ER's Top 10 Romantic Lodges in Africa

Whether your idea of perfect romance is tropical brilliance or exhilarating adventure, old-world safari tents or sleek modern vineyards, surrounded by ocean or surrounded by dunes, eating top gourmet meals or fishing for your own—Africa has it all. Here’s a list of ER’s ten favorite spots to truly feel romance.

Vumbura Plains, Botswana

Vumbura Plains sits in the extreme north of the Okavango Delta. The lodge is styled like a contemporary beachside ranch house—a modern, airy design of light fabrics and pale wood. Each freestanding thatched villa is fitted with a large deck, a private plunge pool and an outdoor shower, all with spectacular views of the surrounding plains. Sit on the deck with your lover and watch as the wildlife pass by: elephants, leopards, hippo, and the famed “Golden Pack” hyenas.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage Site, is a fantastically romantic destination in its own right, but the Lodge is undoubtedly the most spectacular way to view it. Each suite’s exterior is built in the Masaai’s rustic mud-and-stick manyatta style; each interior is fitted in total luxury, including an ensuite chandelier–lit bathroom and an opulent gem-tone design, all of which offer a plush frame for the dramatic views out your window.

Sindabezi Island, Zambia

Sindabezi is unique: a private island in the middle of the Zambezi River. The five open-plan thatched cottages all directly overlook the water, offering singular access to the river’s flora and fauna, and close proximity to Victoria Falls. The only sounds you’ll hear are the rushing water, the hippos, and you.

Delaire Graff, South Africa

Delaire Graff has everything: two gourmet restaurants, a state-of-the-art winery, a beautiful spa and two luxury boutiques, not to mention the stunning backdrop of Stellenbosch’s famed wine country. Nestled between mountains and vineyards, Delaire is paradise at its most sophisticated. Striking Cape Dutch architecture and stylized African interiors are simply the icing on the cake.

Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Most travelers to Africa harbor a fantasy of the tented safari camp, a la Earnest Hemingway, where zebras canter past billowing tents and dinner is served on the open, golden plains. Sabora is the stuff of fantasy-- this northern Tanzanian explorer’s camp is permeated by a sense of nostalgic adventure and by the palpable pulse of the Serengeti.  Guests will delight in the thrill of knowing there isn’t much separating the comforts inside from the wildlife outside.

Vamizi Island, Mozambique

Imagine a tropical paradise, inhabited only by you and your lover, where the breeze blows through white curtains into your villa, and ruffles the surface of your private pool. Just a stone’s throw away, the azure waters teem with turtles, tropical fish, and corals. Samango monkeys chatter in the trees above. Welcome to Vamizi, a private island in the Quirimbas Archipelago of Northern Mozambique.

Kaya Mawa, Malawi

In the middle of spectacular Lake Malawi on Likoma Island sits Kaya Mawa, a luxury waterfront lodge, both chic and rustic. Kaya Mawa was voted as one of the top ten 'Most Romantic Places in the World' by Conde Nast, a Tatler top 101 Hotels in the World, and recently the 3rd Best Beach Property in Africa 2013 by the Good Safari Awards. Dive the unique freshwaters, kitesurf across the surface, or simply enjoy a romantic beachside dinner with your loved one.

Sossusvlei Desert Reserve, Namibia

In the heart of Namibia’s ancient Namib Desert lies the NamibRand Desert Reserve, an oasis of rolling gold, pumpkin and sienna sand dunes—one of the oldest landscapes on Earth. Sossusvlei Deset Lodge is pure luxury, from the air–conditioned desert villas constructed of stone and glass to the private wraparound verandas, outdoor showers, king sized beds, a personal spotting star-scope and the lodge swimming pool and walk-in wine cellar. This is remote, otherworldly wilderness that few will ever experience.

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Tanzania

Faru Faru Lodge is pure classic, arechtypal African luxury. Fantastic views of the plains? Check. Freestanding porcelain tubs? Check. Sleek and modern wooden interiors? Check. Gorgeous outdoor swimming pool? Check. Access to the most spectacular wildlife on Earth? Yes, indeed. Faru Faru is the perfect jumping-off point for your African safari trip.  

Tintswalo Atlantic, South Africa

In the South African Shangaan language, Tintswalo means “the intangible feeling of love, gratitude and peace bestowed upon someone offering you a meaningful and worthy gift.” African vacations are frequently associated with adventure and exoticism, but Tintswalo offers something different: a charming new home. Atlantic is set above the quaint fishing village of Hout Bay, Cape Town, from where you can access both the city and its gorgeous coastal and inland countryside. But the gorgeous Mediterranean luxury of the lodge itself may make it hard to leave.  


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