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These properties offer flexibility that typical lodges and camps may not.


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"Up until a few years ago, there were very few good private lodging options in Africa, apart from the odd home on an old ranch rented out so the owners could earn some more money," says Cherri Briggs, founder of Explore, a Colorado-based safari company the develops bespoke itineraries for clients seeking "the real Africa". Now, adjusting to a boom in demand, more and more villas, camps and lodges can be exclusively, i.e. privately, booked, ensuring clients (including the American Museum of Natural History, National Geographic and the Smithsonian) both a dedicated army of attendants - often including a butler, chef, ranger and guide - the freedom from pith-helmeted crowds. These properties offer flexibility that typical lodges and camps may not. Guests can tweak menus, arrange a last-minute safari walk, or schedule a sunset barbecue in the bush. "With a private vehicle and a guide, you're not locked into camp routine or the 6 a.m game drive says Briggs.

Kiba Point in Tanzania, is right in the heart of the Selous Game Reserve, Africa's largest wildlife sanctuary, and is just a five-minute drive from its affiliate, the Sand Rivers Selous lodge. The four A-frame stone, thatch and wood cottages sleep up to eight people total, and each comes with its own plunge pool and indoor-outdoor showers. Kiba Point provides all services, and guides lead game drives, sundowner boat trips, walking safaris and fishing excursions - the cooks will gladly turn the hard won tiger fish into a bar snack.

Black Ink, June 2009