[Updated: January 2020]
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 locally honeymooning is not just a possibility, it’s a godsend. Cape Town and several hotels and resorts have been scooping up travel awards. It’s fair to say there are many unforgettable honeymoon destinations in South Africa offering magical experiences.
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
1. 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. 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 more extensive cottage type accommodation, resplendent with roof beams, timber floors, and an open fireplace.
2. Hazyview, Mpumalanga
For the adventurous types, the Hazyview area in Mpumalanga offers many honeymoon destinations. There’s river rafting, aerial cable trailing, tubing and abseiling, horse riding, visiting the Elephant Sanctuary, and flying in hot air balloons to watch the stunning sunrise.
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.
3. Warmbaths, Limpopo
For one of the most excellent honeymoon destinations in South Africa, seeing 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 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 lovely accommodation consists of en-suite air-conditioned chalets and tents and offers indoor and outdoor dining. All in all, a very comfortable and unforgettable stay! Mabula Game Lodge is set in one of South Africa’s most beautiful malaria risk-free private game reserves and is only 2 hours north of Johannesburg.
4. Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route
Plettenberg Bay is one of the Cape’s loveliest areas and staying at the Whalesong Hotel & Spa, you will experience all that the region has to offer. Situated above the town centre, it provides truly inspirational views of the ocean and of the distant Tsitsikamma Mountains.
The hotel offers a lounge with fireplace and bar, an African craft centre, a swimming pool with generously sized sundeck, a winery, and a gourmet restaurant. Best of all, from both the lodge’s main balcony and the honeymoon suite there is always a perfect chance of watching and hearing Southern Right Whales frolicking not far away – a truly magical stay!
5. Hluhluwe, KZN
The Hluhluwe River Lodge is one of the perfect honeymoon destinations in South Africa for the ultimate yet affordable postnuptial 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.
The lodge adds to the romantic ambience, situated in a fairly remote location, not too far away from many areas of interest. Explore the area yourself. 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
6. Kagga Kamma, Western Cape
Experiencing the awesome bush outdoors with your soul mate could not be easier. At Kagga Kamma you will appreciate the vast expanse of natural forest with a backdrop of a million stars when you spend a night “in” Kagga Kamma’s 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?
7. 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 honeymoon destination in South Africa 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.
8. Ballito, KZN
Labori Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal offers everything for couples who want a self-catering honeymoon in a fun, famous 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.
9. 3-Day South African Honeymoon
This 3-day safari will undoubtedly be a honeymoon to remember, with memories to last you a lifetime!
Your action-packed itinerary includes three days on safari searching for the elephants courtesy of Mala Mala in the Sabi Sands. You’ll tour through the Kruger National Park, where you will also get the chance to spot many other creatures, including the famous Big 5. On the third day, you’ll be treated to stunning views of God’s Window, Lisbon Falls, Bourkes Luck Potholes, and the magnificent Blyde River Canyon.
10. Thanda, KZN
Thanda Private Game Reserve is located in KwaZulu-Natal and consists of a romantic lodge, one of the ideal honeymoon destinations in South Africa. 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
11. Thornybush Game Reserve, Kruger National Park
For the ultimate in luxury honeymoon destinations in South Africa, things do not get much better than Royal Malewane. One of Africa’s most luxurious wildlife lodges, set amongst indigenous acacia trees, allowing for incredible views of the local wildlife. Expert guides and trackers are available thus bringing about the opportunity to see even more wildlife. This will be a honeymoon you will remember forever! You can look forward to two safaris a day conducted by very knowledgeable tour guides, private dinners with a personal butler serving delicious food, massages, and a private spa.
12. Tintswalo, Mpumalanga
Tintswalo Safari Lodge is an exclusive 5-star safari lodge that caters for honeymooners in its own unique way and certainly lives up to its 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
Choose one of the six luxurious, roomy suites. Located in Mpumalanga Province, all accommodation comes with private decks and a plunge pool, from which you will be looking out at the exciting 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.
13. Grootbos, Western Cape
If flora and fauna are of more interest to you and you care about conservation, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, near to the pretty Hermanus, is the perfect honeymoon destination in South Africa for you.
This 5-star nature reserve displays amazing flora and marine life. It is where you can spot 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.
14. Sun City, North West
The hotel’s magnificent towers are decorated with elephant tusks, and its foyer features ornate architecture, frescos and an opulent hand-painted dome.
Each of the 338 rooms is decorated in real African flavour, with a massive four-poster bed, multi-channel TV, ceiling fans, an enormous bath and shower room, and a generous dressing area. The Grand Pool is perfect for sunbathing, relaxing and enjoying light snacks.
You will feel like royalty during your time there!
15. Umhlanga, KZN
The Oyster Box in Umhlanga Rocks is one of the most amazing honeymoon destinations in South Africa for total relaxation. With its tropical, verdant gardens, this unique hotel combines historic 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 ambience. 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!
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As you can see, besides catering to all levels of budget, the honeymoon destinations in South Africa suit a wide range of tastes and inclinations. Whether you are an activities enthusiast, nature buff, or only 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 goes between her current home in warm, lively and gourmet friendly Italy and South Africa.
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