Photo: Courtesy of Karongwe River Lodge via Facebook
Getting off the grid never looked so good than with a picture-perfect South African honeymoon. Bungalows, beachside villas, beamed tents in the middle of the bush, there's a reason why this destination continues to top honeymooners' dream list. Whether you're looking for city, sea or safari, these five gorgeous spots in South Africa are sure to offer just the right mix of exoticism and excitement for your romantic getaway.
Karongwe River Lodge (Above)
It's one thing to visit the African bush, but it's a whole other experience to stay in the heart of it. Head 45 minutes outside one of the most famous parks of them all — Kruger — for a boutique experience on the river at Karongwe. The lodge is the definition of rustic chic: mosquito nets draping delicately around the bed, standing claw-foot tubs in the bathroom, and showers with views right out onto the bush itself, where you're almost guaranteed to spot one of the Big 5 stomping by.
Photo: Courtesy of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Sitting where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean collide, Grootbos is the kind of mystical place where if you weren't already in love, it would provide all the right elements to make you fall head over heels at first site. Three times more floral species than the Amazon; twisted, gnarled forests of thousand-year-old Milkwood trees; and the marine big 5 (which includes penguins!) are just the start. Days can be spent on safari: whether that's hunting for flora before catching the sunset on the beach or setting off to spot Great White sharks (since the capital of these marine kings is right nearby). Once you've taken a sundowner, snuggle up in your version of paradise — lodges surrounded by either forest or garden, or better yet, go all-out with a private butler at the 6-suite villa.
Photo: Courtesy of 12 Apostles
Named after the 12 Apostles mountain range sitting in the distance, this 70-room boutique hotel is tucked away on Cape Town's most scenic route, known for its stunning sunsets. From the terrace of the Leopard Bar, couples can whale watch without ever having to leave shore, but if they do want to hit the water, the infamous surfer beaches of Camps Bay are just 10 minutes down the road. If you really want the ultimate room with a view, book a spa experience for two at sunset in one of the outdoor gazebos where it's just you, the hubby and the Atlantic sparkling below.
Photo: Courtesy of The Oyster Box
The Oyster Box
If the romantic version of Africa Hemingway waxed so poetically about in his novels is what helped fuel this honeymoon decision, keep in theme with a stay at the colonial-style Oyster Box sitting on one of the most picturesque beaches in Durban. In fact, this hotel has drawn local brides for generations tying the knot in its historic, mirror-lined Pearl Room. Start your own tradition with the Heavenly Honeymoon package, getting to know your new hubby in the comfort of your Indian Ocean-facing room over chilled Champagne and locally harvested oysters, staring out at the stars and lighthouse in the backdrop. The sole reason you'll need an excuse to escape is to indulge in the lavish brunch buffet or a couples' Hammam ceremony at the only traditional Turkish bath in the country.
Photo: Courtesy of Abalone House via Facebook
Half the appeal of a honeymoon in Africa is feeling like you've jetted off somewhere far-flung. At Abalone House, you're about as far from city life as you could imagine while still being only a two-hour drive from cosmopolitan Cape Town. The 10-suite boutique beauty sits on the westernmost-point of southern Africa in a tiny fishing town called Paternoster, where the only other tourists in sight are the seals and whales that stop by during season. Inspired by the work of artist Vladimir Tretchikoff, the 10-suite hotel is a bazaar of antique birdcages and Persian rugs swept across stone floors and garden courtyards. Book the best suite in the house, the superior sea view, and you'll have just that — sweeping views of the water from your rooftop patio, complete with a Jacuzzi for a dip any time of the day (or night).