We’re exploring the vastness and the contrasts of the African sub-continent this week, featuring six ways to engage with wonderful places, experiences and cultures we think you’ll adore…
Sterrekopje, Franschhoek, South Africa
So, it’s not a hotel – they’re emphatic about that – but this is certainly a place where you’ll relax and unwind entirely, while reconnecting to nature and food so fresh that it could have been harvested just minutes before you tuck in. Sterrekopje is a remote farm nestling in the foothills of the Franschhoek mountains, where over many years the natural balance of the land has been restored and cherished to make it as fertile and sustainable as possible. The biodiverse abundance means 100 different items of fresh produce are grown on-site, miles away from anywhere. You’ll be staying in an elegantly comfortable farmhouse or one of the cottages enfolded by lush nature, and while you enjoy the sanctuary you’ll be reconnecting with your soul – and looking forward to another leisurely dinner under the stars.
Eagle Island Lodge, Okavango Delta, Botswana
There are few places to match the Okavango Delta wetlands to experience a magical and satisfying safari. It’s at its very best from May to September – so think about your trip next year, maybe – when you can glide silently through the natural water channels in a traditional-style canoe, with hippos wallowing either side of you and sea eagles soaring above. This Belmond lodge, is, as you might expect, on its own private island, and the dozen beautiful tented rooms have high ceilings, huge beds and their own plunge pools. They have privacy and wonderful outlooks in equal measure. By staying here you’ll be helping projects to harmlessly separate local livestock from endangered local predators, and to save Africa’s wild dogs.
Serra Cafema, Kaokoland, Namibia
It’s not just animals that are rare, fascinating and in need of traveller support; it’s people too. Namibia’a Himba are some of this stunning country’s last semi-nomads. This is their wide-ranging home, an untouched wilderness of silent deserts and rushing rivers where they have learned to adapt to life alongside everything from oryx and tiny chameleons to crocodiles and zebra. Staying here helps to maintain and protect the delicate balance between all of Serra Cafema’s inhabitants. In exchange, you’ll return each day from all kinds of guided safaris – boat, walking, even quad-biking – to sultry luxury in one of eight suites built from wood, canvas and thatch, with elevated decks to watch the orangeness of the sinking sun intensify… having put away a hearty and local supper.
Cottar’s, Masai Mara, Kenya
Cottar’s 1920s Camp and Bush Villa make up one of Africa’s oldest tented camps, and one of our favourites, bordering the Massai Mara and the Serengeti, bulging with authenticity, and also distinctly luxurious. Safaris and exciting wildlife experiences abound, and the majestic animal migration happens to coincide here with European school holidays. Kenya is a lovely country, very accessible and with eye-widening excitement in all directions. Cottar’s is a keen respecter of the local community in commerce and conservation, which it partners in every aspect of its century-old presence here. We think, like us, you’ll love the relaxed yet opulent bygone-era style, and the private chefs and guides.
Victoria Falls River Lodge, Zambezi, Zimbabwe
So close to the Victoria Falls that you can see the mist thrown up by that tumbling crescendo of water, you’ll be staying on Khandahar Island with epic views of the Zambesi river… and you can only get there by boat. Nature teems around you both in the water and on land, where wild elephants spend their days semi-oblivious to the admirers close by. Accommodation is in a series of specially-built treehouse suites, connected by wooden walkways to the lounge, dining area and sunset bar, and the levels of luxury are splendid. The ultimate stay is in one of the two Starbed Treehouses, built spectacularly over two levels above the tree-tops. Not one for the under-16s, mind.
Sussurro, Nhamabue, Mozambique
These private bungalows are on the shore of a turquoise lagoon in southern Mozambique, and each one has its own indoor and outdoor bathing, individual artworks, and spacious verandas with sensational views. Everything you consume here is organic, waste-free or sustainable. We love the Sunset Dhow Experience, where you set sail into the sunset and return to land under a star-lit sky – it’s a must – while a half-day Govhuro Waterways excursion reveals the aquatic and bird life in the mangrove forests… accompanied by a delicious picnic lunch and drinks on-board. Snorkelling at Santa Carolina is another treat. We think you’ll also love the open kitchen producing traditional local cuisine rich in indigenous superfoods, for a total Western detox.
These rare and special tastes of Africa can be yours. A conversation with your 360 Private Travel designer can get you there when and where you want.