“It’s fairly the stereotype, that every one of Africa is one large safari,” says actress and The Woman King producer and author Maria Bello, who lives part-time each year in Kenya. Certainly, the continent affords a lot extra past wildlife — although the fauna of the continent is of course one of many biggest draws for an unique echelon of traveler. “There are thriving, stunning cities. It’s about tradition, it’s about meals and trend. I believe there’s a lot vitality proper now on the continent,” says Bello.
Listed here are among the greatest locations to go to in Southern and East Africa proper now, together with Hollywood-frequented luxurious lodges in Cape Town, South Africa; pastoral new retreats in South Africa’s Cape Winelands area and delightful, not too long ago debuted spots to remain in Nairobi, Kenya. (For THR‘s have a look at the very best new and up to date safari camps in Africa, see here.)
Cape City, South Africa
Katie Holmes, Sean Penn and Charlize Theron have stayed on the gracious pink Mount Nelson, A Belmond Resort, which this fall launched genuinely immersive experiences equivalent to Be A Marine Biologist for a Day with shark scientist and storyteller Justin Blake, who leads company by means of Cape kelp forests (made well-known in My Octopus Instructor) and monitoring tagged sharks.
One&Only Cape Town (from $650 an evening) — the place rumored previous company embrace Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Robert DeNiro, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber — has unveiled an intensive reimagining of its 133 rooms and suites and resort areas that spotlights rising artists and attracts aesthetic inspiration from the encompassing topography, mythology and tradition.
Ed Westwick and mannequin Jourdan Dunn have every checked into the ultra-opulent boutique resort The Silo (from $1,167 an evening) above the Zeitz MOCAA museum, the place the rooftop pool is the continent’s most spectacular. Elsewhere in Cape City (referred to as the Mom Metropolis), The Power & The Glory bistro and bar attracts artists, musicians and writers, based on Kweku Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela and a producer/director who has labored in a dozen African nations. For procuring in Cape City, Mandela says, “I really like Duck Duck Goose, they carry all South African trend designers.”
Whereas filming The Girl King — the hit movie that tells the unbelievable story of a historic unit of all-female warriors, the Agojie, who fought the Europeans in what’s now Benin — Viola Davis’ make-up artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera liked capturing at The Castle of Good Hope, a Seventeenth-century fort. “It was stunning what the manufacturing designer and set designers did there — it’s the closest factor to time journey.”
Lopez- Rivera recollects that his husband got here for Christmas final yr amid the Omicron wave, and “we managed to eat in 27 completely different eating places,” he says, including “the delicacies was completely unbelievable” — and shockingly reasonably priced. “This was like going to The French Laundry on daily basis.” A favourite was Salsify at the Roundhouse Restaurant. “It was actually tiny parts, completely stunning. For dessert we had selfmade Snickers bars paired with an espresso martini — I hold eager about it.” Codfather Seafood & Sushi in Camps Bay was “unbelievable,” and he liked Saturday mornings at The Old Biscuit Mill market, “surrounded by like-minded individuals who like to journey, like meals and music.”
Cape Winelands, South Africa
On one of many oldest working farms in Franschhoek is the wine mecca’s latest luxurious retreat: Sterrekopje (from $920 an evening), which opened in early 2022. The feminine-owned regenerative hub of aware residing and soulful transformation sprawls throughout 50 wild hectares, 11 non-public sanctuaries, gardens, an atelier and a bathhouse.
Beloved boltholes within the idyllic wine-growing space embrace Royal Portfolio’s La Residence (from $427 an evening) — the place Elton John is such a frequent visitor there’s a set named for him — and the Edenic farm, restaurant, resort and spa Babylonstoren (from $369 an evening), which revealed its new five-bedroom Fynbos Family House through the pandemic in addition to the nation’s first wine museum, The Story of Wine, in March 2022. “We spent our wedding ceremony anniversary, New 12 months’s Eve, within the honeymoon suite,” says Lopez-Rivera, who additionally dined at Le Petite Colombe whereas within the winelands. “Babylonstoren is heaven on Earth,” he says. “Actually, there’s nothing that you could possibly presumably want that they don’t develop or make. It’s superb.”
Designer Anna Trzebinski opened Eden Nairobi final yr (from $440 an evening per individual, sharing), and Bello shares that she lives “in slightly cottage on the grounds” when she’s there. “Anna is an unbelievable designer and the property is superb,” says the actress. Movie producer Geralyn Dreyfous can be a fan. “Anna does these salons; she’s an actual neighborhood builder, so it’s extra than simply staying in a resort, it’s being linked to among the most culturally inventive folks in Nairobi,” says Dreyfous. “She curates experiences for you and may be very forward-thinking.”
The enduring Giraffe Manor — the place Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and Derek Hough have stayed — opened The Retreat final yr, a newly constructed day-use escape designed for vacationers to calm down amid long-necked beauties, swim within the infinity pool, dine in Daisy’s Cafe and take pleasure in dreamy spa remedies or exercise on their method in or out of Nairobi; $250/go; $800 for a day room.
“I’ve spent a variety of time in South Africa and I assumed that was presumably probably the most stunning place on the earth till I went to Kenya,” says Dreyfous, including “I’ve actually simply fallen in love with the Kenyan folks, the range of geography, and culturally it’s very attention-grabbing. Nairobi is on hearth proper now, the tech sector may be very vibrant, trend and graphics and design are very vibrant, and movie is making an attempt to make a comeback.” Docubox is a “spectacular nonprofit [that is] feeding and nurturing future expertise and incubating documentaries,” she says. The Nairobi-based group is “devoted to social influence filmmaking, freedom of speech and defending the cultural inventive neighborhood of next-generation Kenyan storytellers.”
Within the dynamic, multicultural metropolis — dwelling to Bello’s favourite African director, Wanuri Kahiu, who made the 2018 movie Rafiki — the actress and producer’s go-to eating places embrace chef Dennis Ang’ani’s Embark Restaurant and Tin Roof Café.
“The River Café on the opposite aspect of the forest is unbelievable, the very best meals. And Talisman, in fact,” says Bello. However the Nyama Choma roadside stand in Nanyuki a number of hours exterior the town is her prime eat. “It’s barbecued meat, mainly, but it surely’s so fantastically [done] — I’m salivating considering of it.”
Johannesburg, South Africa
Bello has filmed in South Africa’s largest metropolis and calls it “actually cool. The up-and-coming artwork scene is superb, the model and what younger individuals are carrying.” The Saxon, considered one of Mandela’s favourite African lodges, is standard with trade sorts, he says. It boasts the Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite ($5,435 per evening), which Jay-Z name-dropped in “MOOD 4 EVA.”
Elsewhere within the metropolis, Bello recommends Amatuli Artefact, the Soweto tour of Hector Pieterson Museum, and the Maboneng neighborhood that she says “is like Brooklyn however in Joburg.”