[Updated: 24 October 2018]
Starting your life together in the face of a shifting Rand is a reality many newlyweds are facing. Luckily we live in a country where honeymooning locally is not just a possibility, it’s a godsend. With Cape Town and a number of hotels and resorts scooping up travel awards, it’s fair to say South Africa has been thrust on to the international stage as a travel destination many can only dream of.
And as a honeymoon destination, South Africa has the perfect answer, whatever your budget allows. From fine dining splendour, heavenly forest hideaways and spectacular safaris, this astonishing country can offer something for every couple.
Conservative Budget Honeymoons
Knysna, Garden Route
For lovers on a budget, The Lazy Leopard in Knysna provides three very engaging choices. Two are the Forest Moon and Starry Forest “bush huts”, from which you can either enjoy a romantic forest stay or a fabulous view of the valley beyond. And as they are built of encased glass, you won’t miss a thing! Both huts come equipped with queen-sized beds, mini kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, TVs with DVD players, and a nearby swimming pool. The third romantic option, which is situated in the forest, is a larger cottage type accommodation, resplendent with roof beams, timber floors, and an open fireplace.
For adventurous honeymooners, the Hazyview area in Mpumalanga offers many opportunities, from river rafting, aerial cable trailing, tubing and abseiling, to more relaxing pastimes, such as horse riding along the Sabie River, visiting the Elephant Sanctuary – where you can touch the elephants – and flying in a hot air balloon to watch the sunrise over the stunning vista.
The Protea Hazyview is an attractive 3-star hotel offering a restaurant, room service, garden, outdoor swimming pool, snooker table, and tennis courts. And if you really feel the need to ‘come back to earth’, for a fee, the hotel offers wired internet options ranging from dial-up to high-speed.
For a great opportunity to see the ‘Big Five’ (rhinos, elephants, lions, buffaloes, and leopards) at a very reasonable rate, the Mabula Game Lodge in Warmbaths, ticks all the boxes.
Besides the bigger animals, this private game reserve is visited day and night by warthogs, antelope, bush pigs, and colourful birds which can usually be seen from most patio rooms. You will have the opportunity to go on daily game drives, escorted by highly knowledgeable drivers.
The very attractive accommodation consists of en-suite air-conditioned chalets and tents and offers indoor and outdoor dining. All in all, a very comfortable and interesting stay! Mabula Game Lodge is set in one of South Africa’s finest malaria risk-free private game reserves and is only 2 hours north of Johannesburg.
Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route
Plettenberg Bay is one of the Cape’s loveliest areas and staying at the Whalesong Coastal Lodge, you will experience all that the region has to offer. Situated above the town centre, it offers truly inspirational views of the ocean and of the distant Tsitsikamma Mountains.
The Lodge offers a lounge with fireplace and bar, an African craft centre, a swimming pool with generously sized sundeck, a winery, a gourmet restaurant, and best of all, from both the lodge’s main balcony and the honeymoon suite there is always a very good chance of watching and hearing Southern Right Whales frolicking not far away – a truly magical stay!
The Hluhluwe River Lodge is the perfect place for the ultimate yet affordable post-nuptial romantic hideaway. Situated not far away from St Lucia Lagoon and only a day trip to the fascinating Hluhluwe Game Reserve, you can be as private as you wish.
Adding to the romantic ambiance, the lodge is situated in a fairly remote location, but at the same time, is not too far away from many areas of interest. You can either explore the area yourselves or, if you want to put yourselves in the hands of the experts, a game ranger will accompany you on your Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park excursion.
Mid-Range Budget Honeymoon Ideas
Kagga Kamma, Western Cape
Experiencing the awesome bush outdoors with your soul mate could not be easier. At Kagga Kamma you will appreciate the great expanse of natural bush with a backdrop of a million stars when you choose to spend a night “in” Kagga Kamma’s outcrop open-air room. You will be given the choice of either taking a picnic basket for your romantic dinner or dining at the lodge itself before your trip to the great outdoors. There will be a warming fire waiting for you when you arrive. Now, how romantic does that sound?
Augrabies, Northern Cape
The Falls Guest House is located in Augrabies, close to the Augrabies Falls National Park. The Falls, on the Orange River, is famous for its constant flow of deafening splendour – a great place to ramble and catch a glance of springbok, klipspringers and various birds of prey.
The rooms offer views of the garden and are equipped with a TV and DVD player, and Wi-Fi at an additional fee. If you are thinking of having a romantic braai for two, there is also the opportunity to use the barbeque facilities. For your pampering wishes, the resident beauty salon offers massages and a selection of treatments.
Labori Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal offers everything for couples who want a self-catering honeymoon in a fun, popular holiday town. The accommodation offers fully furnished and equipped apartments in a pretty, private resort.
The apartments come with comfortably sized bedrooms, well-equipped kitchens, dining rooms, and patios, with swimming pool and barbeque facilities close by.
A short walk away is the centre of Ballito town, with its two beaches, restaurants, nightclubs and shops. Car hire and yacht charters are available, and the concierge service can also advise on any other entertainment activities on offer.
15-Day South African Honeymoon
This 15-day safari will certainly be a honeymoon to remember, with memories to last you a lifetime!
Your action-packed itinerary includes five nights on safari searching for the Big 5 at Mala Mala in the Sabi Sands. You will then fly down to George in the Cape to start your self-drive Garden Route journey. Along the way, you will visit the beautiful village of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and scenic town of Swellendam.
The self-drive route also includes a stay at Franschhoek Winelands, where you will discover the famous Cape wines, which complement the excellent cuisine also on offer.
Thanda Private Game Reserve is located in KwaZulu-Natal and consists of a romantic lodge perfect for honeymooning couples. Thanda is the Zulu word for love; how much more romantic could that be!
Accommodation comprises 9 individual, private suites that overlook the surrounding game reserve, a spa and rim flow pool with outstanding cuisine served to you by candlelight. You will, of course, have the chance to take a safari, during which you will have a fascinating time discovering the Big 5.
Relax in the Lodge’s spa after a day of excitement – or relaxation. It is all on offer for a honeymoon to remember!
Big Budget Honeymoons
Sabi Sabi, Kruger National Park
For the ultimate in luxury honeymoons in South Africa, things do not get much better than Richard Branson’s private game reserve, Ulusaba. The Rock Lodge, situated in the Sabi Sabi area, is built high upon a cliff, allowing for amazing views. In addition, the property has undertaken the removal of fences between the greater Kruger National Park and other private reserves, thus bringing about the opportunity to see even more wildlife. With two safaris a day conducted by very knowledgeable tour guides, private dinners with a personal butler serving delicious food, massages, and a private spa, this will be a honeymoon you will remember forever.
Tintswalo Safari Lodge is an exclusive 5-star safari lodge that caters for honeymooners in its own special way and certainly lives up to its 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
Consisting of six luxurious, roomy suites and located in Mpumalanga Province, all accommodation comes with private decks and a plunge pool, from which you will be looking out at the interesting combination of wildlife congregating at the adjacent waterhole. Of course, you can also experience safari trips conducted by experienced tour guides.
The area of the Reserve is steeped in 19th-century African explorer history and each suite is accurately decorated to reflect this.
Grootbos, Western Cape
If flora and fauna are of more interest to you than big beasts and you care about conservation, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, close to the pretty town of Hermanus in the Western Cape, is the perfect honeymoon destination for you.
This 5-star nature reserve displays amazing flora and marine life. It is home to the so-called Marine Big 5 – whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and penguins – and stunning flora. Your visit will aid the Grootbos Foundation’s conservation efforts.
Guided activities include a flower safari, walks through the Milkwood forests, beach tours, coastal walks, bird watching, expeditions through ancient caves, tree planting, and a social responsibility tour.
Sun City, North West
The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City is a fictitious African palace where you will experience a fairy tale honeymoon!
The hotel’s magnificent towers are decorated with elephant tusks and its foyer features extravagant architecture, frescos and an opulent hand painted dome.
Each of the 338 rooms is decorated in real African flavour, with a huge four poster bed, multi-channel TV, ceiling fans, an enormous bath and shower room, and a generous dressing area. The Grand Pool is perfect to sunbathe, relax and enjoy light snacks.
You will feel like royalty during your time there!
The Oyster Box in Umhlanga Rocks is the ideal place for a honeymoon of total relaxation. With its tropical, verdant gardens, this distinguished hotel combines historical charm, exceptional service, and stylish elegance.
The hotel’s luxury rooms and two outdoor swimming pools overlook the sparkling Indian Ocean. Your personal monogrammed robes, a bottle of wine, and rose petal turndown add to the plush ambiance. You can also enjoy a personalised massage in the luxurious spa’s six treatment rooms.
The hotel caters to food lovers, with nearby Durban’s authentic curries and freshly caught seafood. And, if you feel you have somewhat overindulged, the romantic Umhlanga promenade is on your doorstep!
As you can see, besides catering to all levels of budget, South Africa truly offers honeymoon opportunities to suit a wide range of tastes and inclinations. Whether you are an activities enthusiast, nature buff, or simply looking for complete relaxation, South Africa has a honeymoon destination supreme for you.
If you could spend your honeymoon anywhere in the world, where would it be? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Born and raised in London, Sandy’s wanderlust took root when her family moved to South Africa. While having travelled most of the world during her career in the travel industry and spending 10 years in beautiful San Francisco, Sandy now travels between her current home in warm, lively and gourmet friendly Italy and South Africa.