Lodges of Legacy

Dotted amongst the myriad of safari offerings out there are a few camps who have truly stood the test of time.
Tracing their roots back to the early days of safari in their particular areas of operation, these gems have refined their offerings to the utmost degree, understanding their environments and their guests’ needs superbly. Some offer luxury, some offer a quaint rustic charm, but all of them are steeped in history and have already left a legacy within their chosen corner.

Here are three of our favourites, from South Africa, Kenya and Botswana…


Family-run Londolozi has been around since 1926, although technically only as a commercial safari operation since the early 70’s.

Bought by the Varty family as a bankrupt cattle farm almost 100 years ago, the land was slowly regenerated and rewilded, until it turned into the thriving ecosystem guests enjoy today, with some of the best wildlife viewing on the planet, the highest density of leopards yet recorded in Africa, and a percentage of repeat guests that most lodges only dream about, so loyal to this unique brand do its visitors become.

With its progressive approach to the safari space, Londolozi has been at the forefront of many innovations in the industry, setting the tone for how the bush can – and should – be so much more than simply a place to view animals. Instead, they have recognized it as a place of healing and connection, and this ethos has tailored their whole safari and lodge offering to reflect that.

Londolozi was the training ground for many big names across the industry. The head of Kruger Park anti-poaching, a world authority on the Okavango Delta, CEOs of big lodge portfolios, award-winning wildlife cameramen, internationally-renowned public speakers… all former rangers at Londolozi who have gone on and continue to go on to shape the industry across the continent.

The legacy of Londolozi has not only been the mark it has left on the many guests who have passed through its gates, but the ripple effect out across African safaris in general…

Cottar’s 1920 Camp

The award-winning Cottar’s 1920s Camp is situated in the 7608-acre private Olderkesi Conservancy bordering the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Tanzania Serengeti game reserve. Owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa it extends an era of luxury and quality and returns to the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’.

Cottar’s Safari Service was founded in 1919, which means over 100 years of experience in the industry.

The Cottar family was renowned amongst the British administration for being rebellious and anti-establishment, preferring long stints with African tribes in wildest Africa. The Cottars’ were the first to import American vehicles for safaris, the first to reach new areas such as Lake Paradise, the first to obtain never before seen wildlife footage. In this family it was normal to have lions, leopards, wild dogs and chimpanzees as family pets. Mike’s son Glen, with his wife Pat, continued the family business and pioneered hunting and explorations expeditions into remote parts of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Zaire and Botswana.

Having established and run photographic safari camps since their first one erected in Tsavo National Park in the 60s, the Cottars’ legacy has long been established, only furthered by the building of Cottar’s 1920 Lodge in the 1990s by Calvin Cottar, the great-grandson of Charles Cottar, who founded the business all those years ago.

The camp itself provides the romance of safari under cream canvas tents, the style of the bygone era of the twenties, while at the same time supplying the amenities required by today’s modern world travellers. It has two main mess tent areas for fine dining, drinking, reading and relaxing, and an amazing pool and spa where guests can relax after a game drive. Guests can also enjoy a traditional canvas safari bath, a genuinely unique way of bathing specifically set up on the tent’s verandah, with views out over the plains. The location of the camp provides easy access for day and night wildlife drives in the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Olderkesi Conservancy, wildlife walks, and cultural interactions with the Maasai community.

The professional guiding team that will handle your safari rank among the most qualified in Africa.

Nxamaseri Island Lodge

Nxamaseri Island Lodge is one of the oldest camps in the Okavango Delta. It was established in the early 1980s by PJ and Barney Bestelink. PJ, an experienced guide, spent months exploring the permanent water channels of the delta in search of a perfect location for his home and camp. He favoured the Nxamaseri Channel for its beauty and seclusion, and eventually elected to build his lodge on a large shady island hidden in the Nxamaseri waterways.

The lodge is best summed up in the video below:

These are just three of our favourite picks, each offering their own unique insight into the wild ways of Africa.

Get in touch with us through info@iconicafrica.com to find out about some other gems who have left their indelible mark on the industry…

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