There are few destinations as romantic as Africa. Vast blue skies curve down to golden grasslands that roll to the horizon, framed by distant mountains marching away in shades of navy and purple. Africa awakens your senses: the scent of wild sage, the cry of a fish eagle, and goosebump-inducing leopard sightings. The days are deliciously hot and the nights comfortably cool. African hospitality is warm and sincere, and when it comes to fine dining or lavish luxury, a leading safari lodge is hard to beat.
If you and your travel partner are looking for a setting steeped in adventure and romance, an unforgettable honeymoon, or a last jaunt before you cross over into the realm of family travellers, look no further. Here are my Top 5 African Bucket List Experiences for Couples.
#1 Romantic Kruger, Zimbabwe & Mozambique
Set over 12 days, this decadent escape takes you to Singita lodges in two world-class safari destinations – South Africa’s Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve and Zimbabwe’s Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve – before whisking you off to Mozambique's dazzling Azura Boutique Hotel, set on a private island in the Bazaruto Archipelago. This safari is about big game thrills, elegant settings, very fine dining, and a generous dose of blissful relaxation.
Fill your holiday snaps with extraordinary moments and lifelong memories. Be spellbound together as you catch sight of a leopard resting nonchalantly in a tree, his iconic coat providing almost perfect camouflage. Float dreamily above an underwater wonderland of teeming coral reefs and stroll, hand-in-hand, along postcard-perfect beaches.
#2 Luxury Botswana Wilderness Honeymoon
Experience the classic romance of Botswana’s Okavango Delta and the legendary Savuti in the Chobe National Park. It’s with good reason that Botswana appears regularly in the Top Ten bucket list destinations in Africa. Since the 1960s, the government has encouraged low volumes of visitors at higher rates per person. This means luxurious lodges that host an intimate average of 24 guests in vast tracts of unspoiled wilderness. It’s your assurance that there won’t be a traffic jam at every leopard sighting.
Often, the best travel moments are the simplest ones – when you find yourselves sitting side-by-side in the hushed radiance of a fiery sunset, raising a toast to the utter beauty around you, and to each other.
#3 East Africa's Mara, Crater & Serengeti Migration
This definitive East Africa adventure combines the four most celebrated game reserves in Kenya and Tanzania over eight nights. Take in the vast grasslands of Kenya’s Masai Mara, the tree-climbing lions of Tanzania’s Lake Manyara, the extraordinary Ngorongoro Crater, and the teeming plains of the Serengeti.
Travelling as a couple is all about unforgettable moments. This tour places you in an ‘Out of Africa’ setting, surrounds you with top class hospitality and thrills you with abundant wildlife. You’ll take home the warmth of the African sun kissing your skin, the scent of wild basil, and the low, spine-tingling moan of a lion calling at dusk. Together, you have witnessed all this and more on your East Africa safari.
#4 Uganda Fly-in Gorillas, Chimps & Wildlife
This 7-day adventure takes you into the pristine rainforests of Uganda, home to the endangered mountain gorilla. Step into the wild heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and experience authentic gorilla trekking, as well as the opportunity to search for rare birds or golden monkeys.
A gorilla trek is an unforgettable experience: after trekking - sometimes for a few hours - through the dense rainforest, your guide will alert you to the presence of the gorillas. You'll be able to spend up to one hour observing them in their natural habitat, feeding, eating and sleeping. Little ones are often quite curious and may even approach. Be sure to remain still and sensitive to the animals and the environment.
This life-changing experience is at the top of anyone's African travel bucket list, and with a trip that combines this extraordinary experience with stays in comfortable, upmarket lodges, you'll want to come back for more.
#5 Tanzania's Tarangire, Crater & Serengeti
Tanzania in East Africa has a rich history of safari and this 9-day action-packed itinerary is a fitting tribute to that. Your starting point is Arusha Coffee Lodge, at the gateway to the northern Serengeti plains and home to some of the country’s finest coffee farms. Get ready to enjoy early mornings and nights around the crackling fire at Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire National Park.
After the fun of a walking safari and night drives in Tarangire, you will transfer to one of the most game-filled places in Africa: the Ngorongoro Crater. Your home here is Gibb’s Farm and a game drive through the crater is likely to be one of the biggest highlights of your vacation.
From Ngorongoro to another world-renowned highlight: Serengeti National Park. Your final three nights are at Sayari Camp, where you will lace up your boots for a thrilling walking safari before winging your way back to Arusha and then home.