Of all the Earth's seven continents, perhaps the one wrapped in the heaviest cloak of mystique is Africa. For many of us, Africa can seem both beguiling and beckoning all at once, a vast land yet to be fully explored, which only adds to the intrigue yet further.
At Bench Africa, we've been designing stylish and unique Africa holidays from Australia for the best part of 50 years. One of the things that we have learned in that time is that you don't need to spend a fortune on your trip, but after a dusty week or more on safari it feels just wonderful to splurge for a night or two.
Here are our top splurge-worthy properties on the African continent, enjoy!
Azura Benguerra - The ultimate in barefoot escapism!
Benguerra Island, Mozambique
Imagine an unspoilt island within a National Park, deserted beaches of pure white sand, sparkling turquoise seas crisscrossed by local dhows plying their trade, swaying palms, sunny days and starry nights… and you have Azura Benguerra.
Crown this with world class service and this makes Azura Benguerra the perfect place to wind down after the thrill of a safari.
Azura Benguerra is a one-of-a-kind property. Located on Benguerra Island, this is Mozambique's first 'eco' retreat. Built entirely by hand by the local community and operated in partnership with them, this boutique resort has just 19 luxurious villas, each with their own infinity pool.
Saruni Samburu - World-class untamed luxury!
Kalama Conservancy, Samburu, Kenya
The views here are second to none! Saruni Samburu’s six luxury, eco-chic villas are open and spacious, heralding spectacular views over Kalama Conservancy and Mount Kenya.
As the only lodge in over 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness teeming with wildlife to explore exclusively, and guided by Samburu warriors passionate about their land and culture, the luxury safari experience at Saruni Samburu is intimate and truly exceptional.
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge - Enriching, educational and unforgettable!
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Known as one of the world's most unique, and environmentally sensititve lodges.
Home to 13 ultra-luxury suites the lodge breaks with traditional bush lodge style to create a masterpiece of artistry and innovation. Each of the suites at this luxury lodge features individually designed furniture, private plunge pool, en-suite glass fronted bathroom and indoor and outdoor shower. The natural wooden sculptures by renowned South African artist Geoffrey Armstrong add a powerful magic.
Kaya Mawa- Get off the beaten track.
Likoma Island, Malawi
Voted in the top ten 'Most Romantic Places in the World' by Conde Nast and in the Tatler top 101 Hotels in the World and most recently voted the 3rd Best Beach Property in Africa 2013 in the Good Safari Awards and a finalist in 2012.
Located beside the breathtaking clear waters of Lake Malawi – on Likoma Island
This remote island is home to a very small community, surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi. Kaya Mawa means 'maybe tomorrow' and to visit Likoma Island is to step back in time for crystal clear waters and great snorkelling, safe swimming – and a beautiful golden sandy beach.
Vumbura Plains - Eco-chic perfection!
Okavango Delta, Botswana
A retreat of contemporary and unique design, Vumbura Plains comprises two separate satellite camps, consisting of 14 rooms overall.
Each camp has its own sumptuous raised lounge, dining and bar area with magnificent vistas across the Okavango Delta, while a deck with comfortable cushions protrudes into the floodplain, either for star-gazing or as a convivial camp fire setting. Vumbura is open on three sides, and the billowing curtains between the various areas create the sense of a yacht floating through the floodplains.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge - Warm and welcoming - Like visiting an old friend!
Parc National de Volcans, Rwanda
As the first luxe lodge in close proximity to Rwanda’s iconic Parc National des Volcans, this unique property combines the charm of a small country hotel with the romantic flavour of a traditional safari lodge. Guests are accommodated in just seven luxurious stone cottages each one spaced to allow total privacy and uninterrupted, breath-taking views of the mighty Virungas ahead. The cottages are tastefully decorated with spacious bathrooms, a lounge area and a cozy fireplace.
And, of course the absolute stars of the show are the gorillas!
So, why not treat yourself and indulge in a bit of luxury! You deserve it!