South Africa is a large country of varied and spectacular terrain, but for those seduced by natural wonders, nothing compares to the magic of a big-game encounter. Here, we share our favourite South African honeymoon safaris – perfect for romance, indulgence and wilderness experiences.   

Think South African safari and many people’s minds jump straight to Kruger, the country’s most famous game park, which bristles with outstanding wildlife, river canyons, dry savannah, fever-tree forest and rugged mountains.

But there are other options, too. The eastern province of Kwazulu Natal boasts world-renowned game viewing, plus an unmissable combination of culture, coastline and mountains. Madikwe is one of South Africa’s largest game reserves and the best non-malarial safari area in Africa. Bordering Botswana, it covers a vast 75,000-hectare slice of veld.

Finally, there’s Addo National Park, where 500 or so elephants reside. You might also encounter leopards, lions, buffalo, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, black rhinos, jackals and antelopes, which have all been successfully reintroduced since the park opened in 1931.

i-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Garonga Safari Camp

The Outpost, Kruger National Park

Tell me about it…

Post-modern warehouse design goes bush at this remote, award-winning ecolodge. Italian-born architect Enrico Daffonchio was given free rein to celebrate the extraordinary panorama of the Luvuvhu Valley. His brilliant creation means you can experience pristine, untamed nature at the closest of quarters.

What makes it romantic?

The Outpost is in an amazing location in the northern Kruger, high above the Luvuvhu Gorge, with soaring views across the wilderness. You’ll see few other game vehicles in hundreds of square miles. As for the guest suites, you can slide back the bathroom screens so that there’s nothing between you, your ablutions, and that amazing panorama. Keep your ‘space’ open to the night, hunker down beneath your goose-down duvet, and wake to see the dawn rising over the valley. It will be the experience of a lifetime.

When should I go?

The Outpost, with its ‘keep it outside’ ethic, is best experienced in spring and autumn, especially when the mighty Luvuvhu is in full flow. Summers can be very hot and there are more mozzies around.

i-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / The Outpostsa049_the_outpost_118604_1msa049_the_outpost_118611_75

Garonga Safari Camp, near Kruger National Park

Tell me about it…

On the banks of the Makhutswi River, in the Makalali Conservancy (west of Kruger National Park), Garonga Safari Camp is a piece of heaven. You’ll arrive to hot towels and a cooling passionfruit cocktail, melting life’s pressures away. There’s no urgency to jump in a jeep, hurtle round the bush and madly tick off animal sightings, either. You can view plenty of game from your strategically placed hammock, and all activity is geared to your timescale. Relax, snooze, sunbathe and be pampered all day long in the most tranquil and breathtaking of settings.

What makes it romantic?

The sheer indulgence of it all. Spend an unforgettable night on a tree-top deck under the stars, watching the wilderness over a picnic and drinks. Back at the camp, each palatial half-tented suite comes with a private deck and outdoor shower; elephants have been known to wander past. When you’re not spotting wildlife, you can enjoy aromatherapy at the open-air sala or wallow in the outdoor bush bath, listening to the sounds of Africa.

When should I go?

For most Kruger game viewing, the dry winter (May-October) is best as animals congregate around waterholes; the lack of foliage and grasses also gives you a clearer view. Summer is prime holiday season in South Africa, but it can get seriously hot (up to 40C). Autumn (April-May) is probably the worst time for bigger game, but in spring (November-December) you can spot lots of newborns.

i-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Garonga Safari Campi-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Garonga Safari Campi-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Garonga Safari Camp

Karkloof Safari Spa, KwaZulu Natal

Tell me about it…

Just an hour from Durban, this award-winning spa and boutique lodge is set on a 3,000-hectare private game reserve, teeming with wildlife. Built high up on a bushy slope, it has sweeping views over the valley below, along with glimpses of a galloping river and green hills rolling off to Neverland. Tucked into the hillside with natural thatch and flat grassy rooftops, the spa is so cleverly hidden it even fools the animals. In fact, they often wander on top of it, blissfully unaware of the pampering below.

What makes it romantic?

Karkloof Safari Spa is one of Africa’s largest and best spas, with 17 treatment rooms, saunas, steam rooms, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and Roman baths. The combination of heated oils, fresh flowers, fruit-infused waters, honey teas, warm towels and softer-than-soft gowns sends you off to pampered Nirvanaland. You set your own agenda, too, choosing when to eat, spa, walk, game-drive and relax. Dotted around the main lodge, the 16 spacious villas are blessed with vast beds, underfloor heating and big viewing decks – we loved watching the sunrise from the depths of our duvet through the retractable doors.

When should I go?

The Kwazulu Natal climate is tourist-friendly throughout the year and there are no extremes in temperature. There’s so much wildlife on the reserve that animals abound all year – and, more importantly, all day (so no need to get up at the crack of dawn!). Autumn (April / May) is particularly beautiful in the Natal Midlands, as it’s lush from the rains and full of trees turning brilliant shades of orange, red and gold.

i-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Karkloof Safari Spai-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Karkloof Safari Spai-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Karkloof Safari Spai-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Karkloof Safari Spa

Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

Tell me about it…

Madikwe Safari Lodge is a collection of 3 separate lodges perched on a hillside: Lelapa Lodge is good for families, but adults-only Dithaba and Kopano are more intimate and great for couples. Better yet, Madikwe is malaria-free reserve and home to the famous ‘Big Five’. It’s also conveniently placed for Jo’burg airport and less crowded than Kruger.

What makes it romantic?

You get beautifully designed, well-run luxury lodges with huge rooms and private plunge pools. They feel like a true sanctuary from the wilds, with outdoor showers, big bathtubs, wood-burning fireplaces, complimentary minibars and wooden viewing decks. The quality of the cuisine is excellent, so it’s a challenge to stop yourself overindulging – try the perfectly cooked Kingclip fish and melt-in-your-mouth Kudu fillet.

When should I go?

Game viewing is good throughout the year. The climate is typified by hot wet summers (September-April) and cool dry winters (May-August). Temperatures average around 25C but can hit 40C in mid-summer and drop to 3C at night in winter. Rain typically falls in short, sharp thunderstorms in the late afternoon or at night, between November and March.

i-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Madikwe Safari Lodgei-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Madikwe Safari Lodgei-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Madikwe Safari Lodge

Camp Figtree, near Addo National Park

Tell me about it…

If you like spotting wild creatures without scrimping on creature comforts, you’ll love Camp Figtree. Perched atop a peak on the fringes of Addo National Park, in the folds of the dramatic Zuuberg Mountains, it offers affordable safari-style adventure and classic colonial elegance. It feels utterly remote, with complete silence at night, yet it’s only an hour from Port Elizabeth airport and easily accessible from the Garden Route.

What makes it romantic?

Take daily game drives to get up close and personal with Addo’s 500 or so elephants, as well as giraffes, zebras, leopards and more. Horse riding, mountain biking and guided nature walks allow you to explore the forest, bushveld and fynbos of the lodge’s 1,000-hectare reserve. Return for a dip in the pool and a sunset G&T. Four-poster beds, claw-foot tubs and stunning views provide plenty of romance, and well-spaced suites ensure privacy. Enjoy intimate dinners on your veranda under a blanket of stars, or head into the bush for sunset champagne and chocolates.

When should I go?

The best time for game-viewing tends to be late summer and early autumn (February-April), when animals congregate around waterholes. Mid-summer (December-January) is also good, but temperatures can sometimes reach 40C and the suites have no air-conditioning. Be prepared for some rain and colder temperatures during winter, although hot-water bottles, roaring fires and blankets will keep you snug.

i-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Camp Figtreei-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Camp Figtreei-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris / Camp Figtree

View all of our African Safari collection.

Pin this post:

i-escape blog / South Africa honeymoon safaris

Comments