If you’re sweltering in the heat in your northern hemisphere home, wondering when the air conditioning repairman will arrive, you’re probably wishing you were somewhere cool.
Well it’s winter in the southern hemisphere, and most African countries are nice and cool — if not downright chilly. But this is one of the best times of year to go to the continent, as the prices are right and you don’t need to worry about heat stroke. You can even ski in some places!
Here are 15 African resorts worth escaping to, for a much-needed dose of winter in summer.
This article originally appeared on AFKInsider.com.
1. Botswana: Zarafa Camp
You can’t get much more intimate with the wild than this. The camp is the creation of National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert and naturally, these two know how to pick a gorgeous setting. The four-tent camp sits on the 320,000-acre private Selinda Reserve, with each tent facing a lagoon popular with hippos and elephants. Guests enjoy safari rides from cars designed by the Jouberts for optimal viewing. Winter is actually the best time to visit Botswana, when the daytime temps are mild and it’s not terribly rainy.
2. Kenya: Ol Donyo Lodge
Guests at Ol Donyo Lodge enjoy views of Mount Kilimanjaro — one of the most famous climbing challenges on the planet — and full use of the Mbirikani group ranch. Horseback safaris, mountain-bike rides, bush walks and visits to a Maasai village are all available to guests. Guests sleep in one of the 10 suite lodges — another luxury creation from the Jouberts. Lots of plush blankets will keep you warm during the chilly nights.
3. Morocco: Dar Ahlam Resort
This property in Ouarzazate looks just how you would imagine a traditional desert kasbah to look, with rooms inside sandcastle-like structures. The resort is owned by a French theater director and is, appropriately, theatrical in its aesthetics. The staff arranges meals in several picturesque locations from the olive groves to rooftops. Guests have the choice to stay in one of 13 suites, a villa, or a tent-for-two in the sand dunes. And though most of Morocco is uncomfortably hot in summer, in winter the temperature is very pleasant.
4. South Africa: Delaire Graff Estate
Delaire is the ultimate in luxury vacations. Owned by British jeweler Laurence Graff, this 100-acre wine estate houses 10 private lodges, each with its own swimming pool and views of the vineyards. Guests also have the privilege of sleeping among Graff’s incredible art collection.
5. South Africa: Royal Malewane
Royal Malewane is perfect for travelers in large groups. Grand private residences that sleep up to 12 are available, as well as one- and two-bedroom suites. It’s the ideal place for Big Five animal sightings, and is right next to the famous Kruger National Park, which has nice mild temps in winter.
6. South Africa: La Residence
This 11-suite, five-villa property was Hotelier Liz Biden’s vision for a real life “Alice in Wonderland,” and she succeeded. The Franschhoek property looks truly magical, and guests enjoy farm-to-table dining at every meal, accompanied by wine from the local wineries.
7. South Africa: Birkenhead House
Ever dreamed of vacationing in a huge mansion? You can do it at Birkenhead, an 11-room mansion in the seaside destination of Hermanus. Many travelers like to spend a few days here relaxing after their inland safaris. From the back patio, guests can see the migration of the southern right whale, which frequents this area in winter.
8. Tanzania: Singita Grumeti Reserve
Singita Grumeti gives its guests access to 350,000 protected acres on the great migration path in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem — acres that are otherwise off limits to visitors. Here, guests can spot animals big and small from wildebeests to gazelles when they trek across the savanna between July and October. Guests can stay in one of the three lodges, which together have 36 rooms, or a private villa.
9. Seychelles: Frégate Island Private
This is the stuff romance novels are made of. Set on 740 acres of tropical jungle and perfectly white beaches, the property is home to giant tortoises and other rare wildlife. Guests stay in one of 17 ocean-view villas, each complete with a private infinity pool. The Seychelles are great to visit in winter — but also year-round, just in case you can’t make it between June and September.
10. Seychelles: North Island
If you’re looking to be truly spoiled, stay on this coconut-and-spice plantation-turned-resort on a private island. Guests enjoy free reign over the 519-acre property, and sleep in villas decked out in furniture and décor made from local, re-purposed materials. What’s more, each of the 11 villas comes with a butler.
11. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda
Located close to the headquarters of the Parc National des Volcans, this lodge is the perfect base from which to set off to see the magnificent mountain gorillas. There are wonderful views of the volcanoes and the verdant surroundings. The guest cottages and main lodge building are beautifully constructed and appointed. And while you can enjoy the luxury of your surrounds, know that the community fees from the lodge go towards socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the national park. Luxurious and with a social conscience! This is the sister lodge of the Governor’s Camp in the Masai Mara, Kenya. June through September is the dry season in Rwanda, and the best time to visit.
12. Governor’s Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
This camp gets its name because almost a century ago the site was reserved, exclusively, for Kenya’s colonial Governors. Set up originally in 1972, this is a tented camp that set the standards in luxury, and it’s still rated as Africa’s best. There are 37 tents, some lining the riverbank, and others looking out over the plains. This is the ultimate in canvas luxury, with en-suite bathrooms and flushing toilets, and a dining tent with views to die for. It’s also been awarded a Silver Eco Rating for its sustainable practices.
13. Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp, Tanzania
Looking for a bit of Out of Africa safari camp luxury? Kirawira will hit the spot. It’s located near the famous western corridor of the Serengeti National Park, affording an unmissable view of the annual migration of over one million wildebeest. It’s designed in Edwardian style, harking back to the times of elegant hunting camps of that era. Colonial opulence is everywhere, from the central meeting tent with Persian rugs and chaises longues, to the twin dining tents with Edwardian-styled dining furniture and crisply starched napery. There are 25 widely spaced luxury tents on timber platforms to make the most of the glorious views. It’s your own bit of Downtown Abbey on safari, just waiting for you.
14. Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Kenya
You couldn’t ask for a better location. This 5-star lodge lies in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro, providing a majestic backdrop. It’s a secluded setting and affords the guest a front-row seat to see elephants, hippos and buffalo in the nearby swamps.There are 96 guest rooms available, each with an uninterrupted view over the plains of the Amboseli National Park. The rooms are styled to a traditional Masai concept and include hand-painted murals by a local artist. And when you’re not out exploring the park or participating in the full range of safari activities offered by the lodge, there’s a swimming pool to relax in.
15. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Zimbabwe
Bordering the Zambezi National Park and located close to Victoria Falls, this lodge provides luxury accommodation with uninterrupted views of spectacular African sunsets. Opened in 1994, the lodge has an eco-friendly design that has been described like a multi-level, open-plan tree house. A big draw is the onsite waterhole, where you can watch the wildlife (including impalas and elephants) that come to drink. The 72 rooms are done up in bright local fabrics and have private balconies overlooking Zambezi National Park.