Valentine’s Day, less commonly known as Saint Valentine’s Day, is a special day that takes place on the 14 February every year. People all over the world express their affection to their partners, lovers, friends, and colleagues with flowers, chocolates, and gifts. Valentine‘s Day is said to have originated at the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which celebrated the beginning of spring. These celebrations also included fertility rites and the matching of women and men by votes or a lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with the official name St. Valentine’s Day. Since then, the 14 February is a day of romance and love. Another common legend explains that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare their men from having to go to war.
Today, Valentine’s Day is still celebrated the same way by showing love to the ones closest to us and often we express this love with chocolates, roses, and little tokens of love. Some prefer more expensive surprises such as a holiday together, while others appreciate a handwritten note just as much. Here in Namibia, this day is celebrated quite similar to other countries, and stores promote Valentine’s gifts as early as from January onwards. If you belong to those, who wanted to gift their SO (significant other) with something special, but didn’t manage to find the right idea, we have some pretty out-of-this-world ideas for you here. It’s not too late yet:
- A candle light dinner…
…but the African way. Whether it‘s in the bush, open field, beneath a camelthorn tree, or under the star sprinkled sky, Namibia has some of the most romantic locations in the world. If you rather prefer the dunes, the beach, or the back of your garden, the options to prepare a dinner for two are endless, but the idea is so simple. Not much is needed, besides some candles, flowers, a delicious homecooked meal and a sweet surprise from your side.
A private dinner outside depends on the weather, but since Namibia provides us with clear blue skies most of the days, it shouldn’t be a problem. The whole set up is minimalistic and quick, but will most defintely show your love and appreciation towards your person. The creativity is endless and the outcome will be different and personal every time, filled with love and a romantic atmosphere.
- What about a photoshoot…
…at a magical place like Sossusvlei or Kolmanskop? Imagine a beautiful dress and an extraordinary location, captured by a photographer or a friend with good photography skills to create memories for a lifetime. Namibia is the ideal place for a romantic photoshoot as the various unique regions of the country each have a different scenery to offer. Breathtaking sunsets, fascinating natural phenomena, and an abundance of wildlife, trees and plants in the background.
You could even take this a step further, and combine taking pictures with a theme or reason to capture a special moment, like an engagement, pregnancy announcement, or any other special occasion. If you favour this idea, you might want to consider locations such as Spitzkoppe, the Fishriver Canyon, Etosha National Park, the quivertree forest, the dunes of Swakopmund, or the lush green sceneries of the Kavango region. I f you have a special place in mind, please share this with us in the comments below.
- Surprise him/her with an adrenaline filled activity…
…but in a romantic way. This can be from a breathtaking hot air balloon flight over Sossusvlei with champagne in the dunes afterwards, horseriding on the west coast, to maybe ziplining at the Ugab Terrace Lodge, one of the world’s longest ziplines.
If you are a daredevil, skydiving in Swakopmund over the Namib desert might be the most thrilling adventure for you. A less expensive activity with your partner can be off-road driving or hiking up the Waterberg. Sleep in a one-man tent under the stars while you listen to the lions roaring at the Harnas Wildlife Foundation. Get a wanderlust tattoo together, go canoeing on the Orange River in the South, or feed wild cats at Na’ankuse.
These and many other ideas allow you to feel that extra heart beat (not like you would need it with your soulmate next to you), while getting real close with the animals and the nature of Namibia.
- Stay at the most romantic lodges in Namibia…
… while spoiling each other with relaxing moments, spending quality time alone, and enjoying luxuary culinary treats. Some of the best lodges to spend a honeymoon or couple’s retreat at are:
The Desert Grace with its magnificient solitude, graceful spaces and gracious hospitality is a lodge within the red fossilized dunes in the Gondwana Namib Park and allows for desert elegance and well deserved privacy.
Namushasha River Villa is anchored in its very own private channel of the Kwando River,and offers guests the opportunity to experience the Bwabwata National Park in a private and intimate setting. The Villa caters to two guests, ideal for a couple’s retreat. Couples have the opportunity to enjoy a private game drive and dinner in the Bwabwata National Park, followed by an evening of luxury on the River Villa.
The Namib Dune Star Camp is a more affordable accommodation for couples, providing the quality and romantic setting of the rich Namibian night sky. Beds can be rolled out to sleep under the stars and ensure a memorable night like nowehere else. Romantic, right?
- Activities in nature that promise fun…
… while spending time together. Hiking, birding, fishing, or fat biking in the sand, all these activities can be enjoyed as a couple, while taking the opportunity to witness and experience Namibia’s nature and wildlife first hand. Horse riding is also a great activity and it is romantic at the same time. The same goes for sunset game drives at the Namib Desert Lodge, where you and your partner can take in the magic of watching the day end, without much hassle or planning. Other romantic activities include getting a couple’s massage, doing yoga together, or simply reading a book next to a pool in the heat of Namibias driest places. It doesn’t have to involve packing the day with activities, sometimes doing nothing in the company of someone you love can be just as great and memorable.
I asked a Gondwana-Collection Twitter follower, how her ideal Valentine’s Day in Namibia would look like. She answered:
“ I would like to spend Valentine’s Day with my fiance at the Desert Grace Lodge. What would make the date memorable, would be a dinner for just us two under the stars of the Namib Desert, while back at our room we would find a single red rose on the bed as a special surprise.“
At the end of the day, it doesn’t always have to cost you a fortune to make someone happy. And always remember, we should love the one’s closest to our hearts as if it’s Valentine’s Day everyday.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Author – Hi! I am Elke, a born and raised German-Namibian. I love to travel around and explore different cultures and places, but my home country always magically draws me back home again. Oh, and if it involves food, count me in on the adventure.