Traveling to Africa is an experience unlike any other. While Africa offers many sights, sounds and sensations that can quench every globetrotter’s thirst, the journey back to nature, to the wild, amid exquisite landscapes, is purely and uniquely memorable. Even for the most discerning travelers, Africa offers an abundance of getaways, from its remote reserves to its most isolated islands. There surely is one for everyone’s fancy.
The following destinations offer not only the utmost in luxury but also the best in terms of satisfying every traveler’s passion for enthralling escapades and splendid sceneries.
Angama, Mara (Kenya)
Inspired by the Swahili word that means “suspended in mid-air”, Angama is indeed a vision that seems to rise magnificently between heaven and earth. The owner-run safari lodge overlooks Kenya’s infamous national nature reserve, the Maasai Mara, allowing guests breathtaking views of the savanna’s vastness.
Angama, which opened in 2016, boasts of two intimate camps, each containing 15 classic tented suites of more than 320 square feet. Each suite is perched on the edge of the celebrated Great Rift Valley, surrounded by trees that provide cool shade and privacy. The suites have tented roofs, glass fronts and canvas sides, all designed by the renowned architectural team of Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens. The canvas work, meanwhile, was crafted by Kenya’s King of Canvas, Jan Allan. These tents provide a private, exclusive and inviting feel, with both the exteriors and interiors echoing Africa’s rich culture and blending it with a unique minimalist style. The top-of-the-line furnishings provide that familiar yet luxurious comfort, with polished parquet floors dotted with splashes of vibrant colors.
The suites have floor-to-ceiling glass fronts, allowing guests unobstructed views of the landscape beyond. Fronting these 40-foot-wide glass windows are private parquet decks, where guests can take private meals, witness Africa’s wildlife and even spot great migrations of such animals as elephants, buffalos, zebras and wildebeests. The Pavilion, the common area, offers a welcoming treat for guests. Here, guests can take a dip in the infinity pool, browse through the gift shop or lounge on the Angama’s expansive deck and take in the sunrises and sunsets of the African wild.
Guests who thirst for adventure can then go on guided game drives throughout the reserve and the Mara Triangle. Maasai naturalists also serve as reliable tour guides for walking safaris, where guests can walk through verdant forests, open savannas and other locations.
For a more elevated, memorable and all-encompassing experience, guests may choose to take in the beauty of the Maasai Mara via a hot-air balloon.
Mowani Mountain Camp (Namibia)
Damaraland in Namibia is a vast, untamed desert best known for its rock engravings and legendary yet elusive desert-dwelling elephants and black rhinoceros. Sitting as a precious sanctuary in the heart of this UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage’s wild, rugged and rocky terrain is the luxurious Mowani Mountain Camp.
Mowani stands as a unique property among giant boulders. This incredible gem is the winner of Germany’s eco-design award for architecture, and rightfully so, as guests can soak in the camp’s unique, organic nature. However, its distinctiveness goes beyond its thatched domed buildings to its ethos of sustainable eco-tourism and local community upliftment.
The camp features 15 thatched accommodation units, each offering colors, textures and luxurious comforts. The thatched ceilings feel like vaulted cathedrals, with spacious interiors that open to generous views across the rocky valleys and hills. The 12 standard rooms feature twin or king beds, while the two luxury rooms offer one double bed, en-suite bath and a private deck overlooking the valley. The crème de la crème, however, is the opulent Mountain Suite, which comes with butler service. The suite is equipped with climate control, an en-suite bathroom and an open-air bath and shower with a view.
Guests can enjoy guided nature drives by local tribes. Other activities include game drives to track mountain wildlife, hot-air balloon trips over the Aba-Huab Valley, al fresco meals overlooking the desert’s dusk and champagne breakfasts beneath Mopani trees. There are also organized excursions to explore the historical site of Twyfelfontein, which is well known for its more than 2,500 Bushmen engravings and paintings.
Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort and Spa (Mozambique)
For those seeking the sea’s embrace, the Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort and Spa offers nothing short of paradise. Among the finest island destinations of Mozambique, Anantara is nestled on a small, pristine and private island within the protected Quirimbas Archipelago along the country’s northern coastline.
Anantara is a secluded getaway that can be accessed only by an all-inclusive helicopter transfer from Pemba, a port city within Mozambique. The property is surrounded by an endless vista of the aquamarine sea and offers 12 beach pool villas along the shore. These villas offer an easy-going feel, where guests can relax, take in the soft, powdery sands and truly indulge in the luxury of a private African island hideaway.
Each of the 36 square-meter villas offers its own deck, pool, en-suite bathroom and a separate outdoor shower. Best of all, the dazzling white sand and the magnificent waters are just outside each guest’s doorstep.
Guests can then indulge in Mozambique’s local delicacies and flavors and savor fresh seafood in the island’s fine restaurants. Apart from private in-villa dining, guests can also enjoy international fare with an island twist in Jahazi or relax alongside the beach in the Bahari Lounge Bar.
One of the resort’s hidden gems, however, is the spa, which offers the ultimate in relaxation and invigoration. Indigenous ingredients and essential African oils inspire treatments, and guests can enjoy them in their villas or the spa’s treatment suites.
Phinda Vlei Lodge (South Africa)
Situated in one of Africa’s most ecologically diverse regions, the Phinda Vlei Lodge and Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is a 70,560-acre, world-renowned, exclusive safari destination. It is uniquely situated between two African habitats, the savanna and the bush. The reserve itself is hailed as the “Seven Worlds of Wonder” because it contains seven distinct ecosystems. This, in turn, makes Phinda the perfect place for experiencing the diversity of the region’s habitats and soaking in its wildlife with its wide range of exclusive safari activities.
Phinda has six suites, built from the ground up with contoured stone, timber, thatch, glass and adobe. Each of these suites has an outdoor game-viewing deck that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the wilderness. The suites also have private plunge pools. Guests can enjoy a plush bedroom that blends well with the property’s theme, which takes its inspiration from KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar-plantation barons. Bedroom glass doors open up to an en-suite bathroom and outdoor shower. Overall, the suites exude an atmosphere of privacy and utmost exclusivity, with a mixture of classic, understated elegance and pure luxury.
The lodge offers a wide variety of activities that serve as highlights to every guest’s South African experience: the safari game drives, bush-walking adventures, impact experiences with the reserve’s conservation team and community experiences perfect for soaking in Zulu history and culture. Guests can also enjoy sleep-outs following an adventurous game drive. Here, a guide takes them to a small satellite camp where they can enjoy sunset cocktails and tuck in after a tasty meal.
Africa’s rich history and enduring culture make the continent stand out when it comes to every traveler’s list of must-visit destinations. Its myriad habitats, exponentially enriched by their varied flora and fauna, are surely something worth exploring.
The pull of the culture, the thrill of the wildlife, the wonder of the landscapes and the unparalleled magnificence of its luxury safaris and resorts—truly, Africa holds a special place in the heart of every discerning traveler.