Travel + Leisure Readers’ 5 Favorite Resorts in Africa of 2023

Luxurious accommodations in awe-inspiring destinations as far-ranging as Victoria Falls and the Sossusvlei Desert won the top votes in our annual “World’s Best Awards” survey for 2023.

According to Travel + Leisure readers, Southern Africa is home to the continent’s best resort hotels, from the winelands of South Africa to Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls to the expansive Namib Desert of Namibia. Service and location were among the most important things for readers when casting their votes.

How Voting Works
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

Hotels were classified as either resort hotel, city hotel, or safari lodge based on their location and amenities, and they were specifically rated on the criteria below:

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.

What Readers Loved
Victoria Falls was a hit destination for T+L readers, with two properties from the Zimbabwean resort area featuring in the top five spots. Matetsi Victoria Falls (No. 2) — “a great boutique hotel,” according to one T+L reader — is positioned along the Zambezi River, perfect for those seeking a relaxing stay. Meanwhile, The Victoria Falls Hotel (No. 5) is located in town, ideal for visiting the majestic Mosi-oa-Tunya, “The Smoke That Thunders,” also known as Victoria Falls.

Birkenhead House (No. 3), in the coastal town of Hermanus, South Africa, received effusive compliments from former guests. “It’s the best hotel on Earth,” one reader wrote. Staff were described as “very kind and caring.” The setting was a distinct highlight: the hotel is “a stone throw from the beach” with “an amazing view over two natural bays” where it’s possible to see whales from around June to November. “This is a home away from home,” one guest declared. “A place where you can truly relax.”

Another property that garnered high praise, andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (No. 4) wowed guests with its sublime location in the Namib Desert and fabulous sunrises and sunsets. The night sky was “a marvel,” said another guest, while another mentioned the “star-gazing skylight above the bed” and evening astronomer talks. Service was also a hit. The staff have a clear “love for the environment,” noted one traveler. Another described lodge staff as “always present but never intrusive.” When it came time to check out, the reader admitted they didn’t want to leave — a sure sign of an outstanding stay.

The Winner
Babylonstoren: Simondium, South Africa

Less than an hour’s drive east of Cape Town, in the Franschhoek wine valley, Babylonstoren sits in what was once a Cape Dutch farm, much loved by international guests and locals alike. The property is a feast for the senses, with extensive gardens, wine and olive oil production tours, essential oils workshops, and three excellent restaurants. The bright, cozy cottages are set back from the main area amid the farm’s vines and orchards, while the garden cottages are a short stroll away from all the tours and facilities. On weekends, it’s buzzing with Capetonians taking a stroll around the gardens, tasting wines, and lunching on hearty salads or braai (barbecue) food at the Greenhouse.

The Full List

  1. Babylonstoren: Simondium, South Africa Reader Score: 98.50
  2. Matetsi Victoria Falls: Matetsi Private Game Reserve, Zimbabwe

Reader Score: 98.20

  1. Birkenhead House: Hermanus, South Africa

Reader Score: 97.11

  1. andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge: Namibia

Reader Score: 92.60

SOURCE:Our Readers’ Favorite Resorts in Africa of 2023 (

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