Choosing South Africa for your honeymoon
Are you an active couple who's getting married this year and in need of that perfect honeymoon destination? As an active Colorado couple, we definitely wanted something special for our summer honeymoon last year. My husband and I contemplated a few locations for our honeymoon in July 2015, including South America and Australia, but ultimately decided on South Africa.
Our trip would come complete with a trip up to Zambia / Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls, and we are so glad we opted for South Africa! While planning our honeymoon, we were also planning a wedding and were very busy with our jobs, so after a few weeks of trying to figure out an itinerary on our own, we decided to enlist the help of a travel agent who specializes in African travel (Jenny with Extraordinary Journeys).
Researching your honeymoon activities
Before contacting her, we had a list of places we definitely wanted to see within South Africa. Although our travel agent recommended we do the safari first (because we would be jetlagged and getting up early anyway), we wanted a few days to decompress after the wedding and the 30 hours of flying.
Shark diving was high on our list of to-dos (I am obsessed with great white sharks), so we decided to spend the first two nights of our honeymoon at a bed and breakfast in Hermanus, which is right on the coast and absolutely beautiful (and RELAXING). While our travel agent booked all of our hotels and intercontinental flights in SA, we selected most of the activities ourselves after looking on a variety of reference sites, which I highly recommend. Doing so helped allowed us to not only save money, but also find some activities that travel agents wouldn't know about. For instance, we found a small, family-owned company that does aerial whale watching tours! This was such a cool way to not only see the Southern Right whales and their calves (July is prime season for whale watching), and it also gave us an incredible view of the area and coast.
Our South Africa honeymoon itinerary
After Hermanus, we went to Cape Town where we stayed at a great hotel recommended by our travel agent, the Four Rosmead. It was a beautiful bed and breakfast, right on the foothills of Table Mountain (prime location), that pulled out all of the stops for our honeymoon suite with wine, chocolates, etc. We planned all of our Cape Town activities ourselves and researched the best restaurants (and made reservations beforehand). We loved Cape Town and were glad we had a full five days and four nights to be there.
Next we went to Franschhoek in SA's wine region where we stayed at another beautiful hotel, Le Quartier Francais. They also gave us a bottle of wine as well as a beautiful honeymoon suite. Make sure to make a reservation at the Tasting Room! #1 rated restaurant in South Africa and an absolute treat. We booked our own wine tour (based on reviews) which saved us money and allowed us to find the most reputable company.
After the winelands, we flew to Zambia for Victoria Falls, where we stayed at my favorite hotel of the trip:The Royal Livingstone. Our travel agent helped us book one excursion to Livingstone Island, but we planned all of our other excursions ourselves. Please see my review on Victoria Falls for more details!
Our trip ended with our safari at Motswari Private Game Reserve, a private game reserve that is part of the Greater Kruger National Park Conservancy - another recommendation from our travel agent. We had an amazing time and I was thoroughly impressed with the recommendation our travel agent made about this safari group.
All in all, I was really happy we had a travel agent to help us book hotels, our intercontinental fights, our ground transfers (i.e. car service from Cape Town airport to Hermanus, Hermanus to Cape Town; Cape Town to Franschhoek) and to give us recommendations on what to pack, etc. However, I loved that we also took time to research the destinations where we were going to make sure we could select what activities we most wanted to do, places we wanted to eat, and places we wanted to see. Even if you are using a travel agent to book your travel, I think it makes your travel experience more personal (and gets you more excited) if you take an active part in the planning.