Africa is a continent of staggering diversity, providing some very distinctive and memorable safari experiences. These range from driving on the majestic open savannas of Kenya and Tanzania and boating through the wetlands of the Okavango Delta, to exploring the remote wilderness of the Namib Desert and enjoying the private game reserves and Winelands of South Africa. And all of this from exclusive, private, intimate, and luxurious camps and lodges – think decadent outdoor en-suite bathrooms, roll-top copper bathtubs, four-poster beds, rooms with private terraces and plunge pools, private butlers on hand to exceed your needs, and fabulous spa treatments to relax the mind, body and soul… and you are presented with the ultimate romantic safari.
Dine alfresco under the star-studded skies 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 camp fire, or even fall asleep in a romantic treehouse or sleep-out deck whilst listening to the calls of the wild. Relish a delicious bush breakfast or lunch served in the bush, with no one else around except a herd of elephants passing you by.
Be sure to mention if you are going on safari to celebrate a particular occasion – we will pass this information on to your lodges and often they will arrange something special for you. These extra ‘treats’ are usually a personal gesture from the lodge managers, and can range from flowers in your room, a warm bubble bath waiting for you when you return from a game drive, a surprise candlelit dinner or a romantic turndown, complete with cosy roaring fire.
If this has whetted your appetite, allow us to recommend 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 spectacular views. The main areas of the lodge are lavish and each suite’s incredible interior blends beautifully with its architecture, featuring wood stilts and cosy thatch. Your personal butler will help you make the most of all the facilities, including bubble baths and private fireplaces.
Singita Sasakwa Lodge, located in the Grumeti Reserve of northern Tanzania, is a safari lodge like no other, seemingly a step back in time to an era of understated opulence and elegance. It is adorned with priceless paintings and crystal chandeliers, and has 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 flair of the Roux brothers, all topped off 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, one of the most private, romantic and sumptuous camps around, offering guests an authentic taste of Africa. This is a world-class boutique property with just four luxuriously appointed ‘marquis-style’ tents. 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.
Singita Sweni Lodge is a tranquil, intimate hideaway situated at the edge of the Sweni River in Kruger National Park. The six treehouse 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 experiences, 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 a super-slick, exclusive safari lodge, located in the central region of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. We cannot rate this property highly enough – it is an excellent 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 showers, outdoor bath (these are the most photographed baths of any camp in Africa!) and a private outdoor heated swimming pool from which you can view the active river life.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is set on the edge of the Sossusvlei dunes, and therefore enjoys some of the clearest skies on Earth. Each suite here has a skylight over the bed, perfect for stargazing in the most comfortable way imaginable. 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 situated at the foot of the Chyulu Hills with jaw-dropping views of Mount Kilimanjaro and many special touches provided by the attentive and friendly staff. 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 in front of 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!