1. Riverside romance at Royal Chundu Lodge, Victoria Falls
There’s a reason Victoria Falls is one of the most sought-out attractions in Africa. Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning the ‘smoke that thunders’, the Falls plunge headlong down a 100m vertical chasm that spans over 1.5km, making it the biggest curtain of falling water in the world. By contrast, Royal Chundu Lodge lies peacefully along a stretch of private waterway upstream from the Falls, a sanctum of solitude and undisturbed beauty.
The 14 spacious suites exude elegance and charm, with furnishings inspired by local prints infused with modern design aesthetics. Of these, four are located on nearby Katombora Island. Here, the suites offer a more private and exclusive experience, and are surrounded by gentle river channels dotted with ancient baobabs and jackalberry trees. The interiors are splashed with cobalt blue and earthy palettes, reminiscent of the surroundings, and open up onto private decks that overlook river rapids (best enjoyed from the vantage point of your open-air bath).
While you’ll enjoy soaking up the serene surrounds, Royal Chundu has plenty of activities on offer to enhance your love affair with the Zambezi River. If you are a photographer, you may want to set out on a photographic river safari or opt for a helicopter flight right above the falls. Active individuals will enjoy paddling along the river in a canoe, hiking through Katombora Island or tiger fishing with an experienced skipper and fishing guide. But whether you’re enjoying a picnic along the river or soaring above Falls, the experience at Royal Chunda will bring you closer to nature, and closer to one another.
2. Go barefoot at Anvil Bay Lodge in Maputo Special Reserve, Mozambique
With its unspoiled stretch of coastal wilderness and rich inland biodiversity, Anvil Bay Lodge offers the best of both worlds: the beach and the bush. The exclusive ‘barefoot beach camp’ blends into the dune forests of the Maputo Special Reserve, which is considered one of the 25 most biologically-rich eco-regions in the world.
In order to preserve this piece of paradise, construction was kept to a minimum at Anvil Bay Lodge. Guests are accommodated in rustic casinhas, meaning ‘a little home’, which are hidden under canopies of coastal forest, only a few steps away from a private stretch of beachfront. Each casinha is designed to take advantage of the cooling ocean breezes, and the canvas sides can be rolled down to allow the sounds and smells of the ocean waft inside.
Naturally, honeymooners will enjoy long romantic walks along the beach and the privacy of the casinhas, but Anvil Bay offers a suite of activities to keep you entertained throughout your stay. Take to the ocean in a kayak, a SUP or bodyboard, or, if you wish to venture further, opt for a whale-watching ocean safari instead. Guests are also welcome to fish from the shore and out at sea, or uncover the secrets below the surface on a snorkelling trip. We recommend visiting between December and March if you want to help little turtle hatchlings make their way to the ocean.
3. Sand, Stars and Solace: Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia
Hidden amidst a desertscape of sand and stone, &Beyond’s Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia is perfect for couples seeking solitude, save the company of stars. This sustainable, luxury lodge is situated within the 12,715-hectare Sossusvlei Private Desert Reserve and surrounded by some of the largest sand dunes in the world, including the iconic Namibia Star Dunes. And it’s here, where the world feels so vast and expansive, that the small things matter most.
The 10 private stone and glass suites feel like an extension of the desert itself, spread along the escarpment and designed to feel as though poised at the ‘exact moment between heaven and earth’. Each is air conditioned for your comfort and comes with a private pool, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and a retractable skylight for ‘in-bed star gazing’.
Star-gazing is far from restricted to your room, and guests are encouraged to peer through the state-of-the-art telescope at the observatory where they can ask the resident astronomer about the constellations above. There are also ample day-time activities available to connect to the desert, including specialist-guided experiences shaped around your personal interests, helicopter or hot air balloon trips for a birds-eye view of the ancient landscape, and hikes along the winding tailbone of a dune crest followed by a picnic at the peak.
4. Gorilla trekking at Bisate Lodge in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
If a honeymoon doesn’t offer the perfect excuse to tick off your bucket-list gorilla trek, then we’re not sure what else will. And where better to go than Bisate Lodge? Bisate was the first lodge in Rwanda to marry luxury travel with gorilla trekking experiences and is located in the heart of an ancient amphitheatre formed by an eroded volcano.
The lodge consists of six intimate thatched villas, which are tucked into the lush forest setting and resemble bird nests from afar. Their spherical design is rooted in Rwandan tradition and boasts sophisticated interiors that maximise comfort and warmth, as well as the dramatic view of the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes.
Bisate is an exceptional luxury base for anyone going gorilla trekking, although activities in the area also include visits to the lesser-known golden monkeys, trips to the lava tunnels of the Musanze Caves and tours of the Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera, to name a few. Importantly, Bisate is a model of sustainable ecotourism. Through its reforestation and rehabilitation project, each guest has an opportunity to contribute towards local conservation and community upliftment.
5. Romance among ruins at Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge
Built around the age-worn ruins of Chuini Palace, the modern finishes of Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge breathe life into the historical site. The white-washed, open-plan lodge can be found along a sliver of paradise in Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago, only 12km away from Stone Town, and perched on low cliffs that overlook the turquoise Indian Ocean.
Guests are accommodated in private bungalows, which feature touches of local decor dusted with a white palette that gives off a soothing ambience. The honeymoon suite is ideally situated for couples looking to simply indulge in one another’s company. This unit is located mere metres from the beach and features a wooden deck shaded by a tree growing right through it – we recommend the private dinner that can be set up on this romantic balcony upon request.
Speaking of dinner, Chuini is famous for its delectable dishes. Zanzibar is often referred to as ‘The Spice Island’ as it once enjoyed international acclaim for its selection of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and cardamom. This aromatic history, along with international influences on traditional cuisine, has led to local fare that is varied and exciting. Chuini’s dishes in particular are infused with the rich flavours of traditional Swahili cuisine. Dinners here are served by candlelight in a range of romantic locations, such as the ancient palace ruins or overlooking the ocean. Beyond the spice route, guests can relax at the spa or opt for adventures like snorkelling, scuba diving, sunset cruises and big game fishing.
6. Eco-friendly luxury at Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi
Protruding out of the southern reaches of Lake Malawi, Mumbo Island in Lake Malawi is a deserted tropical escape with no electricity, no internet, no gas supply and no mains water. And yet, it still manages to provide the essential luxuries – everything you need and nothing that you don’t. Perfect for eco-conscious honeymooners.
The intimate camp sleeps a maximum of 14 guests in rustic chalets that overlook the lake and are constructed entirely from wood lashed together with rope. Each is kitted with a shaded deck, hammock, and en suite hot bucket showers and eco-loos. The whole site is built to be dismantled with ease (placing very little pressure on the environment) and blends into the African bush to give off a Robinson-Crusoe-like charm.
The entire island, only one kilometre in diameter, is engulfed by Lake Malawi National Park, which was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The lake itself is about two million years old and contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world. While there is a 100m no-fishing zone around Mumbo, it makes for a perfect snorkelling spot. Other water activities include kayaking, cliff jumping and a sunset boat tour, or you could explore the island’s interior on one of the many hiking trails.