What is luxury in Africa?

August 26th 2016  |  Botswana, Namibia, South Africa  |  by  Richard Smith
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge living room, NamibRand, Namibia Wilderness Safaris

I asked four of my favourite online writers for their thoughts on what makes a holiday in Africa luxurious. They all came back with something different and interesting, and certainly not what most people would think of.

I’ve lived and worked in Africa and travel to safari camps and lodges a lot. While I’m not on holiday when I travel for work (as I constantly tell family and friends) I get to experience luxury travel as if I am a guest. Perhaps it’s this familiarity that means I take things for granted that others are amazed by. Here are what these luxury travel bloggers thought of Africa:

Surprised by Big Skies

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A private plane over Sossusvlei Dunes, Kulala Desert Lodge, Namibia, Wilderness Safaris

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5 star and a million stars, dining at Little Kulala, NamibRand dark sky reserve, Namibia, Wilderness Safaris

Travel journalist, Liz Jarvis, she told me she’d been amazed by the size of an African sky.

“I hadn’t realised just how big it would be. When you look up at that sky, which never seems to end, it just puts everything in perspective. I miss that sky so much.”

Suddenly I was transported to Namibia, where the skies above Sossusvlei seem almost never ending. And not just during the day as the NamibRand is one of just a very few ‘dark sky reserves’ scattered around the world. The stars in an African sky are mind blowing.

Pleased by the Luxury and the Food

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Breakfast on the Delta at Chiefs Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana Sanctuary Retreats

Travel blogger Ana Silva O’Reilly is an avid traveller, who religiously follows her mother’s mottos:

‘If you leave home, it has to be better’, or ‘I love camping, in 5 star hotels’.

Among the surprises Africa brought her were how beautiful it was – and how well luxury was actually delivered. She also mentioned the quality of the food

“I was surprised by the food in South Africa, and weirdly enough in some cases, how similar it was to Portuguese (my home country). That made me love it even more.”

I know people are impressed by the food on safari, particularly the meals conjured up well away from a modern kitchen.

Whether it is a bush breakfast cooked over a fire, a high tea mid-afternoon, or a restaurant quality supper cooked up in a bush kitchen with no mod-cons. Luxury camps and lodges certainly match Ana’s mother’s motto that ‘it has to be better’.

Beautiful South Africa

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The ultimate beach house, Birkenhead House, Hermanus, South Africa Royal Portfolio

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Table Mountain and shoreline in Cape Town, South Africa  © Wim Van Den Heever @tuskphoto

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Afternoon drinks at Tanda Tula, Kruger, South Africa

Angie Silver tweets and blogs as SilverSpoonLondon. She says she “never expected to be so moved by one place but I totally fell in love with South Africa. The scenery, the food, the wildlife…just everything. I even cried when we had to leave.”

People make the difference

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Warm welcome arrival at Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, Botswana, &Beyond

I find a safari holiday is rarely booked ‘to meet friendly people’. But it’s often something mentioned afterwards. Not only are guides knowledgeable and the safari camp staff have a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude, but people are friendly.

Paul Johnson runs the website aluxurytravelblog and for him it’s the people that make a holiday in Africa luxurious.

“I have always found the people so friendly and welcoming. So happy and fulfilled even if they were of modest means. It just goes to prove the old adage that money doesn’t buy you happiness since so often the converse can be true.”

Perhaps we’re cocooned in our daily lives and don’t interact in the way we do on holiday, or perhaps Africa has a warmth not found elsewhere.

The luxury travel bloggers

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Liz Jarvis, editor of Cruise International magazine

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Ana Silva O’Reilly (Mrs O Around The World)

This blog is the result of the first set of answers from my ‘friends in travel’. There will be more to follow with their insights into other areas. The contributors are:

Liz Jarvis, a well known travel journalist, editor of Cruise International magazine, and travel blogger. She tweets as @LizJarvisUK and blogs on The Mum Blog www.themumblog.com.

Ana Silva O’Reilly is globetrotter who tweets as @mrsoaroundworld and arranges a Twitter chat on luxury travel with the hashtag #luxtravelchat. Ana finds her peace and quiet on a long-haul business class flight to somewhere warm and lives her travel dreams through her award-winning alter-ego and travel blog mrsoaroundtheworld.com

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Angie Silver, lifestyle, food and luxury travel blogger

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Paul Johnson (A Luxury Travel Blog)

Apart from having one of the best names in travel, Angie Silver has made her name as a lifestyle, food and luxury travel blogger. Vuelio judged her blog on www.silverspoonlondon.co.uk to be among the top five luxury travel blogs and she tweets as @SilverSpoonLDN and instagrams as angiesilverspoon regularly.

Paul Johnson set up one of the first travel blogs, the award winning www.aluxurytravelblog.com The site has over 400 contributors, including my own articles, with more than 150,000 visitors every month. If you fancy joining Paul’s other twitter followers, you’ll find him on @luxury__travel

Any questions?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.