Africa, with its landscapes and unique wildlife, has always attracted tourists from around the world. But it seems to hold a special allure for some of our favorite celebrities too. If you’re considering a trip to this beautiful continent, take a page from the travel books of stars like Elton John, Emmy Rossum, and others. Here are the top five African safari destinations they’ve explored and recommended.
Kenya has been a preferred safari destination for the royals, starting from Queen Elizabeth II in the early 50s to Prince William, who proposed to Kate Middleton near Mount Kenya. Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, near Mount Kenya, has also attracted A-listers like Robert Redford, Keira Knightley, and George Lucas.
Barack and Michelle Obama enjoyed the Masai Mara National Reserve, while Edward Norton found peace at Campi Ya Kanzi, where each stay contributes to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. Julianne Hough experienced the thrills of African wildlife at Angama Mara, and according to HelloGiggles, here is what her family had been up to:
“During their time on property, the couple has seen the annual great migration, spotted an elephant, taken in the vast landscape from a hot air balloon, and indulged in a breakfast bush picnic.”
Hollywood stars like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Idris Elba, and Emmy Rossum have found serenity in the ‘safest country in Africa,‘ as rated by the World Economic Forum. Rossum was taken aback by the gorillas in Volcanoes National Park during her stay at Virunga Lodge:
“It’s amazing to sit with the animals and watch them play and have the teenagers come up and look at you. They are just the most incredible beings. And with the animal noises, the way you can have a very simple exchange of information verbally with the gorilla is just completely mind-blowing and beautiful. I was in awe, humbled by their size and power.”
Rossum and her husband, Sam Esmail, stayed at Virunga Lodge, while Portia de Rossi and Ellen visited the endangered gorillas at Bisate Lodge. For an exclusive experience, you can consider One&Only Gorilla’s Nest or Magashi Camp in Akagera National Park.
Stars like Josh Duhamel, Harrison Ford, and Laura Prepon recommend Tanzania for a luxurious wildlife experience. The Singita Grumeti Game Reserve, with the Hillside Suite at Singita Sasakwa Lodge and the Singita Faru Faru Lodge, has played host to Oprah, Charlize Theron, and Justin Timberlake. Another hot spot is the TAASA Lodge, praised by Julianne Hough. If you are the adventurous kind, you can join the five-day Great Ruaha River Walk launched by guide Mark Thornton.
Botswana is another preferred destination by celebrities, including Prince Harry, who proposed to Meghan Markle at Meno a Kwena. They also enjoyed their time at Mapula Lodge in the Okavango Delta. Uma Thurman enjoyed her stay at Mombo Camp, while the late Paul Allen owned the six-tent Abu Camp. If you plan to go there, you can visit the Jao Villas and the environmentally sensitive rebuild of King’s Pool in the Linyati Wildlife Concession.
South Africa holds a special place in the heart of Elton John. He and his family often retreat to Royal Malewane in the famed Kruger National Park. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, he said the following about the site:
“The staggering beauty and extraordinary attention to detail make Royal Malewane one of my favorite places on earth. … One of the only places in the world where I can truly switch off and connect with nature.”
The Royal Portfolio property has also been a choice for celebrities like George Lucas, Jeff Bridges, and Bono. So, if you’re planning your next safari vacation, these celebrity-approved destinations in Africa might be the perfect places for an adventure-filled, luxurious holiday!