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Lamai Serengeti, Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 05 07:30 AM

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The annual wildebeest migration through Kenya and Tanzania is one of nature's greatest shows. But as with any hot ticket, you can be sure you'll be jockeying for position among herds of eager onlookers. That is, unless you stay at the new Lamai Serengeti.

Situated in the remote northern Serengeti, the 12-room open-air lodge perches on the rugged granite outcrop of the Kogakuria Kopje, overlooking the Mara River valley. From late July through October, the migration of those 1.5 million hairy beasts (not to mention the lions, leopards, and hyenas that dine on them) will be on your elegantly decorated doorstep. Interiors are understated and stylish, a blend of canvas and plaster walls with pops of blue or red against a cream-and-white backdrop. The secluded location ensures that the tourists won't outnumber the four-legged animals. It's wildly civilized.

Photo: Courtesy of Nomad Tanzania

Singita Explore, Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 23 01:30 PM

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Did you know that safari actually means "journey" in Swahili? Ponder this nugget as you experience exactly that with Singita Explore, the brand-new luxury mobile tented experience from Singita Game Reserves. So, just as animals roam the 340,000 dramatic acres of Tanzania's western Serengeti, now you can, too.

You'll camp with the crickets and cawing and crick-crack of who-knows-what shuffling in the bush. But fear not, you'll hardly be roughing it. Accommodations are pared back to finely tuned yet high-class basics (a plush bed, and leather, rubber, and timber furnishings) in custom-designed, eco-friendly en-suite tents. The caravan itself is a private jaunt of 2 to 12 people. Just because you're following the herd doesn't mean you have to be a part of it.

Book two nights and receive a third night free with Singita Explore introductory promotion (from $2,600 per person sharing for three nights through December 2011)

Photo: Courtesy of Singita Game Reserves

Hogmead, Nairobi, Kenya

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, April 25 04:36 PM

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Most East African safaris require you to spend your first night in some generic city hotel before heading into the bush--the only beasts in sight being the ones served grilled in the dining room. The new Hogmead hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, is changing all that.

The six-room hotel has an Out of Africa vibe (the author, Karen Blixen, lived just down the road); overstuffed sofas and deep soaking tubs up the ante on comfort. Hogmead is also perfectly placed, with easy access to both the airport and Nairobi National Park, which means you could be face-to-face with an elephant just an hour after touchdown. Prefer to start with something smaller to prepare you for the wild times ahead? The resident warthogs on the hotel grounds should do the trick.

Photo: Courtesy of Hogmead

Babylonstoren, Drakenstein Valley, South Africa

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, December 08 12:27 PM

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Locavores are likely to think they've died and gone to heaven when they arrive at Babylonstoren, a 300-year-old working farm in South Africa's Cape Winelands that has just opened 14 Dutch-style luxury cottages in its gardens.

Green-fingered types can roll up their sleeves and get to work planting, pruning, or picking produce. But if getting your hands dirty is the last thing you want to do on vacation--no judgment--you can enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor in the seasonal farm restaurant, Babel, or kick back at the hotel's spa and pool. The comfortable, high-ceilinged suites have modern furniture and open hearths and are housed in traditional whitewashed buildings with ornate gables and thatched roofs.

If you think this place can't get any better, think again: Babylonstoren's first batch of wine will be ready in mid-2011.

Photo: Courtesy of Babylonstoren

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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