South Africa and Mozambique

Take a morning game drive in Big Five filled Kruger National Park, followed by an afternoon dip in the sea off one of Mozambique’s captivating coral-ringed islands

Cape Town 28 September 2010 On the Western edge of Kruger in South Africa, Royal Malewane is the kingpin of Safari Lodges, so swishy and over the top that Elton swings in by chopper and sets up camp. The villas mix a little bit of Victoriana with plenty of African Charm: Persian rugs and antique furniture under grass thatch. The food has won a million awards – try the grilled impala – and the stunning lantern lit spa is the most indulgent in the bush. With telepathic trackers, all of them bursting with knowledge that makes the dusty landscape come alive, you are pretty much guaranteed to tick of the Big Five.

After starry-eyed safari drives and dawn starts, a direct two hour flight will drop you off in postcard-perfect, thrilling undeveloped Mozambique. For those who just can’t do without aircon, minibars and some cosseting, try Benquerra Islands’ Azura. The 14 thickly thatched villas all have their own infinity pool and pathways to a private spot on the sand, and they strike a clever balance between beachy and elegant. The main lodge has striking works of local art – check out the incredible two meter long fish sculpture, made entirely of spoons, knives and forks.  Beds are hand carved by the island’s craftsmen, using cimbiri wood, and driftwood frames the mirrors. The chef is not so local, though – he hails from Heston Blumenthal’s stable, the Fat Duck, and, as you might expect, tables are laden with the freshest sushi and shellfish. This is Robinson Crusoe with bells on.