Ellen Degeneres recently posted a video of herself having breakfast in Nairobi, Kenya, while a giraffe poked its long neck through a window to eat out of her hand. In the video, Ellen can be heard complimenting the giraffe’s pretty eyes. She was at the Giraffe Manor; a Nairobi hotel which offers sanctuary for a modest population of endangered Rothschild Giraffes.
Celebrities travel to Africa to enjoy outdoor adventures, exquisite scenery, wildlife encounters, and some much-needed privacy.
Sometimes they combine their holidays with charity work. In this video, Ellen Degeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi visited in May to build a campus for mountain gorillas in honour of Dian Fossey. Fossey an American primatologist and conservationist who was pivotal in the study of mountain gorilla groups from 1966 until her death in 1985. (Source: https://www.iol.co.za/travel/africa/watch-ellen-and-portia-get-up-close-with-gorilla-family-16939857)
Earlier this year De Rossi gave DeGeneres her own namesake gorilla conservation centre for her 60th birthday.
One percenters want to vacation away from the crowds, so you probably won’t find them going on a game drive in a National Park or Game reserve. They prefer private game ranches and concessions that host a limited number of visitors.
British billionaire, author, and reality TV star Sir Richard Branson is no stranger to South Africa. In fact, he owns a private game reserve there. Branson’s son Sam married his girlfriend Cressida Bonas at Ulusaba game reserve, sharing their luxury destination wedding with their guests and the wild animals that live there, including the Big Five. Branson also owns a luxury safari lodge in Kenya.
African American actress Taraji P. Henson was particularly impressed by the South African food. She described it as flavorful, with the effect of making taste buds dance. Popular songstress Rihanna enjoyed a South African safari recently.
The Meno a Kwena luxury tented bush camp in Botswana seems to have made quite an impression on Prince Harry. He vacationed there first with ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davis in 2007 and returned with Meghan Markle, the woman he is now married to. The pair also visited the Okavango Delta.
You might remember Namibia as the place where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie chose to give birth to their first biological child Shiloh. Jolie traveled back there in 2017 to open an animal sanctuary named after her daughter Shiloh. The shelter takes care of orphaned elephants.
The deserts of Namibia offer plenty of peace and quiet. More than 40% of Namibia is protected, which is why the dry region has so many animals despite the harsh climate. Namibia has more cheetahs than any other country in the world.
One of the most famous marriage proposals took place in Kenya when UK’s Prince William proposed to his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton in the Rutundu Lodge Cabin on Mount Kenya. This is one of the most private safari destinations you could imagine. There are three ways to get to Rutundu: trekking for 15km, riding a horse up the mountain, or taking a private plane. So, of course, they had the place to themselves.
Actress Jessica Biel honeymooned in the Serengeti National Park when she married Justin Timberlake in 2012. The pair got married in Italy before flying to Tanzania for a luxury safari in the Singita Grumeti reserve. They stayed at two luxurious safari lodges, sparing no expense.
Just four years ago, Grumeti was declared the most beautiful hotel in the world by Conde Nast.
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake are not the only celebs who have stayed at the $1,200 a night luxury lodge. George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney have stayed there, as has Oprah Winfrey. Every luxury cottage has its own private plunge pool, and each guest has a butler who caters to their every whim. Guests can explore the wild in a safari vehicle or on foot accompanied by experienced guides.
In the evening, they come home to relaxing bubble baths or spa treatments, wine tasting, and five-star meals, with the endless savanna and sounds of the bush serving as a backdrop. For guests who want even more space, there is a private villa available for $50,000 a week.
Leonardo Dicaprio is known to fork out a small fortune on luxury vacations in Tanzania’s Serengeti.
The adventurous Biel was already acquainted with Africa – she had previously conquered the formidable Mount Kilimanjaro two years earlier.
Seychelles seems to be a favorite for honeymooners. In 2015, Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild enjoyed their honeymoon in Africa. They began with a safari in Botswana and finished with a visit to the private North Island resort in Seychelles. Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade also honeymooned at the same resort, as did George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin a year earlier in 2014.
2009 saw actress Salma Hayek and her French husband follow their romantic Venice wedding with an even more romantic honeymoon at North Island in Seychelles.
Remember Brad Pitt and Jeniffer Aniston? Well, this former Hollywood power couple had their honeymoon in Seychelles following their 2000 wedding. Their marriage was ill-fated, just like that of Beatle Paul McCartney and supermodel Heather Mills, who had their Seychelles honeymoon in 2002. Incidentally, both couples stayed at the Fregate resort.
It was in Seychelles that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge honeymooned after their fairytale wedding seven years ago.
Last year, actress Liz Hurley was on vacation in a luxury resort on secluded Felicite Island in Seychelles, together with her five-year-old son Damien.
For singer Ciara and her athlete husband Russell Wilson, Seychelles provided the perfect setting for a romantic marriage proposal.
Mauritius is a favorite destination for British royal Prince Harry, Kylie Minogue, Gwyneth Paltrow, Serena Williams, as well as Liz Hurley.
Just last December, Pixie Geldof was spotted on a beach in Mauritius.
Unlike the Caribbean, Mauritius is not easy to access. It takes 24 hours to fly from Los Angeles to Mauritius. This makes it a real getaway – in every sense of the word. Mauritius is also one of a few islands that have no monsoon season. Which means that even in the offseason, the worst you can expect is some heavy rain. The food on the island is a heady mix of Indian, African, British, French, and Asian influences.
Africa is a favorite destination for holidaying royals. Famous journalist and author Andrew Morton famously quipped that something about Africa draws people into romance. We would have to agree.