Travel

Jenna Berndt
6 minute read
20 Sep 2019
10:07 am

Seven of Africa’s best places to spend the night

Jenna Berndt

Make sure you travel at the right time of year to maximise your experience - many of which are weather dependent and change with the seasons.

Jambiani village, Zanzibar. Tanzania. Image for illustrative purposes only. Image iStock

From glamping under the stars to houseboats and private islands, Africa boasts some of the most unbelievable travel experiences and accommodation. Here are seven out-of-this-world getaways that are within reach:

Sleep under the stars

For starry skies, the Madikwe Game Reserve tucked away in South Africa’s North West, is the ideal. Sleep under the stars at the sleep-out hide at the Makanyane Lodge for a back-to-nature ’glamping’ experience.

The double-storey structure overlooks a watering hole, providing endless vistas of the reserve. The ground-level is entirely secure, and there are bathroom facilities, a lounge and a balcony. What travellers come for, however, is the open-air, rooftop deck. A bed is set up under a mosquito net and snacks, drinks, torches and spotlights are provided. Guests can count the stars and fall asleep to the sounds of the bush and lions, jackals, hyenas and the like going about their nocturnal business.

“The Madikwe Game Reserve has a variety of lodges to suit all types of travellers, from family-friendly to high-end, exclusive-use lodges. [There is] even an eco-friendly camp,” says Sue Garrett, General Manager of Marketing and Product at Flight Centre.

The sleep-out hide experience can be booked at no additional charge when guests stay at one of Madikwe’s lodges. However, the experience is weather dependent and should be booked in advance as it is immensely popular.

Take the flight of angels over Vic Falls

Visit one of the seven natural wonders of the world, under two hours from Johannesburg if travelling by air. There is an enormous variety of activities for every type of traveller, from extreme sports enthusiasts to those who prefer a sunset cruise, G&T in hand. A must for everyone, however, is a helicopter flip over Victoria Falls.

Back on land, choose accommodation that allows you to admire ‘the smoke that thunders’ from your doorstep. In Zimbabwe, try the grand Victoria Falls Hotel for its sweeping views over the bridge and waterfalls. In Zambia, the spray from the falls can be seen from the lawns at the Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara (the name’s a bit of a mouthful, but the views are worth it!).

Journey back in time on a luxury train

Step back in time onboard Rovos Rail’s luxury Pride of Africa train, which journeys from Pretoria to Victoria Falls (or book the return leg). Rovos trains are gleaming, wood-panelled throwbacks to a time when travel was still a glamorous affair. The three-day itinerary follows the well-worn path of explorers from yesteryear, across the Tropic of Capricorn and coasting along the world’s longest stretch of straight railway line (114 km to be specific) before passing through the Hwange National Park.

Onboard, dress up for dinner, sit back, relax and admire the passing views from the train’s observation car without any distractions (there are no radios or TVs on board). Rovos Rail celebrates its 30th birthday this year, so it’s the perfect time to join the party, we think.

Cruise on a houseboat in Chobe

One of Africa’s great wilderness areas, the Chobe River is a paradise for nature and wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers.

Experience the river onboard the luxurious Zambezi Queen houseboat and feel your cares drift downriver. It has to be one of the most unique and unbeatable river safari experiences in Africa.

The Chobe has one of the largest elephant populations on the continent and, unlike a traditional lodge, the houseboat moves approximately 25 km down the river, giving visitors a range of vantage points to take in the scenery.

Packages include all meals, local beer, wine and all boat activities. Embark on a photo safari, game viewing, fishing and birding safari, or a cultural tour, and take in the river life from the sumptuous bed of your suite or the plunge pool on the upper deck.

Rent an island in Zanzibar

If you have ever dreamed of having an entire tropical island all to yourself, try the Island Pongwe Beach Hotel in Zanzibar, 34 km from Stonetown, along the island’s north-east coast. The resort is adults-only with five standard villas and one luxury villa.

 

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Guests aren’t short of space or privacy. There is a beachside pool, bar and gourmet restaurant, and eco-friendly rooms with no TV (or electronic devices) but Wi-Fi is available in common areas.

Picnic on the beach in Mozambique

At White Pearl Resorts, Ponta Mamoli, tucked away in a sheltered bay in Mozambique, speciality picnics on the beach are a real treat. Guests can walk for kilometres on the pristine beach, horse ride and snorkel, snooze in the resort’s day beds, or toast the sunset at the Ibiza-styled beach bar.

 

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Sunkissed moments in Ponta Mamoli ✨

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Guests can customise their picnic baskets and enjoy their meal in a special, secluded location along the beach.

Dine on a rooftop in Stonetown

Many 19th-century seafront facing mansions in Zanzibar’s Stonetown, a UNESCO World Heritage site, have been converted into luxury hotels, with roofs converted into spectacular restaurants or swimming pools.

The Jafferji House and Spa, a ten-room boutique hotel hidden behind the Old Fort and a short walk from the House of Wonders, is 100 years old and a showcase of Zanzibar’s multicultural heritage. Suites have been designed to reflect each of the island’s architectural styles. And its hidden gem is the colourful rooftop restaurant with views of the Indian Ocean. Feast on local, Swahili-fusion cuisine and, every Friday, enjoy traditional musical performances (the Taarabi is still played at traditional weddings).

Don’t miss out when planning a dream getaway in Africa. Make sure you travel at the right time of year to maximise your experience – many of which are weather dependent and change with the seasons.

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