Safari Honeymoon in South Africa – Your Complete Guide

safari-honeymoon

For many people, the perfect way to kick off a life together is to have an adventure on their honeymoon. Africa is the perfect place! From the Okavango Delta to Victoria Falls, from scuba diving to walking safaris, an African honeymoon has it all. And one of the best honeymoon destinations in Africa is South Africa.

South Africa is a great place for luxury African honeymoons. Combine some of the country’s highlights with a Cape Town and safari honeymoon! A safari and beach honeymoon can be a perfect combination. Going on safari is an unforgettable experience – no one forgets the first time they saw one of the big 5 in the wild! What a fantastic memory to have together!

couple relaxing on the edge of an infinity pool on a safari honeymoon
How lovely would this be for a South Africa Honeymoon??

How to Plan a Safari Honeymoon

South Africa Honeymoon vs other African Safari Honeymoon Destinations

South Africa is a great place for a honeymoon safari for a few reasons. Firstly, if you are travelling from the UK or US it is probably the most accessible of the African countries for safari as English is their first language. Secondly, the GBP and USD tend to perform quite well against the Rand so there is some great value for money to be had on your Africa honeymoon.

Thirdly and importantly, many of the private game reserves in South Africa are not in malarial areas so guests do not have to take antimalarials.  This is a huge plus in general as if you have never taken them before you may react, it is another thing on the list for those planning a wedding and thirdly many people feel the effects of taking antimalarials – even if it is just odd dreams.

Other African honeymoon destinations like Kenya and Tanzania will require visitors to take antimalarials.

one rhino facing forward and one rhino facing backwards
A Rhino couple spotted on safari!

NB – Kruger National Park is in a Malaria zone – Do check with your private game reserve if it is in a malaria zone or let your Honeymoon Africa tour consultant know that you would like to visit somewhere not in a Malaria zone.

Fourth, South African wine! Delicious South African wine can be found in other African countries of course but you will be virtually guaranteed good wine in South Africa! Fifth, South African private game reserve safaris tend to have a slightly more relaxed schedule than those of Tanzania and Kenya.

coffee and juice on coffee table looking out onto the wilds of africa
Pre-game drive coffee and juice on an Africa Safari

This is because the vehicles on private game reserves tend not to have to drive as far to find the animals as they are within the reserve. I see this as a big advantage if you’re on honeymoon as most people are rather exhausted after their wedding! Of course, there is no mandatory need to go on a long day on safari anywhere but I personally find it difficult to not go out as I feel like while I am there I should do everything when doing something like a safari etc etc.

Number six – US and British citizens do not need to get visas for South Africa. This is not the case with many other African countries eg Kenya and Tanzania. Finally, a South Africa tour has so much to offer besides safari. I highly recommend the stunning wine region around Stellenbosh. Beautiful Cape Town has fine dining, great shopping, and fantastic tourist activities. There are stunning beaches and lots of water-based wildlife, especially whales. All of this without having to leave the country!

bathtub with glass door behind
The lovely tub at Kwandwe

A great activity to combine with a honeymoon in South Africa is wine tasting! Check out my post on the Best Wine Tours in Stellenbosch.

Another great place for a Honeymoon in Africa is fantastic Namibia. Learn more about it and check out my photos here:

⇒ Namibia Self Drive 10 Night Itinerary

⇒ For somewhere different here is my guide to the Kalahari and Fish River Canyon in Namibia.

⇒ Find out all about the amazing sand dunes of Namibia in my post on Sossusvlei Travel Guide

Romantic Things to do on Safari

I have been on safari a number of times – national parks, private reserves, and private game reserves. For honeymooners, I would definitely recommend staying in a private game reserve. Private game reserves tend to offers slightly more luxurious accommodation options and experiences. I have stayed in some stunning places in the Masai Mara but I would not be keen to be limited to one 2 minute shower a day when on honeymoon!

Private game reserves tend to have a slightly more relaxed pace and are more flexible with drive times. It is also often easier to organise things like your own private vehicle, private picnics, etc. As the game tends to be closer to the accommodation game drives also tend to be shorter so there is more time for relaxing in the often stunning accommodation!

sign for great fish river lodge with african landscape behind
The entrance to Fish River Lodge at Kwandwe

Always advise your private game reserve ahead of your visit that it is your Honeymoon so that they can organise special treats. The following are just a few of the romantic experiences that can be requested when on your Safari Honeymoon:

  1. Dine by candlelight
  2. Have a picnic lunch just for 2 with an extraordinary view
  3. Get your own vehicle
  4. Go on a hot air balloon ride
  5. Bathe by candle or lamp light

Most private game reserves will be able to organise the above – apart from potentially the hot air balloon ride.

South Africa is a fantastic place for Whale Watching. Check out my guide to Whale Watching Hermanus guide.

infinity pool and table on a deck with lanterns at sunset
Romantic Dining!

Best Times for a South African Safari Honeymoon

The dry months in South Africa (May to October) are a great time to go as the animals are easier to spot as they congregate around the water holes. Having said that, South Africa is a year-round destination as is its private game reserves. The wetter months still provide great game viewing opportunities – and often better photos as they are filled with greenery and trees.

Another benefit of visiting a private game reserve is that not only do they know their animals well it is also possible to go off-road to get closer to the animals (going off-road is not allowed in the majority of African national parks).

If you’re going on safari it can be a bit daunting to figure out what to pack. Don’t miss my Ultimate Safari Packing Guide.

couple having dinner on an open deck with lots of lanterns in south africa
Another romantic dinner!

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Every year the Safari Guild, an African based organisation which consists of tour operators and experts, holds its annual safari awards. Any camp anywhere can enter itself and be reviewed by 16 expert judges who work in the safari tourism industry every day.

springboek in the middle of a dirt road on safari in south africa

In 2018 the winner of the very prestigious overall Best Safari Experience award was the stunning Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. Kwandwe is north of Port Elizabeth and covers 22,000 hectares.

If you are looking for a luxury African safari Honeymoon Kwandwe is your place – particularly as they have a special offer just for honeymooners! Newlyweds are treated to an in-room massage or beauty treatment voucher as well as a romantic turndown with a bottle of South African sparkling wine for no extra charge. Honeymooners also receive a complimentary pamper box on arrival. This box contains bath salts made by the local community, his and hers bracelets, and confectionery.

Check out my video of what it is like to arrive at Kwandwe

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve Accommodation

I stayed in the stunning Great Fish River Lodge for my stay. What a place! My room at Kwandwe South Africa was really my own lodge. It was beautifully styled with a high open ceiling and wooden beams. My Kwandwe suite had a lovely big open room with a giant comfortable bed and sitting area. There was a large bathroom area with 2 sinks. Best of all was the clawfoot bathtub and outdoor shower! (and there was an indoor shower!)

the bed at kwandwe luxury safari lodge
My lovely bed at Kwandwe

Actually best of all at Kwandwe Safari Lodge was my lovely private plunge pool and sun loungers! Not only was this area extremely private (I stayed in the lodge farthest from the lodging centre and would highly recommend this for honeymooners) I saw quite a few animals whilst sitting on my sun lounger!

Watch my 360 video of my amazing room at the resort:

And my game viewing from my sun lounger!

The Food at Kwandwe

The food at Kwandwe is fantastic! Not to mention plentiful – it would be impossible to go hungry! The Kwandwe kitchen sources as many ingredients as possible locally. Coffee, tea and light snacks are available pre-game drive. Snacks and coffee/tea are then served during the morning game drive.

A full buffet and hot breakfast are available at Kwandwe Africa after the game drive. Then there is lunch. Cake and coffee and tea pre-afternoon drive. Drinks and more snacks for sundowners. And then a 3-course dinner with 2 choices. Plus some fantastic South African wines!

Kwandwe restaurant with breakfast items laid out
Ready for breakfast!

Kwandwe Game Drives

Kwandwe has very impressive drivers and guides! Our driver had been trained to drive whilst looking backward and chatting with us! When I asked him about it he explained that Kwandwe trains its drivers this way so that they can make more eye contact with guests for interactions and share more about the safari experience with them. I did find this made a big positive difference in my safari experience.

springboek with big pink ears in the brush

Kwandwe had the big 5 and is also well known for its bird watching. Whilst I was there I even saw a kill! I was really happy with the level and variation in the game that I saw at Kwandwe. Also, being on a private game reserve meant that we could get very close to the animals and capture some great photos!

Here is some footage of ostriches at Kwandwe

Kwandwe Gift Registry

Best of all Kwandwe has just opened a gorgeous online shop.  Why not set up a Kwandwe gift registry for your wedding guests and have them contribute to your experience? And if you are staying at Kwandwe you can pre-order all your safari kit and pick it up when you arrive – perfect!

green ostrich eggs in a clear vase in a living room area at Kwandwe
I do love decorated ostrich eggs!

I often find once I have visited somewhere I wish I had of bought the hat/vest the guides wore etc as now I am home I really would have used it – but it is too late. No more – you can visit the Kwandwe Registry before and after your visit! And the shop has some fantastic gift sets that are perfect for presents – put them on your gift registry or take them home for friends or family.

Finally, the Registry at Kwandwe has some lovely lovely gift items. You can’t beat their animal-themed onesies and I absolutely loved the painted ostrich eggs (although these ones you have to buy there due to customs restrictions with shipping ostrich eggs around the world). Anyway, there are loads of lovely unique and beautiful items on the Kwandwe registry that make for fantastic gifts whether you are going on safari or not.

Check out the Kwandwe gift store here:

A camera is essential on any trip to South Africa – particularly if you are planning to go on safari. So don’t miss my Best Camera for Safari and iPhone Photography Guide.

Read reviews of Kwandwe on TripAdvisorBook Now

2 sofa seats with table and glass wall showing deck and brush outside
The living area of my lovely suite

How to get to Kwandwe

The main international airport for South Africa is Johannesburg. However, there are some direct flights to Cape Town and British Airways are introducing direct flights from London to Durban.

Flights to Johannesburg

Flights to Cape Town

The closest airport for Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is the domestic airport Port Elizabeth.

Flights to Port Elizabeth

The drive to Kwandwe is about two hours. They can organize a transfer for you or you can grab a hire car although of course, it will just sit at the main reception at the lodge until you leave.

I flew to South Africa with Air France – check out my Air France A380 Business Class Review.

table laid out with colourful cloths and food in the middle of the african vista
Colourful meal stops on safari
path leading to room at Kwandwe
The path leading up to my room at Kwandwe

Tour Operators who can provide African Safari Honeymoon Packages

Kuoni has some fantastic luxury holidays and they have an entire area of their website devoted to Honeymoon Safaris. Virgin Holidays offer some great combinations of flights and accommodation for African safari packages.

For African specialists try Mahlatini or The Luxury Safari Company.

A spa treatment is perfect for Honeymoons! Check out my post on the best South African Spa options.

Sunset across african plains with a lake in foreground
African sunset

Who Paid for What in this Post

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve hosted my stay – thank you! However, as always my opinions are my own. I paid for my flights and transfers to get to Kwandwe.

This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on them and make a purchase I will often receive a small commission. This will not increase the price that you pay. I just wanted to make sure that you knew.

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33 Comments

  • I never had a honeymoon so this looks totally heavenly. I am from Africa and visiting next month, I have missed seeing the animals so I guess I should plan that and hint to my husband that I need one.

  • My husband and I went on our honeymoon a few years ago but, this would be a great location to celebrate our 5 year anniversary! I’ll be sharing this with him.

  • This sounds like such an amazing way thing to do on your Honeymoon. I bet South Africa is just such a beautiful location, full of so many things to do.

  • A hot air balloon in the safari sounds like something out of a Disney movie! So romantic and I am sure the views are amazing

  • So beautiful. Now i know the reason why a lot of new married couples here in Nigeria who can afford the trip heads to South Africa. Such a beautiful place to be.

  • I have been on safari in Kenya/Tanzania before but I haven’t been to South Africa for one. That sounds like fun — it would have to be a second honeymoon though. I have been trying to convince my husband about that…

  • omg i’ve always wanted to go to safari because of it’s beautiful nature and the animals. wow this for honeymoon, i’m so down.

  • South africa is such a prefect location especially for a honeymoon. So relaxing and the nature is super pretty.

  • This place is perfect for newly married couples. I love this place and I am sharing this blog with few friends how are going to marry soon hope this place is perfect for them

  • I have never thought of going to South Africa for a honeymoon, maybe one day I will go there for vacation because the scenery is very beautiful

  • An African Safari sounds amazing. I didn’t know there was whale watching off the coast of Africa, either! My husband and I went to the Caribbean for our honeymoon, but my mom really wants to do an African Safari when my boys are a little older. Now I really want to do it because everything here looks perfect!

  • This is one of my dream vacations. One of my friends went to a safari and she told me it was the best experience of her life. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • What a beautiful place for a honeymoon! Beaches have been overdone. That tub and the gorgeous pic of of the couple eating outside totally sold me.

  • This sounds amazing! We should have gone on safari for our honeymoon but we had to cancel at the last minute due to the political situation in Kenya at the time… maybe we should check out a South African safari instead!

  • What an amazing honeymoon destination!!!! I would never think to do something like this! But who else to make once in a lifetime memories with?!

  • A safari honeymoon is such a beautiful way to spent time together! I think if I could do it over I would love to do this for my own honeymoon instead of the Caribbean.

  • We honestly never considered Africa for a honeymoon, but I have to say, you’ve made a compelling case for South Africa! Will have to keep it in mind for future travels!

  • Not a place I have ever considered in my adult years, but Africa is a beautiful country for sure. Great for honeymoons xx

  • a lovely travel sharing here, I really enjoy reading it & wish I can travelmyself personally to here too. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  • This would a wonderful way for couples who have never traveled to the region to get a nice new experience while enjoying all that SA has to offer. Wonderful trip.

  • A safari honeymoon or even romantic getaway sounds amazing. This part of the world is definitely a part of the world I would love to visit.

  • My honeymoon was in Jamaica and I am starting to second think how great of a time i have had after reading this lol. It looks so relaxing and soothing there. I may have to visit next year since our trip is planned for this one.

  • We’d seriously consider this on our 25th wedding anniversary. Hopefully we are both still well enough to travel and enjoy a Safari honeymoon when that time comes.

  • There were so many adventurers and activities that you shared in this post, which are right up my alley. One is going on a safari, watching animals in nature is always fascinating. The other is whale watching.

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