Add to this exploring the remote wilderness of the Namib Desert, enjoying the private game reserves and Winelands of South Africa… and all from exclusive, intimate romantic camps and lodges. Think luxurious outdoor en-suite bathrooms… rooms with private terraces complete with a plunge pool affording fantastic views of game-rich landscapes… private butlers on hand to exceed your needs… fabulous spa treatments specifically designed to relax the mind, body, and soul… and you are presented with the ultimate romantic safari!
Few experiences on Planet Earth can match watching the astonishing spectacle of huge herds of zebra and wildebeest sweeping across the African plains, especially if you take to the skies in a hot air balloon, drifting across the Maasai Mara and sipping champagne as the sun rises. Dine alfresco under the stars in a traditional boma, your surroundings further illuminated by candlelight and your meal served by an exceptional chef. Enjoy a refreshing sundowner next to a campfire, while listening to the calls of the wild. Relish a delicious lunch served in the bush, with no one else around except a herd of elephants passing you by. For many of us, a beach holiday is synonymous with romance – and Africa has some of the best beaches in the world. There are idyllic islands dotted around the Indian Ocean, including the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Zanzibar, all offering a perfect combination with your safari. These places are spellbinding to say the least, so be prepared to make memories to cherish forever.
We have put together a small selection of some of our favourite romantic safari lodges and camps. The award-winning &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania, situated on the rim of the beautiful Ngorongoro Crater, is renowned for its luxury and its spectacular views. The main areas of the lodge are lavish and each suite’s thrilling interior blends beautifully with its architecture, featuring wood stilts and cosy thatch. Your personal butler will really spoil you. Returning from your evening game drive, you will find rose petals leading the way to your hot steaming bath filled with bubbles. Enjoy a romantic candlelit meal with breathtaking views over the floor of the volcanic caldera, then head back to your suite for a warm welcome, your fire already stoked next to your four-poster bed, a perfect cocoon. Where else in the world can you stay in a super-luxurious safari camp perched on the edge of an extinct volcano that is abundant with big game?
Singita Sasakwa Lodge, located in the Grumeti Reserves in northern Tanzania, is a very attractive option for travellers who appreciate understated opulence and a little elegance from yesteryear. This manor house, which dates to the turn of the century, together with a selection of private cottages merges European and East African styles and influences to offer luxury on a completely different level. It may not appeal to all, but for those looking for a lavish safari ‘hotel’ this place must be top of your list. Originally the private home of one of the wealthiest men on the planet, Sasakwa is a safari lodge like no other. Seemingly a step back in time to an era when affluent explorers made their homes in Africa, Sasakwa is adorned with priceless paintings, crystal chandeliers, and one of the best views on the continent. With the night sky full of sparkling stars and lanterns leading the way to your private candlelit table, you will be served food to compete with the Roux brothers, all topped with a view of the entire Western Corridor of the Serengeti lit up by the moon – romance like this is hard to beat.
In Botswana, our personal favourite is Zarafa Camp, located in the Selinda Reserve. This is a world-class boutique property with just four luxuriously appointed ‘marquis-style’ tents. Zarafa is one of the most private, romantic, and sumptuous camps around, offering guests an authentic taste of Africa. Each of the tents is split into two spacious sections, with a grand living area and a stylish en-suite bedroom featuring a four-poster bed and a beautiful roll-top copper bathtub. Out on your extensive deck there is a power shower and a private plunge pool with breathtaking sweeping views over game-rich floodplains. Dine under the stars in a boma nestled within the surrounding bush and enjoy an elegant lunch aboard a boat on the calm waters of Zibadianja Lagoon, teeming with hippos and elephants. Alternatively, enjoy the plentiful game sightings just in front of your tent! However you choose to spend your time, you will be very well looked after and a stay here will certainly enrich your African safari experience.
Sweni Lodge is a tranquil intimate hideaway situated at the edge of the Sweni River in Kruger National Park. The six tree house suites have been designed to float above the river, each joined to the other along raised wooden walkways close to the branches of the trees. In our opinion, Sweni is utterly beautiful, an exceptional property where romance is part of the lodge design. Living spaces promote open-air living, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, timber decks for romantic private dining, an outdoor shower, and a star bed for intimate ‘camp-outs’ listening to the snorting hippos and snapping crocs – all perfectly set up to yield one of the most romantic and adventurous nights in the African wilderness.
Londolozi Granite is yet another super-slick exclusive safari lodge, located in the central region of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. We cannot rate this property highly enough – it is a stunning example of how to do romance right! As it has just three private suites, you will be treated to truly exceptional service. Each suite has a bedroom and lounge, indoor and outdoor shower, outdoor bath (the most photographed baths of any camp in Africa!), an outdoor sala, and a private outdoor heated swimming pool from which you can view the active river life.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is also pretty special. Set on the edge of the Sossusvlei dunes with some of the clearest skies on Earth, each suite here has a skylight over the bed, perfect for stargazing. From marvelling at the night sky to tucking in to intimate picnics in the desert, there are many ways to experience one of Africa’s most compelling landscapes. The lodge even has an observatory, where you can stargaze in the company of a knowledgeable astronomer! Enjoy early morning hot air ballooning and scenic flights – and dine among the dunes for an unforgettable experience.
Another exceptional property is the beautifully sophisticated Ol Donyo Lodge, created by safari pioneer Richard Bonham. It is located at the foot of the Chyulu Hills, in between the national parks of Amboseli and Tsavo West in the southeast of Kenya. With jaw-dropping views of Mount Kilimanjaro and many special touches provided by the attentive and friendly staff, this lodge provides a memorable stay in one of Africa’s most beautiful wildernesses. You can take a guided horse ride out onto the majestic plains and set up camp for the night under the stars, or have your bed made up on the roof of your villa and spend a magical night under clear skies, waking up to see Mount Kilimanjaro rising above you.
We appreciate that not everyone seeks pure luxury when it comes to finding a romantic place to stay – you may prefer the simplicity of nature and the adventure of safari itself. Selinda Explorers Camp is in our view the most spectacular of the adventure camps in Africa. It is located on a remote stretch of the Selinda Spillway, near to the 130,000-hectare private Selinda Reserve. For the true romantics, brass hipbaths can be set up on a secluded sandbank for a bath under the stars!