With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it seems only right to bring you Africa’s most romantic escapes. But don’t expect just the usual ‘candlelit dinners’ and ‘petal-strewn bathtubs’: our experts have ditched the clichés and sought out exceptional experiences and secluded escapes - this is romance with an African twist.
1. Botswana: A Truly Romantic Adventure
Baines' Camp offers all the usual safari activities you’d expect in the Delta: morning and evening game drives, guided walking safaris and gentle mokoro journeys along reed-lined waterways – but it’s the evenings when this little camp truly shines.
After a day of game viewing, slip into an outdoor bubble bath on your private viewing deck or ask for your 4-poster bed to be wheeled out so you and your loved one can snuggle down under a soft duvet and blanket of stars as hippos snort and gurgle in the river below you.
You can also go walking with a ‘family’ of three adopted elephants: Jabu, Thembi and Morula. Spend the morning with the elephants as they forage for food and take showers in the lagoons, followed by a picnic out in the African bush.
Tell Me More: Baines' Camp is an intimate lodge with just five luxurious suites set in a private reserve in the Okavango Delta.
2. Seychelles: Cycling from Beach to Beach & Staying on a Private Island
For picture-perfect tropical beaches, La Digue tops the list. Although it's the fourth largest island in the Seychelles, you could probably cycle from end to end in about an hour. But that's not the point.
Instead, pedal off at a leisurely pace past towering palm trees and ox-drawn carts in the direction of Anse Source d'Argent. This magnificent stretch of sand, strewn with massive granite boulders is one of the most photographed beaches in the world and, after you've seen it, you'll know why
In the afternoon, continue your journey to Anse Patates in the north for a spot of snorkelling or find your own palm-fringed cove to enjoy in blissful privacy.
3. Cape Town: Private Tours & Fine Dining
Famous for its timeless luxury, the grand old Mount Nelson Hotel (or 'The Nellie' as she's affectionately known to the locals) serves up all manner of treats to honeymooners and those looking for a romantic escape.
Ease your way into your day with a blissful couples massage at the hotel’s Librisa Spa – one of Cape Town’s leading day spas - then relax over morning tea in the spa garden. When you’re ready to set out and explore the city, the Mount Nelson staff can prepare a hamper of tasty treats to be enjoyed on top of Table Mountain or on Camps Bay’s famous beach.
Exclusive Ellerman House is situated on the Atlantic Seaboard and brings together superb world-class service, with exceptional sea views and an award-winning spa. Spend your afternoon enjoying Africa's largest private art collection, and then settle down with a sundowner or after-dinner nightcap in the Ellerman House Bar, which is decorated with rich leather, wood, and skilled stone masonry hewn from raw Table Mountain granite.
4. Cape Winelands: Wine Tasting & Horseback Rides
There's nothing quite like sipping a chilled chardonnay or pleasant rosé in the shade of an ancient oak. Around you, the vines rise up the foothills of craggy-topped mountains and the air is so calm that you become aware of even the softest sound. The subtle mix of oxygen with the delicate bouquet of the wine will give you a slight buzz as you mount your horses and set off through world-famous vineyards in the direction of the next farm.
Our favourite Cape Winelands town is Franschhoek - the gourmet capital of South Africa. This beautiful valley is packed with prize-winning restaurants so after time in the saddle you can look forward to a gourmet feast! For a romantic atmosphere, sit out in the courtyard under the fairy lights at Rueben's or, for the ultimate fine-dining experience, book a table for two at Le Quartier Francais.
Tell Me More: Franschhoek is just an hour's drive from Cape Town but we'd recommend spending a couple of nights in one of the La Residence Villas, comprising six beautifully decorated privately owned villas with spectacular views of the Franschhoek mountains.
5. Kenya: Spectacular Big Game & Samburu Views
There are parts of Kenya that simply need visiting in order to appreciate the incredible natural beauty. The Samburu National Reserve, lying on the edge of northern Kenya’s arid savannahs, appeals as much to the first-time safari goer as it does to the expert. The game-viewing is quite unique; the reserve is home to the ‘Samburu Big 5’ – Grevy’s zebra, the long-necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, besia oryx and Somali ostrich, all found exclusively in the Samburu.
Saruni Samburu Safari Lodge is set in a private conservancy and enjoys truly magnificent views of the unfolding plains. From the moment you step off your safari plane, you’ll be captivated by the diversity of experiences: day and night game drives, nature walks, cultural interactions with the local Samburu, spa treatments, animal tracking and private bush dining.
Tell me more: Ideal for nature lovers, Saruni Samburu's two cottages and three safari villas offer 360-degree views, and are a lovely, romantic introduction to this special reserve, and provides a worthy taster of what Kenya offers.