6 of Southern Africa’s Most Romantic Escapes
The southern countries of the continent of Africa, a landscape that would perhaps take a lifetime to explore, effortlessly sets the scene for the most exotic and magical of escapes. From candlelit feasts in the bush to hot air ballooning over the Namib Desert, champagne on a traditional dhow and exploring remote islands, we have handpicked a few of the most seductive retreats ‘Out of Africa’ to start you dreaming of a romantic winter escape with that special someone as winter sets in at home.
Opened last year within the Zannier Reserve, Omaanda is a lovesong to the traditional vernacular of the Ovambo. Round thatched huts are described as ‘exquisite’ by Telegraph Travel. It was, in fact, actress Angelina Jolie, who was instrumental in Zannier’s creation in what is one of Namibia’s most beautiful hotels, just 30 minutes drive from the capital Windhoek. Post-spa treatment Sundowners (over 20 flavours of gin) at the Pool Bar while watching rhinos graze under the stars is a romantic end to days spent on game drives across the 9,000 hectares of wildlife-filled majesty.
Set sail for your own island. The Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort is honeymoon paradise, villas overlooking shimmering waters and surrounded by golden sand dunes. The pristine Bazaruto Archipelago off the Mozambique Coast is a seductive retreat and one of the largest conservation areas in the Indian Ocean. Take a traditional Arabian Swahili dhow to nearby Pansy Island and snorkel with a dugong before a local meal. Only the resort and a few fisherman live on Bazaruto Island so it is truly private.
Add a memorable moment to an adventure with your loved one with an exhilarating visit Zimbabwe’s famed Victoria Falls, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Matetsi Victoria Falls is one of our favourite lodges anywhere. Part of an extensive conservation of Matetsi Private Game Reserve, the lodge is ‘ultra-sexy yet understated’ perched next to a glorious stretch of the Zambezi River. The cool design is complemented by Scandinavian-style interiors and natural tactile touches of stone, copper and wood to bring a sensual feel. The 66-foot pool is sensational and seems to touch the waters outside filled with hippos and birds. Al fresco dining on delicious organic food (the chef is one of the best in Africa) takes place waterside under the deep shade of Waterberry and Mangosteen trees.
Understated luxury, seclusion and a stellar sustainability record - Kwandwe Private Game Reserve has it all. Nestled on South Africa’s breathtaking Eastern Cape, the award-winning property (its name means “Place of the Blue Crane”) elevates the safari experience to new heights. Four fabulously-designed villas (we love the contemporary Melton Manor and the Cape Dutch Colonial Uplands) and two intimate lodges are placed for spectacular views. Aside from the game drives, the team arranges private safari experiences including Rhino Conservation Safari and Photographic safaris. Evenings are spent in front of a roaring log fire with South African brandy or wines from the fantastic cellar in hand before retiring to the softest beds to sleep surrounded by the sounds of the African bush - heaven!
5). Jack's Camp, Botswana
Set to be one of the most impactful re-openings of 2020, Jack's Camp Botswana is currently undergoing a dynamic facelift which will see this truly sublime camp re-launch with even greater style. If Napoleon had gone on campaign in the Kalahari he might have created tents of this scale and visual splendour. Canopied four poster beds, drifts of antiques and original posters by French taxidermist, Deyrolle - nothing is allowed to be mundane here. The forties-style mess tent is described as ‘A Natural History Museum in Botswana’ and captures the elegant and utterly individual spirit of camp founder Jack Bousfield. Jack’s Migration Camp is open until next spring and retains all the same qualities. Walk with San Bushmen through scenes of primitive beauty, swim in Africa’s only tented pool and witness the second-largest zebra and wildebeest migration on the continent.
6). 7 Koppies, South Africa
7 Koppies owners James Jayasundera and Marc-Ludolf von Schmarsow joke that the now fabled view from their Sunset Barn causes far too many dinner cancellations. Guests find themselves unable to pull themselves away from the dramatic panorama as the sun dips over the ridges. This is only one of the magic moments waiting at this secluded guesthouse, described at FT’s How To Spend It ‘Cape-contemporary loveliness’. Set in a 125-acre Fynbos reserve just 10 minutes drive from Franschhoek, 7 Koppies has romance in spades. From the natural-water pool running the length of the house to the arching rooms filled with stylish finds collected by the couple from around the world, this is a place to land softly, to drift barefoot and reflect hand in hand at the foot of astonishing natural grandeur.
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