Travellers to Africa this year will have even more choice of where to stay with new or refurbished camps, lodges and hotels opening across the continent. Carrie Hampton provides a taste of things to come.
North & Central Africa Ideally located between the Archaeological Museum and Giza Pyramids, Cairo's Three Pyramids Protea Hotel, www.proteahotels.com, will be refurbished during 2004. In Brazzaville, Protea have recently opened their first hotel in the DRC. The Hotel Brazzaville Beach is set in gardens beside a tributary of the Congo River.
East Africa Lewa House, www.lewa.org, is now open with three cottages each offering two en-suite bedrooms and magnificent views over North Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
In Tanzania's Arusha National Park, Hatari, www.theafricanembassy.com, is due to open in August. This renovated farm lodge will have a country house atmosphere with ten suites facing Mt Kilimanjaro. Katavi Wildlife Camp, www.tanzaniasafaris.info, was opened in Katavi National Park last June, but will expand this year from three to six tents. Meanwhile, The Tides, www.thetideslodge.com, is having a family cottage and honeymoon suite added to its fabulous beach retreat near Pangani.
In Malawi's Lengwe National Park in the Lower Shire Valley, Nyala Lodge, www.nyala-lodge-malawi.com, opened its doors last December while in Blantyre, Protea Hotels plan to complete the five-star Legacy Blantyre in 2004.
Several new lodges are opening in Mozambique this year, including Flamingo Lodge, www.barralodge.co.za, in March, and both Matemo Island Resort and Medjumbe Island Lodge,
, in September. Nkwichi Lodge, www.wilderness-safaris.com, has opened in the Manda Wilderness Area on the shores of Lake Malawi, an area of exceptional beauty with thick indigenous forest fringing a white sandy beach.
Southern Africa New for Zambia in 2004 is Puku Ridge (see page 52), www.star-of-africa.com, a remote and luxurious camp in South Luangwa National Park. Meanwhile, Chamilandu Bushcamp, www.bushcampcompany.com, has been completely upgraded with three magnificent raised chalets overlooking the Luangwa River.
In Botswana, Klein Skrijpan Lodge, www.afritourism.com, is due to open this year in the heart of the Kgalagdi Transfrontier Park. The lodge will celebrate and support the threatened culture of the San Bushmen.
In Namibia, Gocheganas Nature Reserve & Wellness Village, www.gocheganas.com, has opened a short distance from Windhoek, while Ntwala Island Lodge, www.islandsinafrica.com, is scheduled for July. Consisting of just four suites, each with a plunge pool, Ntwala occupies an exclusive spot on an island near the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers.
Sibebe Rock Community Camp, www.swazitrails.co.sz, just outside Mbabane, is being developed by the Swaziland Tourism Authority near the country's most famous geological feature.
In South Africa's Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Harry's Camp, www.malamala.com, is undergoing refurbishment and is due to reopen towards the end of 2004. In Manyeleti Game Reserve, Tintswalo, www.islandsinafrica.com, is scheduled to open in March, while Tinga Private Game Lodge, www.africanpridehotels.com, and a new mobile camp from Haywards Safari Camps, www.safaridoctor.co.za, will provide excellent safari experiences in Kruger National Park from April and September respectively.
Royal Makuleke, www.royalmakuleke.com, a Wilderness Safaris property scheduled for mid-2004, will occupy land leased by the Makuleke community in a scenic and diverse sector of the northern Kruger. Also in the pipeline from Wilderness Safaris are Gwe Gwe Lodge, eleven stone-and-glass villas facing the sea at Mkambati Nature Reserve, and Sea Lodge, ten luxury villas near Plettenberg Bay.
Following the opening last December of the Eastern Cape's family-friendly and contemporary-styled Kwande Ecca Lodge, www.ccafrica.com, CC Africa have announced plans to open Madikwe Safari Lodge in malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve by September 2004. The lodge will have three intimate camps, with suites boasting wooden decks and plunge pools.
Looking further ahead, Claridges, www.southernsun.com, a six-star luxury hotel in Cape Town, is planned for mid-2005. Over 80 bedrooms, plus suites, apartments and penthouses, will have a trendy designer feel in the heart of one of the city's most vibrant districts.