For many animal lovers, a safari honeymoon is as good as it gets. On this trip of a lifetime, you can sleep out in the wilderness, in a posh tent, or at a remote lodge full of decadent luxuries. You wake early and set off, camera in hand, in search of some of the most graceful and imposing wild animals in the world, a.k.a. the famous Big Five: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo (though you may also see long-necked giraffes, cheetahs, hippos, and zebras as well). At night, you fall asleep under a blanket of stars that are so bright, you think you've never really seen the night sky before.
More and more adventurous honeymooners are combining a safari escape with a beach or diving vacation in Zanzibar, Mozambique, or Mauritius, an island off the southeastern coast of Africa. There, you can relax on the soft white sand, under the shade of a thatched palapa umbrella, or snorkel hand in hand to see the colorful world of underwater life.
Another option: Starting or ending your safari or beach honeymoon with a visit to Cape Town. This vibrant city has a lot to offer couples who want to learn the local history, taste the town's famed fusion of flavors, and explore the art scene and nightlife. And then there are the vineyards and farmlands that lie just outside its borders, home to some of the best vintages and local ingredients in the world.
Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel in Mauritius
Africa isn't all safari lodges and wildlife drives. The Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel draws couples with its doting service, sweet location (white sand, great kitesurfing), and palapa-shaded sun beds tucked into nooks with Indian Ocean views.
The Oberai in Mauritius
The Oberai Mauritius has manicured lawns studded with palm trees, a lovely pool surrounded by carefully clipped flowering bushes, and a pristine beach you can check out from your own private terrace.
Garonga Safari Camp and Makalali Private Game Reserve in South Africa
If you dream of wild animals and luxury, get thee to the Garonga Safari Camp just outside Kruger National Park. Located in the Makalali Conservancy, this resort features 12 posh tents, a pool, and safari drives aplenty.
LUX Grande Gaube in Mauritius
Divers and golfers head to the LUX Grande Gaube for the spectacular natural scenery, but honeymooners often come for the privacy. Here, you can swim with dolphins and take a day trip to a private island for some quiet beach time for two.
Sands Resort & Spa in Mauritius
The Indian Ocean will be your backyard at the Sands Resort & Spa Mauritius. Spend your days water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, or kayaking and your nights at the beach bar where local bands and dance troupes perform.
LUX Le Morne in Mauritius
The LUX Le Morne—set between the dolphin-filled surf and craggy Le Morne mountain—offers a sexy infinity pool, plus every water sport and activity known to man (including tennis).
The Residence Mauritius
Located on the eastern coast of the island, The Residence Mauritius has colonial-style rooms (think white shutters, ivory fainting couches, and cool marble bathrooms) that are crisp and elegant, set against a long white-sand beach.
Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius
At 215 rooms, the Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius sprawls along the coast, with landscaped grounds, waterfalls, an equestrian center, and a giant spa. Other creature comforts are four bars and five restaurants—including one that features traditional Mauritian cuisine.
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse in Franschhoek, South Africa
Think of the Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse, on Cape Town's western edge, as a boutique guest house. Just an hour from the center of the city, you can use it as a home base for touring the town and visiting the local wineries or before setting off on a honeymoon safari.
Derwent House Boutique Hotel in South Africa
Located in the center of Cape Town, the Derwent House Boutique Hotel is right near Table Mountain. Make a cable-car ride to the top your first stop, then check out the town's gallery scene and nightlife.