The tinkle of glasses, the trickle of laughter and plates of local delicacies; sharing stories over wine and fine food as the sun sets has to be one of the most soothing parts of travelling. Imagine this scene but move your table to the most breathtaking landscapes for a meal you will never forget.
A banquet in the bush: South Africa
Dinner time takes on a whole new meaning in Kruger National Park. While you’re busy spotting the Big Five out on safari at Lion Sands Game Reserve, tables are being set up by the river for a magical surprise on your return. The fire is lit, lanterns light the way to your table, and the starry sky provides an evening spectacle. The chefs, who cater for every allergy, taste and appetite, will cook up a braai (barbecue), with all the colour and flavour of local ingredients.
Arabian nights: Oman and the UAE
Hidden among the golden sand dunes of Oman and the UAE are Magic Camps’ eco-chic tents – and they’re waiting for you to arrive after an exhilarating sand dune drive. Surrounded by flickering lamps, this luxurious desert camp has been set up just for you. Get ready to indulge in legendary Arabian hospitality, leaving the real world far behind. The chef’s gourmet recipes of marinated fish and barbecued lamb infused with spices will whisk you away into a heady culinary scene. There’s just as much fanfare for breakfast; fresh juices, Arabic flat breads and eggs freshly cooked to order will ignite your love for this five-star oasis.
Step back in time: India
The water temples of India are known as step wells due to the steps leading to the water, which was much needed during times of drought. Rawla Narlai Luxury Heritage Hotel takes you on a journey back in time with a secret space around an 18th Century step well, bringing to life these ancient stories with ethereal lanterns and the vibrant chants of a jogi. You’ll be served up the delights of a traditional Rajasthani thalis banquet, infused with rich local seasoning. Dive into a set menu of meat with the fire of red chillies, deep fried cottage cheese dumplings simmered in rich cashew gravy, and green vegetables seasoned in Rajasthani spices.
A Bangkok dinner with Bill Bensley: Thailand
People often ask who would be the best guest to a dinner party, and, for us, internationally acclaimed and larger-than-life architect and designer Bill Bensley always comes to mind. He has master minded the design of over 200 hotels in more than 40 countries, exploring Asian culture and working with local people to deliver the most amazing retreats. You can spend the evening with him and his partner Jirachai Rengthong in the stunning surroundings of their Bangkok oasis, Baan Botanica. Lively conversation will continue until the wee hours of the morning, as you learn how he navigates his passion for design and sustainability.
Story time traditions: Namibia
In the heart of Namibia, the tradition of dinner in a boma is a must. After discovering majestic scenes of elephants and ancient rock carvings during the day, get comfortable as a hush descends at Damaraland Camp in the evening. A boma is an enclosed space where people come together to share food, stories and listen to entertainment. Drinking fine wines and gazing into the crackling fire are just the finer details to a memorable evening spent here under the clear night sky – an evening that’s all about the coming together of people.
Michelin-starred foraging: Italy
Rosa Alpina’s Michelin-starred restaurant St. Hubertus is moving up to an altitude of 2,000m for a Sunday lunch like no other. With no electricity, the restaurant is going back to its roots, reconnecting to nature and the landscape. A meal here starts with an early morning walk up the mountain with the chefs to learn about the flora and fauna along the way. Forage for ingredients, uncovering plants, herbs and wild mushrooms, before you reach the cabin at the top. A well-earned aperitivo will be waiting for you on arrival, followed by a five-course tasting menu packed with all the treasures you found on your hike.
Field of Light, feast of delight: Australia
As darkness falls on Uluru, the massive sandstone monolith in the northern territory of central Australia, 50,000 coloured glass spheres gently come to life. The illuminating field of stems creates an energy, heat and brightness in the desert that has to be seen to be believed. This mystical work of art, Field of Light, was created by the internationally celebrated artist Bruce Munro. It’s in this fantasy garden that you can escape with canapés and Australian sparkling wine, followed by a delicate bush tucker dinner of local delicacies including kangaroo, emu and crocodile, and salads mixed with Indigenous ingredients.