Living that bougie life in Africa: The top luxury escapes on the continent

2018-10-10 12:01 - Gabi Zietsman
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While many prefer to go budget when it comes to their dream holidays, there are some who save up for years and splash out on luxury accommodation, where just the stay becomes an experience in itself.

But one of the biggest attractions to luxury hotels, lodges and resorts is the level of personal service you get - where you don't have to worry about anything and every need is catered for.

SEE: #AfriTravel: Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa leading the safari pack for wild adventures

The world is full of special, over-the-top luxury destinations that cater to the uber-rich of the world, and in Africa you'll find ultimate opulence in its bush, cities, islands and coastline.

The World Travel Awards gave out accolades to the best in luxury on the continent, where guests can pretend they're royalty, unless they really are royalty.

Even if you can't afford any of these places, a traveller can dream, right?

ALSO SEE: Take an urban break to one of these 13 city hotels across Africa


Villa Rosa Kempinski Nairobi, Kenya (Winner)

Experience a little taste of Europe in Africa complete with its own grand ballroom, spa and a variety of fine dining restaurants to make you feel like a king or queen.

Most snazzy room: The Executive Balcony Room comes with complimentary secretarial services and even a Happy Hour at the Balcony Bar.

QUICK GUIDE TO KENYA: Visa-free travel for South Africans

Some of the other nominees:

Four Season Hotel Tunis, Tunisia

La Mamounia, Morocco

Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, South Africa 

Hotel Villa

Villa Two at Ellerman House, South Africa (Winner)

If a hotel room is too common for you and the Kardashians need a private space for their expanding family, this Cape Town villa will have you rise above the city in style with rich views of the Atlantic Ocean.

What do you get for R65 000 a night? Your own private wine tasting with Ellerman House's sommelier, a sunset experience with your own SA craft gin trolley and an art tour of Ellerman House's extensive collection.

SEE: #ArtHeritage: Get creative at these SA art hotels

Some of the other nominees:

Villa Queen Cleopatra at Royal Savoy Villas, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 

The Cliff Villa at Alfajiri Villas, Kenya

Grand Riad at Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco

Private Villa

Villa iZulu at Thanda Safari, South Africa (Winner)

If you're looking for even more extreme privacy, you can hide out with your famous friends in the South African bushveld at this villa in Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve.

High-rise transport: Villa iZulu comes with its own private helicopter landing pad and a jacuzzi overlooking the villa's own private watering hole, because even the animals are fancy.

PICS: Young cheetah confidently strides into new home at Thanda Safari

Some of the other nominees:

Villa Santorini, Mozambique 

Cottar's Bush Villa, Maasai Mara, Kenya

Molori Clifton, Cape Town, South Africa 


Thanda Island, Tanzania (Winner)

When the only neighbours you want is the sound of crashing waves, you can almost have the whole of Thanda Island to yourself situated in its own marine reserve where you can watch whale sharks and sea turtles nesting.

Traditional accommodation: You can either stay in one of two traditional Tanzanian Bandas for a real island experience, or you can opt for opulence at the 19-bed villa for those reunions with the billionaires in the family.

SEE: #AfriTravel: These are Africa’s top private islands - and they’re pretty accessible for South Africans

Some of the other nominees:

&Beyond Mnemba Island, Zanzibar 

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort, Mozambique 

Azura Quilalea Private Island, Mozambique 


Silvan Safari, South Africa (Winner)

Nestled inside a leadwood and jackalberry forest in Sabi Sand, staying at Silvan Safari Lodge is like staying in a modern art piece that stands in contrast to its wild surroundings. A culinary one-stop, the lodge also has a canvas printer so that you can take your pics home with you in style.

The most opulent suite: The Leadwood Family Suite is like your own private hideaway, but if you got the cash you can book out the whole lodge for 12 adults and two children for R195 000 a night.

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Some of the other nominees:

&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia 

Sanctuary Chief's Camp, Botswana 

Time + Tide Chinzombo, Zambia 


Fairmont Zimbali Resort, South Africa (Winner)

In KwaZulu-Natal, just half an hour from Durban, is this luxury coastal getaway perfect for all seasons. This resort will keep the kids entertained with their own club while the parents can either relax at the spa or play a round of golf. 

Suite or villa? Their Heritage Place Villas are self-catering for when you want to be fancy but still make your own foodie creations, or if the kitchen is not your vibe the elite Presidential Suite will put you high up above everyone else.

SEE: Quick guide to Madiba’s long walk to freedom: A day trek around KZN

Some of the other nominees:

Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 

Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, Morocco 

Tented Safari Camp

Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara, Kenya (Winner)

Staying in a tent doesn't mean you have to skimp on your bougie lifestyle. These luxury tents are in their own private conservancy, and you'll be treated to campfire cocktails, balloon safaris, horse-riding and cultural interactions with the local Masai Mara.

Will you break the bank? A Deluxe Tent is around R15 000 a night and the Honeymoon Suite is around R16 400 a night, and includes all meals, drinks, game drives, bush walks and sundowners.

PICS: Instagram hasn't discovered this beautiful African beach yet - and it's paradise

Some of the other nominees:

Mara River Tented Camp, Tanzania 

Wolwedans Dunes Lodge and Dune Camp, Namibia 


Blue Train (Winner)

Mention luxury rail travel in South Africa and ultimately the Blue Train springs to mind. The iconic 'five-star hotel on wheels' is an exclusive, world-renowned offering that sees passengers fork out between R16 430 and R43 035 for a single 27hr trip from Gauteng’s Pretoria station to Cape Town in the Western Cape.

The Luxury Suite: If you upgrade yourself to this suite, you'll get your own personal butler, an extra metre more than the Deluxe Suites and a bath where you can lounge as the moving landscape flits past.

SEE: Redemption on the Blue Train

Some of the other nominees:


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