a luxurious home-from-home, often with all the benefits of a hotel thrown in, private houses and luxury villas offer families or groups of friends all the space they need for a fun-filled getaway or once-in-a-lifetime celebration, and provide couples with utmost privacy.
FOR FAMILIES WITH TOTS
In South Africa’s non-malarial Madikwe Game Reserve, Morukuru Farm House is a five-bedroom house with heaps of safe romping and splashing space. While big game is fenced out, children will love the fact that impala and warthogs come to nibble the lawn. Service levels are second to none; with your own driver, ranger, tracker, nanny, chef and private pool, nothing is too much trouble. Their sister property, Morokuru Ocean House in the coastal De Hoop Nature Reserve, offers a welcome refresh after dusty days in the bush. On the Eastern Cape, Kwande Melton Manor is a contemporary safari villa sleeping up to eight. As well as the private pool and game drives, kids love the farm-style kitchen where they can play ‘chef’ with a pro at any time of day. With a vision 'to restore the Kalahari to itself', Tswalu Tarkuni is a private house in the world’s largest private nature reserve, or for larger groups, malaria-free Leobo Private Reserve offers endless entertainment for kids of all ages from quad-biking to bush painting to star-gazing from the on-site observatory.
FOR FAMILIES WITH TEENS
Sshhh, don’t tell anyone but Mkombe's House Lamai is the only private safari house in Serengeti National Park and has been carefully designed for families with stunning views out across endless plains. In the south of the country, Kiba Point is a private safari house on the banks of the Rufiji River in Selous Game Reserve. Four double suites each have their own private plunge pool - just in case you tire of the boating, fishing, picnics, hot springs, game drives and fly-camping on offer. With a dedicated camp crew, chef, driver and guide at your disposal, older kids can be as independent as you wish. In Zambia, Tangala House is a chic family home on the banks of the Zambezi, 15km upstream of the Victoria Falls. Heaps of activities are included in any stay, including visits to the mighty Falls, canoeing on the Zambezi River, sunset and sunrise boat trips, island lunches, bushwalks and fishing.
Inspired by ancient earth architecture and Ethiopian monastic buildings, a very special private house in northern Kenya provides up to ten guests with all the activities and service they could ask for in a tasteful and serene setting. On the doorstep of Borana Reserve, some of the best Big Five viewing in Africa is interspersed with fresh homemade meals, yoga sessions, a hammam, mountain biking, horseback riding and swimming. On the opposite side of the world, Annandale is rural New Zealand at its best. Off the tourist trail and in one of the world’s most spectacular coastal locations, a five-bedroom homestead with a pool, spa and tennis court sits within a 4000-acre sheep and cattle farm. Three other luxury villas are also available — contemporary architecture at Seascape, private coved Shepherd’s Cottage, and family beach house Scrubby Bay. Also in New Zealand, near the historic village of Russell overlooking the Bay of Islands, Eagles Nest Lodge offers the spectacular views its name suggests. Complementary Louis Roederer Champagne and a personal concierge service hint at the award-winning luxury soaked up by its guests.
BAREFOOT BEACH BLISS
Nowhere does private-island, bare-foot bliss quite like Vamizi, which played host to Alice’s own honeymoon dream several years ago. A dot of a coral island off Mozambique’s wild northern coast, Vamizi is part of the Indian Ocean’s most diverse, healthy and precious coral eco-systems. Six well-spaced thatched villas, each with a pool, beach and private chef, are now run by &Beyond who have continued the original owners’ community-minded and nature-led ethos alongside offering exceptional guest experiences. Back on the mainland, aquamarine views and the white-sand of Diani Beach in Kenya are best experienced from Alfajiri Villas; the perfect place for families or groups of friends to rest and recuperate after an action-packed safari. Over in Mauritius, the luxury four-bedroom villa within the grounds of St Regis Mauritius, not only offers all the service of a hotel, but the facilities are right on your doorstep. If for example, you tire of your private chef whipping up something special on your sea-view terrace, you can always wander over to one of the hotel’s five restaurants.
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Imagine lounging on the roof-terrace of your own Marrakech riad, enjoying the catch of the day on your private stretch of beach in Mozambique or watching the sunset over the Serengeti from your exclusive safari lodge in Tanzania...