EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

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Friday
Aug072015

Top 10 Romantic Lodges: La Residence, Tswalu Tarkuni, Mara Plains, Angama Mara, Little Kulala, Hoanib Skeleton Coast, Azura, Benguerra, Gili Lankanfushi, North Island

We've compiled a list of 10 of the most romantic lodges around the world that are mind-blowingly romantic, exclusive and luxurious - some more extraordinary and awe-inspiring than you ever imagined. So whether you're planning a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon or a much-needed getaway, the following are, in our opinion, some of the most romantic properties you and your loved one will ever come across: La Residence and Tswalu Tarkuni in South Africa, Mara Plains and Angama Mara in Kenya, Little Kulala and Hoanib Skeleton Coast in Namibia, Azura and Benguerra in Mozambique, Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives and North Island in the Seychelles. 

1 - La Residence, South Africa

A 30-acre haven of luxury and serenity, nestled amongst property-owned vineyards, plum orchards and rolling lavender fields, with a spectacular mountain backdrop. The unspoilt rural surrounds are elegantly reflected throughout the plush interiors - from the oriental antiques and rich orange tones of the Tibetan Suite to the Provençal velvets and silks of the Chambre Bleu. Wine tasting by horseback, in the setting of Franshhoek's stunning naturing beauty, is quite possibly the most romantic experience we can think of.

2 - Tswalu Tarkuni, South Africa

Recently refurbished to unwavering standards of comfort and elegance, Tarkuni is a virtual oasis amidst the Kalahari Desert. With just five luxurious suites each boasting magnificent en-suite bathrooms, private game viewing vehicles, open fireplaces and a dedicated in-house chef - Tswalu Tarkuni creates the most intimate, romantic and extraordinary experience. 

3 - Mara Plains, Kenya

At Mara Plains, rarely a night passes without the echo of a lion's roar nearby, while cheetah have officially established territories on the savannah surrounding the main area and leopard are regularly found to boldly wander about the camp as they please. If that wasn't convincing enough, the camp itself is one of the most personal properties in the entire Masai Mara region, hosting just seven private canvas camps built upon raised decks with sweeping panoramic views across Kenya's notable savannahs. Located on the border of the Game Reserve, right in the heart of the 30,000 acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Mara Plains offers day and night game drives, balloon safaris, authentic visits with the Masai tribes and unrivalled access to superior wildlife habitats. 

4 - Angama Mara, Kenya

Angama was inspired by the Swahili word for 'suspended in mid-air', and the feeling is felt throughout. With luxury tented suites balanced on the edge of three kopje's (small hills) overlooking vast savannah and grassland that stretch as far as the eye can see, sunrise hot-air balloons, Africa's iconic wildlife, romantic picnics just a short hike away for a full panoramic view of the Masai Mara...you'll soon understand why many consider this to be the loveliest reserve on the continent. The space is uncapped, the remoteness is refreshing, the views are mind-blowing, the whole experience is almost surreal. (FUN FACT - If you're familiar with Out of Africa, you'll be interested to know that some of the breathtaking scenes from the movie were filmed here.)

5 - Little Kulala, Namibia

Little Kulala is a virtual oasis, a luxurious retreat amidst Namibia's extraordinary Sossusvlei, towering sand dunes and illutrious starry skies. The lodge features 11 stylish thatched massive villas that merge seamlessly into the sublime desert landscape, each boasting exquisite fittings and fixtures, innovative bleached decks and private plunge pools. The commitment to neutral colors, gorgeous textures and natural light match the soothing pastel tones of the desert but that's not all...each villa at Little Kulala has a private rooftop sky bed so guests may indulge in romantic stargazing and literally sleep under the stars. The desert-adapted wildlife is spectacular and you can explore the dramatic Kulala Wilderness Reserve by quad bike, hot air balloon, nature drive or on foot. Little Kulala is a place of picturesque natural beauty, a place of serenity, a place where you can hear the beat of your own heart. 

6 - Hoanib Skeleton Coast, Namibia

A gorgeous property only accesible by light aircraft and featuring just 8 suites, the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is African exclusivity at its finest. This open-aired property creates the simulatenous sensation of indoor luxury and outdoor splendor. Relax from your stylish bedroom and shaded outdoor deck and revel in the scenic beauty, flanked to the east and west by rugged hills and located at the intersection of two tributaries of the Hoanib River, the camp looks out over a stunning landscape. This vast landscape offers unparalleled views of Namibia's distinctive desert-adapted wildlife, unexpected oases and enormous sand dunes. You will undoubtedly see elephants, giraffes, lions, springbok and countless seal colonies - an extraordinary experience you and your partner will remember for a lifetime. 

7 - Azura Benguerra, Mozambique

Located on a beautiful island within the Bazaruto Marine National Park, the Azura lodge offers the perfect blend of luxury, nature and romance. Azura's dedication to conservation has led way to an incredibly pristine environment, great diving and snorkeling and a naturally inspired organic boutique resort. All 18 villas are nestled along one of the few remaining undiscovered beaches in the world and are individually designed with locally sourced wooden beams and traditional artwork, each one featuring an exquisite private infinity pool. With powder white beaches, sparkling turquoise seas, mouthwatering seafood, sunny days and star studded nights - Azura is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. 

8 - Benguerra, Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

Be among one of the first to enjoy the brand new &Beyond Benguerra Island Lodge, as it recently re-opened June 1st 2015 following an extensive refurbishment and re-design. While the island is fringed with golden sandy beaches, its interior is a lush patchwork of forest, wetlands and fresh water lakes. In fact, Benguerra's natural beauty is so striking that it was declared a National Park in 1971. During your stay, make sure to take advantage of premier diving sites teeming with marine life and Africa's only population of rare dugong, some of the world's best catch-and-release deep sea fishing and romantic horseback riding on the beach. 

9 - Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Voted the #1 Resort in the World on Trip Advisor, the stunning Gili Lankanfushi is barefoot luxury at its finest. Massive rustic villas with traditional wooden design, incredible service, unbelievable food and great nearby reefs make this one of our absolute favorite properties in the Maldives. What really sets Gili Lankanfushi apart from the rest is their No News, No Shoes policy, encouraging you to disconnect from the world and...they take your shoes upon arrival so you remain barefoot throughout the entire stay - but not to worry, even the bike pedals have cushions for your feet! So walk along award-winning beaches, bike ride throughout the grounds, explore all that the property has to offer including a movie theatre built into the jungle - and do all of this wihtout shoes, and without a single worry. 

10 - North Island, Seychelles

Located on a private island in the Seychelles only accessible by helicopter, North Island executes with precision their mantra of anything, anywhere, anytime. BBQ lobster and Rosé on your private yacht while trolling for Marlin on the edge of the continental shelf? A string quartet playing the song from your first dance as your helicopter lands on the island's private helipad? With only 11 villas each at 5,000 square feet and with your own private butlers on call 24/7, this is simply put one of the most exclusive and romantic resorts on the planet. While rates include just about everything from deep sea fishing and scuba diving from your private yacht to guided hiking, kayaking and mountain biking, this is a property that if you need to ask how much it is, you probably can't afford it. Especially when it comes to the 11th villa or Villa 11, the best of the best, the cream of the crop, THE most luxurious accommodation known to mankind. Spread across 8,000 square feet, with a secret private entrance to the beach and a hugely over-sized marble bathtub perfect for sharing, Villa 11 could not be more perfect for the ultimate honeymoon or romantic getaway. Especially, seeing as unlike the other 10 presidential suites, Villa 11 is only available to be booked by couples.