Passion Points: Active/Adventure
Although Hawaii continues to be the number one destination for honeymooners, newlyweds are increasingly looking for a more adventurous way to celebrate. At Indagare, we’ve received multiple requests from members hoping to combine the excitement of an African safari with a serious dose of romance. For some insider insights on a sexy African voyage , we turned to one of our favorite travel partners for her insights.
What experiences should a traveler not miss in southern Africa?
Everyone should do a safari, because it is an experience that defies almost all description. I have had clients describe it as surreal. For many travelers, Africa is all about “safari,” a journey to experience this ancient continent’s wild places and observe first hand the drama of survival on its plains. But you also should not miss Cape Town, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With a number of luxury hotels around the Peninsula, it makes the perfect stop over from which to embark on a number of other tours inland or along the south and west coasts. The beaches are legendary (even though the water is icy), and the nightlife is equally exciting with a variety of world-class restaurants, bars and clubs. Cape Town is cosmopolitan mix of San Francisco and Rio, and maybe a bit of the South of France.
Outside of the city, the Cape winelands are a scenically enchanting region of dramatic mountains and fertile valleys. There is a wonderful combination of small historic towns, beautiful scenery and wine estates producing delicious wines and brandies. Franschhoek is known as the gourmet capital of Africa. A trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Victoria Falls, a World Heritage site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders. Today, Victoria Falls remains as evocative a destination as it did to the hunters, surveyors, explorers and missionaries of the 19th Century—but the pursuits are slightly different. You can try the wildest white water rafting in the world, bungee jump what was until recently the highest bungee in the world, try elephant back safaris and even take micro-light fights over the falls.
How does a couple combine romance and adventure travel?
High-end luxury accommodations and privately-owned, owner-run lodges can create intimate, especially memorable experiences. We have helped organize private dinners on a riverbed or a night spent in a tree lodge all on your own listening to the sounds of the wild. Another romantic spot for a private dinner is at the top of Table Mountain.
What hotels would you recommend to a couple traveling to Africa on their honeymoon?
For a safari, we suggest a few: Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, Singita and Pondoro Safari Lodge. Lion Sands is the only private reserve situated on the Sabie River and has the Tree House, very popular with honeymooners. Singita’s four lodges all have contemporary design and the highest level of luxury and service. Pondoro Safari Lodge is a small, very exclusive twelve-bedroom lodge that offers luxury for budgets that don’t fit Lion Sands or Singita.
In Cape Town, the Ellerman House is one of the finest boutique hotels in the world, in the finest of locations in the premier Cape Town suburb of Bantry Bay. Kensington Place, which is located on the slopes of Table Mountain, has lush gardens and an intimate pool, and its interiors have an unmistakable contemporary feel with eclectic African touches throughout. We also recommend Cape Cadogan, a stately double-storied Georgian and Victorian building that dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. It was originally a farmhouse that was “Victorian-ized” in 1912 and declared a national monument in 1984.
La Residence is the ultimate in decadence in the Franschhoek Winelands. Tucked away in tranquil vineyards this private wine and olive estate provides the ultimate in old-world luxury and is decorated with treasures such as fine French antiques, exquisite Persian carpets and delicate Ralph Lauren linens. Klein Genot, which is still a working farm, has a great spa on-site and can arrange wonderful walks and picnics on the vineyard. Within the village of Franschhoek, Le Quartier Francais offers fifteen bedrooms plus two luxurious suites that boast private plunge pools and children’s loft rooms. The tasting menus at their two restaurants are excellent.
If you want to stay at Victoria Falls, book at the Tongabezi Lodge, a romantic hideaway on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of the Falls. It has a selection of cottages beautifully furnished with local materials and is a perfect destination for honeymoons, weddings or special celebrations.
What are the best times of year to do a safari?
Safari can be done anytime of year. It really depends where the guest wants to travel to and what temperatures they prefer. June through August is winter, so temperatures are cooler. The vegetation is less dense and water is scarce, so animals are easier to see. Summer months are very hot and thunderstorms can occur in the evenings.
Can you plan private excursions?
Yes. We are completely flexible and are able to customize everything to meet the clients’ exact needs. Some special excursions we’ve planned in the past were a spectacular helicopter flight over Blyde River Canyon (you’ll land on a mountain top for a picnic lunch) and a private trip to Elephant Whispers, a magnificent sanctuary near Lion Sands Ivory Lodge.
If you were planning your own honeymoon, what would you do?
I would start with two-night safari at Ivory Lodge then two nights at Singita. After that, I would fly on to Cape Town to spend four to five nights at Ellerman House or Kensington Place. And I would finish off with three nights at La Residence or Klein Genot in the Franschhoek wine lands.
For an introduction, please call us at 212-988-2611.
Read our insider report on Cape Town
Read more about Singita Grumeti
Read about Saving Lions in Crisis
Read about other safari camps in Kenya
Explore African destinations
Read about Kenya-based designer Anna Trzebinski
Read about a special elephant sanctuary in Kenya
For information on traveling to Southern Africa or to book, contact our advisory department by calling 212-988-2611 or by sending an inquiry
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