Cameron and I are not married, nor are we engaged. However, given that we are a traveling couple in our mid-twenties we get asked quite a bit about honeymoon destinations. The question “where would you recommend for an African safari honeymoon?” pops up in our inbox often and we love shedding light on the subject.
Many North Americans turn to the Caribbean or Europe given the close proximity to North America. For similar reasons, Australians may turn to Southeast Asia for the perfect getaway. These continents are fantastic! We love sipping cappuccinos in Italy, dancing through the streets of Paris, and enjoying long massages in Thailand.
Although, honestly, if I were to pick where to have an amazing honeymoon experience it would be Africa. It’s often a continent that is overshadowed, but it is certainly a place to have an unforgettable honeymoon experience. After traveling around Africa for over a year, here are our favorite African Safari honeymoon destinations.
The Best African Safari Honeymoon Destinations
Linyanti Concession, Botswana
Linyanti is located between the Greater Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. It all plays into an ecosystem that is interlinked as the Linyanti Channel.
Linyanti is easily one of the best places to go on an African safari honeymoon if you want to be completely in the bush and away from everything else in the world. This private concession gave us the promise of exclusivity in one of the most fabulous places to go on safari.
As our bush flight prepared to land in the Linyanti Concession we could see huge herds of elephants deep in the Linyanti swamps. The sight was dizzying as it seemed to be an innumerable amount of elephants. It took us by surprise, but the remote concession in Northern Botswana that borders Chobe National Park is known for its huge herds of elephant, and high chance of seeing leopards and wild dogs since it is so remote and untouched by humans.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe at one point was THE destination to go on safari. While that may no longer be the case due to recent political struggles that does not mean the land or wildlife have gone anywhere. Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest park and roughly half the size of Belgium.
After decades and decades of management, Hwange is still one of the best places to go on safari, especially for a romantic African honeymoon. It’s seen its ups and downs, but the game density is still one of the highest in Southern Africa. So, bring your favorite camera for safari and prepare for some awesome sightings.
The park itself faces a water scarcity issue, but due to the constant work of conservation 60 watering holes throughout the park provide the animals year round water, meaning there’s always a chance to spot wildlife. Hwange is also home to one of Africa’s largest elephant populations. They’re also known for a healthy lion population, that was once home to Cecil the lion.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
You’ll have a hard time comparing anything to what may be the top destination for a safari in all of Africa. The Okavango Delta stretches across Northwestern Botswana in a mix of land, marsh, water, and sand. Landscapes in the delta change in feet, not hundreds of miles.
The Okavango Delta is likely one of the most inaccessible places in Southern Africa, and arguably the most expensive African honeymoon destinations. Botswana has opted for the high-cost low impact model of tourism and it has created an environment of five-star lodges with very few visitors. Which, creates for once in a lifetime safaris for those lucky enough to afford a safari in the delta. If you want to be right near the Okavango check out Khwai Concession which is more affordable!
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
South Luangwa National Park is famous for bush walks and leopards which are an enticing combo for those adventurous couples looking to get up close and personal with some of Africa’s most dangerous game. Tracking African buffalo, lions, or elephants is an exciting experience that connects you to the bush.
The park is home to all manner of landscapes allowing for a large variety of game to call South Luangwa home. There is also a healthy dose of lodges that are accessible on the southern border of the park along the Luangwa River. There is something here for every honeymoon safari budget.
If you’re going to go on bush walks in the park we can’t recommend getting a good pair of boots for your safari enough!
Waterberg Reserve, South Africa
We’ve been fortunate enough to have some incredible safari experiences over the years, but riding through the bush on horseback was a first. Ant’s Hill is located in the Waterberg in South Africa has been treating guests to horseback safaris for two decades. There’s not much more romantic than an African bush safari by horseback, and we highly recommend checking out this place!
For a long weekend away from Johannesburg, we were treated to some delicious food, luxurious accommodation, wildlife, and some beautiful horse rides. It wasn’t our first time riding a horse, but we’d never rode at a canter through a private reserve before next to giraffes and rhone antelope none the less!
Riding a horse up to a giraffe or other antelope is a completely different safari experience than when in a game viewer. The safari animals view you and your horse as one animal, instead of a human and animal and let you get incredibly close. No sound of engines or exhaust here – just pure nature.
40 species of safari animals roam the reserve including zebra, sable, roan, wildebeest, eland, rhino, porcupine, and giraffe. It’s also not an official resident, but we did come across leopard tracks as they’ve been known to migrate through the region with their ability to scale fences.
Kafue National Park
At almost 22,500 so km, Kafue National Park is the largest national park in Zambia and one of the biggest in the world. The landscape of the park ranges from dense riverine forest along the banks of the Kafue River to wide open plains. Safari-goers stand a good chance of sighting lions and leopards, and even cheetahs in the north of the park. Originally founded by the legendary Norman Carr in the 1950’s, Kafue established Zambia’s first national park.
Despite the park’s massive size, long history, and accessibility it is seldom traveled in comparison to many other parks in Southern Africa. It does have its reasons for not drawing the tourists of South Luangwa or The Lower Zambezi, but the park is making strides in conservation and begs to be explored.
The park is only a few hours drive from Livingstone or Lusaka. However, it still contains vast tracts of untouched wilderness with the spread out safari lodges operating in the park.
In recent years interest continues to grow and in our opinion, Kafue National Park is very much an African park sure to be a hit for safari-goers in the future.
Central Kalahari, Botswana
The red sands of the Kalahari make for a visual spectacle. The monstrous swath of earth that is the Kalahari swallows you whole. Sunsets here take on a whole new perception as the whole sky lights on fire. Rust-colored sand stains the earth and green vegetation dots the horizon.
However, come midday temperatures reach up to 50C and the harsh sun scorches the sand. Do yourself a favor and get a safari hat to combat the heat. The red sandstorms that originate in the Kalahari reach up into the earth’s atmosphere and can affect global weather patterns.
Despite all of this, many desert-adapted animals flourish in the Kalahari. You can spot lions, ostriches, meerkats, cheetahs, oryx, zebra, and even desert-adapted giraffe. It a safari experience that is unlike any other in Africa. We were lucky enough to take in the Kalahari from both Namibia and Botswana.
The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is the largest unfilled inactive volcanic crater, or caldera, in the world. However, it’s not entirely empty as a wildlife spectacle unfolds in this dramatic setting. At the base of 610m cliff faces elephants trumpet, lions roar, and antelope…eat grass.
The crater is arguably the best place in Tanzania to see the big five. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most mesmerizing natural features in the world.
Humanity has deep ties to the crater as well. The Ngorongoro Conservation area is home to footprints that date back the oldest humanoids walking upright, nearly 3.7 million years ago. The age combined with other finds suggests that Northern Tanzania and the Ngorongoro Conservation area is the birthplace of humankind.
One’s first descent into the crater is filled with a sense of our primordial origin. In the early morning, a fine mist rolls over plains filled with wildlife. To watch the sunrise from within the Crater it is one of life’s greatest experiences, and is completely romantic.
NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
If there is one lodge that is THE lodge in Namibia it is Wolwedans. There is arguably no better way to experience the Namibian desert than on the NamibRand Nature Reserve while staying at one of The Wolwedans Collection four camps Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, Boulders Camp, Private Camp, and Dunes Camp.
The Wolwedans operation is a contender for the best eco-lodge operation in Africa and arguably the best in Namibia. At the core of a lodge in Africa is the environment, it is what draws guests. And how a lodge treats views their environment speaks loudly about the passion that will be experienced by those fortunate enough to call themselves guests. Witnessing sunrise or sunset here will take your breath away and is one of the greatest African safari honeymoon experiences you can have.
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Madikwe is a tremendous reserve located in South Africa’ North West province home to 10,000 animals that are spread out over 60 species including the legendary Big Five.
While many think of Africa’s National Parks for safari, there are some private game reserves such as Madikwe that promise to deliver visitors and unforgettable safari. Madikwe is the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa.
We spent four incredible days here and on our first game drive out we were treated with sightings of rhino, leopard, elephant, and everything in between. It’s a great alternative to Kruger National Park and is only a four hour drive away from Johannesburg.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti needs no introduction. A safari in the Serengeti is unlike any other wildlife experience on earth. After all, it’s here that you can experience the great wildebeest migration
Masai Mara National Park
It is undeniable that the Masai Mara is one of the most well-known parks in Africa. My first thoughts of going on safari in Africa were of Kenya and its wide-open grasslands. The fact that Kenya is home to the original safari and the Masai Mara is the epicenter of the industry should come as no surprise.
Located in the Southwest of Kenya the 1,510 square km Masai Mara National Reserve is home to an abundance of game including the seasonal wildebeest migration. The migration is the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth, when over a million wildebeest cross plains, valleys, and rivers in search of fresh pasture.
A Masai Mara safari is sure to ensure visitors with incredible game viewing all year round. Every day we went out into the park we saw something incredible. I was amazed watching hyena pups sniff our car tires, elephants rub against our tent poles in the night, and a pride of lions kill and devour a zebra. One of the best things you can do for the ultimate African safari honeymoon experience is take a sunrise balloon safari complete with a champagne breakfast in the bush at the end!
Bwindi National Park
If you really want to go on an adventurous and life-changing honeymoon in Africa you have to go gorilla trekking. Mountain Gorillas can only be found in the Virunga mountains in the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda and also in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Uganda holds 60% of the total mountain gorillas left in the world with about 400 of them residing in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi is the most popular place to trek the gorillas in Uganda. The park is located in the Southwestern part of the country and is one of the most diverse national parks in East Africa.
It’s here that you can trek through the jungle to find these amazing creatures. Sure you probably didn’t think of getting bit by fire ants and covered in mud as the ideal honeymoon scenario, but it sure does make for a great story.
Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve is located in southern Tanzania and far from the madding crowds of the Serengeti. The 54,600 square kilometer safari area is Africa’s largest game reserve and one of the most beautiful wildlife areas in the world. What’s even more surprising is the park is still undiscovered, so to speak!
The amazing game of the Selous congregates around the numerous sources of water in the reserve, rivers, lakes, pans, and even an inland delta.
The Rufiji River serves as the artery to the park and contributes to the stunning natural features of the park. Our safari in the Selous was enchanting.
The Selous is Africa at it’s finest and is where you can have a wild and remote African honeymoon.
Ruaha National Park
Located in the heart of Tanzania, Ruaha is one of the largest parks in Tanzania. It’s not as popular as the Serengeti but still provides amazing experiences. Ruaha’s relative inaccessibility means it gets far fewer tourists than the Serengeti.
The reward of traveling this far into Tanzania is A wild landscape of baobab studded hills, rocky escarpments, and superb wildlife. Tanzania’s largest National Park is sure to wow any safari-goer.
Also, Nearly 10% of Africa’s lion population lives inside the park so you stand a. pretty good chance of seeing a lion on your African safari honeymoon.
Ruaha safaris have amazing predator concentrations, large herds of elephant and buffalo, and a blend of wildlife from Southern and East Africa.
Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is without a doubt one of the best value safaris in Southern Africa. So if you’re looking for a great affordable safari honeymoon head to Etosha. The park offers some of the best game viewings in Southern Africa. However, it does come at a price as barren Etosha is far from the most beautiful national park. Despite this, the Etosha National Park is considered one of the best places to go on Safari in Southern Africa and for good reason.
The lack of water in the area is also its saving grace as animals are concentrated at watering holes. The quality of roads, lack of huge crowds, and general ease of traveling Namibia are big pluses as well.
With a small selection of lodges, Etosha never gets too crowded. Even with our best animal sighting we only saw three other cars, and that was a lion kill with hyenas, jackals, and vultures circling around waiting to get some dinner. In neighboring South Africa and in Kruger there could be 50 cars.
Post African Safari Honeymoon
We have sung praises about Mozambique in the past. We went into the country uncertain of travel there and left with a strong desire to return immediately. Do you want to swim with whale sharks on your honeymoon? Do you want to sit on a beach without anyone else around? Then head to Mozambique!
Vilanculos, for example, is the gateway to the stunning Bazaruto Archipelago. It is here that some of the last dugongs reside (and you may even get lucky and see one). Bazaruto Island is an isolated white sand island offering incredible views of the bright blue Indian Ocean.
Tofo Beach, is where you can yourself swimming among whale sharks. And not at one of those over touristy animal exploited places either. Here it is truly wild.
Wondering where Zanzibar is? Well, it’s technically it’s part of Tanzania, but it has its own culture. Essentially it is an island in the Indian Ocean, a two hour (15 miles) ferry ride from Dar Es Salaam, a major city in Tanzania. Whether you are on an African honeymoon, finishing up your Kilimanjaro Trek, or exploring the plains of the Serengeti one thing is for certain – you should end it with a trip to the beach.
Zanzibar has those drool-worthy beaches you see in the photos, warm water, fantastic food, and friendly people.
While most are familiar with the island of Zanzibar or Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa; it’s likely only those who have visited Kenya know of Diani Beach.
Just 30 km’s south of Mombasa is a 10 kilometer stretch of beautiful white sand. The town boasts a great coral reef, primates, Kinondo culture, a wide range of accommodation, and the warm Indian Ocean. We took to the Kenyan coast to uncover the best Diani Beach hotels. It’s a romantic place to head after your safari when you are seeking a little R&R.
Our time in Cape Town is the longest time as a couple we have spent in any one place that we were not actually living in. Needless to say, we fell in love with Cape Town and dream of returning. With two months in the city, we were certain to find some romance.
Cape Town has just about everything you need to make a happy life, great food, stunning vistas, friendly locals, and a plethora of adventure activities. That means there are a plethora of romantic things to do in Cape Town do with your significant other after your safari. Not one day was boring for us, and it’s a downright beautiful city.
Resources to Help Plan for an Awesome African Safari Honeymoon
Overland Tour in Africa
Traveling Africa on your own can be daunting to many travelers. However, there is no need to fear with overland tour companies who will show the ropes and a great time. You can check out some of them here to compare the different companies and possibly score a discount.
Lightweight pants that are made from synthetic material are tremendous to have in your pack. It’s what we wear most days when traveling around Africa as they’re comfortable, antibacterial, and protect our legs from mosquitos (malaria).
We recommend neutral colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors. What’s great is they’re useful beyond Africa as they are a travel staple and we pack a pair everywhere we travel.
I like two pairs, one pair is made by prAna and rolls into capris and the other are convertible pants. For men, prAna makes the Stretch Zion Pant, a tremendous pair of hiking pants for a reasonable price.
If you’re wondering what necessities to bring to Africa then sturdy shoes are perhaps the most important thing you will need before you get to Africa.
I cannot stress a good pair of shoes enough because if you land anywhere outside of South Africa a quality pair of hiking shoes will be hard to come by. If you plan to walk around a lot get thick rubber soled shoes as acacia thorns are prone to stab through thin shoes. Cameron learned the hard way one day when he pulled a thorn out of his foot that went straight through his thin rubber sandals.
I love my buff. I usually wear it for keeping my hair back, but it’s also served its purpose as a scarf and wet rag too. Buffs last for years and aren’t only helpful in Africa. I actually wear mine every day when I’m snowboarding in the mountains. It’s been one of my top travel accessory investments ever!
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Africa. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
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Last Updated on April 2, 2020