12 Oct South Africa Honeymoon Itinerary: Cape Town & Luxury Safari
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to South Africa, do it! We recently went on our honeymoon, and it was the ultimate vacation. From the food to the people to the scenery, it was an incredible country to visit. I’m sharing the full details of our South Africa honeymoon itinerary for our 11-day trip.
We used a travel agency, Go2Africa, to help us plan the trip. This was our first time using a travel agent, and it was made everything so seamless. Go2Africa doesn’t directly charge travelers a fee to use their services since they make money off the commissions, so the price is all built in. Our agent Tatham was able to recommend the best hotels within our budget, book our internal flights and ground transportation within South Africa and schedule a few tours and activities for us. She also helped us postpone the entire trip after we pushed our wedding back due to covid, and then helped us problem solve on the ground when the omicron variant appeared in South Africa during our trip and forced us to shift some of our plans.
Here are some of the highlights that I’ve recommend from our South Africa honeymoon to Cape Town (5 nights), the Cape Winelands (1 night) and Kruger National Park Africa (5 nights total at two different lodges).
We spent five nights overall nights in Cape Town, which felt like the perfect amount of time. It is such a fun and vibrant city, and there’s so much to do. We always felt safe there, but made sure to be careful and take Ubers at night instead of walking.
This was our favorite restaurant of the trip, so make sure to snag a reservation in advance. The vibes were immaculate, and the tapas were all so delicious. Don’t skip dessert — my husband said the peanut butter bombs were the best dessert he’s ever had in his life.
Come here for the ambiance. This restaurant is located in City Centre in an old Victorian house with eclectic decor. The food and cocktails were top notch, too.
This casual seafood spot in Camps Bay got an A+ from us. We sat at the sushi conveyor belt area, which added to the fun, and the fish was so fresh.
This Italian restaurant was a short walk from V&A Waterfront, but felt like a locals-only spot. The pasta was very solid.
This is a great place for drinks and apps in the V&A Waterfront. They had crazy, Instagram-worthy cocktails and a great charcuterie board.
This is another fun spot to get a drink in Camp’s Bay. The views of the beach are beautiful!
Cape Town can be incredibly windy, so if you get a nice day, do not pass go, do not collect $200, head directly to the Table Mountain Cable Car. The cable car was closed during several days of our trip due to high winds. They also advised us not to hike because it was too dangerous. On the last day of our trip, the winds finally calmed down, and we finally able to make it to the top. The views were so worth it — Table Mountain is even one of the new Seven Wonders of the world.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
I would put the botanicals gardens on the top of your to do list! This nature preserve had so many gorgeous flowers and plants near Table Mountain. Make sure to do the Boomslang Canopy Walk for an Instagram-worthy moment.
This area is touristy, but exploring the waterfront is a must do. There’s lots of great shopping with both high-end and affordable stores. I’d advise getting drinks or coffee here rather than eating as there are better places to dine around Cape Town.
This is a cool area to check out and see all the colorful houses. This was a former neighborhood where slaves lived, and the law dictated that houses must be painted white. Once the rule was lifted, they painted their homes in bright hues to celebrate their newfound freedom.
Franschhoek/Stellenbosch Wine Region
If you can, I’d recommend staying a night or two in the Cape Winelands region because there’s so much to see and do there. We originally just did a day trip with a private tour guide to Stellenbosch, who was so knowledgable and made the day seamless. When omicron hit and our trip to Mauritius got canceled, we ended up coming back to the Cape Winelands for a night to see more of Franschhoek. These were some of our favorite South African wineries:
I learned a lot at this tasting, and loved the cheese pairings. They also have goats on the property that were fun to check out.
Wine and chocolate pairings… need I say more? This restaurant and tasting room was absolutely stunning and a perfect spot for lunch. If you can only go to one winery, go here!
This winery is another must-see. The property is massive and you can spend hours walking around the gorgeous gardens.
This Richard Branson-owned winery had lovely views and a good wine tasting. The Country Kitchen is a great spot to get lunch.
If you have the time, the wine tram is a hop-on, hop-off trolley/tram that takes you around to various wineries. It allowed us to see a lot in a short period of time, and we met a lot of new friends on the tram. This ended up being a heavy drinking day because we wanted to see as many wineries as we could!
Kruger National Park Safari
Now to the highlight of the trip… the safari! We stayed at two lodges, which I would highly recommend because you get a unique experience at both. You will see different animals and get a different guide and tracker, which can really affect your experience. I would recommend moving lodges after three nights since the routine can start to get repetitive.
The benefit of staying at a private game lodge versus doing your own safari in Kruger National Park is that the vehicles can go off-road. If you see one of the Big Five animals (elephant, lion, African buffalo, leopard and rhino), you’re able to veer off the main paths and get closer — even if it means running down certain trees or bushes in the process.
We started our trip at &Beyond Ngala for two nights. We flew into Hoedspruit and drove about an hour on dirt roads to get to the lodge. The property itself is stunning from the beautiful pool and dining area to the spacious rooms with outdoor showers and private patios.
The food and drinks get an A+. I can be a picky eater, but there were so many options. The hospitality was also superb with each group assigned a butler who serves you at every meal and takes care of anything you need.
This is a great lodge for your first safari. The main thing I loved is that they took the time to explain everything to you. It was Safari 101. They proactively explained things like how the trackers spot animals at night and rules about how close you can get to the wildlife. You also get a safari journal that helps you identify the animals and birds, and you can use it to keep track of your sightings.
Our ranger Amy and our tracker Tonight were wonderful, and we learned so much from them. We didn’t see all of the Big Five, but we did spend a lot of quality time with the lions. We also had great leopard and rhino sightings along with giraffes, zebras, impala, koodoos, hippos, wildebeests and tons of birds.
On the game drives, they limit it to six people per vehicle so you have plenty of space to spread out. They also provide ponchos, blankets, bug spray, snacks, drinks… seriously everything you need to relax and enjoy. They also did several little surprises for us since we were on our honeymoon, which was so sweet.
Simbambili Game Lodge
After two nights at Ngala, we headed over to the Sabi Sands area for three nights at Simbambili Game Lodge.
The room was five star with a private plunge pool and huge patio overlooking the bush — perfect for a honeymoon. The food here was also incredible, and they were feeding us nonstop. Like Ngala, they served early morning 5 am coffee and pastries, morning game drive snacks and mimosas, a full breakfast after the game drive, a full lunch, pre-afternoon game drive dessert and coffee, sundowner drinks and, of course, a special dinner each night. The chef really impressed me with the food here, too, and our butler was so kind and attentive.
Our ranger Tendai and both trackers we had were so knowledgable about the animals’ patterns and movements and got us suuuper close the animals. While the sighting at Ngala were great, the sightings in Sabi Sands blew us away! We saw the Big Five multiple times throughout our trip and so many baby animals. Sabi Sands is known for leopards and we got close to several of the elusive creatures during our stay, even spotting two leopard cubs playing and an adult leopard hunting a rabbit. We saw herds of 200+ elephants and several hundred African buffalo walking together. Each game drive kept getting better and better. The other people in our vehicle were also a really fun, young group. We ended up having dinner together after the drive, and we made a lot of new friends.
At Simbambili, the wildlife is much more abundant and you’re so busy moving from sighting to sighting that you don’t get as much explanation and background on the animals. That’s why the combo of Ngala and Simbambili was the perfect mix.
From the incredible hospitality to the amazing spa treatments to the food and obviously the close-up sightings, we were sad to leave. We’ve said if we ever make it back to South Africa, we have to stay at Simbambili again.
A Few Tidbits
I had so many questions before going on the safari about what to expect and what to pack, so I’m sharing a few things I learned.
-Even though you’re going to Africa, it will get cold! We went in December, which is the beginning of summer, and we still had several cold mornings. I only packed a hoodie and wish I would have had a puffer jacket.
-On the flip side, when the sun comes out you absolutely need a hat. I packed a cute safari hat that wasn’t practical because it would blow off my head when we started driving. Although not as fashionable, a baseball cap is best.
-It doesn’t actually matter if your clothes are all beige and green. On one of our first drives, a lady in our vehicle was wearing a bright red jacket, and I was wondering whether it would somehow scare off the animals or diminish our sightings. I later learned that the animals see the safari vehicle as one object, so it doesn’t make too much of a difference what each individual person is wearing. The cute neutral safari outfits are just for the vibes!
-Make sure to use a soft-sided bag for air travel. Many of the hopper flights to the Kruger area don’t allow hard suitcases.
-I was worried about whether or not to take the malaria pills since there is a small risk in the Kruger area. I ultimately decided not to since it has some crazy side effects. The locals say that it’s not really a big concern in the areas where we were. I made sure to cover up at night and use bug spray, and both lodges had mosquito nets around the beds. Do your own research and talk to your doctor, but it all turned out fine for me.
-It would have been amazing to pair Cape Town, Franschhoek/Stellenbosch winelands and the safari with some beach time. We were originally supposed to go to LUX Grand Gaube in Mauritius for 5 nights after South Africa, but had to change our plans due to last-minute restrictions that popped up. We’ll have to check it out next time, but our travel agent highly recommended it!
Have any questions about a South Africa honeymoon itinerary or planning a safari? Ask away in the comments!