By Chinelo Ngene
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! And as excited as we are about sharing love a whole lot more than I’m hoping we all do every day (because love shouldn’t be reserved solely for the 14th of February), we’re slightly wary about the fact that it’s election day in Nigeria. This may or may not mean many will be faced with the choice of either showing love to the lover or to the country, although I don’t see why you can’t do both.
If you would rather not be here when all the election drama is going down, then a Valentine’s Weekend getaway is exactly what you need! With only a few weeks left to Valentine’s Day, we know that many of you haven’t made any plans yet. Don’t panic! Here's a list of the most affordable yet thrilling places to spend Valentine’s Day with that special someone.
Obudu, Calabar, Nigeria
Deep in coastal southeastern Nigeria lies the great Obudu hills. Wrapped around the multicultural ethnicity of the people of Calabar, the city and the hills are filled with numerous wonders stretching further than the eyes can see. One can explore the modern city untouched by the effects of political unrest, or explore the captivating hills. At only a few minutes by air to Calabar, couples can take a short weekend trip while still enjoying a great valentine experience.
Labadi Beach, Accra, Ghana
Labadi Beach has been known as Ghana’s most beautiful beach for many years. It fosters an atmosphere for romance with the Atlantic Ocean washing over it’s coast, swinging waves back and forth to create a beautiful backdrop for lovers. Every visit to Labadi Beach welcomes you with a concert or performance booming with youthful energy unlike any you’ve experienced elsewhere. The beach is located in the Greater Accra region of Ghana which gives you the opportunity to shop for African food, attires and souvenirs.
Cape Town, South Africa
Tagged as one of the best places in the world to visit, Cape Town, South Africa serves travellers and tourists with expansive views of the Table Mountain. Couples can spend a day at the Cape Town Waterfront taking cruises and tours or just enjoying lunch or tea at one of the best restaurants in South Africa. If you’re one of the classy bunch, set a course for the Cape Winelands to engage in wine tasting adventures only an hour from the city centre. The scenic vineyards allow for an intimate time with that special someone.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is Ethiopia’s capital city situated in the magnificent Ethiopian Highlands creating a cool and pleasant atmosphere for love. An ancient city bursting with culture, Addis Ababa has more to offer than meets the eye. Couples can take time out for African safaris at Omo Valley and discover ancient tribes and animals. Coffee lovers will be thrilled to learn that Addis Ababa has an engaging coffee culture, famous for it’s locally made coffee variant. Addis Ababa is one of the most affordable cities to visit in Africa so you can have a great time without burning a hole in your pocket.
Port Louis, Mauritius
Port Louis is located in Mauritius, an island nation off the eastern coast of Africa. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean providing for an exotic feel setting your feet on the fine white sands that are abound on its shores. Port Louis is home to some of the island’s finest resorts and the Flic en Flac Beach, known for its beautiful turquoise lagoon. For a fun couples’ activity, catch a race at the Champ de Mars Racecourse, the second oldest horse race track in the world.
Diani, Kenya is often described as a tropical paradise, and for good reason. The Diani Beach has shallow waters at the shore, perfect for intimate romantic dips in the Indian Ocean. For an unforgettable valentine getaway, get up early to watch the sunrise by the beautiful beach and palm trees or relax on the white sands while watching the sunset.
Morocco’s largest city is a wonder to behold. From the busy city landscape to the calm waters by the beach, Casablanca is a must-see for lovers and adventurers. There is plenty to see and do in this Arab city. It is filled with ancient architecture with records of French influences and couples can spend a day exploring old buildings or shopping at the largest mall in Africa, the Morocco Mall.
Spending Valentine’s Day in Windhoek would give you a most unforgettable experience. Take your sweetheart to the Cheetah Conservation Park and Okapuka Ranch wild game preserve or view the historical hot springs at the City Center. For an extreme day of unbridled fun and adventure, visit the vast Namib Desert only a short trip away via the Remhoogte Pass.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Swaddled at the border between Zimbabwe and Zambezi, Victoria Falls is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world with a city conveniently built around it. The sounds of the waterfall can be heard over 40 km away and its mist seen from over 50 km away. A romantic moment is never hard to find as there’s always a breathtaking rainbow around the corner. Couples can get the best view of the waterfall at the Knife-edge Bridge and even partake in the excitement of swimming in the Devil’s Pool, a 10m wide pool right next to the cliff.
Zanzibar may be one of the most famous archipelagos in the Indian Ocean, but there’s more to it than luxury hotels and infinity pools. Even besides the beaches and the safaris, numerous romantic adventures await you and the lover. For instance, you could enjoy a quiet retreat, at Chakwa, a modest fishing village, and watch the pink sunrise over Michamvi Peninsula. You could also have lunch at the Mbweni Ruins Hotel and visit the botanical garden where there are about 650 plant species you can admire and appreciate. Or maybe you’d enjoy wandering through a maze of house and alleyways in Hurumzi, and also take the opportunity to browse antique stalls and relax at cafes.
Chinelo Ngene writes for Jovago.com