Honeymoons should be epic and, if you’re after a once-in-a-lifetime getaway with close wildlife encounters, there’s nowhere more epic than Tanzania. We should know: we’ve done it ourselves! So we thought we’d share our top tips…
With one of the largest wild animal populations in the world, this East African giant is the ultimate safari destination. In the Serengeti, 1-2 million wildebeest migrate en masse every June-July and October-November; in the Ngorongoro Crater, some 30,000 animals congregate in an area smaller than the Isle of Wight. Of course, Tanzania is also home to the equatorial ice caps of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and an amazing challenge for any active couple looking to kick off married life with an adventure.
Adrenaline-packed trips are best combined with a dose of beachfront R&R and, conveniently, Zanzibar’s white sands are just a short domestic flight from the mainland. You might say Tanzania offers the best of both worlds.
In fact, us i-escapers have been so taken with this dreamy combination that over the past few years both our Editor Liz and our Marketing Manager Sarah have honeymooned in Tanzania and Zanzibar. They’ve kindly offered their advice on how to ensure your romantic getaway is memorable for all the right reasons.
“Don’t go as soon as you’re married. We travelled the next day and were so tired from combining wedding celebrations with an overnight flight that when we first arrived in Zanzibar we spent a lot of time just sleeping. It was very relaxing, but it seemed a bit of a waste! Equally, if you do safaris first, you’ll be getting up at 5am every day for the game drives, so you definitely won’t want to be tired before you arrive. Instead, spend a couple of days unwinding in the UK before you fly, or go on a mini-moon then honeymoon properly at a later date.”
“Some safari camps hold all meals communally. If you’d like to do a couple of more romantic, private dinners, just ask in advance and the team will often be able to arrange a separate table at a different location.
“To help keep budget down, consider going for 10 days rather than 2 weeks; we did this, spending 4 nights on Zanzibar then 6 nights on safari in Tanzania, and it still felt like we’d had a brilliant and incredibly long time away.”
“If you want a safari honeymoon but are on a tight budget, Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge may offer the perfect solution. This charmingly simple tented hilltop hideaway is also a community project, working to provide a home for local children who have none. Rooms are very comfy and squeaky clean, staff are wonderful and the food is good. Best of all, it’s just 30 minutes from the Ngorongoro Crater, home to thousands of large mammals including the big 5.
“Oh, and take a good pair of binoculars!”
“I say go for the safaris first, then the beaches. We did 4 days of safari action then spent 10 blissful nights at barefoot beach retreats to totally unwind and indulge.”
“We loved hopping between a few different hotels across a mixture of price ranges, as it gave us a much richer overall experience and helped to keep the budget down. That said, I would advise spending at least 3 nights at each place and a bit longer at your favourite. This will ensure you really soak them up and don’t spend too much time travelling around.
“Find out about any special activities you can do at your lodge or hotel, and book them ahead of time if needs be. Fly camping at Sand Rivers Selous and a sunset Dhow trip at Fundu Lagoon were the highlights of our honeymoon.”
And a bonus idea…
“If you love the idea of combining safaris and sunbathing but would prefer a one-stop-shop retreat, Saadani Safari Lodge is the answer. Saadani is East Africa’s only park with sea frontage, so it’s a unique opportunity to go game-watching and swim in the Indian Ocean on the same day. The Siri Suite was built especially for honeymooners, so you’ll get utter privacy, a plunge pool, awesome views and even a private butler.”