Top 10 Places to Propose in Africa

A marriage proposal should be special, personal and above all romantic. Prince William proposed to Kate in Kenya, Sean and Charlize got engaged in Cape Town and Tiger Woods got engaged to Elin Nordegren on safari in South Africa (though perhaps that’s not a great example of the perfect couple!).

The movie ‘Out of Africa’ perfectly encapsulates the romance of East Africa, and a luxury safari can be an incredibly amorous experience. Many of the lodges offer butler service, gourmet dining, and scenery that is straight out of a movie set. In fact, some of the places we offer are just so romance- intoxicating, you may find yourself proposing unexpectedly!

Of course, Africa is so much more than just safari. If your idea of a romantic sojourn is a stroll on a pristine-deserted white beach with the sound of azure water gently lapping, then Africa has these in abundance.

With spectacular scenery, world wonders, stunning hotels and many unique experiences, it’s not easy to narrow a list down to the top ten places to propose. After consideration, however, these are our picks.

Ngorongoro Crater at sunset
Ngorongoro Crater at sunset

1. Sipping champagne at sunset on the edge of Ngorongoro Crater
The iconic Ngorongoro Crater is immensely impressive. The largest unbroken caldera in the world, it’s been likened to the Garden of Eden. Home to prolific wildlife, it also offers forest, lake, riverine areas and savannas – almost a microcosm of Tanzania. Our first choice for a romantic proposal is over a sunset drink on the eastern rim. Offering spectacular views, the experience will be memorable.

2. Devil’s pool at the top of Victoria Falls in Zambia
An exhilarating experience, swim at the top edge of Victoria Falls, just before the curtain of water plummets 110 metres into the gorge below! Called the ultimate, exclusive Victoria Falls experience, this is something you can only do when the Zambezi River is running low, typically between mid-August and mid-January. When one of my (less than charitable) staff suggested this as the ultimate place to propose, he added “and of course if she says no…!”.

Le Petite Soeur, Seychelles
Le Petite Soeur, Seychelles

3. Picnic at Petite Soeur in the Seychelles
Some of the best beaches in the world are considered to be found in the Seychelles. Names such as ‘Source d’Argent’, ‘Anse Lazio’, ‘Petite Anse’ and ‘Beau Vallon’ are bandied around. What always amazes me is that the pristine island of Petite Soeur (or Little Sister) is never mentioned. Definitely one of the best kept secrets, this unspoilt island is located 6km north of La Digue. Arrive by private boat and walk the small island, passing through palm trees and granitic rocks. Here you will find a sumptuous private picnic set up for your pleasure, amidst the beautiful setting of ocean panoramas. Swim, snorkel (the marine life is prolific) or just soak up the spectacular scenery.

Chalkley Treehouse

4. Up a tree in the heart of the African bush
Imagine proposing under the African night sky with predators roaming the plains below and the only music heard are the special sounds of Africa. Chalkley Treehouse in Lion Sands Private Game Lodge is the ultimate bush bedroom. A secure and lavish platform under the stars, the treehouse has all the 5-star comforts, but affords an experience as wild as the animals that roam beneath it. Guests are taken to the treehouse at sunset, where drinks and a scrumptious picnic dinner await. Dusk can be enjoyed relaxing and absorbing the vastness of the bush as it transforms from day to night, before turning in for slumber beneath the incredible night sky.

Private Dahabiya cruise
Private Dahabiya cruise

5. Private Dahabiya sunset cruise on the Nile
Follow in the footsteps of Caesar and Cleopatra. Cruise Egypt’s Nile River on a luxurious boutique Dahabiya sailboat. Either choose to spend the day on your own private sailboat or join a 5 to 7 night cruise taking in all the must-see sights of this majestic river. These upscale luxurious sailing boats only hold a maximum of 16 people, ensuring a somewhat private experience. Of course there is always the option to show your sweetheart how important they are to you, and charter the entire Dahabiya!

6. A mokoro ride in the Okavango Delta at dusk
Imagine being in a mokoro in the heart of the Okavango Delta, one of Africa’s truly great wildernesses. Mokoro, aka dugout canoe, is what you glide along in, being gently pushed through winding waterways by local guides using long poles, similar to a Venetian gondola. This vast and virtually untouched wetland lies in the heart of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert and supports an abundance of wildlife within a setting of dazzling natural beauty. At dusk present your beloved with the ring to the distant sounds of the Okavango chorus – hippos, birds and mammals. 

A Mokoro ride at sunset
A Mokoro ride at sunset

7. Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.  
Cape Town is consistently voted as one of the top cities in the world. What better place to propose than on the top of one of the new seven wonders of the world, Table Mountain. Take the cable car to the top (if you’re energetic you can hike), timing it just as the sun starts dipping. The stupendous sunset will not disappoint, as the views stretch all the way across two oceans. Remember, if she says yes, Cape Town is the perfect place to go diamond shopping!

Top of Mount Kilimanjaro
Top of Mount Kilimanjaro

8. At the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro as the sun rises
If you, and your spouse to be, are fit, adventure-seeking, outdoor lovers then perhaps the perfect proposal would be at sunrise as you ascend to the highest peak in Africa. Located in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s youngest volcano, and highest freestanding mountain in the world. It’s also the tallest walkable peak in the world – meaning you don’t have to use climbing equipment to reach the summit. While this doesn’t mean it’s easy, quite the contrary, it does mean that you don’t have to have any special expertise to reach the summit. You do have to be in good shape and prepared for a week-long trek, but nearly anyone willing to do what it takes can complete this awesome challenge. What a way to commit to the rest of your life together!

The red dunes of Sossusvlei
The red dunes of Sossusvlei

9. Ballooning over the highest dunes in the world
One of the most unforgettable and beautiful experiences in the Namib Desert is a spectacular sunrise balloon flight over Sossusvlei. Once the balloon is airborne you drift silently over one of the most fascinating landscapes for about an hour. Gigantic orange dunes, dramatic shadows, undulating plains and rocky mountains create a magical kaleidoscope of colours and shapes. On landing enjoy a sumptuous champagne breakfast in celebration of your engagement.

10. Overlooking the Masai Mara from your hot tub.
The words ‘exclusive’ and ‘luxurious’ are often exaggerations – at Mara Bushtops they fit like a glove. Watching from your own 100 square metre private deck as an abundance of wildlife congregates around the adjacent salt lick is truly unforgettable. Having your butler draw your hot tub after a spectacular game drive is heavenly. And what better place to propose than over a glass of champagne in your own jacuzzi in the heart of Kenya’s most pristine game areas.

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Moira Smith
Moira Smith

General Manager of Africa & Middle East — South African-born Moira has lived in San Francisco and Toronto, but her travel map includes over 50 countries. Her heart still swings toward all things African, particularly Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, the Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania, and Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Her most treasured attributes are a great sense of adventure and a lousy sense of direction, which have combined to lead her to some wonderful travel memories and local people.

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