In the early 2000’s, I spent a year living in Africa, which also happened to be my first international trip and expatriate adventure. I believe Africa is the reason for my wanderlust soul. Although I always had this want for travel, it wasn’t until my time in Africa that it truly became a part of me.
Have you been to Africa?
There is something magical about this continent and all of the countries located there; while I have only spent time in one (Nigeria), I have a longing to go back as often as I possibly can.
As I was compiling this list, all of my memories came flooding back and I have had this immense smile on my face since. What primarily is flashing through my mind is the time I rode a horse on the beach on Christmas day; when I went to Southern Nigeria and stayed in this chalet in the plains along a crystal blue river that looked like it was taken out of a movie; the Sunday’s we would spend at the beach barbequing and having the local boys open fresh coconuts for us; or, the many times I spent with my Lebanese and Italian friends exploring the town by going to the restaurants and bars.
These memories, of course, are just a small percentage of what I was able to experience throughout the year I was blessed to be able to spend in Nigeria, but all of the reasons I want to have more African stamps in my passport; incredible experiences to be taken with me always.
*These are in no order of importance and all thoughts are of course my own*
Nkwichi is a slice of paradise on the shore of Lake Malawi. The lodge works closely with the local Nyanja community on development and conservation issues, ensuring that the pristine environment is protected for future generations to enjoy. All of the activities at the lodge are eco-friendly: you can canoe or sail in a dhow, paddle in the water, and snorkel to look at the tropical fish. In the evenings you will sit around the campfire on the beach, and gaze up at the stars.
Nkwichi is the complete package that offers a unique taste of Africa with exquisite lakeside scenery and unparalleled tranquility. With 8 secluded beaches, this resort is the perfect setting to discover a lost world; a fresh-water oasis and an Africa untouched. This resort may have the most awards of the seven listed here, dating all the way back to 2003 as the best investor given by the Government of Mozambique.
This resort is located in an eroded volcanic cone which makes it a natural amphitheater with majestic views of the peaks and valley. Nearby there are gorilla groups which is definitely a unique experience. Bistate’s vision means that every guest gets to contribute towards the biodiversity conservation effort of reforestation ad rehabilitation; which has an enormous impact on the iconic and endangered species, the mountain gorilla.
The villas are en-suite, which were made with the awareness of maximizing comfort and adhering to the environmentally responsible principles. Rwanda is rooted in culture and the resort reflects all of that incredible richness. This is Rwanda’s first genuinely luxurious and eco-sensitive safari lodge that is centered on Africa’s most immersive primate experience.
This is one of Rwanda’s newest lodges and built under the “light footprints” guiding principle. Prior to construction, the lodge established a nursery called Akarubo, which is responsible for 250,000 indigenous trees and shrubs planted as part of a large reforestation project. During construction, engineers were consulted to optimize the energy usage and as a result, there are no air conditioners; only a mechanical ventilation system.
Furthering the bar on sustainable luxury ecotourism, Kwitonda’s farm-to-table cuisine is all local with fresh produce from the on-site garden. As well as, all of the resort elements are hand-crafted by local artisans. This location is known as “The land of a Thousand Hills”, which is in the heart of the continent and offers a range of other attractions too; un-spoilt forests, lush meadows, picture-perfect lakes, and the vibrant streets of the capital Kigali. Each of the eight luxurious suites features a private heated plunge pool, in-and-outdoor fireplaces with large timber-framed windows.
This eco-friendly resort is a wilderness reserve and wellness retreat, in the foothills of the Cederberg mountains in South Africa’s lesser-known west coast. In this wilderness reserve, there is the rare Cape Leopard which have Anatolian shepherd dogs to safeguard these majestic animals. There is also a herd of the Cape Mountain Zebras, protected by the shepherd dogs as well. Bushman Kloof will serve as a steward for more than 130 cave sites painted by the indigenous San people, which will tell the story of the original inhabitants.
The resorts house an incredible garden for farm-to-table meals with all crops being organic and not chemically treated. There is a large compost area which gets turned into mulch and all items in the resort are reusable. The spa focus on natural healing and is a peaceful sanctuary that is believed to have ancient mystical powers. There is a range of beautiful rooms, suites and a private villa, which can accommodate up to 34 guests. There is an outstanding private art collection which enhances the environment of the Bushmans Kloof lodge.
Family-owned Old Mondoro takes guests back to the bush in the Lower Zambezi National Park. It’s a small camp with a light footprint on the land, a green electricity system, and close partnerships with NGOs Conservation Lower Zambezi and Pack for a Purpose. The resort has a 100% catch and release policy for anglers, and the pontoon boats use for river safaris are environmentally sensitive, too. There are only 5 chalets which allows the concept of the camp to be simple – to provide guests with an authentic and unedited Zambian safari in a luxury atmosphere.
This resort houses the most comprehensive sustainability tourism procedures, with social, environment, and economics being at the forefront. Old Mondoro has won three awards recently; best safari guiding team, best walking safari experience, and the most romantic safari property Zambia.
Read more on their comprehensive sustainability efforts here.
This resort the quote their famous words, “stay in our famous jungle-chic lodge on a gin-clear lake, where we live and breathe chimpanzees.” I think they had me at jungle chic! For the last three years, Greystove Mahale has won the award for Tanzania’s leading tented safari camp and the safari’s are second to none. While this is a modest place, they don’t skimp on the luxury or the views, however, this location is more for the adventurous types.
A world-renowned resort for its chimp trekking where strict ‘rules of engagement’ ensure the sustainability of human-chimp interactions. These include wearing surgical facemasks, refraining from eating and no bush toilet breaks when in the vicinity of the inquisitive chimpanzees. The camp itself is a beacon of sustainability, although it is probably the extreme remoteness that adds to that appeal. While being energy efficient and low-impact, Graystoke Mahale is a member of the top 50 sustainable safari operations; if you are a responsible and adventurous traveler, this eco-friendly resort is for you.
Nature-oriented, romantic adventure on the banks of a private island in the middle of the Zambezi. This eco-friendly resort has won an award as on of the best remote places to stay in the world that provides the idyllic escape as well as being stationed as the luxurious home-base in which you can explore Victoria Falls. Being so remote, going green is a necessity for the property and the continent. The programs the resort have incorporated are recycling, organic gardens, and solar energy (to name a few). The lodge uses recycled wood chips and solar power for heating, while the rooms are build from sustainable forests are there is no electricity on the island.
There are only five open-sided thatched Chalets on the entire island, allowing guests to soak up the sights and sounds of the pristine African bush, with views across the flooded plains into the nearby National Park. Another aspect of the resort to ensure you have an unforgettable peaceful experience, is the only wifi connection on the whole island is located main lodge at Tongabezi in the Hangout. There is a wide range of activities available throughout the day and dining optional with other guests or privately in your chalet.
*update: Not only is Old Mondoro a part of the “Pack for a Purpose” organization, but Nkwichi, Bistate, and Bushmans Kloof are as well. Please read more on Pack for a Purpose here; how you can support and become part of the solution! Pack for a Purpose has also linked my article on their website, which you can find by clicking here! It is on the right under the Around the Web section*
Which resort do you want to stay in first?