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Africa's Most Romantic Destinations
Many people choose to travel to Africa for their honeymoon or romantic vacation. For many of us, a beach holiday is synonymous with romance and Africa has some of the best beaches in the world.
There are gorgeous islands dotted along the Indian Ocean including The Seychelles, and Zanzibar -- to name a few. Beaches here are generally less crowded and it's less expensive for a truly exclusive experience than in the Caribbean, Hawaii or Mediterranean.
A luxury safari is also an amazing way to say "I love you". Tented camps that cater to romantic couples include hot baths, butler service, gourmet dining and of course several daily game drives, so you can see the stunning African wildlife. Below you'll find a list of some of the most romantic safaris on offer in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, and Kenya.
If city life is more to your taste and you enjoy culture and shopping, then Marrakech in Morocco is the perfect destination. There's nothing more romantic than staying in one of the city's opulent traditional houses, now turned into boutique hotels, called riads.
And if a luxury safari, desert island, or medieval city isn't your idea of romance, perhaps a sail down the Nile in a luxury boat will tweak your romantic taste buds. Or, a trek through the sands of the Sahara Desert, following ancient caravan routes and enjoying the beautiful Dogon region in Mali.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Romantic Safaris in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve and the Serengeti
A luxury tented safari in the Masai Mara National Reserve may seem familiar to you if you enjoyed the movie Out of Africa. Kenya is Africa's premier safari destination and the Mara is the jewel in the crown. The Masai Mara has abundant wildlife in a relatively small area. You can literally see the "big five" in one day along with plenty of giraffe, elephant, hippo, baboons, warthogs and more.
The luxury tented camps afford you the romance of being out in the African bush with wildlife all around you while enjoying gourmet food, a soft bed, and a hot shower.
The Most Romantic Luxury Tented Safaris include:
- Governors Camps. There are 4 campsites owned and run by the Governors Camp group. All are luxury tented camps in beautiful settings inside the Masai Mara Reserve. The most luxurious and romantic camp is The Governors' Ilmoran Camp. This camp has just 10 tents, each with their own verandas, flushing toilets, Victorian baths and comfortable beds. The food is of course excellent as well.
Bateleur Camp has 9 luxury tents each with their own private verandas, ceiling fans, en-suite bathrooms, and butler.
- Mara Bushtops is a luxury tented camp in the Mara Siana Wildlife Conservancy, it borders Masai Mara National Park. Visitors fly into the camp, which is set up high on a hill, overlooking a scenic valley. A recent guest recalls "You can swim in the pool and watch giraffe, baboons, gazelle and other wildlife at the same time, a few hundred meters in the distance". Maasai guides accompany all game drives, the food as well as wine choice is excellent and the tents are extremely comfortable.
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03 of 10
Romantic Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
The Victoria Falls are one of the greatest natural wonders of the world and to simply watch this mile-wide curtain of water thunder down is awesome. While my idea of romance is to white-water raft in the Zambezi just near the Falls, for some it may be doing a bungee jump together. Regardless of what you do at the Victoria Falls, you'll certainly want to spend a few nights here and there are some wonderfully romantic spots to choose from:
Romantic Accommodations at the Victoria Falls include:
- The Tongabezi Lodge (Zambia): There's even a room called "The Honeymoon House" at this beautiful luxury lodge situated on the banks of the Zambezi River. The rooms are separate cottages, where you can opt to dine alone on your private deck. Or you can dine on a floating table in the middle of the Zambezi and watch the sun go down while dinner is canoed out to you. The Lodge also offers more rustic accommodation on an island in the middle of the Zambezi, if you're looking for a truly exclusive experience among the hippos.
- The Victoria Falls Hotel (Zimbabwe): If you're a history buff then you'll love the Victoria Falls Hotel. Its romantic charm lies in the historical significance of the hotel where royalty from many nations have stayed before you. The hotel's grounds are maintained beautifully and the private path leading to the most spectacular view of the Falls is still intact. You can enjoy the spray of the falls while having a sundowner on the wonderful lawn. But, as with the rest of Zimbabwe, the economic situation has affected the quality of food and some reports suggest it isn't quite what it used to be.
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04 of 10
Romantic Cruises down the Nile River in Egypt
Cruising down the Nile, watching life along its riverbanks and the sun set over ancient monuments is awfully romantic. Most Nile cruises include stops at Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Aswan. In general, you'll want to pick a cruise that lasts at least 4 nights and go between October and April. While there are over 200 cruise vessels sailing the Nile, you should be picky if you want a romantic experience.
The Most Romantic Nile Cruises include:
- The Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser: This is a nice ship with 54 cabins, each with their private balconies for great views of the Nile banks. You can opt for 4 nights or 6-night packages.
- The Royal Cleopatra: Enjoy a romantic, intimate cruise on this traditional sailboat called a dahabeeya, commonly used by Victorian travelers. The Royal Cleopatra can be rented privately and sleeps up to 8 people. Because the vessel is smaller than a cruise ship you can dock at more sights and enjoy being the only tourist. A large sundeck affords excellent views of the Nile.
- Sun Boat III: Abercrombie & Kent's Sun Boat III has 14 luxuriously appointed cabins and 4 suites, decorated in an art deco style. The boat is smaller than most other luxury cruisers on the Nile so you have a more intimate experience and better yet, smaller groups when you tour the ancient monuments.
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A stay at Adrere Amellal near the Siwa Oasis in the middle of Egypt's Sahara desert. A unique luxury hotel made of mud and straw, nestled into a craggy mountain. Dine under candlelight and ride Arabian horses during the day...Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Romantic Mnemba Island, Zanzibar (Tanzania)
Mnemba is a private island in the Indian Ocean and part of the Zanzibar Archipelago. The island offers the best snorkeling in Zanzibar (and that's saying something) and you can also watch whales, see dolphins and swim with whale sharks. Best of all, for the romantics out there, there are only 10 cottages on the island which make up the Mnemba Island Lodge.
Mnemba Island Lodge is owned exclusively by & Beyond. Each cottage has its own veranda and is hidden in the shade of a tropical beach forest. A palm-covered walkway leads to an en-suite bathroom with shower and basin. Dine on fresh lobster at night on a table set up on the beach for you alone.
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Chumbe Island (Zanzibar) is a private island and a nature sanctuary just a few miles south of Zanzibar. The eco-lodge offers just 7 unique bungalows, each with their own access to the beach, large living rooms, and en-suite bathrooms.
Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island (Zanzibar Archipelago's second largest island) is an exclusive resort with 14 tented bungalows built on wooden platforms. There are also four Beachside Suites with their own private plunge pools and lounges.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Romantic Safaris in Botswana's Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a magnet for wildlife. The Okavango river cuts through the center of the Kalahari Desert creating a unique ecosystem that gives life to a huge variety of birds and mammals. The Okavango is a unique safari destination because you can view wildlife from a traditional 4x4 vehicle, but also while enjoying a tranquil ride in a traditional canoe, a mokoro.
The Okavango Delta is also difficult to access by road so people have to fly in for their safaris and this translates into an exclusive experience. If your idea of a romantic vacation or honeymoon includes a luxury safari camp, see the accommodations listed below.
The Most Romantic Safari Camps include:
- Jao Camp: 9 spacious, elevated rooms made of canvas and thatch with their own decks, bathrooms, outdoor showers. A raised walkway connects the rooms to the dining room and lounge area. There is a plunge pool and an outdoor 'boma' for dining under the stars, as well as an excellent wine cellar. You can see hippos and elephants walking under your rooms!
- Mombo Camp - luxury in one of the finest wildlife areas on the planet, Mombo camp located on Chiefs Island, is legendary for those with deep pockets and lots of safari experience. This camp rarely disappoints for sheer excellence on all fronts.
Sanctuary Baines Camp - Lovely small camp with just 5 suites on its own private concession. Be sure to do the "elephant experience" while here. Star beds and star baths make this a wonderful camp for honeymooners and couples.
- Sandibe Safari Lodge: 8 exclusive safari cottages each with en-suite bathrooms, open-air showers and private game-viewing decks overlooking the Santantadibe River. There's a swimming pool in the forest and wonderful views of the Okavango Delta from every cottage.
- Litte Tubu - with just three suites, and one with its own little tree-house, Little Tubu is perfect for couples. Great guides and management ensure a wonderful stay.
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Kings Pool Camp in the Linyati Game Reserve is probably Botswana's most luxurious safari camp. 9 tented rooms have their own decks and plunge pools. The tents are connected by elevated walkways so the wildlife roams freely underneath you.
Zarafa - located in the Selinda Reserve is another wonderful choice for exclusive, romantic wilderness.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Romantic Marrakech (Morocco)
Marrakech ( Morocco) is exotic and fascinating; home to fire jugglers, snake charmers, and carpet salesman. The medina (old town) is well-preserved behind ancient walls, filled with souqs (markets) and warren-like alleyways with a surprise around every corner. If all this hustle and bustle doesn't gel with your idea of romance, then you haven't heard about the Riads of Marrakech.
Riads are traditional Moroccan homes, some of which have been turned into the most exquisite, romantic, small hotels. The best Riads will offer breakfast in a tiled courtyard, a traditional hammam (sauna) and rooms decorated in traditional Moroccan style.
The Most Romantic Riads in Marrakech include:
- Riad Kniza: Situated in the heart of Marrakech's Medina just a few minutes walk from the Djemma el Fna (the main square), this small, romantic, beautifully furnished traditional Riad has 7 rooms, two lounges, a courtyard and several patios.
- La Maison Arabe: La Maison Arabe is a luxury Riad in the heart of the Marrakech Medina. Famous for its restaurant it also offers 17 rooms overlooking two courtyards and a beautiful hammam (traditional Moroccan sauna).
- Maison Mnabha: Situated in the Kasbah area of old Marrakech, Maison Mnabha offers 4 bedrooms, some with a private roof terrace, overlooking the medina and the distant Atlas Mountains. The rooms are beautifully decorated in 17th-century tile work. A private chef can offer you a candlelit dinner on the roof terrace.
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Romantic Private Islands in The Seychelles
The Seychelles Islands (in the Indian Ocean) have long been one of the world's most romantic destinations. Prince William and Kate spent their honeymoon there recently. In 2007 William took Kate on a trip to Desroches Island, which is absolute paradise for couples looking for a romantic beach vacation.
Situated about 150 miles (240km) from the Seychelles capital Mahe (a 35-minute flight), the private island of Desroches boasts several miles of sparkling white beaches and fantastic coral reefs. The Desroches Island Retreat is the only accommodation on the island. 20 luxury villas are nestled under shady coconut palms. Tracks all over the island lead to secluded beaches. You can dive, ride a bike, enjoy the spa and swimming pool and then dine under the moonlight.
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- Denis Island, another idyllic island retreat in the Seychelles, with just 25 luxury chalets.
- North Island with just 11 guest villas as well as a well-stocked library, beautiful swimming pool, and eco-friendly design, this hotel deserves its win as "the best of the best" according to Conde Nast Traveler (2006). The North island was picked by the royal couple as their honeymoon destination.
- Fregate Island has 16 luxury villas and doesn't allow day-visitors, so the maximum number of guests is limited to 40. Each villa is secluded with private jacuzzi and spectacular beach views. There's a spa as well as a marina filled with yachts to take you on excursions to other islands.
- Cousine Island has just 4 villas for the ultimate Robinson Crusoe experience. Each French colonial style villa has its own private beach access. If you stay here you'll be contributing directly to the preservation of this pristine island.
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Romantic Safari in Sabi Sands Reserve, South Africa
Sabi Sands Reserve is a beautiful area south-west of South Africa's famous Kruger National Park. Sabi Sands is comprised of a number of smaller reserves that have set the bar for all of Africa, with their luxurious, intimate and classy lodges. Not only can you enjoy some of Africa's most stunning scenery and wildlife, but you get to sip South Africa's delicious wines, get first-class spa treatments and enjoy gourmet food. Click on any of the links below and prepare to be romantically stunned by what's on offer.
The Most Romantic Sabi Sands Safari Lodges include:
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Romantic Adventure in the Sahara Desert
If adventure rather than pure luxury appeals to you, head for the Sahara desert, one of the most beautiful places on earth. What can be more romantic than a true adventure in Mali (West Africa), the land of the Dogon, and the beautiful mud architecture of Djenne and Timbuktu?
Abercrombie and Kent the luxury tour company has a very nice tour -- Tailor Made Mali. It's a 7-day tour that starts in the capital Bamako, then travels on to Djenne, Segou, Mopti, Timbuktu, and Bandiagara (where you stay at the Hotel Kambary which is worth taking a quick look at).
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- Desert Camp - Erg Chigaga. Enjoy sheer luxury in Morocco's desert, at this lovely five-star camp, easily combined with a stay in Marrakech.