I don’t know about you but when I book a holiday I like to find out all about the accommodation just as much as the all important location. I like to mix it up from year to year – one year roughing it in the great outdoors and cooking over a campfire the next staying in a tiny little B&B filled with local colour and customs. I have also been lucky enough to have stayed in some amazingly luxurious hotels and some truly heavenly resorts. Africa can offer all of these and much, much more.
In South Africa and especially in Cape Town you can stay in what are known in SA as Bed and Breakfasts. They are quite different to what we in the UK regard as a B&B. They tend to be small, boutique style hotels filled with charm and character. There are some truly amazing places like this in Cape Town such as 4 Rosemead and Leeuwenvoet House. Another fantastic option for accommodation in South Africa near Cape Town are the vineyards which offer accommodation , often in Dutch Cape style cottages scattered around the lush gardens. Where better to sample the wines and then head home only a short walk away at the end of an evening?
If you want to get closer to nature and experience the African bush properly then a tented camp is the way to go. These usually consist of a raised wooden platform, covered by a sturdy, heavy duty canvas tent. They can be quite simple with just some beds and a couple of chairs for watching the wildlife or they can be unbelievably luxurious. Some even have roll top baths and chandeliers! At Governors Camp in Kenya the emphasis is on elegance and history and the tents are decked out in colonial finery. Others like the Karen Blixen Camp (pictured above) are simply stylish. There are also plenty of wonderful safari bases in the Kruger National Park in South Africa which are famous for their elegance and luxury; camps such as Garonga or lodges like Singita.
In places like Botswana and Zambia the accommodation in the national parks is often strictly limited so most of the lodges are very small with a maximum of 10 or 12 guests at one time. This creates an amazingly intimate atmosphere and you truly feel you are out in the African wilderness. Places like Kapani and Kakuli in Zambia and Chitabe in Botswana are all small and exclusive camps in wonderful locations.
Another alternative is the eco-lodge which is a more permanent structure but is built to be sustainable and to hide amongst its surroundings. Most of the permanent safari lodges operate this way and offer tasteful accommodation with all the comforts of home but a world of wildlife at your feet. As you enjoy your sundowners overlooking the busy watering hole at sunset you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing your bed is just feet away.
If you are looking for some downtime on the beach there are some fabulous beach resorts to stay at; from small secluded boutique hotels to giant resorts with excellent facilities and watersports on offer – the Kenyan coast has a wide range of Indian Ocean resorts. Or something more exotic then you could go for Emerson and Green set in the heart of historic Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar. Or if its the world famous beautiful turquoise sea you fancy then the Langi Langi Resort is a great choice with wooden huts built on stilts right on the beach. Mauritius is another fantastic place for a beach holiday and combines well with a safari in South Africa. Again there is a fantastic range of accommodation on offer including some wonderful luxurious beach resorts just perfect for honeymooners.
There are new places being discovered all the time from beach resorts in Mozambique offering the finest scuba diving to new eco-resorts in the Namibian sand dunes; from total luxury in the South African winelands to tiny, little camps in Botswana – there really is something for everyone.