The 10 African Lodges Where the Wildlife Roams Freely

The African safari is the ultimate way to see and experience African wildlife in the way that nature intended; freely, without a cage, out in the wilderness.

Unconstrained, the animals get to follow natural paths and migration patterns, and as travellers, we get the unique opportunity to see the most incredible natural sights up close. 

Generally, when staying at one of Africa’s wildlife destinations, the lodges or camps will be completely fenced in, to protect the wildlife and the guests. 

But there are a few places where the accommodation is not fenced in, and these wildest of destinations promise an out-of-this-world wildlife experience. 

There are no words to fully explain what it is like to hear a lion roaring meters from your tent. Or to wake up in the morning to see a herd of antelope having their breakfast right outside your bedroom window. 

When staying at an unfenced lodge or camp, you won’t get an encounter closer up than this, and to help you plan that perfect unfenced holiday, we know just where you should go. 

Safety First and Always 

Before we get into the fun stuff, we need to talk about safety. 

A safari is always a risk, but a holiday that includes a stay in unfenced accommodation means there’s an extra risk involved. Often when moving around the lodge grounds, guests need to be accompanied by lodge staff or even a park ranger, to keep everyone safe and as such these kinds of holidays are not recommended for those who are travelling with very young children

You might also find that the lodge has designated areas that guests need to stay in, while there will also be certain rules that guests will need to abide by, such as not touching or feeding wildlife, and avoiding loud noises. 

Royal Malewane Luxury Suite

The List of Lodges

Unfenced lodges can be found all throughout Southern as well as Eastern Africa, and most of them are considered luxury. 

When booking your stay, don’t just make it all about the lodge experience. You should also consider other things you can do in the area, such as bushwalks and other fun activities. 

But, without further adieu, let’s get to the list!

Unfenced Lodges in Southern Africa

Little Tubu, Okavango Delta

A tree-top hideaway, surrounded by savannah grasslands, Little Tubu is an exclusive retreat in the Okavango Delta. It looks out over the riverbed, which during the rainy season comes down in a flood of water, and attracts a host of wildlife, the most inquisitive of which will come right up to the lodge. 

It is not unusual to see zebra and elephants walking close by and since it is within the delta, you can expect to spend your days enjoying all of the sights and sounds that this conservation area is so well known for. 

Although from the outside this accommodation looks a little wild, once inside you will quickly see that rustic is not the best word for this place. Inside there is a warm, cosy and utterly luxurious room, where guests can look forward to all of the best amenities and plenty of comfort. 

Some activities to look forward to while staying here include riverboat rides, game drives and a star bed, where you can sleep soundly beneath the heavens. 

Royal Malewane, Thornybush Private Game Reserve

For the seasoned traveller, the Royal Malewane is far from an unfamiliar name. This lodge is a place of true luxury and it has 3 distinct accommodation options, each of which is unique, peaceful, and well away from it all. 

Guests can stay at the Malewane, the Farmstead, or the Waterside. At Malewane guests can look forward to the classic luxury lodge stay, complete with luxury rooms that look out over the bushveld. Those staying at the Farmstead will also get to enjoy a luxury stay, but this accommodation is more for the holidaying family, as it accommodates up to 6 guests at a time. At the Farmstead, the wildlife are able to roam freely across the property. And then there is the Waterside, where guests can look out over the dam and enjoy the passing wildlife.  

Those looking forward to the luxury of the Royal Malewane, will also have quite a few activities that they can partake in, including photo safaris, conservation activities, game walks, star safaris and the best dining. 

Zambia African Safari

Londolozi Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Known as one of South Africa’s premier luxury safari reserves, Londolozi is a destination for the traveller wanting to take a walk on the wild side, but also be able to return in the late afternoon to some of the best accommodation that the bushveld has to offer. 

Londolozi has both camps and villas, both of which have been designed to bring guests closer to nature. Much of the accommodation is high up, allowing guests to enjoy the views of wildlife passing by far below. 

Some of the activities that you can look forward to doing while staying at Londolozi include the regular game drive as well as photo safaris. The lodge also offers exclusive wellness retreats. 

Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

The tagline on the lodge’s website is “A Welcome Fit For a King”, and no truer expression can be used to describe this utterly magnificent place or the experience it has to offer its guests.

The Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge is owner-managed and run, and it covers a magnificent 75,000 hectares of malaria-free African land in the Madikwe Game Reserve, which borders on the Kruger National Park. Along with its absolutely outstanding accommodation, which meets all of the luxury standards, the lodge also serves a delectable menu with the finest cuisine prepared under Head Chef Jacques Sansom. 

Madikwe Game Reserve is widely considered to be one of the best places to have a safari, and since the lodge is built right on a watering hole, guests are regularly treated to unfenced wildlife sightings. 

Simbavati River Lodge, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

For a truly unfenced experience, the Simbavati is the place to go. Built up on the banks of the beautiful Nhlaralumi River, this luxury lodge is famous for having magnificent views which can be enjoyed from the lodge’s viewing deck. From here, you can see all sorts of animals as they visit the river for a thirst-quenching drink. 

At Simbavati the safari never truly ends. 

Okavango Delta Tour

Unfenced Lodges in East Africa

Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is one of Africa’s best-known destinations. 

Singita Sabora Tented Camp, which is found within the Grumeti Game Reserve, a huge place that covers some 400,000 acres of northern Tanzania, is just the place for a traveller who wants to see the best of this world, without a fence getting in the way. 

This tented safari lodge is just the place to visit if you are looking for an old-world experience. The lodge has been carefully designed to mimic 1920s safari decor. 

Here, there is not much separating the animals from the comforts of your tent, but unlike other similar lodges, this camp has a few more interesting activities to enjoy, such as a tennis court, which looks almost out of place but absolutely charming, surrounded by the wild. 

Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi National Park

Zambia is a fantastic destination for a safari. It is wild, secluded, full of untamed wildlife and home to some of the biggest populations in the world, making it the best place to have a successful African safari. 

Chiawa Camp sits smartly in a premier safari area, the Lower Zambezi, and over the years it has won many awards for its luxury accommodation and personal, above-and-beyond service. The camp also has the honour of being the first of its kind to be built in this part of the country. At this camp, guests are treated to the raw, natural beauty that Zambia is renowned for, and given the location of the camp, guests can also embark on a wildlife walking route that presents plenty of opportunity to see some truly magnificent sights, including the resident elephants which are familiar with the grounds.  

Elephants are just one of the many animals that walk close to the camp’s tents, where they might graze for a while or take a drink at the water’s edge.

Those who visit here can look forward to going on game walks and game drives, where they might spot lion, buffalo, and leopard. River cruises, canoeing, kayaking, and even a spot of fishing, are all activities those staying at the camp can look forward to. 

A Photo Safari in Zambia

Mfuwe Lodge, South Luangwa National Park

It is not an unfamiliar sight to see a family of elephants walking through the lodge’s lobby. In fact, 3 generations of the same elephant family have walked the same route each year, and every guest who spots them is in awe of the sight of their lumbering, but gentle bodies. 

Mfuwe Lodge, which has been built with rustic materials, features thatch roofing and is supported by wooden poles, is situated in the Luangwa Valley a place famous for its wildlife populations which include lion, hippo, leopard, buffalo and so much more. 

Guests who stay at the lodge can look forward to afternoons spent lazing in the lodge’s swimming pool, which offers some pretty incredible views of wildlife nibbling on the surrounding grasses or having a drink. And as a safari destination, guests will also get to enjoy morning, afternoon or evening game drives and game walks. The lodge also has a bush spa for those who want such an experience. 

Somalisa Expeditions Camp, Hwange National Park

Zimbabwe is best-known for the Victoria Falls, but it is also home to numerous luxury destinations, including the unfenced Somalisa Expeditions Camp where guests can watch animals passing through the camp all day long. Like other unfenced camps, it is the elephant populations that are the most seen, and what an unforgettable sight they make.

Somalisa has been built within a private concession of the park, well away from the busy crowds, and close to a fascinating area that features an intriguing fossil river and the seasonal Somalisa Pans, which also attract plenty of elephants. A stay here is especially exciting when the elephants breed and their babies can be seen excitedly playing in the water. 

The camp features 6 Meru-style tents which are built up high on a wooden platform, away from the wildlife. Each tent has its own private veranda from which you can see lion, leopard, hyena, giraffe and more. Guests can look forward to game drives, pre-organised visits to a local village and guided wildlife hikes. 

Kanga Camp, Mana Pools National Park

For an authentic safari experience, a stay at Kanga Camp is a must. The camp has been built to look out over the Kanga Pan, which is a regular and reliable water source for all sorts of animals. The area is home to a resident pride of lions, and these predators, along with all of the other animals seen here, make for one truly exceptional African safari experience, especially as the camp is built to be close to nature. Guests not only stay in beautiful, luxury accommodation, but they also have access to a bar, delicious home-cooked meals, a deck covered by Indigenous Jackleberry trees, and a sparkling swimming pool. 

As for the activities, there are interpretive game walks, game drives, and canoeing. 

Kanga Camp is the only property on this concession, so a stay here can feel like you are in your very own slice of Africa.  


With a steaming cup of coffee in hand, you step onto your private veranda, greeted by a wild but beautiful landscape. Just in front of your veranda, a herd of elephants graze majestically on acacia leaves, their tusks glinting in the morning light.

A stay in unfenced accommodation is not just a vacation; it’s a transformative experience. 

It’s about forging a connection with nature in its purest form, a chance to experience the raw beauty and power of the animal kingdom.

Is this the kind of African safari you crave?