Written by Lindsay Krause
Africa has been a romanticized destination since the early writings of Ernest Hemingway and those timeless scenes of Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in “Out of Africa”. On one hand, nothing has changed and Africa is still that remote, idyllic location that embodies an age-old romance and everything you may have dreamt of, but on the other, the experiences on offer across this diverse continent have evolved like never before – from sleep-outs in a suspended ‘bird’ nest to an underwater room. We share our favourite romantic destinations in Southern Africa.
Architect Daniel Pouzet materialised the fantasy of experiencing life from a ‘bird’s eye view’. Set in the heart of the Laikipia plains in Kenya, Pouzet conceptualised and created a macro bird nest at the award-winning Segera Retreat. Towering over the surrounding landscape, next to an active river, the NAY PALAD Bird Nest is an out-of-this-world experience for couples and is the perfect extension to your stay at Segera Retreat.
Illuminated by lanterns at night, the nest features an inviting open-air bed located on the top of the structure, and is kitted out with hot water bottles to keep guests warm during the night. In the morning, a picnic breakfast is delivered to your nest, to be enjoyed while witnessing elephants, giraffe and other wildlife gather to drink from the river banks.
Picture a secluded island in East Africa, where chimpanzees roam free and dense unexplored forests awaits – this romantic scene comes to life at the foot of Mahale Mountain National Park. A destination for the very adventurous couple, you will have the opportunity to come face to face with the largest populations of wild chimps in East Africa. These habituated groups have been studied for over 50 years.
Located at the foot of the Mahale Mountains, the intimate camp features 6 thatched suites overlooking Lake Tanganyika. The unique A-frame bandas are open-fronted and are set on the beach, transporting you to a lost world of barefoot luxury. Spend your days at leisure on the lake shore, exploring the island by boat or trek through winding forest trails alongside your expert guide, to observe the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
34 years ago, this location in Kenya’s Maasai Mara was used for some of the most iconic scenes of the the 1985 film Out of Africa. Today, you can relive these moments at the exclusive Angama Mara Camp. A nod to the film’s renowned poster, follow your Maasai naturalist to the crest of the Out of Africa Kopje for your private picnic overlooking Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. The old-world picnic includes canvas safari chairs, a wicker picnic basket packed with elegant snacks, sparkling wine on ice, a blanket and comfy cushions, not to mention panoramic views of the sun setting over the Maasai Mara. It’s hard to beat.
Floating 250m off the shores of Pemba Island, Tanzania, located in a marine reserve, you will find Manta Resort’s exclusive underwater room. Picture yourself surrounded by 360 views of uninterrupted ocean. Imagine falling asleep in your private and protected underwater world, one that is teeming with marine life. This romantic destination begins with a short boat ride from the resort to the eco-friendly underwater room.
You will be left entirely to your own devices and are free to spend your days exploring the surrounding coral reefs by kayak and snorkel.
On arrival your captain will show you the ins and outs of your private 3 tier island which features a landing deck with a lounge area, a star-gazing deck above and a bedroom submerged below the water. You will be provided with a mobile phone should you require assistance from a security guard anchored close by but otherwise you will be left entirely to your own devices and you and your partner will be free to spend your days exploring the surrounding coral reefs by kayak and snorkel.
Board the Rovos Rail and take a step back to a time of opulence, steam trains and slow travel. Starting in Pretoria, the old-world locomotive will wind its way up north on a 4 day journey towards the Zimbabwean border and its final destination – Victoria Falls. As the train snakes its way past the Hwange National Park, you will have the opportunity to experience a unique safari, wildlife can often be spotted from the train’s viewing deck. On board, enjoy afternoon teas served in Victorian dining cars, world-class dining experiences paired with bubbles and watching the world go by from the train’s observation car.
If these 5 romantic destinations in Southern Africa appeal to your sense of romance and adventure, get in touch with one of our LuxVenture® Experts who can help add an unforgettable touch of romance to your African safari.