One of the best things about living in South Africa is the fact that we really are spoiled for choice when it comes to romantic destinations.
With such a diverse mix of magical landscapes, there’s something to make every heart skip a beat. In other words – if you’d allow me to appropriate a classic travel marketing phrase – Msanzi truly is for lovers.
So, if you’re going to be tying the knot in the coming months and still on the lookout for a local honeymoon destination, here are a few of our top choices:
Thonga Beach Lodge, Mabibi, KZN
Set in a pristine dune forest along KZN’s Maputuland coast, this luxurious lodge with a touch of rustic charm offers the perfect blend of bush and beach. If you’re a particularly eco-conscious couple, this spot is sure to get your heart beating double time – the thatched bush suites were constructed to ensure minimal impact on the environment and the lodge plays an important role in the conservation of endangered leatherback turtles that nest on the nearby beaches. They offer a special 5-day honeymoon package where couples get to spend three nights at Thonga, followed by another two at Kosi Forest Lodge. This includes three meals a day, non-motorised activities, private dining, aroma therapy baths and all sorts of other surprises.
Umngazi River Resort, Wild Coast Eastern Cape
With its off-the-beaten track location, stunning views, award-winning spa, unspoilt beaches and luxurious accommodation, it’s no surprise that Umngazi has made a name for itself as one of South Africa’s premier honeymoon destinations. Newlyweds can choose between staying in one of their three single-storey honeymoon bungalows or in the spacious double storey honeymoon suite. Each feature a king size bed, a large bath tub, double outside showers and an indoor fireplace. Seriously… Can it get any better than this?
Arniston Hotel, Western Cape
Situated in a secluded corner of the coastal Overberg, the charming white-washed village of Arniston is nothing short of a romantic dream come true. The hotel is stylish and unassuming with a prime location, offering spectacular views over the bay. There are a variety of room types to choose from, but honeymooners deserve to spoil themselves to the spacious VIP Suite with its mezzanine-level bedroom and en-suite bathroom and FOUR balconies. The on-site Ginkgo Spa is renowned for its almost endless list of treatments and will keep couples feeling as glamorous as on their wedding day.
Lazy Leopard, Knysna, Western Cape
Lazy Leopard’s lush forest setting will make you feel like you’re living your very own fairy tale fantasy. Honeymooners get to choose between to super romantic cabins – Starry Forest or Forest Moon – tucked away among the trees. Both are perfectly equipped for couples with only minor differences – Starry Forest, for example, has a glass encased shower offering magnificent views, while Forest Moon has an outdoor bath tub on the deck. While it’s a tough choice, luckily there’s no way you can go wrong.
Forest Bird Lodge, Magoebaskloof, Limpopo
Whisk your loved one away to a wonder world of tall indigenous trees, bubbling streams, waterfalls and birdsong at Forest Bird Lodge. The property offers a choice of two accommodation types – the Log Cabin or the Log Cottage. Both timber structures are located in the middle of the forest and have two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Thulamela, Hazyview, Mpumalanga
You had us at the bit about the spa bath on the wooden deck, Thulamela. Gorgeous air-conditioned cabins provide a dreamy escape for honeymooners, complete with romantic forest pathways leading up to each secluded unit.
Oudebosch Eco Cabins, Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Kleinmond
Situated in the very heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the Kogelberg Nature Reserve is still relatively untouched by human interference, making it one of the most beautiful breakaway spots in the entire Western Cape. The stunning, glass-fronted, roof-gardened eco cabins add to the natural beauty and allow guests to feel blissfully immersed in the environment. With zero cell phone reception, this is the perfect spot to indulge in each other’s company as newlyweds.
Rates: From R1 170 per unit per night.
Sani Valley Honeymoon Lodges, KZN
The southern Drakensberg escarpment towering majestically in the distance, a privately-owned lake on your front porch, horses and even a selection of wildlife – chances are, the minute you check into Sani Valley Lodge you won’t ever want to leave again. They offer a selection of special honeymoon lodges overlooking the lake that feature Jacuzzis, baths-with-a-view and even private spa treatments on your deck. Honeymooners are requested to fill out a questionnaire before arrival, so a package can be put together catering to their personal interests and needs. Expect little surprises like picnics out on a boat, horse rides and hikes up to the local bushman paintings.
Akasha Mountain Retreat, Heidelberg, Western Cape
If you’re always longing for something just a little otherworldly, don’t even think twice about it: book your honeymoon at Akasha Mountain Retreat straight away. Tucked away into a magical valley just a few kilometres off the N2, Akasha offers picturesque Cape-Maroc style accommodation in a sublime setting, with magnificent views over the Duiwenhoks Dam. The property is completely off the grid and cell phone signal is relatively poor, making it easy to escape for a few days. While the house can accommodate up to eight people, it still feels cosy enough for just a loved-up couple.
Stornoway Lodge, GautengWe bet you thought nothing romantic could come out of Gauteng. Well, think again! With its rolling green lawns, towering weeping willows, miniature lake and lush gardens, Stornoway Lodge is a stunning spot to hide away from all the bustle of regular city life. They offer a variety of accommodation types, but honeymooners may find themselves most charmed by the Lakeside Cottage, Farmhouse or Luxury Tent. Located just a stone’s throw away from Lanseria Airport, it’s also the perfect location for Joburg/Pretoria-based couples to spend their first night together as newlyweds before jetting off to their next honeymoon destination.
Fisherman’s Cottage at Lothian Vineyards, Elgin, Western Cape
One of the Elgin Valley’s lesser-known treasures, Lothian Vineyards has been steadily establishing itself as a sought-after wedding venue, as well as a dreamy location for a luxurious weekend break. The property offers two accommodation options – the eight bedroom Lothian House (to be rented in totality) and the delightful Fisherman’s Cottage. The latter offers honeymooners a secluded and picturesque spot to soak up each other’s company and fall a little more deeply in love.
Drostdy Hotel, Graaff Reinet, Eastern Cape
If the Karoo has always charmed your soul, this luxury boutique hotel in the heart of one of South Africa’s oldest towns is sure to leave you weak in the knees. The chic interiors have accents of classic Karoo farm life – Nguni throws, animal skulls decorating the walls and Victorian-style bathroom fixtures – and the exterior is a beautiful blend of Cape Dutch architecture and modern renovations. The onsite De Camdeboo Restaurant also offers an array of decadent meals to enjoy by candlelight, while the Africology Spa will have you feeling like royalty after a treatment.