The high cost of love in Africa - Kenya's $26,000-a-night deal, and where Nigerian women will laugh you out of town

Helicopter safaris and champagne breakfasts are also available, but if you are not the showy type, a rose will only set you back two dollars.

VALENTINE’S Day. That time of the year where some couples celebrate their love for one another, the cost of roses quadruple and purse strings get unbearably tight. Yes Bob Geldof, they do know it’s Valentine’s Day in Africa…and the love-struck here are going to extreme lengths and costs to blow their partner away.

This year’s biggest Valentine’s Day whooper comes courtesy of Kenya, at Nairobi’s Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel. With a price tag of about $26,000 for a single night, the “Night of Diamonds at the Presidential suite” offer includes a butler, private chef, dinner serenade, 40 bouquets of flowers, massage treatments, a bottle of champagne, jacuzzi and luxury diamond and sapphire jewellery.

But other hotels across the continent are not too far behind, even if still some way off the Kenyan deal.

In Luanda, Angola, the day is a big deal. From about a week before, you can spot pop-up shops along the city boulevards selling teddy bears, lingerie, flowers and basically anything red on every corner— even the flower stands located outside the cemeteries turn bright red. 

But for those who want to really splash out, the Epic Sana hotel is the place to be. The hotel is offering up its master suite for $1,300 a night, including breakfast, a bottle of champagne, chocolate and a spa gift. For an extra $300 per head there’s a Valentine’s meal too. 

Helicopter transfers

The Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, is also pulling out the stops with a “Royal Proposal” package in its exclusive Presidential Suite. The deluxe overnight package will cost $4,320 and comes with every romantic indulgence imaginable; from helicopter transfers from the V&A Waterfront, full butler service, red roses, and a snack gift basket waiting in the suite, to in-room gifts that include personalised embroidered bathrobes to take home. 

Helicopters are also on the menu for the Batswana, and from $1,359 a night, guests at Eagle Island Camp can experience Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta from the skies in the Camp’s private helicopter, giving a bird’s eye view of the many zebra, elephant and buffalo that inhabit the delta. The helicopter would then touch down in a secluded spot where a Champagne breakfast awaits. 

For the more adventurous types, for approximately $600 per couple, you can take a hot air balloon safari flight with South Africa’s AirVentures or you can give your wallet a bit more of a break with an East African resident special treat at the Nyungwe Forest Lodge in Rwanda. For two nights at $690 there, a couple can indulge in the Canopy Walkway or primate trekking. 

For those who prefer to do things more simply, the price is still high. In Durban, South Africa, for example, the price of red roses goes up and can fetch almost $2 for a single stem. In Kenya, the veracity of online offers for under-pressure men to be kidnapped on the day’s eve may not be easily established, but only the very romantic would discount such a “deal” having scores of takers.   

In some countries there doesn’t seem to be much of a choice. In Nigeria, a Lagos blogger explains how a woman would just laugh if her partner showed up with a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. She writes, the “suitable Vals (people shorten the holiday name to Vals here) gifts in Nigeria are the three C’s: cakes, cell phones and cars.” 

It’s no wonder that earlier this month, Nigerian men were joking on social media about how they would be relieved of the burden of expensive Valentine’s dinners and dates on account of the gravity of the presidential elections which were due to be on the 14th. 

But this date has since changed, leaving them with nowhere to hide. 

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