There are few places more romantic than Africa… why not forget Paris and escape to somewhere a little more exciting this Valentine’s Day. Here we present to you 10 wonderful – yet exceptionally varied – ideas that will give you a Valentine’s break you’re sure to remember for years to come…
Kempinski Hotel Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa, situated at the crossroads between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Discover the beauty of Djibouti both on land and underwater. Dive in the Red Sea to explore the amazing underwater sea life or throw yourself into an active workout in the on-site fully equipped fitness centre. The two fantastic infinity pools set against the turquoise blue of the Red Sea will invite you to enjoy the beautiful and breath-taking views under the sun of Djibouti.
De Verdwaalde Boer can be found between bustling Cape Town and the peace and solitude of Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, offering a perfect location for Valentine’s couples looking for an urban escape. If you’re looking for a romantic break that’s peaceful but ‘happening’ at the same time, then this could be just the place for you.
Tucked away in the wilds of Meru National Park in Kenya, the luxurious Elsa’s Kopje is the very essence of romance. The camp takes its name from Elsa, the lioness made famous by the biographical film ‘Born Free’, made by conservationists George and Joy Adamson. The camp’s exclusive nature owes to its elegant furnishings and sweeping vistas. From the stunning cottages you can enjoy open fronts with incredible views of the park while Elsa’s private house provides polished African décor and a private swimming pool, providing guests with accommodation that is a unique blend of opulence and privacy and a perfect place for romance to blossom.
Enjoy a stay in Marrakech that includes lots of romantic extras. The ancient riad of Dar Jaguar has been lovingly restored as a breathtakingly beautiful private guesthouse. It is situated in the heart of the old medina in Marrakech, neighbouring the exotic Place des Epices (Spice Market) and less than five minutes’ walk from the world-renowned Jemaa el Fna Square. Designed and owned by Lucia Silver of London’s The State of Grace couture fashion and styling house, Dar Jaguar brings together an exquisite blend of traditional Moorish and Oriental architecture with an elegant European romanticism.
Valentine’s packages include chilled Champagne and strawberries upon arrival, a one-hour full body massage for each of you, an exotic excursion beyond Marrakech to the waterfalls of Ouzoud or another similarly breath-taking trip, a cooking lesson followed by a three course romantic candlelit dinner on the terrace overlooking the fabulous medina, and a private professional guided tour of the souk and/or religious and historical sites.
The exquisite Royal Zambezi Lodge in Zambia provides the perfect bush get away for couples looking for an extra special experience. Not only do they offer firm favourites such as indulgent dining, couple’s spa pampering and game adventures, Royal Zambezi Lodge goes above and beyond expectations to ensure couples enjoy a truly magical and unforgettable break.
Together, couples can experience the wonders of the Zambezi while drifting down the river in a canoe, picnicking on a private island or simply by watching the elephants and hippos pass by from their veranda whilst sipping a G+T. Royal Zambezi Lodge is world famous for its fishing, with guides on hand to help couples test their skills at catching the elusive tiger fish.
Should you need a night to never forget, the team at Royal Zambezi Lodge can even organise private bush dinners on a secluded private island in the middle of the Zambezi River. Guests dine on the delicious local food whilst listening to the sounds of the African night and watching the pods of hippos pass by. Alternatively guests can have dinner served on their private deck or dine under the stars by a romantic roaring fire.
Naibor is a stylish and contemporary tented camp located in an ideal location in the heart of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, only minutes away from the world famous wildebeest crossing site. As romance is in the air, start a hot-air balloon safari at 6am, and you will be in the air as the sun rises, and the morning will be spent floating in total silence over the plains, face-to-face with the eagles which float on the warm morning thermals.
If you can pull your eyes away from the spectacular sun-rise, and look down over the edge of your wicker basket, you will see the whole of the Mara laid out below you, complete with stampeding herds of buffaloes, elephants and wildebeest, and if you look hard enough you may even make out a pride of golden-brown lions camouflaged against the straw-coloured grass. The trip is rounded off with a delicate landing in the middle of the plains, and lavishly consolidated with a Champagne breakfast.
If your lover isn’t won over yet, at the end of the day, you will undertake the most sacred of Kenyan rituals – the sundowner. You will be driven to an idyllic spot, on a hill or on the banks of the river, with a clear view to the West. You will then be served cocktails while watching the sun set over the Mara plains, silhouetting the animals against a backdrop of red and orange.
Couples won’t fail to be intoxicated by the new two day dhow romantic escapade set in a pristine, unexplored, private nature reserve in Northern Mozambique.
Coral Lodge 15.41 is the perfect starting point for a luxury castaway adventure aboard a traditional sailing dhow, complete with desert island campsite and five-star service. The adventure includes sailing by dhow to one of the region’s deserted islands for snorkelling, fishing and swimming, followed by a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilha de Mozambique, former Portuguese trading capital and treasure trove of gold and spices.
Meanwhile, staff prepare exquisite cuisine and a private luxury overnight campsite for two.
If it was good enough for the Duke and Duchess of York’s Royal honeymoon in 2011, you can rest assured that the private island sanctuary of North Island is a great location to spend Valentine’s. The Seychelles are in fact no stranger to high profile romantic stays. Actress Salma Hayek and husband Francois-Henri Pinault honeymooned at North Island in 2009. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills and Liz Hurley and Arun Nayer all spent their honeymoons on the private Frégate Island, also in the Seychelles.
King Mohammed VI’s first hotel – Royal Mansour - took over 1,000 craftsmen and artisans 3 years to complete, so no expense has been spared in ensuring no expense spared in ensuring you’ll have an enjoyable Valentine’s stay. setting a new standard for luxury hotels around the world. Situated in over 8 acres of luxurious gardens, the hotel offers Michelin star dining and an excellent spa.
If it’s tranquillity and seclusion that you’re after this Valentine’s Day, then you’ll find it at Wolwedans Private Camp. It’s a 2-hour flight and 6-hour drive from Cape Town so you’ll be assured complete peace and solitude once you get there!
It’s the perfect getaway for couples in love. Why not try their ‘Star Beds’ which are specially designed raised beds that allow you to sleep out on the sand dunes with the open sky as your roof. Heavenly!