The emotions your loved one feels when you ask them such a defining and important question – ‘Will you marry me?’ – can be overwhelming to the point of tears, laughter and weak knees, exactly the sort of emotions that are worthy of an utterly romantic setting.
Africa has always supported a strong romantic tradition, from chilled cocktails served beside a river bank bathed in the majestic colours of sunset, to crystal and silverware laid out for a private dinner under the stars, to a 4-poster bed draped in mosquito netting and dressed in the purest luxury bed linen. Romantic Africa is the serenade of a nightjar singing softly in the darkness and the balance of thrills and tranquility you experience on safari.
We think this continent is simply made for unforgettable marriage proposals! Here are our Top 6 places in Africa to pop the question:
1. Barefoot Luxury on a Private Island
The tiny islands and atolls that dot Africa’s coastline like so many idylic little Edens are tailor-made for the dreamiest, most romantic proposals. Africa’s private islands are found in the warm waters of the coast of the spice island of Zanzibar and the exotic islands of Seychelles, in the middle of remote Lake Malawi, and clustered in pristine archipelagos off Mozambique’s north coast.
A private island vacation is probably one of the best places to pop the question – you could be horseback riding along a deserted beach, dining on fresh seafood as the sun spills over the ocean or clinking champagne glasses while the warm ocean laps your toes. You’ll fall in love all over again!
Where to Stay:
For true barefoot luxury try Mnemba Island Lodge, a tiny island off the clove-and-cinnamon-scented Zanzibari coast.
For bespoke service in an unparalleled location, nothing comes close to North Island in the Seychelles. Serving as the honeymoon destination for British royals Kate & William, the island is incredibly private.
For a holiday on one of Mozambique's most untouched islands, Anantara Medjumbe Private Island offers a rustic, yet luxurious beach experience. Highlights include sunset dhow cruises, fresh seafood and an array of watersports.
For true Robinson-Crusoe chic, try Denis Private Island Lodge situated on a private Seychelles Island, offering incredible diving and plenty to do.
2. On Top of a Natural Wonder
One of the World’s 7 Natural Wonders, Table Mountain is the beautiful backdrop of Africa's gourmet capital, the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town. The views from the top are spectacular - a panorama that takes in the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Winelands, the dramatic folds of the Twelve Apostles mountain range and the bustling City Bowl... it is a view overlooking the tip of Africa.
For an truly romantic proposal, head up the revolving cable car with a gourmet picnic basket and a bottle or two of the Cape’s best sparkling wines... we predict tears of joy as you toast 'making it official'!
Where to Stay:
For a romantic boutique hotel experience in the heart of the City Bowl we recommend: Kensington Place – a sophisticated and tranquil hideaway situated in a quiet and exclusive neighbourhood - or the Cape Cadogan - a charming, service-oriented stay close to bustling Kloof Street, or the Belmond Mount Nelson - the grande old dame of Cape Town, perfect for a luxury getaway.
For seaside luxury we recommend: Sea Five - a glamorous beach getaway a few hundred metres from Camps Bay beach, and O on Kloof - situated in the exclusive Bantry Bay suburb and named as one of Tatler’s 'Top 101 Hotels in the World'.
And for something rather special and certainly different, Ellerman House - situated along the Atlantic Seaboard - is an art-lover's haven, with the largest private collection in Africa. It's also well known for its excellent service and gourmet cuisine.
Another rather spectacular natural wonder quite far away from Cape Town is just as striking, yet so very different. The Ngorongoro Crater is an ancient caldera that supports a huge number of large game, antelope and predators, and is considered home to one of the densest lion populations in the world. Amid all that natural beauty, we think it's also a perfect spot to pop the question!
We recommend Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, perched on the rim of the Crater and offering a truly luxurious, decadent and romantic stay.
3. Overlooking the Smoke that Thunders
Much like witnessing the sheer potency of a roaring lion at twilight, visiting Victoria Falls is a pinnacle experience on a Southern Africa safari. It’s a destination with so much history and old-world glamour surrounding truly majestic natural beauty, whether you experience it from a riverside terrace sipping a gin & tonic, or from the heights of a spray-strewn microlight flight. It is gift-wrapped luxury and adrenalin-fueled adventure in one spectacular package.
Suffice to say, it’s a great place to pop the question, whether you choose a private boat cruise on the Zambezi River, or overlook the thundering falls in the midst of a flurry of rainbows. Victoria Falls is the perfect conclusion to a romantic safari in Botswana or South Africa, and a suitably dramatic setting for a proposal.
Where to Stay:
For an iconic Zimbabwean experience, enjoy a few nights at the elegant Victoria Falls Hotel, situated just a few minutes from the Falls itself.
For high levels of exceptional service, we recommend Royal Chundu, a family-owned and run safari lodge situated on a private stretch of riverbank on the Zambian side of the river. The lodge is also the first Relais & Chateaux property in Zambia.
For a true taste of the wilderness, try Sindabezi Island Camp, a rustic island retreat located on a private island on the Zambezi River upstream from the Falls.
With nine miles of private river frontage on the Zambezi, it shouldn't be hard to find a secluded spot at Matetsi River Lodge to go down on bended knee!
4. Flying Above the Savannah in a Hot-Air Balloon
Imagine looking down at East Africa’s vast open plains as you drift silently over herds of delicate gazelle and elegant giraffe… a hot-air balloon safari is on many a traveller's bucket list with good reason, and it makes a perfect setting for a life-changing proposal.
One of the best places to get airborne is over the Serengeti and Masai Mara eco-system – a vast network of grasslands, migratory paths and wild rivers – a place largely untouched by man and time. For a thrilling proposal get down on one knee in a hot-air balloon floating above the timeless savannah.
Where to Stay:
For a luxury mobile experience, try Serengeti Under Canvas, a camp that moves with the wildebeest migration giving you front-row seats to Africa’s greatest natural spectacle.
For an authentic Masai experience, we recommend Klein’s Camp, an exclusive lodge offering year-round Big 5 game viewing and authentic Masai village visits.
Why not enjoy a full hot-air ballooning experience? The 7-day Luxury Glimpse into the Mara is a special add on to a safari elsewhere in East Africa, while the Luxury Mara, Serengeti & Zanzibar and the East Africa Family Safari combine a variety of experiences including hot-air ballooning.
5. Into the Wilds and Beyond
For many travellers a vacation is all about leaving the daily grind far behind to explore new landscapes and savour new flavours. A truly off-the-beaten track setting is quite unforgettable for a marriage proposal – whether it is in the remote Busanga Plains of Kafue National Park in Zambia, deep in the heart of the Kalahari Desert or exploring the papyrus-lined waterways of the Okavango Delta.
A wilderness escape is the perfect antidote to our endless schedules and stressful city lifestyles. In addition to buckets of tranquility, the best thing about Africa’s remote spaces is the lavish comforts waiting for you there. From walking safaris to game drives, river boating and canoeing, exploring a wild landscape with the one you love sets a very romantic scene for the ultimate proposal.
Where to Stay:
For the wilderness enthusiasts keen on a luxury, try Zarafa Camp in the Linyanti. This old-world safari camp has on hand Swarovski binoculars, a Nikon telescope and a Canon 5d SLR camera in every room.
For those wanting to get away from it all, Shumba Bush Camp in the remote Kafue National Park in Zambia offers a truly wild location with rare wildlife and superb birdlife.
For an action-packed romance, try Motse Lodge on the edge of the Kalahari. From bush walks to horseback safaris, discover the red sands of the desert between relaxation in the Sanctuary Spa.
For a heavenly setting, Ngala Tented Camp in the heart of the Timbavati Game Reserve is our choice: a classic tented camp with gorgeous river views and impeccable style.
For an experience of a lifetime, try Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, situated in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and superbly positioned for gorilla trekking.
For an exclusive wilderness experience in one of Tanzania's most remote parks, visit Chada Katavi, an intimate camp with only 6 tents.
Want to propose in Kenya? We recommend Saruni Wild in the Mara - perfect for hot-air ballooning; The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille with sensational views from its position on the Laikipia Plateau; Mahali Mzuri, one of Richard Branson's eco-lodges, and Sasaab Camp, a pristinely beautiful camp in the Samburu with views of Mount Kenya.
For a truly off-the-beaten-track proposal, we recommend Serra Cafema, a wilderness camp set deep in the heart of Namiba's Kaokoveld, and Little Kulala Lodge near Sossusvlei - home to the biggest sand dunes in the world.
Popping the question ought to be one of the most romantic moments of your life, so it's definitely worth getting an African Safari Expert on board to help you plan the details. And Africa will keep on thrilling you for years to come! It is the perfect destination to celebrate a wedding or share a special anniversary together. So, begin your love affair with Africa with an unforgettable proposal...