Create Your Dream Safari Honeymoon

Dianne Williams of Africa Direct USA helps you plan an unforgettable safari honeymoon adventure.

Londolozi Private Game Reserve/Photograph by McCrae Williams

Londolozi Private Game Reserve/Photograph by McCrae Williams

The dating scene was a jungle. Now that you’ve found each other and you’ve left all those animals behind, maybe you should consider going wild again—with a safari honeymoon.

“The [African] bush is an incredible place to begin your life together,” says Dianne Williams. This Weston resident started Africa Direct USA in spring 2014 and has been customizing trips to Africa ever since. Forgoing preset itineraries, she puts together unique, personalized trips that translate to once-in-a-lifetime honeymoons.

“There’s something so incredibly moving about the experience. It really is quite magical. Being in the presence of such awesome animals, enjoying scrumptious gourmet food, and admiring the flickering lanterns and candles that shine at the lodge at night will bring such sparkle and romance to each and every evening.”

And Condé Nast Traveler agrees, having recently awarded one of her popular stops, Londolozi Private Game Reserve, a “Best Far-Flung Honeymoon” destination.

Hot Air Balloon over the Masai Mara, Kenya/Photograph by McRae Williams

Hot Air Balloon over the Masai Mara, Kenya/Photograph by McCrae Williams

Williams and her extended South African team arrange it all—internal flights, transfers, accommodations, special activities, private guides, and more. And with the South African Rand converting at a historic low, travel to South Africa is more affordable, according to Williams.

Here’s what she had to say about creating a unique safari honeymoon adventure.

How do you work with a couple to create a dream honeymoon to Africa?
I listen closely to what they envision and ask questions that make them think about their preferred style of travel, as well as the exclusivity of a hotel, the level of activity, their interest in extending the trip to include another destinations, and budget. It’s only when you listen and engage a client’s vision that you can create the most amazing personalized trip. After initial discussions, I present options and sample itineraries, and we take it from there. The process is fun, exciting, and dreamy.

Photograph by McCrae Williams

Photograph by McCrae Williams

What are some sample excursions that might be good for honeymooners?
The beauty of an African honeymoon to the bush and beyond is that you can combine adrenaline and adventure with a more spiritual and serene immersion. Or you can have distinctly one or the other.

Adventurous activities really depend upon the fit level. Often, the same activity can be done differently. For example, while visiting the vibrant and trendy city of Cape Town, a trip up to the top of Table Mountain is a great activity. What an opportunity to stand on the top of this mountain, see the beautiful city of Cape Town below, and look beyond to where two massive oceans (Indian and Atlantic) converge. If you’re adventurous, you can hike the Platteklip Gorge route up Table Mountain or take the gondola from the base. Those are two different styles to enjoy this iconic symbol of the city.

For those seeking adventure, there’s shark cage diving, surfing and kite surfing, white water rafting, sailing and bungee jumping, horseback riding on Noordhoek Beach, biking tours in Cape Town’s Winelands, and hiking for all abilities. Alternatively, there are amazing opportunities to experience quieter, more serene activities—from spas like the Amani Spa at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge and Royal Malewane’s Spa to yoga in the bush. Imagine warrior pose on a deck overlooking elephants coming in for their morning drink. Hot air ballooning over the migration herds on the Masai Mara in Kenya is breathtaking, while game viewing in a private jeep with the services of a specialist game ranger is perhaps the most private and luxurious aspect of a honeymoon safari.

How long should a couple plan on going for?
My recommendation is four to six nights on safari and an additional four to six nights at another incredible destination such as Cape Town, Victoria Falls, or a beach destination. You could also pair two countries, such as South Africa and Botswana, which makes for great biodiversity. Clients who do six nights can also experience two different styles of lodging. Imagine staying three nights in a luxury tent with beautiful décor and lavish bathrooms. The other three nights, you could stay in a beautiful suite with its own private plunge pool.

How can they mix excitement with the thrill of the chill?
A “bush and beach” honeymoon is the quintessential combination. There are the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, the Seychelles, and Zanzibar, and the coastal stretches of Mozambique and its archipelago of small exclusive island hideaways. For the Seychelles, clients have enjoyed the Kempinski Seychelles Resort, as well as the Beachcomber Sainte Anne Resort located on a private island. For Zanzibar, popular picks for clients are the Sea Cliff Resort and The Residence Zanzibar. And if you’re looking for hideaways, I highly recommend Azura or Vamizi. Then again, the heart-shaped island of Mnemba can’t be beat. Where else can you honeymoon on a heart-shaped island? These special hideaways can be found off the coast of Mozambique, where the water is absolutely breathtaking, and coral reef systems yield some of the world’s best snorkeling and scuba.

Some of my favorite honeymoon lodges include Tongabezi Lodge, which is near Victoria Falls. And in South Africa, favorites include Londolozi’s lodges, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Dulini. Lion Sands Lodge offers Chalkley’s Treehouse, just one of their beautiful and luxurious treehouses open to the brilliant African sky as an optional sleep -out when staying at their lodge. In Cape Town, POD Camps Bay is perhaps the most stunning boutique hotel, designed with African timber dropping into stone and shifting glass. Very cool, hip, and trendy. There are so many other choices to meet each and everyone’s style!

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