There are so many amazing places to go in the world, so how do you pick where you want to go for one of the most amazing holidays in your life? Andrew and I both knew we wanted to go big for our honeymoon. We wanted it to be the holiday of a lifetime. I can’t quite remember exactly how we chose to go to South Africa on safari, but it was a bit of a no brainer. There were a couple of other contenders, but going on a safari feels like a real privilege and is a really exciting trip to plan and book. Because there was so much else going on (planning a wedding takes A LOT of time!) we decided to take the pressure off and enlisted the help of Trailfinders. With their advice, we came up with a fabulous South African honeymoon itinerary.
What we were looking for
We have never really been a couple to sit around on the beach on our holidays and our honeymoon was no different. Yes, we wanted some luxury, but we also wanted some adventure. In hindsight, a little bit more relaxation wouldn’t have hurt. We were absolutely exhausted after the wedding and it took us a lot longer than we thought to recover!
This is the brief we gave to Trailfinders:
- SAFARI is an absolute must and it must be top notch
- We want to visit the Garden Route
- We want to visit Cape Town
- We don’t want to stay in one place
- We want beautiful scenery and things to do / places to explore
If you’re looking for a beach to sit on for two weeks, this isn’t the trip for you!
Where we went
In the end, it was quite easy to come up with a route around South Africa based on our criteria. We gave ourselves two and a half weeks away so we weren’t feeling rushed and I think that’s the perfect amount of time to explore South Africa.
Flying into Jo’burg, Andrew and I were wiped. We went straight to the hotel and only left it to go on a Soweto township tour. It was quite interesting but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if we’d missed it and gone straight on safari. However, it did give us some much needed time to do nothing!
Greater Kruger Park
We weren’t bothered about taking malaria medication, so the obvious choice for a safari was Kruger Park. We just had to pick a lodge to stay in! Looking through the brochure, we plumped for Motswari Game Lodge in the TImbavati private game reserve that is adults only, beautiful and totally luxurious.
I loved it so much a full post on our fun in Motswari will definitely follow!
Pumba Private Game Reserve
From there, we decided on an internal flight down to Port Elizabeth and onto a second safari. Trailfinders warned us that might be a bit too much, but we wanted to make sure we saw ALL THE ANIMALS. Safari was always the main point of the trip so we got as much out of it as we could.
At Pumba, the focus was definitely on the lodge facilities rather than the safari experience. The rangers weren’t as experienced and they didn’t have separate trackers, meaning there was no one dedicated to just spotting animals. You also can’t drive your vehicle off road, which was very different to Motswari, where we were in amongst a herd of elephants at one point!
The Garden Route
The next natural step is to hire a car and drive along the Garden Route to Cape Town, so we did! First stop, Plettenberg Bay, where we stayed at the beautiful Tsala Treetops Lodge. Tsala Treetops is an incredible collection of tree houses hidden in the forest just outside of Plett centre.
Sadly it bucketed down with rain for the two whole days we were there, meaning we only left the lodge for dinner and a quick walk around Plett (which was dead because it’s winter). A bit of a shame.
We popped to Knysna next and had a lovely walk around the lagoon and town there on our way to Hermanus. Andrew was meant to go great white shark diving there, but it was cancelled due to the bad weather so we headed to Cape Town early.
We chose to stay in Camps Bay – a beach resort just outside of the city. It really doesn’t feel like a resort though, there are only a few hotels and it wasn’t overrun with tourists (maybe because it’s winter?). There are a nice selection of restaurants there and the beach is really beautiful.
We explored Table Mountain (as soon as you get a break in the clouds, head up there, it might not last long!); we took the city sight seeing bus; we walked around the V&A Waterfront; we checked out the Food Market and we spent a day out in the wine regions drinking our body weight in Chenin Blanc and Pinotage. Bliss.
What we thought
We had a great time – it was our honeymoon, after all! The safari was an amazing experience and had a real once in a lifetime feeling. The sun was shining and all was well. Sadly, the second half of the honeymoon was a little bit blighted by the weather. I don’t know whether we were unlucky but I do wish someone had warned us that might happen! I also way underestimated how much relaxation we would want after such a hectic year so far. Something for all you engaged couples out there to remember!
Have you been to South Africa? Where did you go on honeymoon?