South Africa is an amazing honeymoon destination giving you access to wildlife and nature with safari honeymoons while being close to buzzing cities with state-of-the-art accommodations. Here we’ll have a look at all it has to offer and why you should seriously consider it for your honeymoon.
The Kruger and Kgalagadi National Parks where you can see the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo), make South Africa a dream destination for wildlife lovers. But if that weren’t enough, here you’ll find the famous Table Mountain, spectacular hiking trails, great beaches to surf, coral reefs, and sharks.
South Africa Honeymoon Quick Takes
- When to Honeymoon in South Africa: South Africa is a year-round destination.
- Things to Do on Your South Africa Honeymoon: Table Mountain and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
- Where to Go on Safari: Kruger, Addo Elephant, and Drakensberg National Parks, and small areas like Madikwe Game Reserve, Pilanesberg National Park
- South Africa Honeymoon Cost: Between $3,000 and $10,000
When to Honeymoon in South Africa
South Africa is the 25th biggest country in the world and it stretches across 465,000 square miles. Although it features different climates depending on the region, in most areas temperatures don’t drop below 45ºF or rise above 85ºF. This means South Africa is a year-round destination but choosing the best time to go depends on what you want to see.
Due to its location in the southern tip of the continent, its size, and varied geography, South Africa has four seasons. Temperatures don’t vary so much from north to south but there are noticeable changes in climate between east and west due to the ocean currents.
The currents from the Indian Ocean are warmer than those in the Atlantic so temperatures tend to be higher on the east coast. The northwest of the country is drier while the east is more humid and has a sub-tropical climate.
In most of the country, the period from May to September (autumn and winter in the southern hemisphere) is drier making it perfect for outdoor activities, while October to April (mainly spring and summer) is the wet season with quick and heavy showers. Cape Town (and its surrounding area called the Western Cape) is the exception and it receives more rain in the winter.
However, the best period for wildlife watching and safaris in the Kruger or Pilanesberg National Parks or in the Madikwe Reserve is from April to October. If you’re into whale watching, the best months are July, August, September, and October, while the Garden Route can be visited at any time as it experiences consistent rain during the whole year.
The summer in South Africa runs from December to March and it can be very hot with temperatures reaching 95ºF in some areas. This time frame is also considered the high season, especially during Christmas, New Year, and Easter when prices rise and tourists flock. In these months safaris should be booked in advance.
Best Honeymoon Accommodations in South Africa
There are many great destinations all around South Africa, and each one has unique accommodations that are worth looking into. Depending on what type of honeymoon or the kind of adventure you’re looking for, you can find the right fit in any one of these areas of South Africa.
Cape Town Lodge Hotel
Cape Town Lodge Hotel is a great option for couples looking for a bustling and urban experience. Cape Town Lodge Hotel is in the heart of Cape Town, so the biggest and most iconic attractions are just a few minutes away.
There are multiple room options – superior rooms, deluxe rooms, luxury apartments, and penthouse apartments. Depending on your budget and likes, you can find the right fit. Plus, you can add the romantic honeymoon turndown to any stay. Rooms at this 4-star hotel start at just $80 a night.
The Onyx Apartment Hotel
The Onyx Apartment Hotel is an incredible blend of Cape Town’s history and culture with today’s modern amenities and luxury. Guests will find modern and streamlined rooms all equipped with kitchenettes for the option to cook in your room. Rooms start at $100 a night.
But The Onyx is also home to amazing restaurants located conveniently on the first floor. Experience Cape Town in luxury and bliss.
Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa
South Africa is home to over 30 different wine-growing regions, but the most well-known is located just outside of Cape Town. These coastal areas offer some of the best wineries in the entire country. Not only do these areas offer great wineries, but you can also find great accommodations surrounded by breathtaking views.
One of your best options for accommodations is Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa with rooms for $150 per night. Nestled in the valley of gorgeous mountains, you will find some of the most luxurious options possible. Relax in the hotel’s spa while looking forward to a glass of wine in one of the three restaurants.
River Manor Boutique Hotel
If you’re looking for a little culture and history, you’ll love the River Manor Boutique Hotel. Located in the second-oldest settlement in the country, Stellenbosch is a foodie’s paradise settled on the banks of the Eerste River.
The rooms at the River Manor are spacious and well-equipped with a number of luxury amenities. Plus the the hotel is home to a boutique spa, immaculate gardens, 2 swimming pools, and a wrap-around veranda. Rooms start at $120 a night with rooms for $120, in Stellenbosch.
Cambalala – Kruger Park Lodge
The Kruger National Park area is full of resorts and hotels. A great luxury option is the Cambalala – Kruger Park Lodge which offers apartments for $125 per night and is located just outside the park. Cambalala is set on a full golf course with amazing amenities and great options for wildlife viewing.
Swadini, A Forever Resort
Some of the in-park accommodation options can be a little costly. If you want to save some money it’s better to stay near the park instead of in it, like at Swadini, A Forever Resort for $55 just a night.
Swadini is a great option for those couples who want to be surrounded by the South African landscape. Just minutes from the Kruger National Park, Swadini is set right next to the Drakensberg mountains and the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. You won’t run out of activities or excursions!
Under Milkwood Resort
Knysna is a beautiful town located in the middle of the Garden Route and a top choice to use as a home base while honeymooning. Some of the best accommodation options here are Under Milkwood Resort with rooms for $120 per night.
Under Milkwood Resort is on the edge of Knysna Lagoon surrounded by the iconic Milkwood leaves. You’re not far from the beach or the famous Knysna Heads. Plus, the resort itself boasts luxury amenities and water activities.
If you’re looking for a boutique experience, then consider the Hotel Claude where a night starts at $90. Most rooms come with a private deck to experience the beautiful landscape and either garden or lagoon views. And you’re just minutes from iconic areas like the Garden Route and the national park, and the nearby ostrich farm at Klein Karoo.
Drakensberg’s area is well developed for tourists so you can find several hotels and resort options. One of the best options is Bushman’s Nek with rooms and suites starting at $90 per night.
Bushman’s Nek is a more rustic option for couples looking to disconnect. Not only can you choose to stay in rustic log cabins, but you can indulge in activities like horseback riding and even paintball. But don’t worry, you won’t be missing any amenities or luxury. Bushman’s has a wellness spa and amazing dining options on the property.
Located nearly 45 miles north of Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park is the third biggest national park in South Africa and one of the best ones in the region. Addo gained national park status in 1931 when there were only 11 elephants but there are currently more than 600.
If you want to be near the park, there are a few places you can find accommodations. Addo Wildlife offers rooms starting at $140. You can indulge in the full level of luxury with a stay in the Luxury Suite – including a heated pool and a gorgeous garden pool. Outside the room, you can experience eco-tours and game drives while looking forward to a delicious meal at Tangelo Restaurant.
Things to Do on Your South Africa Honeymoon
You could easily spend months in South Africa and you’ll always have something spectacular to see but if your time is limited, here we’ll have a look at the best destinations to make the most of your honeymoon.
Table Mountain and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
A must-see when visiting South Africa is Table Mountain and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Table Mountain is an emblematic landmark that offers amazing views. Hike up the top or take the cable car, it’s well worth your time.
Next to Table Mountain, there’s the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, 1000 acres of botanical gardens that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is an ideal place to come for a walk, have a picnic, or admire the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway with its spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and gardens.
Another place that you can’t miss in Cape Town is Boulders Beach. Located 25 miles south of the city, this beach isn’t the best place to swim but it offers a wonderful coastal walk and it’s one of the best places to see African penguins.
You can combine this excursion with a tour around the Cape Point Peninsula, part of the Cape Floral Region, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Some of the highlights here are Hout Bay, Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Dias Beach, and Cape Point National Park where you can see ostriches, baboons, and even zebras if you’re lucky.
Another unmissable place to visit is Robben Island, also a World Heritage Site. This small island located 4 miles off the coast of Cape Town is home to the prison that held Nelson Mandela and other hundreds of political detainees during apartheid.
South Africa is not only famous because of its nature but also because of its wines. Approximately 40 miles west of Cape Town there’s a region called Winelands or Wine Country. Paarl, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch are three of the most famous towns in this mountainous area where some of the best wines in South Africa are produced.
Usually, tourists come to the Winelands as a day trip from Cape Town but if you have the time, try staying the night in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, or any other town that you like. They’re well worth more than just a couple of hours.
Kruger National Park
With more than 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, 150 mammals, and a wide diversity of trees and flowers, Kruger is South Africa’s first and most iconic national park. It has an area of 7,500 square miles, making it one of the biggest wild reserves in Africa.
Kruger National Park is home to the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo) and offers different safari tours and lodging options. Regardless of whether you decide to explore in a 4×4, hike, or fly in a hot-air balloon, it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This world-famous road is part of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves and gets its name from the Garden Route National Park that it crosses. In this area, you’ll find a lot of lakes, lush forests, sand dunes, beaches, mountains, some of the best hiking trails in South Africa, and diverse flora and fauna.
Some of the must-sees in the area are De Hoop Nature Reserve with beautiful beaches and walking paths, Plettenberg Bay where you can find Lookout Beach and Keurbooms Beach, Tsitsikamma National Park, Wilderness Beach, Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point in Africa, and Knysna.
The Garden Route is usually busy from December to March, so it’s better to come in April or May. September and October are also great months not only to avoid crowds but also to enjoy whale watching.
At 11,420 feet (3,481 meters), the Drakensberg Mountains (Dragon Mountains in Afrikaans) stretch for nearly 700 miles, and are the highest mountains in South Africa and the main range in Southern Africa.
The Drakensberg Mountains serve as a border with Lesotho, a small enclaved country within South Africa. Most of the South African side of the range is a game reserve, while the Drakensberg National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Drakensberg Mountains are a great place for hiking and enjoying nature. Here you can find eland, baboons, reedbuck, lammergeier and other animals.
Addo Elephant National Park
A visit to the Addo Elephant Park is a must if you’re in the Eastern Cape. You can spend a couple of days here and enjoy not only elephants but also lions, hyenas, zebras, rhinos, and buffaloes. This park is one of the few where you can see the Big Seven (Big Five plus sharks and whales), something that not even Kruger Park can offer.
Where to Go on a Safari Honeymoon in South Africa
South Africa is a dream destination for safari and wildlife lovers. The country has dozens of national parks and game reserves so choosing only a couple can be a bit overwhelming. Apart from the Kruger, Addo Elephant, and Drakensberg National Parks, there are some others that are well worth your time.
Some of the ones to keep in mind are Madikwe game reserve in the north next to Botswana, Pilanesberg national park in the north, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the northwest, Mapungubwe National Park near the Zimbabwe-Botswana border, Entabeni and Welgevonden game reserve in the northeast, Nambiti and Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, which is the oldest game reserve in Africa, in the east,.
Each of these parks offers different safari options that range from $190 per person for a day to package tours that last several days and will set you back several thousand dollars per person.
Safaris are pretty unique so they’ll definitely be one of the highlights of your trip. Keep in mind that South Africa is big so unless you really want to visit a particular game reserve, try to plan your itinerary smartly so your main sites are easy to reach.
Is South Africa a Safe Honeymoon Destination?
Some people have expressed concern about the safety of honeymooning in South Africa. The truth is there are issues to be aware of, but that shouldn’t stop you from experiencing everything this amazing country has to offer.
South Africa does have a higher-than-average crime rate when compared to other travel and honeymoon destinations. Most of these crimes are nonviolent and include things like property crimes, thefts, and break-ins. But if you maintain vigilance and avoid unlit or isolated areas, then there is little concern.
South Africa is also home to a large amount of wildlife. Like any wild animal, the animals you may encounter in South Africa can be dangerous when viewed inappropriately. It’s best to follow all posted signs and travel guides as well as maintain a safe distance at all times.
Finally, there are some potential health concerns that should be researched before traveling to South Africa. Make sure to visit your primary healthcare provider about any necessary vaccinations and precautions.
South Africa Honeymoon Cost
The most expensive portion of a South Africa honeymoon usually comes down to flights and a possible safari adventure. If you find affordable flights and stick to more budget-friendly options, you can pay as low as $3,000 for a South Africa honeymoon. On the other hand, if you choose to indulge in more luxury accommodations and adventures, then you could look at a total cost near $10,000.
South Africa is a once-in-a-lifetime destination. It has amazing wildlife and safaris, world-class wineries, great beaches, and spectacular flora and fauna. It’s one of those countries that has it all. There’s a lot to see and explore so try to stay for at least 2 weeks to be able to enjoy Cape Town, the Winelands, the Garden Route, and at least one safari. Then get ready to organize a second trip to South Africa because I can guarantee you that it’ll leave you wanting more.
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central America, South America, and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.