TOP PICKS: FIVE HOT PROPERTIES IN 2018

The year may be young, but the calendar is already jam-packed with new openings on the slate for 2018. From the lush forests of Rwanda to the sparkling sands of the Seychelles, there is no shortage of exciting new destinations to entice visitors to Africa. Here are five of our favourites…


Botswana: Mombo and Little Mombo

Little Mombo – courtesy of Little Mombo bedroom – photos are courtesy of <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjnhJngwsDYAhWnAsAKHSIgDtUQFggnMAA&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.crookesandjackson.com%2F&amp;usg=AOvVaw1d46m2Kic5a4PH4z9Aj3G-" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Crookes and Jackson</a>
Little Mombo

Hot on the heels of opening their brand-new Qorokwe Camp, Wilderness Safaris welcomes 2018 with the reopening of its flagship Okavango camps, Mombo and Little Mombo. The two camps are situated on the famed Chief’s Island inside Botswana’s iconic Moremi Game Reserve, an area famous for its superb game-viewing. Mombo has also played a key role in rhino relocation through conservation with the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project.

Now in their third incarnation, Mombo and Little Mombo are set to be more spectacular than ever, with a design aesthetic that pays tribute to the rich heritage of the camps while embracing the evolution of luxury safaris.

“In short, the new Mombo is a showstopper”, says Caline Williams-Wynn from interior design studio Artichoke. “As the Rolls Royce of the Delta, we have combined traditional and vintage elements with a modern elegance that truly embrace the real essence of Mombo.”

Little Mombo bedroom – photos are courtesy of Crookes and Jackson
Little Mombo bedroom – photos are courtesy of Crookes and Jackson

Although the rebuilt suites occupy the same positions as they did previously, innovative design and a slight increase in footprint has allowed for improved Delta views and ­ the addition of wooden decks surrounding private plunge pools. Improvements have also been made to insulation, air flow and temperature regulation of the suites.

Both camps are set to open for guests at the end of January 2018.


Seychelles: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island

Desroches Suite at Four Seasons Seychelles – photos are courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
Desroches Suite at Four Seasons Seychelles

The Seychelles continue to cement its position as one of the leading luxury destinations in the Indian Ocean, with the opening of Four Seasons Resort Seychelles in early-2018 on private Desroches Island.

Situated in the remote Amirante Islands – a 35-minute flight from the main island of Mahé – Desroches is encircled by 14 kilometres of white-sand beaches, with coral reefs offshore offering world-class snorkelling, diving and fishing.

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles – photos are courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
Bedroom in one of Four Seasons Resort Seychelles’ bungalows

On land, 71 suites, bungalows and villas are spread across four categories, all hidden away amid the tropical vegetation, and each offering direct beach access. There’s a vintage touch to the décor, dove-tailing neatly with all the mod-cons you could ask for. Multi-generational travellers will be happy to see the inclusion of three-, four- and five-bedroom Residence Villas, which offer private pools and butler service.

The resort also offers two full-service restaurants, in-villa dining, as well as The Deli for assembling your own beach picnic. An on-site spa offers facials, massages and body treatments by Terres d’Afrique.

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles will be opening in March 2018.


Zanzibar: Constance Aiyana

Constance Aiyana – courtesy of Constance Aiyana
Privat kiosk in Presidential Villa at Constance Aiyana

Mauritius-based luxury operator Constance has expanded its Indian Ocean portfolio with the opening of its eighth resort, Constance Aiyana, on the island of Pemba northeast of Zanzibar.

Located on the northern tip of the island, on the Ras Kigomasha Peninsula, Constance Aiyana has been eight years in the making, and boasts 30 villas across four categories. Each villa blends minimalist style with Zanzibari motifs, with Ambassador and Royal villas offering private infinity pools. Although there’s only a single restaurant at the resort, it’s complemented by a seaside bar and Arabian-inspired shisha lounge.

“Constance Aiyana establishes our presence in the region and clearly positions us as the reference for luxury hotels in the Indian Ocean. This new five-star jewel also allows us to enrich our offering, and to reach new markets and guests looking for an extraordinary experience”, said Jean-Jacques Vallet, CEO of Constance Hotels & Resorts.

Alongside resort activities, day excursions to local markets, essential-oil producers and forest reserves are available to guests.


Rwanda: One&Only Gorilla’s Nest

Gorilla's Nest – photos are courtesy of <a href="https://www.oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-gorillas-nest-rwanda" target="_blank" rel="noopener">One&amp;Only Resorts</a>
Gorilla’s Nest
Gorilla's Nest – photos are courtesy of <a href="https://www.oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-gorillas-nest-rwanda" target="_blank" rel="noopener">One&amp;Only Resorts</a>
Gorilla’s Nest – photos are courtesy of One&Only Resorts

Despite controversially doubling its gorilla-trekking permit fee overnight, Rwanda is enjoying a surge of interest from travellers and hotel operators alike. While 2017 saw Wilderness Safaris open its remarkable Bisate Lodge, this year it’s the turn of One&Only, which is gearing up for the launch of two new properties in the country.

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, near the village of Kingi, is set to tick the box for that pricey gorilla-trekking excursion, with easy access to the iconic Volcanoes National Park.

In the south of the country, One&Only is also opening One&Only Nyungwe House. Set on a working tea plantation, the property is situated on the edge of Nyungwe National Park which, while not home to mountain gorillas, offers excellent sightings of 13 different species of primate.

Gorilla’s Nest will be opening early-2018.


Kenya: Hemingway’s Watamu

Watamamu – courtesy of <a href="https://www.hemingways-collection.com/watamu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hemingway's Watamamu</a>
Watamamu’s fishing bay

After a multi-million-dollar renovation, iconic coastal resort Hemingway’s Watamu has reopened to guests.

Originally built in 1988, Hemingway’s Watamu has become an icon of the coast north of Mombasa, delivering seaside luxury and world-class big-game fishing in equal measure.

The new-look resort draws heavily on its location in the Watamu Marine National Park, with 39 bedrooms decorated in a bright-and-breezy seaside style. The offering includes 13 new deluxe ocean view rooms and 21 multi-bedroom apartments.

Residence at Watamamu – photos are courtesy of <a href="https://www.hemingways-collection.com/watamu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hemingway's Watamamu</a>
Residence at Watamamu – photos are courtesy of Hemingway’s Watamamu

While the deep-sea fishing has long been a drawcard for travellers, it’s not the only activity on the agenda: there’s world-class diving on offer, a PADI-accredited dive school on site, as well as the opportunity to learn to kite-surf or sail traditional dhows.

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Richard Holmes

Richard Holmes is a freelance travel, food and lifestyle writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. His work on African and international destinations has appeared in a wide range of consumer publications both in South Africa and abroad.