Deep in the southwest corner of Selous, this lodge is just about as isolated and exclusive as you can get. Sited in the Sand River area above a wide bend of the Rufiji River, the stone and thatch lodge and chalets are literally and metaphorically hundreds of miles away from tourist Africa with its ubiquitous curio shops and gawking tourists. Your open-fronted en-suite chalet has a king-size bed, elegant wooden furniture, elegant cream and white soft furnishings, carefully chosen African artifacts, and great river views. In front of the main lodge, which is shaded by a 1,500-year-old baobab tree, there's a stone walkway that curves along the riverbank, where you can sit and watch cavorting hippos and dozing crocs. Apart from its game drives, the lodge prides itself on its walking safaris; you don't have to be super fit, but a ramble through the surrounding wilderness with some of Tanzania's best guides is something you'll never forget. Watch birds and game from a gently chugging boat,
or spend a night fly-camping beside Lake Tagalala to a soundtrack of roaring lions, chortling hippos, and splashing crocs. The boat trip through Stiegler's Gorge (named after a Swiss explorer who got taken out here by an elephant in 1907) is your best chance of seeing a leopard. The lodge does not take direct bookings.
Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania