These are the top five romantic safari properties for 2019, according to international travel and tourism organisation The Safari Guild in their annual Safari Awards.
Tranquil candlelit dinners on the beach beside the soft rolling waves of the Indian Ocean, plunge pools surrounded by plains bristling with game, and bird calls announcing the start of the day as the sun lights up the African bush. If this sounds like the kind of getaway you dream of taking with your loved one, then these romantic safari properties in East and Southern Africa will put stars in your eyes.
Sundowers for two on the deck at The Hide © The Hide
This month, The Safari Guide announced the 2019 winners of The Safari Awards within 15 award categories. All lodges, camps and operations nominated are found by The Safari Awards to be top of their class in Africa’s safari industry; judges are nominated by the previous years’ awards winners and finalists. The Safari Awards are sponsored by the Safari Guild, TravelExpo 365 and Safari Invest, and 11 years on from their inception, they are now considered the industry gold standard.
For The Safari Awards the Most Safari Romantic Properties category can be summed up as: “For many a safari trip is a trip of a lifetime – and when better to make that trip than on honeymoon or for a special anniversary. If you were looking for a bit of romance on your trip, let us know how well your lodge scored with all things romantic”.
Without further ado, here are The Safari Awards’ top five most romantic safari properties, from fifth through to first place:
5. The Hide – Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
A candlelit bubble-bath in the bush at The Hide © The Hide
In Zimbabwe’s north-western region you will find its largest park, Hwange National Park, a famous enclave of large elephant herds as well as a gorgeous safari lodge property called The Hide. Reflecting the local environment’s beauty in its use of natural elements in the building’s design and interior furnishings, the 10 luxury deluxe, family deluxe and honeymoon deluxe tents make for an intimate and exclusive bush retreat.
The Dove’s Nest is a romantic sleep-out platform at The Hide © The Hide
Undoubtedly one of the top romantic safari properties in Hwange, The Hide delivers all the creature comforts and extra special touches worthy of a dreamy experience with your other half. Honeymooners can dine in private under the stars on their suite’s private veranda or a secluded alcove around the camp. The Dove’s Nest is a sleep-out platform, perfect for two lovebirds who want to spend a night in the bush.
4. Cottar’s Safaris Services – Masai Mara, Kenya
Alfresco dining under a moody Kenyan sky at Cottar’s 1920’s Safari Camp © Cottar’s Safaris Services
This year is a particularly special one for Cottar’s Safari Services in Kenya’s world-famous Masai Mara National Park, as the safari camp celebrates its centenary anniversary. Together with the award for fourth Most Romantic Safari Property, The Safari Awards has also listed Cottars in fourth place for the Best Safari Guiding Team, which is made up of local bush guides and Maasai warriors. Cottar’s is best known for its 1920’s Safari Camp, which is described as “vintage luxury at its best”.
The intimate bush bath experience overlooking the Masai Mara plains from Cottar’s 1920’s Safari Camp © Valorie Darling of Kin Travel for Cottar’s Safaris Services
While their well-appointed Bush Villa is suited for groups, for its 100th birthday, Cottars has added the Flying Camp which is great for couples looking for an overnight adventure in the Kenyan wilderness. From massage and spa treatments to a blissful canvas bush bath and alfresco dinner by the pool, it’s no wonder that the Cottars name is a firm favourite of newlyweds looking for romantic safari properties in East Africa.
3. Azura Quilalea Private Island – Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Indian Ocean views from the plunge pool of a private villa at Azura Quilalea Private Island © Azura Quilalea Private Island
Azura Quilalea Private Island by Azura Boutique Retreats is an idyllic beach destination in the Quirimbas Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique surrounded by the warm and clear waters of the Indian Ocean. A relaxed atmosphere with all the luxury expected of a multi award-winning lodge, Azura Quilalea is a postcard-worthy island paradise that is the only island in Mozambique with a house reef, accessible directly from the main beach.
Romantic beach dining at Azura Quilalea Private Island © Azura Quilalea Private Island
The “Robinson Crusoe castaway style” is carried throughout the main camp and into the nine private villas, making sure that any wedding stress and thoughts of responsibilities back home disappear. The beach bar is a cosy spot to unwind and enjoy each other’s company whilst taking in the magnificent ocean view. Intimate dinners on the shore are paired with beautifully crafted wines from the wine cellar on site.
2. Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa – Paje Beach, Tanzania
A bird’s eye view of a villa at Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa © Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa
Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas and Spa is a luxury boutique hotel on the sands of Paje Beach, on the eastern shores of Zanzibar, off Tanzania’s coast. This beautifully laid-out property makes the most of its location by incorporating a shabby chic and modern beach style into the design and furnishings found in the interiors. With just 11 villas of three varieties, White Sand is one of the most romantic safari properties next to the Indian Ocean.
Stunning seaviews from the rooftop champagne bar at Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa © Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa
The stylish rooftop champagne bar is complemented by a restaurant, beach bar and lounge, and wining and dining is an essential part of this island experience. Relaxation is taken up a notch at the spa where couples massages are an indulgent treat after a day of kitesurfing or swimming in the sea. If you and your partner are exercise buddies, White Sand offers yoga classes and an outdoor fitness center on site.
1. Fundu Lagoon – Pemba, Zanzibar
A look into the roomy superior suite at Fundu Lagoon © Fundu Lagoon
This year’s first place for Most Romantic Safari Property has gone to Fundu Lagoon located on Pemba Island, which forms part of Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago, off the East African coast. So far, it has been a celebratory year for the lodge as The Safari Awards also named Fundu Lagoon the winner of the Best Marine Safari Experience in Africa. Fundu resort epitomises the barefoot luxury experience and the essence of East Africa.
Dinner at Fundu Lagoon is accompanied by the sound of the rolling waves © Fundu Lagoon
The superior suites are spacious and comfortable with each having its own beachfront wooden deck and large plunge pool. Spectacular sunrises over the Indian Ocean are matched equally by the oranges, pinks and reds that paint the sky at sunset, making for a romantic dinner on the beach with sandy toes and a soft lantern lighting up your table. For couples keen on doing a beach and bush safari, Fundu Lagoon is a fantastic place to end up after a stay at a safari lodge in Tanzania or Kenya.
Contact us to book one of the top romantic safari properties as listed by The Safari Awards.
Feature image courtesy of Valorie Darling of Kin Travel for Cottar’s Safaris Services