Our Journey Specialists help newlyweds turn their travel dreams into reality by creating custom, one-of-a-kind and romantic honeymoon experiences. One of our favorite places for honeymooners is South Africa. Why? Because this southernmost African nation offers something for everyone! Active adventurers are sure to appreciate South Africa’s jaw-dropping scenery, incredible wildlife viewing and wide range of activities. Those who enjoy the finer things in life will enjoy South Africa’s rich cultural history, its modern, sophisticated society and gourmet food and wine. A visit here will give honeymooners quite a bit to write home about and an abundance of Instagrammable photo ops! We could go on forever about the Rainbow Nation’s merits, but we’ve forced ourselves to pick our top five reasons to honeymoon in South Africa. Read on to learn more.
A visit to South Africa would not be complete without time on safari. South Africa is home to the Big 5 – lions, elephants, rhinos, Cape buffaloes and leopards – and is the one destination where you have the best chance of seeing all of them in the shortest amount of time! South Africa is also home to other wild animals big and small including almost 300 mammal species. From giraffes to cheetah to hippo to meerkat, the country’s parks and reserves will not disappoint. Heard of the Marine Big 5? The oceans around South Africa have incredible numbers of whales, sharks, seals, penguins and dolphins, along with many other aquatic species. Is there a specific animal you’re hoping to see on your honeymoon? While wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed, our Journey Specialists know how to select safari destinations that offer a higher likelihood of seeing certain species.
After the stress of a wedding, many newlyweds want to relax and enjoy the finer things in life, and South Africa delivers these in spades. Modern South Africa is home to a unique society that includes African European, Indian, Malaysian and other people who have lived together in a resource-rich land boasting diamonds, gold and more. These fuel thriving music and art scenes, world-class vineyards and gourmet dining. South Africa’s cosmopolitan cities offer countless opportunities for honeymoon couples to enjoy romantic dinners prepared by world-renowned chefs, private wine tastings with experienced vintners and stays at luxurious and innovative 5-star hotels.
Unlike some other African honeymoon destinations, South Africa has something for everyone. It offers a superb combination of cosmopolitan cities, pristine landscapes and productive wildlife reserves and dramatic coastlines and beaches. For any new bride or groom concerned about getting “safaried out” there should be no concern about South Africa. After seeing the Big 5, couples can focus on hiking and exploring areas like Blyde River Canyon in Mpumulanga or Table Mountain and Lionshead in Cape Town, which is also home to the internationally-recognized Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and Robben Island Museum, the former prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. Nearby, the famous Cape Winelands are sure to please any wine or food lover.
Swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, whale watching and great white shark cage diving are popular activities along South Africa’s coastlines. World-class championship golf courses abound throughout the country, including Leopard Creek near Kruger, Fancourt Hotel & Country Club on the Garden Route and Durban Country Club in Kwazulu Natal, which boasts perfect weather, wide white-sand beaches and Africa’s busiest port. Johannesburg and surrounds are the economic heart of South Africa and home to the country’s moving Apartheid Museum, Soweto (home to Nelson Mandela and others), incredible culture and shopping for art, diamonds, jewelry and more.
What better place is there to relax after the stress of a wedding than in a 5-star hotel or luxurious safari lodge or camp? South Africa has some of the best accommodations in the world, with opulent rooms, first-class service, beautiful settings, extensive wine lists, top-quality spas and more. In the cities, honeymooners will thank themselves for splurging on the likes of Cape Town’s Ellerman House, Johannesburg’s Saxon Hotel or Durban’s Oyster Box. On safari, honeymooners may be stunned to discover the luxury offered – including huge suites with indoor/outdoor showers, private plunge pools, high quality spas, gyms and more – at camps and lodges like Singita Ebony Lodge, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge and Dulini. Our preferred camps and lodges can arrange special romantic surprises like honeymoon turndowns, romantic candlelit bush dinners and private sundowners. In some locations, there are also unique and adventurous options like the uber-romantic Kingston Treehouse at Lion Sands in the Sabi Sand.
South Africa offered countless ways to enjoy a private honeymoon even before social distancing was important. We recommend most of our travelers choose to safari at one of our preferred private conservancies. These reserves are typically huge, encompassing thousands of acres, while accommodating very few guests. The general public cannot traverse here so there are fewer vehicles per sighting and you can have those lions or rhinos to yourselves. In addition to more exclusive wildlife viewings, private conservancies also allow for many more activities than in national parks including night game drives, off-road driving and walking safaris. And for honeymooners, we can arrange private meals and game drives, or go for it and book a private villa with its own private chef, staff, vehicle and guide.
What are you most excited about incorporating into your custom honeymoon to South Africa? Let our Journey Specialists know so we can begin planning your perfect honeymoon.
Photos courtesy of andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge, AAC Product Manager Anisha Barrientos, Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa, South Africa Tourism, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Dulini and AAC Livingstone Club members John Huenke & Shannon Williams