Holidays in Africa conjure up images of remote lodges in big cat country and thatched chalets on tropical shores. This intoxicating blend, both wild and luxurious, makes Africa a phenomenal destination for romantics and gives well-loved clichés an exotic twist: candlelit dinners are served under a sky bright with stars and that petal-strewn bubble bath overlooks plains dotted with game.
Whether you’re planning an extraordinary honeymoon or simply some time away for the two of you; this selection of hotels and lodges is guaranteed to get your heart racing.
Cape Town: Oceanside Gem
Tintswalo at Boulders has an exceptional location, looking out over Boulders Beach and its famous colony of African penguins. Walk out the bottom gate, and you’re right on the boardwalk leading down to protected sandy coves. Each suite is beautifully decorated and Tintswalso’s welcoming team make you feel right at home.
Top tip: we’d highly recommend the Premier Suites, which each open onto their own large terrace and incredible ocean views.
Cape Winelands: Romantic Chateau
La Residence is a lavish chateau on a 30-acre estate in the Franschhoek Valley of the Cape Winelands. Antique furnishings and chandeliers add to the exquisitely themed suites, while French doors open onto sunny terraces with vineyard-and-mountain views.
Top tip: indulge in a 9-course dinner at the nearby La Petite Colombe at Le Quartier Francais (you’ll need to book well in advance).
Kruger Park: Singita Safari Style
Singita Lebombo Lodge has 15 loft-style suites with glass walls so you can languish in bed and enjoy the views. This private Kruger concession is famous for its leopard and large prides of lion, along with Singita’s signature safari moments such as bush dinners under the stars.
Top tip: opt for a couples’ massage out on your private deck with its calming river views.
Victoria Falls: Zambezi Hideaway
Royal Chundu Zambezi Island Lodge lies on a private stretch of the Zambezi River less than an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls. Choose between River Lodge or honeymoon-perfect Island Lodge, which has just 4 villas each opening onto a riverside deck with a comfy daybed and open-air bathtub.
Top tip: if you are honeymooners, the bride gets a 50% discount on her first night at either lodge.
Okavango: Delta Villa Dreaming
Vumbura Plains offers game drives and boat safaris in the Okavango Delta. The lodge has a modern feel and plenty of private space: your own sunken lounge, large shower with delta views, outdoor deck, plunge pool and shaded daybed where you can relax in peace as elephant wander by.
Top tip: Vumbura has two camps; we’d pick the smaller South Camp (6 rooms) for a romantic escape.
Seychelles: Private Island Escape
North Island is a tropical paradise of powder-soft beaches, forests and palm trees. Decorated with understated luxury, these Seychelles villas come at a price that includes everything from cocktails to scuba diving, and with a whole island to explore you can go for days without seeing other guests.
Top tip: stroll to hidden-away Honeymoon Beach for a champagne picnic for two.
Madikwe: Opulent Armchair Safari
Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge has 5 incredibly spacious villas (each a staggering 166m2) overlooking a waterhole that attracts a almost-constant procession of wildlife. Owner-run and managed, this intimate luxury lodge places a strong emphasis on personalised service and award-winning cuisine – as good as any top restaurant.
Top tip: pick a morning to sleep in late, than settle into a sofa and watch wildlife at the waterhole.
Kwa-Zulu Natal: Zen Forest Retreat
Phinda Forest Lodge has 16 glass-walled suites tucked amongst the trees of a rare sand forest. Leaf-filtered light creates a calm feel, and the forest canopy provides plenty of privacy and a home to antelope, birds and monkeys. Phinda is known for its diverse wildlife and excellent cheetah sightings.
Top tip: ask about the option of a night under the stars; your cosy bed set up in a beautiful clearing.
South Africa: Glamorous Rail Romance
Rovos Rail is the world’s most luxurious train. Arrive to red carpet treatment and chilled sparkling wine, before your butler shows you to your suite for your rail adventure. Dinners are a jacket-and-tie affair, the sommelier on hand to recommend the perfect wine to accompany each of your four delicious courses.
Top tip: Pullman Suite beds convert to a couch during the day or, for more space, choose a Deluxe Suite or amazing Royal Suite (each Royal Suite takes up half a carriage).
Bazaruto: Barefoot Luxury Break
Azura Benguerra Island lies in the Bazaruto Archipelago, off the coast of Mozambique. Here days are spent diving, snorkelling, fishing and picnicking on a deserted sandbank scattered with pansy shells. As for the accommodation, it’s barefoot luxury at its best in one of 18 villas (each with a private pool).
Top tip: another great honeymoon special – the bride receives a 40% discount on stays of 5 nights or more.