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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 there is no shortage of over-the-top luxury hotels and restaurants.
The hard part is choosing where to go!
Here is a list of my 7 reasons to honeymoon in South Africa!
The Cape Peninsula
Cape Town is one of the country’s (and world’s) most beautiful cities. It’s unique because although it’s a major metropolitan city, it’s also overflowing with natural beauty and wildlife.
You can hike (or take the cable car to save time and energy) to the top of Table Mountain and admire the sweeping
views, explore the Cape of Good Hope, soak up the spectacular views at Cape Point and even check out an African penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach.
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.
Why is it called the Garden Route? Well the name comes from the green and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast.
You’ll find secluded bays, stunning flora and fauna and tons of wildlife along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins that often swim close to shore near Plettenberg Bay.
Wine loves will also rejoice at Bramon Wine Farm, located just outside of Plettenberg Bay, where you can enjoy magnificent wines and delicious tapas style cuisine. The restaurant tables are scattered amongst the vineyards.
Hermanus, Swellendam, Sedgefield, Calitzdorp and Knysna are just a few more wonderful stops on route that are worth a visit.
Eat till your heart’s content
Whether you’re in the bush or in one of the country’s major cities like Cape Town, there is a flourishing
food revolution and an impressive level of culinary sophistication.
Be sure to try South African specialties like biltong (dried meat similar to beef jerky) and a braai (a unique style of barbecue) as well as other local delicacies like Cape Malay cuisine.
A great activity to do as a couple is a cooking class in the Bo-Kaap area where you will learn to make traditional Cape Malay food and learn about the colourful history of this area.
Once you’ve mastered the art of cooking, make sure to visit some of the top restaurants. Here is a list of the current top 10 South African restaurants. Remember to book well in advance for the top restaurants as they are very popular and get booked up months in advance!
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 boat 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.
Many couples also want to visit the townships (the living areas created for non-whites during the apartheid).
We work with a great ccompany called Uthando who 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.
The Cape Winelands
The Cape Winelands are only about an hours’ drive 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.
There are so many wonderful wine farms to choose from, however, these are our favourites.
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.
La Residence, voted by Conde Nast Traveler as the best hotel in the world, is a stunning masterpiece as you can imagine. If you have more modern tastes, you’ll enjoy Delaire Graff Hotel. Click here to read about more hotel options.
The Cape Winelands are also home to some of the country’s most amazing restaurants!
Visitors must check out The Tasting Room in Le Quartier Francais – another stunning hotel. You’ll be wowed with a unique dining experience, no menus and plenty of fun surprises.
And for a brunch that will blow your mind, visit The Tasting Room’s sister restaurant, Bread & Wine.
For a trendy and lively beach escape, visit Camp’s Bay in Cape Town where you’ll find plenty of waterfront restaurants and loads of nightlife.
Camp’s Bay is home to not only amazing restaurants, nightlife and views, but there is also a wide variety of hotels to choose from!
If you’re looking to unwind and relax, you must go to Hout Bay, which is a sleepy, romantic getaway minutes from the Cape Town CBD.
Tintswalo Atlantic just might be the most romantic hotel – deep soaking tubs, waterfront rooms and a romantic restaurant!
Even the least outdoorsy person will feel in touch with nature in South Africa.
There is nothing more romantic than returning to your room after your evening game drive to find your bath run, rose petals scattered around the room and a bottle of bubbles on ice!
There is a wide variety of lodges one can choose from as well as various locations in which to safari. To read more about safari in South Africa click here.