If you've seen Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa, the film of Karen Blixon's novel, you'll know the allure of a safari. But it's not just the wildlife and the vast African skies that will put romance in the air - some of today's safari lodges are incredibly stylish and intimate, with luxury tents, roll top baths and game drives that finish with dinner beneath the stars. Here are 10 of the most romantic lodges in the world.
Ivory Lodge, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
This utterly private and beautiful lodge has just six suites in the heart of some of South Africa's prime wildlife country, offering couples the chance to discover the wildlife in almost total seclusion. The most romantic lodge is Chalkley's Tree House, where guests sleep in a luxury king-sized bed on a raised platform in the middle of the game reserve, surrounded only by the calls of nocturnal animals and the African night sky.
When to go: Good year-round.
Combine with: Tswalu in the Kalahari for a safari in two of the Africa's most exclusive camps (for true safari lovers).
Book with: Aardvark Safaris
Stanley Safari Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia
The Victoria Falls is where the wide Zambezi River drops some 100m into a narrow gorge. David Livingstone described the Falls as "scenes so lovely they must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight". Stanley Safari Lodge has some of the best views of the river and the spray from the Falls in the distance. The honeymoon suite is the most romantic as it has a private viewing deck and plunge pool as well as a breathtaking panoramic view.
When to go: Travel year-round but the Falls are at their most spectacular between February and May.
Combine with: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.
Book with: Robin Pope Safaris
Valley Camp, Naboisho Conservancy in Kenya's Masai Mara
With only six luxurious tents spaced away from each other, all with stunning views, Valley Camp is the perfect destination to unwind and enjoy the prolific game sightings. Tent 6 is my favourite for romance as it's the furthest away from the mess area ensuring seclusion and it's the closest tent to the Spa tent. Plus if you're here on honeymoon, the bride gets a massage included in her stay.
When to go: Travel year round but avoid April and May, the rainy season.
Combine with: Zanzibar for white sand beach retreats.
Book with: Rainbow Tours
The tented camp at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Yala National Park is home to the highest density of leopard anywhere in the world. Totally private camps can be created especially for honeymooners located on the boundary amongst a huge array of wildlife with an evening campfire, bar, private chef and camp hand.
When to go: November to March.
Combine with: The beaches of Tangalle and the South Coast, also Galle or the Tea Country.
Book with: Selective Asia
Govenors' II Moran Camp, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Kenya is home to some of the most romantic camps in Africa and this ranks amongst the best. Small and intimate, it has luxurious tents hidden under ancient trees. Candlelit dinners overlooking the Mara River are the height of romance. Tent number 1 is on the very end of the camp and has a fabulous view up the river.
When to go: The weather is at its best in January, February and early March. June is also beautiful - and quieter.
Combines with: Baraza Beach Resort & Spa in Zanzibar.
Book with: Hayes & Jarvis
Ol Seki Hemingways Mara Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
The views alone make this the perfect place to wake up and share your 'Out of Africa' experience. Stay in one of the six Nina tents, which epitomise romance on safari. White drapes, robes and linen combined with colonial furniture and chic design make them the ultimate safari escape with one of the best bed views in Africa.
When to go: August and September for the Great Migration.
Combine with: Fundu Lagoon on Memba Island.
Book with: Turquoise Holidays
Tswalu, Kalahari Game Reserve, South Africa
Tswalu is a private game reserve in South Africa's Kalahari Desert. Stay in a suite in the Motse Lodge and, for a really special experience, spend one night under the stars on the Molori Sleep Out Deck. Other romantic experiences include a private dinner on your own deck, complete with a telescope for star-spotting, horseback rides across the savannahs, sunset cocktails on the dunes, safari drives for two plus a couple's massage in the spa.
When to go: September to May.
Combine with: Capetown, Victoria Falls or Mozambique.
Book with: Original Travel
Ulusaba, Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa
The team at Ulusaba have thought of every last detail to give couples an intimate and private escape in the African bush. Chefs can prepare a private meal for two under the stars at the Bush Observatory, whilst a special romantic turn down service includes a selection of bath oils for a romantic evening in; there's room in the bath for two and of course the champagne will be on ice. I recommend the Treehouse Suite at Safari Lodge for a particularly romantic experience with a private deck overlooking Xikwnga Dam where hippos and elephants come to bathe. It's only accessible by swing bridges and raised walkways.
When to go: November through to March.
Combine with: Mont Rochelle, Sir Richard Branson's South African Hotel and Vineyard.
Book with: Virgin Limited Edition
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
This incredible lodge sits on the rim of an extinct volcanic caldera at an altitude of 2,300 metres. Step back in time to a bygone era, with log fires and wood-panelled rooms inside and knockout views outside. The lodge is divided into three sections - Tree Camp is built into the forest at the edge of the crater and feels like the place Tarzan would have chosen if he had won the lottery.
When to go: July to October, when you can expect fine weather and the chance to see the Great Migration in the Serengeti National Park. It can be chilly at altitude.
Combine with: a Zanzibar beach resort.
Book with: Audley Travel
Samode Safari Lodge, Madhya Pradesh, India
For something different, this stunning setting in a remote part of India promises private candlelit gourmet dinners, flower-strewn foot baths after your morning safari, hurricane lamps lighting the camp after dark. The villas are all the same - palatial and private with luxurious indoor/outdoor bathrooms so you can soak under the stars.
When to go: November to February, when days are sunny and nights chilly.
Combine with: a luxury retreat in the Himalayas or a luxe spa resort near Jaipur.
Book with: i-escape