Elite Traveler Winter 2021

andBeyond Phinda Homestead SOUTH AFRICA

Not just the brand’s flagship post, andBeyond Phinda Homestead is also a blueprint and inspiring story for ecotourism success. The land for the brand’s first game reserve was identified as key conservation land that had become derelict due to overgrazing. Purchased by andBeyond’s founders, the land has been restored to its natural glory, and wildlife has been successfully reintroduced. The Phinda Homestead is available for exclusive use; the four-bedroom, farmhouse-esque lodge is the epitome of classic safari elegance with natural wood and glass, plus an impressive art collection. There is a full kitchen, library, well-equipped gym, pond and chemical-free swimming pool; elephants often stop by for a drink. The outdoor sunken lounge with firepit is made for gathering and telling tales of days spent in the bush. Best feature Incredible wildlife and conservation history From $6,900 per night. Contact enquiries@andbeyond.com, +27 118 094 300, andbeyond.com

Anantara Sahara Tozeur Resort & Villas, Royal Villa TOZEUR, TUNISIA An oasis in the vast golden sands of the Sahara, this Anantara hotel is in a truly unique location. One of the main draws is the mirage-inducing, hallucinatory salt flats (known as Chott El Djerid) at the edge of the Tunisian Sahara Desert; you’ll have a front-row seat from pretty much everywhere in the Royal Villa three-bedroom abode. Plus, if a hideaway in the Sahara wasn’t quite enough privacy, this villa is set away from the resort, where no other guests will pass through or overlook the terrace and pool deck. It has a dining room, full kitchen, library and living room, plus an additional villa just for staff. The architecture is minimal and striking, with Moorish and Berber influences — think clean lines, natural tones, intricate patterns and perfect symmetry. Best feature Views of the salt flats From $4,000 per night. Contact res.atoz@anantara.com, +216 293 470 00, anantara.com

Shambala Private Game Reserve, NelsonMandela Villa SOUTH AFRICA Found within Shambala Private Game Reserve, a 24,700- acre reserve that sits along a lush riverbank, the Nelson Mandela Villa is as historically important as it is magnificent. The five-bedroom villa is positioned away from the other lodges (known as Zulu Camp) for added privacy and has a dining room with a 14-seat table, living room, two lounges (with fireplaces), two studios, business center, boardroom and separate space for staff. The pièce de résistance is the striking indoor/outdoor pool. It leads out to a viewing deck that overlooks a watering hole where the reserve’s myriad wildlife stop by to quench their thirst. The villa was constructed especially for the former president and anti-apartheid revolutionary as a safe haven and a place to hold important meetings. He also wrote his memoirs in this very villa. It was built using Zulu construction techniques such as thatching and mud walling/roofing in order to be as waste-free as possible. Best feature Rich history and authentic Zulu design From $5,700 per night. Contact reservations@saxon.co.za, +27 112 926 000, shambalaprivategamereserve.co.za

Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge, Forest Villa RUHENGERI, RWANDA

Wilderness Safaris has the secret formula to all things responsible luxury. Constructing incredible, lavish accommodations that leave no trace on the ground they rest upon, the brand champions the destinations in which its lodgings reside, choosing to employ local people and use local materials in construction, with the aim to leave the place better off. Each guest contributes to biodiversity conservation and local community upliftment, making a multifaceted impact on the community and the wildlife. The camp is on the slopes of an eroded volcanic crater, and the distinctive design is that of traditional Rwandan royalty. There are six en-suite Forest Villas located in this natural amphitheater; each one has magnificent views of the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes. The domed villas have unique, opulent interiors — think natural materials, deep jewel tones and considered little touches, such as the Covid-safe face masks that each guest receives. They are made from traditional Rwandan kitenge fabric, and the purchase of these masks as gifts supports a local community project called Muhisimbi. Best feature Unmatched location and spectacular volcano views From $3,000 per night. Contact Ingrid Bass, operations manager, enquiry@wilderness-safaris.com, +27 112 570 00, wilderness-safaris.com

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