Every day in Africa is a feast for the senses, from waking to the sound of birdsong and the aroma of fresh coffee, to watching the sunset over the savannah. When the love of your life is next to you, these moments become even more special, so spend some time lingering over our selection of impossibly romantic African experiences.
PRIVATE KENYAN SLEEP-OUT
Probably Africa’s most luxurious sleepout option, the Bird Nest at Segera is also one of the most distinctive. Created to resemble an eagle’s nest, it rises above the surrounding treetops to give 360-degree views over the Laikipia region. The nearby river attracts a constant stream of wildlife, all of which you can observe from your vantage point. The branches that form the nest structure were handwoven by local community members to create a peaceful haven for guests, while the interior features all the luxurious touches for which Segera is known, from fine linen to a solar-heated shower. The Bird Nest experience concludes the following morning, with the delivery of a breakfast hamper to your door.
SOUTH AFRICAN TREEHOUSE
The multi-level Ngala Treehouse is a towering achievement in terms of seclusion and safari luxury. With the option to sleep on the top deck – under the stars or a retractable awning – or inside on the next floor down, this remote yet safe sleepout option removes all the distractions of modern life so that you can focus entirely on each other – and on the wilderness around you. Watch the sunset as you share a bottle of wine, or enjoy the naughty luxury of midnight snacks. Far away from everyone else, this is a place where you can indulge in the ultimate luxury: time alone together.
For a completely immersive experience, some of our favorite safari lodges offer bush bath experiences. Think secluded spots with spectacular views, with the only sign of civilization being a free-standing bathtub, filled with hot water and bubbles. Let the enormity of the landscape sink in as you soak away the stresses and strains of life – the only screen for miles around is the one shielding you from the curious eyes of passing animals. Enjoy moments of pure bliss as you savor the chance to unwind and relive your safari experiences, with snacks and drinks within easy reach. Two of our favorite bush baths are at Ruckomechi in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe – overlooking the Zambezi River – and at Serian Serengeti South, with vistas of the endless plains.
PRIVATE BUSH DINNER BY CANDLELIGHT
While communal dining is a highlight of safari vacations, there’s nothing quite like slipping away – just the two of you – to a candlelit dinner all by yourselves. To surprise your partner, a quiet word in the ear of your guide or the lodge manager is all it takes to make the magic happen: a table for two under the stars, with a line of lanterns leading the way to the ultimate date night dinner. Make a wish on a shooting star or watch the constellations slowly rotate above you, as you enjoy the flavors and savor the opportunity to talk about the things that really matter to you – or enjoy a companionable silence, broken only by the distant roar of a lion as the African night comes to life. Two lodges that do this especially well are Chem Chem in Tanzania, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge in South Africa, which is renowned for spectacular themed dinners.
PRIVATE HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
Silently soaring above the herds on the East African plains, a private hot air balloon ride gives you a whole new perspective on the landscapes and wildlife of the Serengeti or Masai Mara. It’s an opportunity to drift along, taking in the almost infinite views and marveling at the sheer numbers of antelope and zebra below. With no engine or rotors to disturb the peace, you can eavesdrop on animal conversations and observe them as they go about their day – often completely unaware of your presence. The shadow of the balloon may cause the occasional perplexed glance upwards, but other than that, you’re passing by in a world of your own. At Singita in Grumeti, Tanzania, a champagne breakfast awaits when you land, so you can toast your love.
SLEEP UNDER THE STARS
Far away from all the lights, the night skies of Namibia are spectacular. Gaze up at the Milky Way, or watch as satellites pass overhead. They’re the only indication of other humans – everything else you’ll see through the skylight above your bed at andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is cosmic. Snuggle up to the heavenly body next to you, and enjoy a wonderful night’s rest before you rise before dawn to witness the procession of shadows and colors across the ancient dunes of Sossusvlei – the highest dunes in the world – and watch the light leaking back into the world with the new day.
Spending time with mountain gorillas can be an incredibly moving experience – and for most people, it ranks as their most meaningful wildlife encounter. Whether you choose Uganda or Rwanda, it makes sense to share these memorable moments with the person who means the most to you. You’ll find your voice naturally reduces to a whisper, and seeing your loved one’s face light up with joy and wonder will make you feel closer to them than ever before. Watching the playful youngsters gamboling around – and seeing the incredible bonds within the gorilla family – may even inspire you to start (or add to) your own family.
PRIVATE ISLAND MOMENTS
Fregate Island in Seychelles could have been created for honeymooners – or for any couple who find themselves more in love with each day that passes. It’s a stunningly beautiful setting for spending time together, whether swimming, snacking or sunbathing. Eat whatever takes your fancy, whenever you feel the need, and in whichever spot catches your eye. With seven private beaches, it’s never more than a short stroll to your own private sweep of white sand. Flip the cute “beach occupied” sign and you’ll only be sharing your tropical idyll with shell-seeking hermit crabs. Enjoy a torchlit barbecue for two, or retreat to the Rock Spa for even more indulgence.
South Africa produces some of the world’s best wines, and few destinations have a finer selection than Grootbos in South Africa’s ruggedly beautiful Western Cape. Enjoy a private dinner in the remarkable setting of the Grootbos cellar, surrounded by racks of remarkable vintages. It’s a wonderful way to be reminded that the best relationships – like the best wines – get even better over time – and to enjoy a remarkable meal in the best company. The cuisine here is out of this world, with the desserts especially being far too good to share – except with you-know-who!