White table linen perfectly crisp at the folds, gleaming silver mirroring the marula trees that play canopy to dinner, the warm amber glow of hurricane lamps … get the picture? This is the spiff and polished safari capturing yesteryear’s explorer-heart and old-school bush charm. If you’re less inclined towards the ultra-mod feel of many modern-day safaris, here are some superb and luxurious older-era options.

romantic safaris of yesteryear in South Africa
At the waterhole at Kings Camp in the Timbavati

If you’re looking for that memorable patch of African soil on which to sip your G&T, it could be at Kings Camp. Mesmerising views across the Timbavati’s savanna plains are all yours, and here at the waterhole, you can watch, enchanted, as all manner of animals come and go. Luxury suites (fully air-conditioned) are the epitome of old-school indulgence with their draped four-poster beds, Victorian ball-and-claw baths and exquisite furnishings. A private verandah connects you intimately with the wilderness, and the honeymoon suites additionally have their own bush-view pools. Alongside the old-school atmosphere of easy indulgence, there are also some mod cons – a well-equipped gym amongst them.

romantic safaris of yesteryear in South Africa
Luxury Suite at Kings Camp offering classic comfort

No two dinners at Kings Camp are likely to be the same. Dine deep in the bush with the stars twinkling overhead, or in a traditional boma, or silver-service-style in the dining room, privately on your own patio or overlooking the waterhole.  Mail us.

romantic safaris of yesteryear in South Africa
Romantic dinner out on the deck at Hamiltons Tented Camp

There’s nothing like a stylish tented camp to bring the safari adventure of yesteryear alive. Hamiltons Tented Camp in the Kruger National Park offers the kind of experience that pioneer safari movies are made of. Six gorgeous canvas tents have gleaming teak floorboards, dreamy mosquito drapes, slipper baths, outdoor showers and excellent views of a seasonal river. Timber walkways under ancient old trees connect the suites with main lodge.  Mail us.

romantic safaris of yesteryear in South Africa
One of the suites at Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge

Selati is Sabi Sabi’s wonderfully romantic ‘Out-of-Africa’ safari camp in the Sabi Sands. Lantern-light, old-world luxury and a delightful historic railway theme are the hallmarks of Selati Lodge. (The railway theme because the lodge lies close to a disused old railbed, used long ago to transport gold from the Drakensberg escarpment.)  At night oil lamps and lanterns create a perfect atmosphere for the African bush, in the stead of electric lighting. For comfort, though, overhead fans and air-con are available.  Mail us.

romantic safaris of yesteryear in South Africa
A tent at Plains Camp in Kruger National Park

Live in the spirit of the old pioneers and explorers at Plains Camp deep in the Kruger National Park. Just a handful of luxurious explorer-style tents are positioned beneath a cluster of knobthorn trees, and have en-suite bathrooms and plenty of creature-comforts. The camp has the feel of an old naturalists’ retreat, overlooking a spectacular plain and waterhole. Antique treasures and an Africana book collection beautifully capture the great pioneer era.  Mail us.

Mail us for bookings and information (not just for safaris but for all getaways in South Africa), or call +27  21 797-7122.