This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
South Africa is set apart as a prime honeymoon destination, not only for its affordability, but for the sheer range of fantastically exciting, beautiful, and romantic things to do and see. Whether you are looking for historical monuments, national parks and game reserves, dense forests or towering mountain ranges, wildlife, wine farms, urban epicentres, shops, miles of pristine beaches, or a calm fishing village retreat from the hubbub of city life; South Africa is perfectly equipped to host your dream honeymoon.
What To Do When Honeymooning In South Africa
Get the adrenalin pumping on your South African honeymoon when you explore the many exciting sports and activities throughout the country. These include:
- Bungy jumping at Bloukrans Bridge – this is the world’s highest commercial bungy jump, at a staggering 216 meters. It is along the Garden Route, between Port Elizabeth and Knysna.
- White water rafting – South Africa has some fantastic rivers that are amazing to explore, whether on a tranquil canoe ride or a white water excursion on its rapids. Some of these rivers are the Orange, Vaal and Blyde.
- Abseiling – with a terrain as wonderfully multi-faceted as South Africa’s, there are plenty of opportunities to scale the mountain faces and descend into the valley’s depths on an abseiling adventure. Abseil the gorgeous Storms River Gorge (Garden Route), Table Mountain (Cape Town), or Champagne Valley (Drakensberg Mountain Range). For an added rush, rapp jumping is on offer in city centres like Durban and Johannesburg. This is tantamount to running down the side of a mountain or building, protected by a harness.
- Canopy tours – see the exquisite forests and landscapes of South Africa from canopy height when you zipline over them. The Tsitsikamma, Magaliesberg, Drakensberg and Karkloof all offer fabulous opportunities for this honeymoon adventure.
- The Power Swing in Soweto is a must for couples looking to get their hearts racing for something other than one another. This swing glides between two massive cooling towers (which are a staggering 33 storeys high) in South Africa’s largest township, Soweto, for the rush of a lifetime.
South Africa is arguably best known for its wildlife; ranging from predators to prey, from dung beetles to the majestic southern right whale. It is the proud home of the Big 5; which comprises the elephant, rhinoceros, cheetah, lion and buffalo. In recent years, this has been changed to the Big 7, with the addition of the great white shark and the southern right whale. Seeing the fauna and flora up close, and getting the chance to photograph it, is an experience that will resonate with honeymooning couples for a lifetime. These are best seen in the game reserves and national parks that are scattered around the country.
Some of South Africa’s most notable parks include:
- Kruger National Park – this park is so vast that it extends across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Game drives, bush safaris, walking safaris and wilderness trails are the order of the day for couples that want to see the exquisite wildlife of South Africa on the ultimate honeymoon safari.
- Addo Elephant National Park – situated just outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, this park is home to around 500 elephants, as well as a host of other exciting species (including lion, leopard, hyena and Cape buffalo).
- Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park – as the oldest park in the country, this is certainly a favourite. It is home to the Big 5, as well as hundreds of bird species.
Other popular parks and reserves in South Africa are:
- The Golden Gate National Park
- The Garden Route National Park
- The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park
- The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve
- The Tsitsikamma National Park
- The iSimangaliso Wetland Park
There are myriads of opportunities for outdoorsy couples on honeymoon to explore their stunning surrounds throughout South Africa. This is a land of extraordinary natural beauty, luring visitors to venture into the bush, forests, mountains, beaches and valleys. Couples with a penchant for the outdoors will love visiting the following attractions to savour the sometimes-delicate, sometimes-rugged beauty of stunning South Africa:
- Table Mountain and its cableway, complete with many hiking trails
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
- Lion’s Head
- The beaches of the Eastern Cape
- The Maluti Mountains
- Snorkelling, surfing and hiking in the wild Transkei
- The Cango Caves
- Blyde River Canyon
- God’s Window
- Bourke’s Luck Potholes
- Boulder’s Beach
- The Cape Winelands
- The fishing villages, wild flowers and beaches of the West Coast
- The Cedarberg
- The Sabie waterfalls
- The Valley of Desolation
- The Drakensberg Mountain Range
- The Breede River
- Cape Vidal beach
- The Kgalagadi’s red sand dunes
The deep, complex history of South Africa is what has shaped it into the vibrant, colourful country that it is today. This history covers the spectrum, from prehistoric humanoids to the painful years of Apartheid. Visiting the various historical sites across the country provides incredible insights into the smiling faces of today’s Rainbow Nation. Consider adding the following to your honeymoon itinerary:
- Robben Island (Cape Town)
- Cradle of Humankind (near Johannesburg)
- Voortrekker Monument (Pretoria)
- Language Monument (Paarl)
- Mandela House (Soweto)
- Union Buildings (Pretoria)
- Hector Pieterson Museum (Soweto)
- Pilgrim’s Rest (Mpumalanga)
- Kimberley (Northern Cape)
TASTY SOUTH AFRICA
There is no doubt about it; South Africa has some of the most exciting culinary adventures to offer its guests. Honeymooners that want to sample local and international flavours have so much variety when visiting this country, which is known for its generous portions and excellent prices. There are restaurants, farm stalls, street vendors, coffee cafés, wine farms, olive orchards, cheese farms, and more. Many of these are set within breathtaking surrounds, while others are in the heart of the city centres and the buzz that goes along with these.
South Africa is overflowing with African cultures, peppered with international influences. Local cultures and customs are a major part of the modern identity. Township tours are fantastic ways to meet the locals, sample their cuisine, listen to their music and songs, enjoy their dance performances, and have the opportunity to buy their beautiful arts and crafts.
There are also vendors and markets in all of the major towns and cities of South Africa, where visitors can peruse the stalls and chat to those selling their wares. These may be formal markets, or a collection of vendors sitting on the side of the road.
Other cultural attractions that are well worth a visit during your honeymoon in South Africa include:
- District 6 (Cape Town)
- Bo-Kaap (Cape Town)
- The fishing villages of the West Coast
- The Anglo-Boer War Museum (Bloemfontein)
- The South African Museum (Cape Town)
Couples that choose South Africa as their honeymoon destination are spoilt for choice when it comes to beauty, diversity, and the sheer array of things to do and see in this wonderfully memorable country.
Help finance your dream South African honeymoon with a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.
Bio: Amelia has been writing about weddings, honeymoons, and travel for almost 10 years, providing couples and professional wedding planners with valuable resources for the big day.
She writes handy tips for TieTheKnot.co.za, a South African wedding planning site. She can also be contacted on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VoxateWritingEditing/) or via her website (http://www.voxate.co.za), where more of her exciting writing and editing projects are listed.