Looking for a place to honeymoon with your loved one? Recently hitched and looking for a holiday destination to celebrate your love?

Whether you’re looking for stunning beaches, safari game drives, incredible marine life, fine wine and dining or an outdoor adventure, South Africa has a little of it all. I know this because I’ve spent the whole month of October discovering the nooks and crannies of what South Africa has to offer.

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TRAVEL HACK:

As always, I find the best way to source for the cheapest flights is by checking on Skyscanner & Momondo.

As for accommodation, I found HotelsCombined to provide the most comprehensive, unbiased comparison of different hotel sites. 🙂 Airbnb is another reliable one for accommodation. Use this link to get $62 off!

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Thanda Safari – Hluhluwe

We were fortunate to have stayed with Thanda Safari and experienced 4 game drives with them.

Thanda Safari is a Big Five game reserve situated in the heart of Zululand, KwaZulu Natal. There are part of the Leading Hotels in the World collection, and multiple winner of The World’s Leading Luxury Lodge, winner of Leading Luxury Private Villa 2019 and Leading Safari Lodge 2019.

At 14,000 hectares large (and that is massive for one property to own all of that), it’s not surprising then that we were able to see almost all but 1 of the Big 5 animals in our safari game drives.

I was continuously impressed by how knowledgeable and professional the park rangers were. They could spot animals from their tracks, trace their poop, and even predict the direction an elephant herd is going.

We had a wild time chasing some of the Big 5 animals, and have gone so darn up close to a herd of buffalos.

I can totally vouch for a truly authentic South African wildlife experience with excellent game viewing all year round at Thanda Safari.

The packages they offer are also all-inclusive, meaning your accommodation, food, drinks and game drives are all included in one price. Wine lovers can surely drink to their heart’s content!

Rhino River Lodge – Elgin

A less pricier alternative would be the neighbouring Rhino River Lodge.

A family-run, smaller property, we were put up in one of their two loft-style thatched chalet, which we found perfect for families as it could house up to 4 persons.

The entire chalet was built in wood, exuding a very homely, cosy feel.

They have other chalet options that can house up to 6 persons.

Couples may find themselves more suited in their double rooms.

With a smaller property comes a more familial environment. I noticed the staff dress down (instead of wearing uniforms) at dinner, and they actually take time to have a chat with you.

They also offer a boma-style dining setting, which is essentially the traditional African way of dining in privacy outdoors.

On our last night, we were led to a private enclosed area by the beach with a bonfire beside our table. A kerosene lamp provided light to our table and the homely staff frequently came in to check in on us and the fire. This is African outdoor dining at its best!

Brahman Hills – Nottingham Road

Set in the heart of the Blue Crane Reserve, our self-catering cottage in Brahman Hills was so exclusive that driving is necessary to even get from the reception to our cottage.

Our bathroom there had floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlooked the wilderness – that’s how little you have to worry about being seen naked! Zebras caught me unguarded as I was stark naked enjoying an outdoor jacuzzi in Brahman Hills.

While a little out of the way, I highly recommend staying at Brahman Hills for exclusive peace and quiet, while feeling luxurious.

Cape Town

There are so many scenic viewpoints and experiences to discover in Cape Town.

From wine tasting at Groot Constantia (the oldest wine-producing farm in South Africa) to visiting Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden to the farmer’s markets and pop-up stores, there is so much you can do in Cape Town!

cape view clifton viewpoint

View from Cape View Clifton

I’ve had tear-dropping moments looking at the beaches in Clifton and Camps Bay (especially from my hotel at Cape View Clifton!!).

At the East side of Cape Town, surprises await. Boulders Beach on Simon’s Town has cute resident penguins you’ll spend your whole time gawking at.

 

Kalk Bay and Muizenberg offer surfers addictive surf breaks, and it is here you’ll see surfers year round in action.

Further South, Misty Cliffs and Scarborough offer some really secluded, untouched, local beach hangouts.

chapmans-peak-drive-Cape-Town-South-Africa

Chapman’s Peak scenic drive

The cliffs and natural rock formations forming the West side of Cape Town as a result of the ocean action has turned it into some of the MOST scenic drives I’ve ever been on.

Seriously, I had to bite the urge to stop at every viewpoint! I was also very lucky to have witnessed a rainbow driving through Chapman’s Peak, a scenic drive I ABSOLUTELY recommend if you’re in Cape Town.


Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope are both a must-visit! Drop-dead views await as you drive in – the drive alone will set you up for what’s in store at the very southernmost point of Cape Town!

There are also countless of hikes you can do. Apart from the famous Lion’s Head hike and Table Mountain hikes, Chapman’s Peak hike which I did solo offers a world-class view of Hout Bay on the west and the surrounding towns on the east.

I seriously recommend this off-the-beaten path hike!

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is South Africa’s second-oldest European settlement after Cape Town, established in 1679. Popularly known as the wine town due to its rich viticulture scene, tourists flock here daily for the hundreds of world-class wine estates that fringe Stellenbosch town within a 15km radius.

The little university town, dotted with Victorian and Georgian buildings, is reminiscent of the colonial times that once stood here.

 

There is nothing more to do at Stellenbosch than to drink to your heart’s content! Go on a wine tour or take a self-drive around hundreds of wine farms, vineyards, wine estates and wineries here.

Take home a bottle (or 10), and look out for a specific type of sparkling wine called Methode Cap Classique (MCC). MCC is uniquely made in South Africa, according to the traditional Champagne method.

wine-tasting-stellenbosch-Franschhoek-south-africa

Wine tasting at Ken Forrester Vineyards, Stellenbosch

At Ken Forrester in Stellenbosch, we’ve had a wonderful time being personally introduced to their wines. Started since (I was born in) 1993, 30 out of their 50 hectares of land are grown on vine, with all of them being organic. Their oldest vine is 39 years old.

Don’t miss their specialty, the Chenin Blanc!

Franschhoek

Franschhoek is another underrated town we almost missed if not for the recommendation of a local. Translating to “French corner”, most of the town’s activity is congregated around the main street on Main Road.

It is along the vicinity of the Main Road and towards the Franschhoek Pass that you’ll find vineyards, wineries and wine farms. It is here that you’ll feel like you’re transported to France, with the manicured gardens, the terrace resorts and the undulating valleys interspersed with fields of symmetrical vineyards.

If you want to save the hassle on deciding which wine yards to choose from, you can hop on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, a hop-on-hop-off tram that goes around town and stops at selected vineyards.

Most estates offer food-and-wine pairings, so you can always decide to stop in one you fancy and settle in for a meal.

Garden Route

lake view, Turbine-Boutique-Hotel-Spa-Knysna-South-AfricaThe Garden Route in South Africa is a popular choice for holidaymakers, and with good reason.

Consisting of a route that goes between the Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua mountain ranges for around 300km, it links the Eastern Cape with the Western Cape, passing through towns such as Nature’s Valley, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Mossel Bay.

You can find beautiful beaches and coastal towns on one side, and lush indigenous forest on the other.

Driving on the Garden Route, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled on both sides for the beautiful contrast that draws thousands of visitors each year.

Needless to say, the activities to do on the Garden Route are aplenty.

Aside from sightseeing, there are meandering trails along the forests that are followed by hikers, forests that invite long, leisurely drives, and the lakes and rivers that lend themselves to swimming, boating and fishing.

Sedgefield

At Sedgefield, grab your partner and hop on a romantic, scenic paragliding flight along the coast of the Garden Route to see exactly what it is so known for!

Plettenberg Bay

We spent a weekend at Plettenberg Bay taking in all that the town can offer.

Kay-Monty-wines-horse-carriage-Plettenberg-Bay-South-AfricaAt Hog Hollow Horse Trails in Plettenberg Bay, they offer a 10-seater carriage drawn by 2 beautiful Percherons to take you to explore The Crags Winelands, along with artisan wines from Kay+Monty.

The trail passes through views of mountains, forest, farm land and old woodcutters trails, all while being surrounded by the imposing Tsitsikamma mountain range.

 

For an adventurous morning, take a hike at Robberg Pass for awe-inspiring views of the bay, and spot Cape Fur Seals (and dolphins if you’re lucky) on the way.

If you’re still feeling adventurous, go on a canyoning adventure, abseiling, or zip lining with Africanyon.

If you want to catch animals in action, go on an educational tour about wild cats at Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre, be transfixed at the hyper energies of monkeys at Monkeyland or play with elephants at Knysna Elephant Park.

Prefer shopping? Old Nick Village is a the creative shopping destination on Plett Bay. Built around a 19th century Cape trading store, you can find African products, gemstones, ceramic collectibles, designer clothing of Africa and more in this little shopping village.

Mossel Bay

Make use of the opportunity of South Africa’s abundant wildlife and marine creatures by hopping on board a shark cage diving tour to see REAL Great White Sharks in Mossel Bay!

I ticked off this bucket list at Mossel Bay, where I came nose to nose with Great Whites that were as large as 6 metres long! Watching them sear off the tuna head (which acted as bait) gave me a newfound respect for these jaws.

If that is too much for you, you can have a wander around some of the hiking views that overlook the bay, or simply take in the beaches that Mossel Bay offers!

Knysna

At Knysna, we stayed at Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa, which is the perfect stop to rest and recharge on an idyllic island surrounded by the Knysna River.

At Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa, they offer sunset cruises on the Knysna River towards Knysna Heads.

Nothing sets the tone better than having canapés and wine on the boat while riding into the ocean, with the light around you turning softer and your significant other by your side to take it all in with you.

Talk about being romantic!

Oudtshoorn

swartberg pass, Wildehondekloof, Oodtshoorn, south africa

Swartberg Pass, Oudtshoorn

Situated in the semi-arid landscapes of the Klein Karoo, whether it is a trail into the Klein Karoo mountain ridge or a viewpoint overlooking the Swartberg Pass, the desert conditions and cool temperature (only 15°C in October) make it a glorious day ANY day to be out!

Klein Karoo mountain ridge hiking trail, Wildehondekloof-Oodtshoorn-south-africa

Klein Karoo trail

I based myself in Wildehondekloof while I was visiting Oudtshoorn, and was able to take a peaceful day out hiking in the valley and admiring the undulating hills.

P.S. Don’t forget to take plenty of drinking water as it can get really dry and hot out!

While in Oudtshoorn, don’t miss visiting the ostrich farms that they are so famed for. Oudtshoorn is where the heart of the ostrich feather industry was in its heyday back in the late 1800s. Now, it’s a place where meat, leather, eggs and feathers are commercially produced.

Did you know, you can even ride ostriches?

South Africa is such an underrated destination that has so much to offer, whether you are honeymooning as a couple or simply looking for a holiday destination to venture out into.


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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on belaroundtheworld.com/about.