You’ve decided to turn your African safari dream into a reality, the only big question now is: where do you go in Africa for the best safari experiences for the bush beginners? Some camps cater more to experienced safari hands, and the adventurous, whereas, other accommodation is ideal for safari novices.

Choosing a safari destination for the first time visit can be a little intimidating with all the flashy marketing out there, but we’ve scaled it back. Our friends over at The Luxury Safari Company have compiled a list on the most exclusive luxury experiences and top safari camps, so you can visit Africa as a friend, and not a tourist.

1. For Privacy: Cottar’s 1920 Camp, Kenya

The Run-Down: Revisit the golden era of safari at Cottars Camp. Situated in the Masai Mara, in an untouched exclusive concession bordering the Serengeti and Loliondo reserves, the area guarantees privacy and an abundance of wildlife. The camp accommodates up to 22 guests in authentic white canvas tents, which are spacious and luxuriously furnished with original safari antiques from the 1920s. It’s amazing for a first-time safari as they have unrivalled game including migration and high density of cats, as well as offering extra touches, such as walking ‘out of the vehicle’ safaris.

2. For Luxury Tents: Sirikoi, Kenya 

The Run-Down: Sirikoi is located in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Northern Kenya and has four traditional colonial safari-style luxury tents and one two-bedroom cottage. It is surrounded by an acacia grove and overlooks a natural waterhole fed by a spring. From Sirikoi guests can go fishing, track lions, ride horses, game drives and visit local Masai homesteads. For a first-time safari, they offer an incredible introduction to both conservation and community, as well as great game including rhino.

3. For Outdoor Pools: Singita Boulders, South Africa 

The Run-Down: For the ultimate luxury safari with amazing cat viewing, visit Singita Boulders. This lodge is renowned for its luxury design which combines contemporary and African influences. There are 12 suites, each with their own en-suite bathroom, outdoor shower, private heated swimming pool, fireplace and game-viewing deck. There is a spa, wine boutique, gym, star gazing activities and archery. For another unique experience, guests can also try an interactive session with the dog handling unit in their work to prevent rhino poaching. They’ll go behind the scenes to see various tasks including pursuing intruders to sniffing out rhino horn and ammunition from vehicles and bags. Being located in South Africa, there’s also the opportunity to take in some of the other great things on offer in South Africa such as Cape Town and the winelands.

4. For Panoramic Views: Duba Plains, Botswana

The Run-Down: Duba Plains Camp is a small, intimate camp renowned for its unrivalled access to the titanic struggle for survival between lion and buffalo. Accommodation at Duba Plains Camp consists of six roomy tents with en-suite bathrooms, outside showers and verandas with panoramic vistas of the Okavango Delta floodplains. The thatched lounge, dining and bar areas are raised along with the pool on wooden platforms to better appreciate the breath-taking views. For first timers looking for serious luxury, this is the best choice and it also offers great cat viewing, birding and boating.

5. For Private Villas: Chinzombo, Zambia

The Run-Down: Chinzombo is made up of six luxury private villas set within 60 acres of private game-filled land in South Luangwa, Zambia. Each raised villa offers spectacular views across the Luangwa river and the most game-rich areas of the National Park, with complete exclusivity and privacy from other travellers. With the option to dine under the stars against a stunning backdrop of the river, Chinzombo is the height of luxury and glamour. This lodge makes the perfect choice for those wanting a trip that is off the beaten track and the opportunity to see cats.

For more information and to book, visit the website here.