Photo by Nadine Aucamp
There’s a reason why South Africa appears on so many top honeymoon lists. It’s more than just a destination for romance – romance is at its very heart. It’s in the crash of the waves of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, meeting at the tip of a continent, where seals bask in rocky bays and whales make their annual pilgrimage from the deep. It’s in the sounds that fill the starry African night – the symphony of cicadas, the nightjar’s lonely trill, the chatter of hyenas. It’s in the stars themselves – those points of fire that led sailors to safety by the light of the Southern Cross. Whatever romance means to you – sleeping on a sunny beach, basking in luxury, sharing new cultures or wild adventures – South Africa has it in abundance. Here’s our top 10 most romantic ways to spend a South African honeymoon.
- Picnic in a vineyard: A visit to the Cape winelands means glorious scenery, delicious cuisine and wonderful wines (of course), and there are dozens of farms offering tastings along the way. Get the best of it all by pre-ordering a gourmet picnic – Buitenverwachting and Mont Rochelle come recommended.
- Eat oysters in Knysna: Since oysters are a famous aphrodisiac, what better to enjoy with your honey than the annual Knysna Oyster Festival (held in July)? Beyond that, you can stay in a treehouse, laze on one of the beaches or add to your art collection at one of the local galleries.
- Watch the sun set from Table Mountain: It’s a popular Cape Town tourist attraction during the day year round, but in the summertime you can take a late cable car up to Table Mountain and enjoy an African sunset with one of the best views on earth.
- Live the Out of Africa fantasy: South Africa has a huge number of safari options, whatever your budget, from exclusive private reserves like Richard Branson’s Ulusaba to the famous Kruger National Park. Days start with dawn game drives, and end with G&Ts under a velvety night sky.
- Book a dinner à deux : South Africa’s cities are full of wonderful restaurants, but the most romantic table for two has to be at five star Bushmans Kloof in the Cedarberg, where staff will set up private dining experiences at a range of special locations in the reserve, including a walled garden, a secluded river boma, or a picnic table laid out among the spring flowers.
Photo by Bright Girl
- Get your heart racing: Adrenaline enthusiasts will have the time of their lives in South Africa, where adventures include shark cage diving with Great Whites, bungee jumping from Africa’s highest bridge, white water rafting along the mighty Orange River, or zipping through the lush Blue Grotto Forest on a canopy tour.
- Take the Blue Train: A trip on South Africa’s most luxurious train is a step back in time to the era of steam and locomotives, silks and tuxedos, complete with a stop in diamond town Kimberley or Victorian Matjiesfontein. From 2016, the train will also add a regular route to the Kruger National Park – a dream start to your safari.
- Sail away in a hot air balloon: Another deliciously nostalgic means of transport, a hot air balloon ride is a favourite with honeymooning couples. While there are several great location options around the country, one of the most memorable is over the undulating grasslands of the Cradle of Humankind, just an hour from Johannesburg. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to 40% of all human ancestor fossils, as well as birds, wildlife and picturesque views.
- Watch whales in Hermanus: Although summer is the most popular season for visitors, winter brings a special kind of magic to the Cape coast, with regular sightings of southern right whales, as well as humpbacks and minkes. It’s also a good excuse to spend time in some of the charming fishing villages along the way, with their rustic whitewashed cottages, freshly caught seafood and quirky antique shops.
- Pamper yourselves at an African spa: For the ultimate post-wedding chill-out session, book yourselves in to one of the many acclaimed South African spas, some of which combine local plants, herbs and minerals with African rituals and ceremonies to make the experience truly special.
About Gaby Frescura: “I’m the proudly South African owner and editor of SouthBound Bride. I started SBB in May 2010, as a way to showcase the beautiful weddings of my home country, and to connect brides both local and long-distance with the best of wedding pros. I’ve been inspired by my readers and industry friends ever since. I never thought when I started this journey that poring over pretty things and romantic love stories would lead to becoming a full-time girlboss, or meeting the amazing friends and colleagues that I have along the way, but I’m so lucky that it has!”