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 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.
The "2015 Brides Best Honeymoons" top-resort lists were based on the quality of TripAdvisor reviews of properties with more than 30 reviews and a significant percentage of honeymoon reviews.
The Oberai in Mauritius
This posh, elegant beach resort 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; The Oberai Mauritius
Garonga Safari Camp and Makalali Private Game Reserve in South Africa
If you dream of wild animals and luxury, get thee to this safari camp just outside Kruger National Park. Located in the Makalali Conservancy, this resort features 12 posh tents, a pool, and safari drives aplenty; Garonga Safari Camp
LUX Grande Gaube in Mauritius
Divers and golfers head here 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; LUX Grande Gaube
Sands Resort & Spa in Mauritius
The Indian Ocean will be your backyard at this luxe spa resort. Spend your days water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, or kayaking and your nights at the beach bar as local bands and dance troupes perform; Sands Resort & Spa Mauritius
LUX Le Morne in Mauritius
This chic resort — 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); LUX Le Morne
The Residence Mauritius
Located on the eastern coast of the island, this 163-room beach resort 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; The Residence Mauritius
Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius
At 215 rooms, this sleek resort 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; Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse in Franschhoek, South Africa
Think of this six-room hotel, 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; Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse
Derwent House Boutique Hotel in South Africa
Located in the center of Cape Town, this modern 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; Derwent House Boutique Hotel