the local community, who receive monthly rental and a share of the profits, alongside job opportunities and training from the Royal Portfolio.
Linyanti Expeditions, Botswana
African Bush Camps will launch their new mobile luxury camp in May 2019, in a private concession in northern Botswana. Open from May to October, the six tents will have en-suite bathrooms and bucket showers and there will be two main areas, one for dining and cooking, the other for relaxing and downtime. The focus is walking safaris, so this is one for people who want a true bush experience. In addition to walks, guests can also take mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursions through the Linyanti marshes and go on the usual twice-daily game drives.
Royal Gorongosa, Mozambique
The second of Royal Portfolio’s new lodges for 2019 is opening in a more unusual destination. Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park is regularly featured in National Geographic and BBC wildlife documentaries, as an incredibly biodiverse area. In central Mozambique, the park – once one of the most popular in Africa and visited by many of the Hollywood stars of the 1950s, before it was razed to the ground during the Mozambican civil war of 1977-92 – has been rewilded and restored over the past 20 years. Royal Gorongosa will be the first luxury eco-camp in Gorongosa and indeed in any Mozambican safari destination. An exciting, individual style of safari – one with conservation at its core – awaits the guests of this special park.
Rovos Rail Copper Route, Angola–Tanzania
Another launch that latches onto the trend for more intrepid travel, Rovos Rail’s new route runs between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Lobito in Angola. The two-week rail journey travels along the old copper route through Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and includes a fly-in safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park and a city tour of DRC’s second-largest city, Lubumbashi. The route runs both east to west and in reverse.
Another Natural Selection camp will open in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Tuludi camp will be made up of seven tents tucked into 200,000 hectares of private wilderness. Each tent will have a private deck with its own plunge pool, with a main pool and a treehouse library in the communal area. Even better, 1.5% of the camp’s total revenue is donated to the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, which is collecting data about the leopard population around Khwai Private Reserve.
Takwela Camp, Zambia
This new Remote African Safaris camp will open in Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park, with just two en-suite chalets (two more will be added in 2020). Guests travelling to this remote, unspoiled part of Zambia can explore on vehicles or on foot, spotting animals such as lions, elephants, hippos and wild dogs. For those staying more than a couple of nights, there’s an opportunity to take a day-trip to Mwaleshi Falls.
Singita Kwitonda, Rwanda
Singita open their first Rwanda lodge late 2019. Their first foray outside the safari space, Kwitonda will have eight suites and a four-bedroom villa called Kataza House. In Volcanoes National Park, the focus will, of course, be gorilla trekking, though Rwanda’s exciting and creative capital Kigali and the laid-back shores of Lake Kivu are within easy reach.
Slated to open in mid-2019, Sonop has no definite open date yet. From the same Zannier Hotels Group owners as Omaanda, which opened in Windhoek in 2018, the camp will be located in the Namib Desert. The ten tents will be designed with classic, 1920s safari style in mind, proving a luxurious base from which to see the famous Sossusvlei dunes and the Deadvlei.
One&Only Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Rwanda
In the foothills of the Virunga Mountains, One&Only’s gorilla trekking lodge will have 22 tented suites, a restaurant using locally grown, organic produce and a spa with African-influenced treatments. No exact opening date has been provided as of yet, but it is expected to open within the next year.