South Africa has been called “a world in one country” and it’s easy to see why: Towering mountains rise over a vibrant and trendy Cape Town, ostrich-dotted grasslands stretch to connect quaint villages, monkey-filled forests line the deserted beaches of KwaZulu-Natal and the Stellenbosch wine route tucks vast vineyards into lush fertile valleys. Then, of course, there are the lions..(ROAR!!!).., giraffes and crocodiles. South Africa’s stunning landscapes, wildlife preserves and pristine beaches along the 1,740 mile coastline have made it an ideal honeymoon destination.
Languages: Nearly everyone can speak English, but there are 10 other official languages (Afrikaans, IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Sesotho sa Leboa, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, Tshivenda, IsiNdebele and SiSwati)
Flight time (to Johannesburg): 5.15 hours from Nigeria, 15-20 hours from USA.
Getting around: Car, shuttle flights and taxi
Best weather: December-February is ideal for beaches, while June-August is best for game viewing. Average temperatures in Cape Town range from 64 degrees Fahrenheit in June-August and 80 degrees Fahrenheit in December-February . Other regions can reach as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit in December-February.
Best prices: May to July for safaris; October to September for more beach-inclined honeymoons.
Places to visit
Sand dunes: This destination has so many beaches that you’re sure to find your scene. You can join models and trendsetters on the rocky beaches of Cape Town’s Clifton and Camps Bay, explore the unspoiled sands of KwaZulu-Natal on horseback or join the locals on the laid-back shores of South Africa‘s famed Garden Route. If you’re planning to take a dip, just remember to stick to the Indian Ocean on the eastern coast — the Atlantic is freezing! (Cape Town has beaches on both oceans.)
Wine tasting: The country’s beautiful wine region is a quick drive from Cape Town. The wines are incredible, cheap and most of all the scenery is stunning. Most vineyards offer charming cellar tours, along with lunch and of course tastings of their prized libations. You won’t want to pass up the romantic gardens, homemade cheeses and luscious red wines. All this are sure to give you that honeymoon feeling.
The big five: South Africa has no shortage of wildlife, and many people come seeking photos of the “Big Five” (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino). Kruger National Park, the most famous of many local reserves, offers private luxury lodges where you can fill the time between game drives with massages and seaweed wraps.
Photo Credit: Joshua Dwain