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A big freestanding bath tub, a bottle of chilled champagne, scattered rose petals, hundreds of tiny tea light candles. This is the stuff honeymoon daydreams are made of. Except we’re not in the Maldives. Or Fiji, or Hawaii, or even Bora Bora. We’re in South Africa. That’s right, this is a safari honeymoon and at any moment the romantic love songs playlist the staff have thoughtfully put on might get interrupted by the roar of a lion or cackle of a hyena.

The Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve sits on the south-western edge of Kruger National Park, inside the 65,000 hectare Sabi Sand game reserve. Since the late 70’s it has been redefining the definition of safari – we’re talking about next level luxury. Think candlelit degustation dinners, three course lunches, cookies and milk on your pillow at turn down. And that’s before you even get to the twice daily, world class safari drives.

Sabi Sabi is roughly 450km south of Johannesburg. It’s a five-hour drive along well maintained roads, or a half hour private plane journey to the Sabi Sand air strip. Consider spending a night in Johannesburg at the start of your trip, so you can get on the time zone, recover from your flight and be ready to hit the safari jeep bright and early. 54 on Bath is a beautiful boutique hotel in the super swish suburb of Rosebank that has its own Veuve Clicquot rooftop bar and croquet lawn, and is close to famous restaurants like The Grillhouse.

Like most luxury reserves, Sabi Sabi has several different lodges for its guests to choose from – there’s Selati Camp, Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp and Earth Lodge. Honeymooners should book straight into Earth Lodge, the crème de la crème of safari lodges world-wide.

This award-winning lodge is OTT luxury – we’re not talking gilded furniture and chandeliers dripping in crystal. Designed to blend into its surroundings, Earth Lodge is a study in polished concrete, carved wood and rammed earth.

The common bars, lounges and restaurants are open air, looking straight out at the bush land so that you’re surrounded by nature. There are four poster day beds strung with gossamer drapes in the common lounge area where dining tables are set in a shallow pool  so you can cool your feet off while enjoying your lunch during the height of the day’s heat. Every afternoon a smorgasbord of freshly made pastries, cakes, energy balls, cookies and sandwiches appears so you’re ready to go for the afternoon drive.

Food is included in your stay, and trust me, you will never ever go hungry. From early coffee and treats before the first drive of the day, to sundowner G&T’s and biltong out on your afternoon game drive, Sabi Sabi thinks of everything.

Earth Lodge is quiet and intimate. Strategically placed suites have their own plunge pools, outdoor showers, gardens, giant bath tubs and enormous beds. You’re surrounded by high walls and hillsides, providing so much privacy you’ll forget there are others staying on site until you head over to the lodge for meals and drives.

And then there’s the actual safari experience – head out into the reserve to watch elephants eating from trees just metres from the jeep, slowly track lions stalking their prey, spot the baby hippos wallowing around in the mud, lose count of giant herds of buffalo and be mesmerized by the graceful giraffes stripping leaves from branches with their long tongues.

After a few hours out on the jeep, Sabi Sabi welcomes you back with warm cups of hot chocolate in the morning and icy cold fruit drinks in the afternoon. Evenings are spent with good bottles of South African red wine and perfectly cooked South African steak.

Even if you skip dessert, expect to find freshly baked goodies in your room each night. A midnight snack, a long soak in your enormous bath tub, or a dip in the plunge pool under the stars – this really is the stuff honeymoon dreams are made of.

All images via Lisa Perkovic at Expedia Australia

 

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Ms Chinoiserie Says:  So stunning! The ultimate luxury safari – and the ultimate honeymoon destination!

About Lisa Perkovic: I am the Expedia Australia blog editor and have spent the past decade getting out there, discovering the world and sharing my experiences. I make sure Expedia’s blog is always stocked with the best and most up to date travel stories, tips and news from our team of travel experts!

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Image by Ellis O’Connor

There is no doubt that the West Coast of Scotland is one of the most beautiful places for an adventure, and once you head off the mainland things only get better. If you’re wanting a honeymoon filled with spectacular scenery (and delicious food) in the United Kingdom, pack your bags and head West! You will be delighted to find the Isle of Skye, a popular tourist spot that is still wild and rugged.

There are many gorgeous B&B’s and self catered cottages dotted around the Isle of Skye, all with stunning views and farm fresh produce available for your morning fry up. As well as these smaller establishments, there are also many hotels worth a visit, including The Bosville. Having been recently refurbished (and spectacularly so!), this quaint hotel offers rooms filled with homewares made by local Scottish crafters. Housing many creature comforts, most rooms also boast a stunning view over Portree Harbour. Head downstairs to Dulse & Brose for a cracking Scottish meal featuring local produce straight from the farm!

Image via The Bosville Hotel

Also featuring newly refurbished rooms is the Edinbane Inn. Although the main bar area is still undergoing work, the dining room and rooms are beautifully appointed, with grassy countryside views. Their delicious version of a locally sourced breakfast even includes handmade tatty scones, meaning you’ll be back for seconds! And if you’re looking for a real treat, book into The Three Chimneys, beautiful rooms only trumped by their listing as one of the Top 5 restaurants in the world by the New York Times.

Once you have found yourself a snug place to stay, it’s time to pack your walking boots and a good map! A hire car is recommended to get around Skye, especially as you can drive onto the Isle via the road bridge. However, if you are desperate to jump on a ferry (and the views from a ferry are unbeatable!), there are regular trips from Glenelg on the mainland, as well as routes from the Isle of Skye to Harris and North Uist. The best way to see the beauty of Skye in all its splendour is to get outside – even if it’s raining!

The Quiraing

If you’re travelling during the Summer, or even close to peak season, be aware that these walks can become quite popular. However, if you do get a little damp weather, be sure to hold on and not run for the car! The weather passes quickly and can bring spectacular changes in the scenery. Head for The Old Man of Storr, a round trip which will take you approximately one hour. Once you’ve reached the top, you will be greeted by views to Torridon and beyond. Don’t miss The Quiraing either, a lengthier walk that will take a little more preparation, but will lead you out amongst waterfalls and rolling mountains of magnificent beauty!

Neist Point

Drive North West from Portree and you will discover the Neist Point Lighthouse on the most Westerly point of Skye. A much shorter walk but with just as much beauty surrounding it, this area of the Isle also boasts Skye Weavers if you’re looking to stock up on some tweed. And although there are many more places on Skye to be discovered by foot, our last hiking recommendation is the Fairy Pools. Located at the foot of the Back Cuillins, they feature crystal clear pools, and can be used for a refreshing dip – if you fancy!

Black Cuillins and Fairy Pools

Don’t miss out on the local wares of artisans working on Skye by visiting Portree’s boutiques including the Skye Soap Co, and stand alone studios such as Edinbane Pottery, which all offer some beautiful keepsakes. Be aware that if you do travel outside tourist season, many restaurants and stores will be closed, however you will benefit from fewer tourists, and this gorgeous scenery all to yourself!

All images by Nicola Goring unless otherwise credited.

Ms Chinoiserie Says: I know how truly beautiful the Isle of Skye is as I was lucky enough to spend time there on my honeymoon! The Three Chimneys is a definite bucket list visit!

About Ms Honeycomb  – Hi, I’m Nicola, the florist and crafter behind rubyandjoy. I’m a gardening, fabric loving, mint tea drinking, brownie baking, book obsessed maker! I love a good adventure having just moved back from five years in Scotland (with my lovely Scottish husband).

Three Day Romantic Trip To Paris

Paris is called the city of love for a reason! Being surrounded by such deep history, beautiful architecture and a rich culture lends itself to romance and enjoyable time together. We recently went on a quick trip to Paris where we enjoyed three full days creating unforgettable memories.

We arrived at night and headed straight to our hotel. We were pleasantly surprised by the view we found waiting for us where we looked out the window. We stayed at Hotel Le Littre near Tour Montparnasse and the top suites have private balconies that offer a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. It was a truly magical welcome to the city.

After breakfast at our hotel the next day, we made our way out to the streets. We took the metro to Musee d’Orsey and spent a few hours enjoying the impressionist art from the most well know artists including Degas, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Renoir and many more. From there we made our way to Île de la Cité where we enjoyed a tour around Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette was held prior to her execution at the end of the French Revolution. At this point we were a bit tired and hungry so we found a café to sit down for a minute and enjoyed sandwiches and a few pastries.

Three Day Romantic Trip To Paris

Next we were off to climb the Eiffel Tower. We had always heard that the line to go to the top was horrible and to expect a long wait. We arrived at the base of the tower around eight and only had to wait about 15 minutes to be loaded on the elevator ride up.

We always wonder why the “must see” locations get so much hype, but quickly became a huge fan of the Eiffel Tower. First, the view from below shows the genius of the tower. The steel beams seem to weave in and out of each other. Once you are on the 2nd elevator on the way to the top, the experience of being so high in such a small space was an unexpected thrill. When we made it to the top, we were not prepared for the jaw dropping view. From below you have no idea how high it feels once you’re at the top. On our way down we stopped at the two other floors and walked around learning more about the history of the tower and did a little shopping. We ended our night enjoying crepes near our hotel at La Crêperie de Josselin.

On our second day in Paris, we decided to splurge a bit for lunch. After a couples’ cooking class in the morning making macarons, we made our way to Garance, a Michelin starred restaurant near the Dome des Invalides for a late lunch. With over 90 Michelin starred restaurants in Paris, it is a perfect opportunity to try fine dinning. We usually go at lunch times for a more affordable price. After lunch, we spent some time strolling the streets of Paris, window shopping and enjoying a few sweets we purchased along the way.

Three Day Romantic Trip To Paris

In the evening we made our way to the Louvre. Now, we had always heard the Louvre was very crowded, but when we showed up at 6pm we walked straight in. Our assumption is that the trick is to go later in the day. We made our way through the palace and expected the worst ‘crowd wise’ when we made it to the Mona Lisa, but only found a small group of people viewing the masterpiece. We made our way back to the hotel and enjoyed a crepe from a street vendor on our balcony while admiring the sparkling Eiffel Tower before turning in.

Three Day Romantic Trip To Paris

On our last day in Paris we headed out early to make it to the Palace of Versaille. It took us about 25 minutes to get there from the station near Tour Montparnasse to the station in Versaille. We arrived around 10am and had to wait about 45 minutes in line to make it inside, having purchased tickets before hand. Wandering the palace and learning about the life and experiences of royalty was a wonderful learning experience which we recommend to anyone. After spending a few hours in the palace, we made our way out for dinner at, you guessed it, another creperie. We went to Le Ble Noir and it was our favourite one of the trip.

We found Paris to be a perfect destination for a romantic get away, whether for a quick weekend, honeymoon, minimoon or one stop on a longer trip – and we can’t wait to go back!

Images by Dan and Michelle Bagby

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Oh, to spend three days in Paris! So inspiring…now I know all the best places for crepes!!! 

About Dan and Michelle: Hi, we’re Dan and Michelle from HoneymoonAlways. For us, HoneymoonAlways is a way of life; we want to inspire every couple to get out and explore together and treat every day as if it was their honeymoon!