After two kids and numerous adventures together, Prince William and Kate Middleton recently celebrated their 5-year wedding anniversary. But, before they were parents to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the royals were just a couple of lovebirds wanting to spend their lives together.
It took years of ups and downs, but Will finally popped the question to longtime girlfriend Kate in 2010 at the remote Rutundu Log Cabins in Kenya. The Prince, who chose the isolated spot because he had fallen in love with it two years earlier during a visit to the country, has made his love of the area widely known.
Not only did the 33-year-old propose to his wife in Kenya, but he has also decorated his son Prince George's nursery in an African theme. "Africa is my second home," William said in footage filmed for a Sky1 documentary in 2010. "When I step off the plane I'm like, 'Yes, I'm back.’"
As patron of the Tusk Trust since 2005, William has also spoken numerous times about animal conservation and the importance of preventing poaching. But, William isn’t the only fan of the stunning continent. Celebrities and royalty alike are taking a more adventurous approach to their honeymoons and vacations with exotic, remote and luxurious, safaris in Africa quickly becoming the ultimate VIP holiday.
Nicky Hilton headed to Botswana with her new husband James Rothschild after their July 2015 nuptials, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel called Tanzania home for their post-wedding getaway, and Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard made headlines back home after they shot a spoof music video while on safari.
So what does it really take to have a celeb- and royal-worthy vacation in one of the continent's gorgeous locales? Here is your guide on how to plan the ultimate romantic safari escape with options in three countries: Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Where To Go:
From endless plains to picturesque beaches, a trip to Kenya will take your breath away. And considering Prince William deemed the country the perfect place to propose to his bride, it’s safe to assume you’ll feel like royalty. The stunning Serengeti is situated in the southern part of the country and carries over into Tanzania where even more adventure awaits.
The country holds Africa’s tallest mountain and its biggest lake, making it perfect for a thrill seeker. The wildlife is a sight to be seen as 10% of the world’s lion population can be found in Tanzania’s largest national park. Perhaps that’s what Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel found intriguing when they traveled there for their honeymoon.
But, if you need to kick back with your feet in the sand after your long days on safari, then Zanzibar is the place for you. Its tropical landscape and rich history is perfect for those who like to stay active and explore but also have an inclination to just chill out.
Where to stay:
For a taste of what life is like for William and Kate in Kenya, the Mara Bush Houses offer total seclusion and freedom. The animals strolling in front of the houses give you your own personal safari. You can totally design your itinerary from start to finish leaving you with a unique experience that cannot be replicated with rates starting at $400 per person per night.
If romance is what you’re seeking, check out Gibb’s Farm in Tanzania. What began as a coffee farm in the 1920s has now grown into a luxurious and rustic group of cottages good for exploring Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater – a.k.a. a beginner's safari. Starting at $320 per person a night, the property’s lush gardens offer an oasis from the city and its organic food selection will restore you.
What's the one thing besides luxury and romance celebs and royalty want most in a getaway? Privacy. You'll get all of the above by staying at Tanzania's Namiri Plains tented camp ($350-$875 per person per night) in the Serengeti as there's no other property within an hour drive. It's remote, romantic and luxurious and, not to mention, prime real estate to watch big cats do their hunting.
To continue that ultra privacy minus the wild animals, then head to Matemwe Lodge in Zanzibar where rates start at $360 per person per night. The property boasts just a handful of private two-story villas with endless Indian Ocean views and comes with a private butler, perfect for a traveler who doesn't feel like leaving their villa but still wants the benefits of a beach vacation.
What to Do:
After a day of exploration and adventure in Tanzania, you can take a much-needed break at the spa at Gibb’s Farm. Indigenous Maasai healing techniques will help you feel completely rejuvenated in the comfort of your own cottage. Staff will meet with you personally so you can have an entirely unique spa experience designed for your needs.
Meanwhile, the blue waters of Zanzibar offer an endless opportunity for adventure. You can go deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, kite surfing, and kayaking. Explore the underwater species with a guided reef tour and discover animals you’ve never seen before. If history is what you’re seeking, discover the rich culture with a spice tour or a trip to Stone Town, where shopping for blue-violet Tanzanite is a must.
From big cats to rhinoceros, you’ll be able to see all the exotic animals you could possibly imagine. Watch thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles fill the Serengeti in both Kenya and Tanzania during the Great Migration in late November and December. Asilia Africa, which organizes visits in both countries, provides top-notch guides who go through extensive training and will take you out for hours to find the Big Five: African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros.