A luxury safari in Africa makes for a memorable honeymoon: hot-air-balloon rides above the savannah, sundowners overlooking watering holes where animals gather, falling asleep to the sound of the jungle. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and one you want to be perfect. Here's everything you need to know about planning a honeymoon safari.
Not every game park has the same animals.
Africa is a big continent, and the animals found there not only vary by region and country, they can vary by individual game park. Choose a location based on what you want to see or which animals are most important for you to view; while the “big five” can be found in several areas in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, and South Africa, the concentration of each animal varies, so research which country and park are best for viewing the animals you’re most excited about. You can even inquire with the specific lodge you’re looking at to see what animals live there and are spotted most often.
The quintessential luxury camp is a big investment.
A luxury safari doesn’t come cheap. High-end lodges can cost $1,000 per night (or more), and midrange experiences are generally $400–$600 per night. There are plenty of budget options, but if you want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, be prepared to pay a once-in-a-lifetime price. Most lodges include three meals and two games drives per day, but things like spa treatments, alcohol, airport transfers, and other activities are typically extra, so be sure to budget for everything you want to do, and don’t forget to put aside some cash for tips.
Most lodges offer more than safari drives.
While the game drives are the focus of any safari lodge, most lodges offer several activities to keep you busy in between. Many lodges have swimming pools, spas, and fitness centers, and may offer additional activities, like spa treatments, animal conservation, hot-air-balloon rides, and, depending on the location, hiking or kayaking.
Three or four days is usually enough time at each camp.
If you’re flying halfway around the world for a honeymoon safari, you likely want to make the most of it and spend as much time there as you can. However, most people tend to stay three to four days at any one camp. Most camps follow a routine, and by day three or four, it may start to feel like just that. If you want to do a longer safari, consider breaking up your time by moving to another park or even just a different camp after a few days. The change in routine and scenery will ensure day five or six is just as exciting as day one. You may also want to break up two safaris with some time in a city, such as Cape Town or Nairobi, or at a beach town along the coast.
Some lodges do allow children.
Every game lodge is different, with some hosting no more than a dozen guests and others with space for a hundred or more, Similarly, the number of people on each game drive can vary widely. If you prefer a more intimate experience, be sure to inquire about the number of people in each safari vehicle or in camp. Also, note that some lodges are family friendly, so if you’re looking for a child-free experience, make sure the lodge you choose is adults only.
You’ll need to get some vaccines.
The vaccines you need will vary from country to country (and even within countries) depending on what diseases are a danger in that location. Most lodges have a packing list and a vaccination list that will tell you exactly what you need, from hepatitis vaccines to antimalaria meds.
The best time to go varies.
The best time to go will depend on where exactly you’re going, of course, and what you expect from your experience. For example, summer (November to February) in South Africa is hotter, with lush green vegetation. Winter dry season, when animals congregate by the water holes, may make for easier viewing, but it’s more expensive. Check out the pros and cons of each season depending on where you’re going, or if your dates are set, find the best place to go during your travel dates.