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  • Jamie Thom

The trend towards ultra-luxury lodges - what does $4500.00 get you!

Over the last decade or so we have seen an increasing number of ultra-luxury lodges being built and charging eye-popping rates. I am curious to know who is filling these lodges, maybe it's Russian oligarchs or members of royal families, but I am mostly saddened by this trend for a few reasons.


Firstly, most normal safari travelers cannot afford these lodges, even if they are looking to treat themselves on a trip. Many of the traditional lodges we used to choose for our clients are now upgraded, over-priced and out of reach.

Secondly, a lot of these lodges claim they are eco friendly and run off solar, but what about the environmental cost of getting all the building materials to site and then the amount of precious land covered by gigantic rooms and expansive facilities like gyms, spas, libraries, cellars, private plunge pools and more. Add to that the environmental cost of getting great volumes of food, from around the world to a remote lodge every day to satisfy the demands of such high-paying clients. Then add up all the housing required for staff to offer the 6 star service that is expected?


All the high-end finishes, gizmos and gadgets like air conditioners and televisions, require more of those solar panels and simply distract you, and physically separate you, from what you should be there for, connecting with nature. Will you hear the frogs calling or the hyena whooping behind brick walls under the hum of an air-conditioner?


Botswana has followed an exclusive use, low impact and high price policy and it is no surprise that in the upper end of lodge pricing, Botswana's average is almost double that of other destinations. Places like Zambia and Zimbabwe appear relatively 'cheap' in comparison.


I know that many of these lodges and groups make significant contributions to conservation and community, which I do appreciate, and make no mistake I do also enjoy the finer things in life; incredible architecture and design, fine dining, but I don't need it in the bush. What saddens me the most is that the true nature-loving people who should be enjoying these places have been displaced by an elite crowd of folks who are simply wealthy enough, and want to visit an opulent lodge rather than a beautiful place.


I decided to put together information about some of the most expensive lodges in Africa, to show you what it costs and what you get for the money - can you believe that one night can cost you more than $4 500.00 per person per night? Have a look at a selection of the most expensive lodges in Africa...


Chinzombo, South Luangwa, Zambia, $1 550.00 per person per night in high season


Mara Nyika, Mara Naboisho, Kenya, $2 350.00 per person per night in high season


Pamushana, Malilangwe Game Reserve, Zimbabwe $2 550.00 per person per night in high season


Bisate, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, $2 678.00 per person per night in high season


Ebony Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa $2 695.00 per person per night in high season



Sasakwa, Serengeti, Tanzania, $3 625.00 per person per night in high season


Xigera, Okavango Delta, Botswana, $4 660.00 per person per night in high season


Thankfully there are plenty of good value lodges that we are constantly on the lookout for; read more here about some of the lodges we are excited about.


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