At one time or another we have all envied the lifestyles of the Rich and Famous! Let’s face it, turning an unattractive shade of green is difficult to avoid as we see them strut the red carpet, quaff (real!) champagne, and step out of their private jets and yachts.
The Quest for Privacy
At first glance it seems that their lives are perfect – they are adored, pampered and usually very, very rich but the majority of celebs lack a couple of very basic needs that the rest of us take for granted – anonymity, solitude and privacy. Forever in the limelight, increasing numbers of celebrities are looking for discreet and luxurious places to vacation, where they can let their hair down and live a “normal” life for a week or two.
Our wonderful continent is full of marvelously remote destinations where even the most ardent paparazzi will battle to track down the stars. While Africa offers friendly smiling faces, great levels of service and wonderful sunny weather, the main attraction is the remarkable wildlife; here in Africa the tables are completely turned as our magnificent Big Five steal center stage and the celebs become the adoring fans.
Over the last 5 years or so Tanzania has gained in popularity as an ideal bolt hole, offering vast open spaces, brilliant wildlife and some of the most iconic African landscape on the continent. In addition there are several sumptuous remote bush lodges that provide the last word in luxury and all the home-from-home touches that the stars are accustomed to, such a private butler and safari vehicle and personal guides and drivers. Let’s have a closer look at some of the celebs who have recently visited African shores to go on safari in Tanzania.
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
Justine and Jessica chose to spend part of their honeymoon on safari in the Grumeti Reserves in Northern Tanzania, where they stayed at the Singita Sasakwa Lodge overlooking the sweeping plains of the Serengeti. It is rumored that the couple made the most of their romantic location by taking a thrilling dawn hot-air balloon ride, followed by a champagne breakfast in the bush. And of course in true celeb fashion they flew in by helicopter.
Sasakwa Lodge is an ideal choice for honeymooners – each of the sumptuous cottages has its own private infinity pool where you can relax in total privacy as you gaze out over the Serengeti, and if you time your visit to coincide with the annual Wildebeest migration you will be really close to the action.
Oprah Winfrey and Steadman Graham
Oprah and her long-standing partner also chose the Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania for their 2013 African safari. In their case they opted to stay at the fabulously low-key, but none-the-less opulent Singita Sabora Tented Camp.
Singita Sabora Tented Camp is modelled on an 1920’s explorers camp and each of the 9 luxurious “tents” are furnished with Persian carpets, antique furniture, crystal glasses and gleaming silver and brass hurricane lamps. Each tent is totally private and faces the amazing open plains of the Serengeti where you can glimpse a constant parade of wildlife.
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin
Oscar award-winner George Clooney and his gorgeous wife Amal did not seem to mind who saw them when they visited Tanzania in March 2014 prior to their wedding – in fact the hunky star of Syriana seemed happy to show off his new love interest in a string of photos that were published in People magazine. This star couple stayed at the ultra luxury Mwiba Lodge which was then the private African sanctuary of an American billionaire.
The lodge enjoys an elevated position overlooking the Serengeti and provides all the necessary luxuries any A-List celeb would find essential. More recently the lodge has opened its doors to anyone with a sufficiently padded wallet!
Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
Vanessa (star of High School Musical) and her boyfriend Austin Butler also visited a luxury safari lodge in Tanzania and posted selfies of their safari on Instagram for their adoring fans. As befits typical A-List celebs they also chose a very nice lodge which boasts an on-site water hole frequented by Elephants. All the rooms at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge have wonderful views and facilities but our celebs made sure they had a villa with a private plunge pool overlooking the water hole so they could chill out and do some game watching at the same time! In addition to game drives the resort also offers day trips to Ngorongoro Crater, Hot-air balloon safaris and guided bush walks.
Bill Gates, Naomi Campbell and Tom Cruise
These three celebrity names can be found in the visitor’s book of one of Africa’s most amazing tropical islands situated just off the coast of Tanzania. Magical Mnemba Island Lodge is located close to Zanzibar Island and has earned itself a reputation for attracting wealthy celebs who want to escape the public eye. The island boasts pristine powder white beaches surrounded by warm tropical waters and brilliant coral reefs. While the lodge may not be everyone’s idea of paradise (no TV, Wi-Fi or other mod cons to distract you from the amazing setting) it has what it takes to attract discerning guests who can afford to go anywhere else on earth!
Many other celebrities visit Africa each and every year but the vast majority of them slip in under the radar and resorts and safari operators are obliged to keep it quiet if they have any hope of a return visit or a celebrity referral. However, at the opposite end of the scale are those celebs that take full advantage of their African visit and turn it all into a funky advertising gimmick, as was the case with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard who produced a YouTube video of them performing the iconic Toto hit “Africa” against the backdrop of the Serengeti.
Other celebs who have visited Tanzania to combine a safari vacation with working for a good cause include Chelsea Clinton, Bill Clinton, Lionel Messi and many more.
Of course you don’t have to be a celeb to go on safari in Tanzania; you don’t ever have to be rich! If you have some time to spare and feel passionate about wildlife and conservation you can spend anything from a couple of days to several weeks volunteering your services at one of many conservation initiatives where you will be welcomed with open arms. If you are interested have a closer look here: