Bua River Lodge

Lodge in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Run by likeable Englishman (and Eric Sykes lookalike) John, Bua River – perched above a beautiful boulder-strewn section of the river – is an adult Neverland. By night, trails lit by solar lanterns deter nosy wildlife and snake their way to safari tents kitted out with alfresco rain showers, African-chic decor, thick duvets and locally carved chairs.

The main prize, though, goes to the central lodge; crafted from eucalyptus trunks, it's a multilevel, thatched, open-sided affair. Up top, the veranda is good for spotting animals, there's a decent book exchange, and the restaurant serves up tender steaks, pasta dishes and cutlets marinated in red wine, by candlelight.

It's probable you'll see crocs – lots of them – and elephants next to the river. Better still is to take a free morning or pre-sunset safari walk, in the company of a guard, to the cascades (2km). You may also see vervet monkeys, baboons, bushbucks and kudus.

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