Wedding planning is hard work. Your honeymoon shouldn’t be. Here are three exotic African nature destinations for newly-married nature lovers to honeymoon. Think: Bohemian luxe for the laid-back bride.
Start at Arusha Coffee Lodge, the place to stay in and around Arusha. The spacious and well-appointed wooden chalets overlook the coffee fields and spectacular Mount Meru. Bonus: Arusha Coffee Lodge is known for gourmet meals. In the morning, begin your safari adventure at Little Chem Chem, located in the private concession of Burunge Wildlife Management Area between Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara. With only 5 tents, Little Chem Chem is intimate, to say the least. The spacious tents are elegantly decorated, with ensuite bathrooms and each has a private fire pit – a perfect way to end the day with your loved one. Activities in the area include: game drives, night drives, animal tracking, photographic safaris, hot air balloon rides and helicopter flights. Be sure to take a stroll with the anti-poaching team too!
Game drive at Little Chem Chem.
Continue to Namiri Plains in Serengeti National Park, where it is all about wildlife, wildlife, wildlife. For 20+ years this area of the eastern Serengeti was off limits to tourists; now Namiri Plains is the sole property in a 45 minute radius! It is an extremely exclusive experience. Eight safari tents face the open plains of the Serengeti, interspersed by small rock formations and kopjes. The tents are comfortable and the flaps open to provide a 360-degree view of the Serengeti beyond. Side note: They host researchers at the camp from time to time, so you may get some extra special insights during your stay! Be sure to set aside time for cheetah conservation as well.
Leopard at Namiri Plains.
Move on but don’t stray far: Lamai Serengeti is close to the Mara River, where the massive migratory herds cross from July thru October. Open thatch and stone rooms offer fabulous views of the Northern Serengeti and the Maasai Mara, and the day beds encourage you to sit back, relax and enjoy the vistas. The camp is sophisticated but not over-the-top. The food is excellent, as is the guiding, which makes for unforgettable game drives and bush walks.
Lamai Serengeti’s open thatch rooms.
End your safari in style at Greystoke Mahale in the Mahale Mountain National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania. With the largest remaining chimpanzee population in the world and countless other species of wildlife, this is truly a special place for animal lovers. Greystoke Mahale is nestled into the greenery on the shores of the lake. It is completely romantic and inspiring. Open-fronted thatch and wood structures are positioned overlooking the beach with views of the lake from the terraces and upstairs lounges. Activities include: tracking habituated chimpanzees, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and fishing. You can also just soak in the beauty of this wild place from the comfort of your private villa.
Lounging at Greystoke Mahale.
Why it’s special: This itinerary is the perfect mix of private concessions and national parks.
Premier Zimbabwe & Botswana
Begin your safari in style at Singita Pamushana, one of the most luxurious safari lodges in Zimbabwe. Located within the virtually untouched Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve bordering Gonarezhou National Park, the reserve is home to high concentrations of black rhino and offers Big Five game-viewing. True to the Singita name, Pamushana is an extremely luxurious property. Each suite features a private infinity pool (in addition to the two swimming pools and Jacuzzi in the main area). Activities include: open-vehicle game drives (which can be booked exclusively), night drives, bush walks, community visits, mountain biking and rock art site visits. The lodge is situated atop a kopje with incredible views over a beautiful dam, where guests fish and enjoy sundowner cruises. For serious nature lovers, get involved in one of the many conservation initiatives at Singita Pamushana.
Singita Pamushana’s pool with a view.
Fly to Matetsi River Lodge next, set on a massive concession that boasts private Zambezi River frontage. The reserve’s unique location offers convenient and easy access to the magnificent sights and variety of adrenaline adventures available at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls. Later, slow it down on a sunset river cruise or game drive with sundowners. The lodge’s two camps, of just nine suites each, are complimented by tranquil guest areas.
A special riverfront meal at Matetsi River Lodge.
Continue to the brand new Duba Plains Camp (opened in March 2017), which sits in the heart of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The intimate camp consists of five traditional-style tents, which evoke the old classic African safari style of the 1920’s. It is a wildlife connoisseur’s getaway with literally thousands of animals across the flood plains, renowned for unique lion/buffalo interaction.
Duba Plains has romance to spare.
Step back in time to a forgotten era at Jack’s Camp for your final stop. This stylish camp in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans provides a range of fun activities from quad biking across the pans, to an authentic cultural interaction with the San People (Bushmen), to visits with habituated meerkats. The desert experience offers a fascinating mix of adventure, game-viewing, history, archeology and culture at this gorgeous property. Tastefully decorated, yet packed with photos, and mementos, such as insects in shadowboxes and animal skulls, the camp tells the story of a long history in Botswana.
Swimming pool at Jack’s Camp.
Why it’s special: This itinerary combines safari in 3 very diverse ecosystems.
Secret South Africa
Begin your safari at Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge, popular for its wild dogs as well as Big Five game-viewing. The accommodation is modern and luxurious. The glass-fronted suites reveal an uninterrupted wilderness, and the ensuite bathrooms, complete with bath and indoor and outdoor shower, offer unmatched views over the sweeping landscape beyond. In addition to a pool, each suite also has its own viewing deck to maximize sightings. Delicious meals are served on the deck overlooking the waterhole with the African stars overhead.
View from a Madikwe Hills suite.
Change gears at Babylonstoren, a stunning estate hotel with striking Cape Dutch buildings, wide open spaces and gourmet dining, in the heart of the Cape Winelands. It is truly the epitome of idyllic farm life. The décor is simple, modern and stylish. The rooms are not over-the-top luxurious but tasteful and comfortable. The working farm produces fruits, herbs and vegetables, which the world renowned restaurant uses (horticulture tours are available upon request). Explore the Western Cape using Babylonstoren as your base with lots of activities including a Table Mountain hike, Cape Peninsula tour and biking/wine tasting tour.
Sunset explorations around Babylonstoren.
Transfer to Grootbos, located at the southernmost tip of South Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans collide. This is one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the planet! With some of the highest concentrations of great white sharks in the world and chances to spot southern right whales (July thru November), the “Marine 5” (whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins) is the real deal. In addition to coastal attractions, Grootbos is located within the 6,000+ acre Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. These colorful rolling hills are paradise to flora lovers. Grootbos is the ideal location to offer incredible water and land-based activities. To name but a few: whale watching, shark cage diving, scenic walks, horseback riding, birding, scenic flights, quad biking, 4×4 flower safaris and wine tours (in case you didn’t get your fill at Babylonstoren).
Grootbos offers a range of exceptional ecosystems.
Finish up at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, situated high up on a steep bank over the Great Fish River. Featuring a classic-contemporary style of understated elegance and earthy tones, Kwandwe Great Fish is all about tranquility and solitude. Watch majestic kudu meander down to the river from the Lodge’s expansive viewing decks, or soak in the views from the privacy of your suite’s own plunge pool.
Escape it all at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge.
Why it’s special: Malaria free featuring 2 distinct safari destinations and ecosystems.