5 luxury African destinations perfect for a summer getaway

Thanda Island off the coast of Tanzania. The island is also a protected marine reserve. Picture: Instagram

Thanda Island off the coast of Tanzania. The island is also a protected marine reserve. Picture: Instagram

Published Oct 19, 2023


One good thing about an African summer is that you’re guaranteed of warm weather and plenty of time out in the sun. Summer is all about chilling poolside or enjoying sundowners at a beautiful seaside destination.

Africa has plenty of coast to explore. Instead of doing the predictable beach holiday, why not turn the temperature up by exploring luxurious African destinations?

The beauty of luxury stays is that you need pack only sunscreen, shades, a change of bikinis and clothes. With plenty of sunshine, you will be sure to meet your body’s vitamin D quota in no time.

Below are a few grandeur African destinations where you can let your hair down and have some fun in the sun:

Thanda Island, Tanzania

Escape to tranquillity at Thanda Island's refreshing pool, where relaxation, unwinding and sun worshipping come together in perfect harmony. Picture: Instagram

A luxurious island getaway suited for the whole family, consider Thanda Island your Indian Ocean home away from home.

The island villa is on an uninhabited, 8 hectare tropical island in the turquoise waters of a marine protected reserve off the coast of Tanzania, East Africa.

The hotel may be new as it opened in 2016 as a luxury private island, but it has repeatedly been voted by the World Travel Awards as the World’s Leading Exclusive Private Island.

The Thanda Island Villa is a testament to elegant coastal living, where every corner is adorned with timeless charm and impeccable style. Picture: Instagram

Thanda Islanda offers an exclusive, single-key villa for family and friends, accommodating 10 adults, with additional beds available for children.

It has five romantic, air-conditioned suites that open onto the beach. There are also two traditional, open-air Tanzanian bandas (beach chalets) for exclusive use.

The grandeur getaway is perfect for those looking for adventure, relaxation and privacy. It offers snorkelling, diving, big game fishing and many other aquatic activities in the protected Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve.

A stay at Thanda Island starts from $33 000 (R624 000) a night for a minimum five-night stay.

Shangri-La Le Touessrok, Mauritius

A panoramic view of Shangri-La Le Touessrok. Picture: Instagram

Shangri-La Le Touessrok is nestled on the quiet shores of Trou d’Eau Douce on the popular Island of Mauritius.

The five-star luxury hotel offers uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, with sandy white beaches at your doorstep. You can explore Le Touessrok’s rich history, along with touches of Asian hospitality.

Indulge in trendy dining experiences and private island retreats or tee off at one of two championship 18-hole golf courses.

Step into a world of Parisian elegance and settle into the lap of luxury at Shangri-La Le Touessrok. Picture: Instagram

The private hotel has 189 rooms, suites and three private villas offering uninterrupted views of the sparkling Indian Ocean.

Fringed by coral reefs, covered in lush greenery and surrounded by blue waters, Mauritius rewards visitors who like to explore.

Guests can enjoy the island’s richly diverse culture through its cuisine, music and heritage, or unleash their adventurous side with diving, quad-biking or ziplining.

A stay at the hotel starts from R19 232 a night.

Anantara Bazaruto Island, Mozambique

Enjoy a sunset dinner at Antara Bazaruto Island Resort. Picture: Website

If you want to experience the epitome of splendour, then Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort is the place to be.

The exclusive private island retreat is surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of Bazaruto island in Mozambique. The island boasts pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.

A two-bedroom Seaview Pool Villa at Antara Bazaruto Island. Picture: Website

Ilha de Bazaruto, Island of the Mist, lies 30km off the mainland and has 44 luxury villas dotting the coast. Swim with dolphins, set sail for the sunset or enjoy diving, snorkelling, deep-sea fishing and sunset dune boarding.

Experience exceptional Anantara dining and the culinary flavours of Mozambique at the hotel’s luxury restaurants, among them Indigo Bay Restaurant and Dine by Design.

A stay at Anantara Bazaruto starts from R25 807 a night for two.

Morukuru Beach Lodge, South Africa

Morukuru Beach Lodge at De Hoop Nature Reserve. Picture: Instagram

Morukuru Beach Lodge, in one of Africa’s most beautiful coastal reserves, the De Hoop Nature Reserve, just south of Swellendam along the Garden Route in the Overberg region is the perfect South African destination.

This summer, you can explore the Overberg characterised by quaint towns, a blossoming wine industry and delicious dishes.

An ocean-facing villa at Morukuru Beach Lodge. Picture: Instagram

The 36 000ha De Hoop conservation area is a World Heritage Site comprising rich biodiversity and more than 50km of pristine coastline, providing the opportunity for plenty of exploration.

De Hoop Nature Reserve also offers towering white sand dunes lapped by the Indian Ocean, limestone cliffs, rock pools and coastal fynbos.

The five-bedroom Morukuru Beach Lodge in De Hoop Nature Reserve can be booked per suite or on an exclusive-use basis. The lodge is an off-grid idyll for couples or small families seeking a pristine, private beach house in South Africa.

A stay at the lodge starts from R31 500 a night for two.

Thonga Beach Lodge, South Africa

A bird’s eye view of Thonga Beach Lodge. Picture: Instagram

KwaZulu-Natal’s gem, Thonga Beach Lodge, is on a protected world heritage site, Isimangaliso Park, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

With no development 160km up or 90km down the beach, this is a beach and marine wilderness sanctuary unrivalled for a secluded summer experience.

The lodge has 12 luxurious thatched rooms, some boasting private pools, and are discreetly nestled into the dune forest overlooking Mabibi beach.

A Deluxe Ocean View Family Room at Thonga Beach Lodge. Picture: Instagram

Guests can wake slowly to the sound of waves, deciding whether to go rock pool snorkelling, enjoy an open-ocean experience or simply lie on the lodge’s beach deck and sample the gin platter.

You can also enjoy a sundowner to the sound of hippo grunting at Lake Sibaya in the afternoon. Lake Sibaya is South Africa's biggest freshwater lake.

The lodge is positioned to afford maximum privacy and minimal environmental impact and is the ideal place to connect with one of Africa’s last pristine wilderness beaches.

A stay at Thonga Beach Lodge starts from R5 650.