When you’re planning a honeymoon you’re hit with an overwhelming number of options: beaches, cities, cruises, safaris, winelands, even cold-weather options like a luxury ski trip. How do you choose between such different options?
Well, South Africa is a honeymoon destination for newlyweds that don’t want to choose just one type of experience. It is a large country with incredible diversity of options and that makes it worthy of consideration for honeymoons.
Here are five reasons South Africa is an excellent honeymoon destination:
1. Awesome Safaris With World-Class Accommodations
The word awesome is overused in the 21st century so I usually avoid it. However, the wildlife sightings on South African safaris in and around Kruger National Park in the eastern part of the country, are truly awesome. You will be awestruck as you see lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, cheetahs and much more, often within spitting distance. At times it is actually hard to believe that the incredible sightings you’re experiencing are completely real. On our safari we were struck by the audio in addition to the visual. We were amazed to hear the paws of lions hitting the dirt and the breathing of a leopard as she digested a meal.
Select Photos from our Safari at Savanna Lodge in Kruger National Park region (click for slideshow)
Though hard to believe at first, the safari lodges in South Africa are often on par with the incredible wildlife. We stayed at one such fantastic lodge – Savanna Private Game Reserve. It was the “splurge” of our honeymoon as we weren’t able to use points or miles towards the lodging cost. However, we have never regretted for a moment the money we spent on that part of our honeymoon. The memories from the game drives and the time at the lodge are some of our greatest memories from our trip.
2. Beautiful, Serene Winelands
South Africa is rapidly climbing in the international wine ranks with some strong traditional offerings and also a few unique wines of their own. Pinotage, their signature local grape, is a red wine grape that was bred in the country in 1925 as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut (Cinsaut was known as “Hermitage” in South Africa during that time, hence the portmanteau name of Pinotage). The wines made with this grape are usually deep reds or blends.
There are two specific wineland regions that are world-class, both in the western part of the country, near the city of Cape Town: Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Each have beautiful natural scenery that seems calming in nature and they also have quaint little towns for shopping and frolicking.
Select Photos from our Tours of the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch Winelands (click for slideshow)
3. Cape Town is A Great City
Cape Town, one of South Africa’s three capital cities, is becoming an international favorite. Set on the western coast of the country it offers great beaches and a famous harbor of the Southern Atlantic Ocean to the west and one of the new seven natural wonders of the world – Table Mountain – inland. Cape Town is well-developed, with a wide variety of accommodations and dining options which of course offer quite a selection of wines made just a few miles away. The World Cup of 2010 was hosted by Cape Town. In 2014, The Telegraph named Cape Town the best place in the world to visit!
Table Mountain lies just outside the city of Cape Town. The new natural wonder of the world gets its name from the incredible flat shape of the mountain. After riding a cable car to the top you can walk around safely for hours on the table-like top surface, taking in excellent views of the city.
4. The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point
The city of Cape Town itself is quite an attraction but travel outside the city and the immediate surrounding area and you’ll be treated to another sight-filled area. No, I’m not referring to the winelands again but rather the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point – the famous geographic features you probably read about earlier in life. From the ride along the coast on scenic mountain edges like Chapmans Peak to quaint towns perfect for an hour-long shopping trip, it’s a memorable experience. And along the cape lies Boulders Beach where hundreds of African Penguins hang out and show off for the crowds. Of course there are also world-famous trips available for the adventurers to go underwater cage diving with great white sharks.
5. A Chance to Visit the African Continent
Visiting Europe and Asia is relatively common for middle-class Americans. Both of those continents offer wonderful experiences so that’s not a negative comment. However, the chances to visit Africa are far fewer. It does take a long flight from the United States so you won’t be hopping a plane for a quick weekend jaunt. One of the few times you may be able to take the time necessary to truly experience Africa is a honeymoon, when you can get away with more than a week off of work without endless snarky comments. Of course, the continent of Africa is enormous – it is about the size of Europe, the United States, Mexico, and China combined – so a visit to South Africa is just a small taste of what the continent has to offer. It’s a great start though for westerners!
Have you visited South Africa? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. What did you enjoy? Would you recommend it as a honeymoon destination?