Whenever anyone asks my advice on where to go for their honeymoon, I consistently recommend one spot – South Africa.
The rainbow nation, as it’s often referred has it all from vibrant cities and sexy beaches to untamed wilderness and rural beauty.
No matter what you are looking for, South Africa is an idyllic setting for a honeymoon. Experience sunrise in the bush, “Sundowners” (South Africa’s version of Happy Hour) in wine country or at the beach and no shortage of over-the-top luxury hotels and restaurants.
The hard part is choosing where to go in South Africa for your honeymoon!
I have 7 reasons that will ensure that wedded bliss ensues on your South African honeymoon.
1. The Cape Peninsula
Cape Town is one of the country’s most beautiful cities. It’s unique because although it’s a major metropolitan city, it’s also overflowing with natural beauty and wildlife.
Spend a day taking in Cape Town’s stunning landscapes in and around Table Mountain National Park.
Hike to the top of Table Mountain and admire the sweeping views (or take a cable car to save time and energy), explore the Cape of Good Hope, soak in the panoramic views at Cape Point and even check out an African penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach.
2. The Garden Route
Take your first road trip as a couple along The Garden Route, a stretch of road along South Africa’s southeastern coast.
The drive takes at least a few days but there are excellent stops along the way in some amazing towns and nature reserves.
You’ll find secluded bays, stunning flora and fauna and tons of wildlife along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales and dolphins that often swim close to shore near Plettenberg Bay.
Oenophiles will also rejoice at Bramon Wine Farm, located just outside of Plettenberg Bay.
Sedgefield, Calitzdorp, and Knysna are also well worth a stop.
3. Eat Your Heart Out
Whether you’re in the bush or in one of the country’s major cities like Cape Town, there is a flourishing foodie revolution and an impressive level of culinary sophistication.
Be sure to try South African specialties like biltong and a braai (a unique style of barbecue) and other local delicacies like Cape Malay cuisine.
I highly recommend taking a cooking class together in Bo-Kaap (famous for all the rainbow-colored buildings). Do a class with Faldela Tolker, who invites you into her home and teaches you not just how to cook, but also about the country’s history.
These skills are an excellent souvenir you’ll enjoy for years to come. (Cooking with Love 072 483 4040 or [email protected])
Once you’ve mastered the art of cooking, make some reservations at the hot restaurants in Cape Town. At the top of my list is a visit to Pot Luck Club, a unique tapas-style restaurant located in the Biscuit Mill. You’ll experience expansive views of the city from this rooftop restaurant that offers killer cocktails and trendy small plates.
The city’s most exclusive restaurant, The Test Kitchen is nearly impossible to snag a reservation so reserve a table as far in advance as you can. Trust me, you want to experience its thoughtfully prepared tasting menu expertly paired with amazing South African wine.
4. Get to know South Africa’s story
No trip to South Africa is complete without learning about its people and understanding the history.
Take a trip to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner for nearly 20 years. You’ll learn about the experience first hand from guides who are former inmates.
If you want to learn more I highly recommend signing up for a tour with Coffee Beans Routes. This local company offers a tour called the Revolution Route where you can learn about the lesser-known players in the South African revolution.
Many couples also want to visit the Townships (the living areas created for non-whites during the apartheid). Many tours leave visitors feeling like outsiders and almost even intruders, barging into someone’s home.
To avoid a situation like this, I recommend booking with Uthando South Africa, which promotes responsible tourism.
Uthando introduces visitors to residents who work on community development projects. You’ll learn about the wonderful work going on to rebuild communities and all tour fees go directly to benefit the projects you visit and the people you meet.
5. The Cape Winelands
The Cape Winelands are only about an hour away from Cape Town. I highly recommend that honeymooners take at least a few days to unwind and relax in this stunning part of the country.
There are several gorgeous regions filled with many of the world’s most beautiful hotels. I recommend visiting both Franshhoek – a quaint region with lots of family-owned vineyards and French influences, and also Stellenbosch – the most popular and lively region.
I highly recommend a visit to Môreson, La Petite Ferme, and Haute Cabrière vineyards. To get to the vineyards safely, book a tour with Escape to the Cape Tours, which will arrange all of your tastings and transportation.
If you have a smaller budget, many couples do the The Franschhoek Wine Tram, a hop-on/hop-off tram that will take you to various wine vineyards.
You also can rent bikes and ride between vineyards if you’re hoping for an active day.
Two of the most gorgeous hotels in the world are located in the Cape Winelands.
The Cape Winelands are also home to some of the city’s most amazing restaurants!
And for a brunch that will blow your mind, visit The Tasting Room’s sister restaurant, Bread & Wine.
6. The Beaches
You may not have realized, but your honeymoon to Cape Town can also include a beach vacation!
While Durban is supposed to be fantastic as well, Cape Town has some of the most breathtaking beaches.
And you must stay at The Marly, a sleek and modern boutique hotel.
If you’re looking though to unwind and relax just the two of you, you must go to Hout Bay, which is a sleepy, romantic getaway minutes from Cape Town.
Tintswalo Atlantic just might be the most romantic hotel I’ve ever stayed in – deep soaking tubs, waterfront rooms and a romantic restaurant to boot!
7. Go on a Safari
Even the least outdoorsy person will feel in touch with nature in Africa.
There is nothing more romantic than driving through the bush and witnessing African wildlife in its natural habitat at dawn. Connect with the earth while you bond with your newly minted spouse.
You’ll usually experience closer encounters with the animals in private reserves since drivers (as long as they’re being respectful) have a little more leeway to go off the beaten path.
Plan your trip to Cape Town
We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights, and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:
- Booking.com has over 650 properties in Cape Town including hotels, apartments, and guesthouses. You get free cancellation on most rooms and the best price guarantee.
Book your flights to Cape Town
- Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).
Find Car Rental in Cape Town
- RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.
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Author Bio – Katie Lara has been blogging and freelance writing for over 10 years. She has lent her travel expertise as a writer and photographer to outlets like U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Fodor’s, Fox News and Forbes. Katie is also an accomplished travel host and has filmed several series for About.com. Katie also blogs as her edgy alter-ego on Travelingpanties.com giving luxury and honeymoon travel advice. When Katie isn’t traveling the world you can find her in New York City shopping or basking in the sun in Central Park. Keep up with Katie’s adventures on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram