The silhouette of a lone acacia at sunset, the tremulous gaze of an impala: these are some of the pleasures of Africa, and you don’t have to go all Ernest Hemingway to experience them. New-generation game lodges — with spas, designer accommodation and eco-friendly attitudes — are mushrooming. The best seem to be in South Africa, where proximity to the giant Kruger National Park is a boon. Here are four fail-safe choices. None are cheap, but all guarantee that you’ll see the “Big Five” — lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos — in contemporary style.
ULUSABA Sir Richard Branson’s foray into the world of big game is run with his usual flair. A kid’s club keeps tots happy while adults indulge in spa treatments. Daily game drives ensure that you’ll encounter more animals here than most
SABI SABI The name comes from the Tsonga word for fear, but gun-toting rangers lend an air of reassurance. In fact, the only fear you’re likely to have is of your credit-card bill, with nightly rates starting at $675 per person. http://www.sabisabi.com
LONDOLOZI Londolozi (meaning “protector of living things” in Zulu) has won many ecotourism awards, but water-conservation and recycling programs don’t involve cutting back on luxury — as you might deduce from the average price tag of $750 per person per night. http://www.londolozi.com
SINGITA This ultra-exclusive lodge offers designer accommodation in stratospheric price ranges — from $1,000 per night for a single room to $3,700 for a cottage. The spa is excellent: ask for the Big Five treatment, in which two masseuses work on you at once — sublime. http://www.singita.com