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South Africa: Trip Recap and Recommendations

South Africa is much more than a safari destination. From beaches to city life, there is so much to explore - as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.

South Africa is one of the few places on Earth where you’re able to see the Big 5 (elephants, buffalos, rhinos, lions, and leopards) in a single day.  What makes it even more alluring are the breathtaking beaches, nearly perfect weather, rich culture, history, and how easy it is to get from one place to another.  

If you’re thinking of traveling to the Motherland, maybe this personal account will help you move forward in your decision to plan your trip soon!

“From a young age reading about African wildlife and growing older watching Planet Earth specials, I have always dreamed of visiting the beautiful continent of Africa. This all came to fruition for my husband and I on our honeymoon! I can attest that this is the ultimate honeymoon experience for adventurous couples.

We chose a Safari lodge on a private reserve right outside of Kruger National Park.

This location had a huge perk: we could off-road! If you are within the park you must stay on the roads, and because there are no fences, the wildlife roam where they please. Being able to view wildlife from a safe distance was incredible … honestly, we were so close!

s. africa, wildebeest

The lodge sat right at a watering hole, with resident hippos and crocs.

This was an amazing perk to have right outside our deck, as wildlife would come and go. One day, a herd of elephants came down and baby elephants were swimming and splashing around in the water. What an experience to take in, all from the comfort of our deck! Going to bed, we could hear the hippos talking to each other, and we had to pinch ourselves; we could hardly believe that we were actually there hearing those sounds. (Sigh…).

On top of that, our suite was absolutely breathtaking!

We were lucky enough to get the honeymoon suite, undoubtedly designed for a king and queen! Four-poster bed, fit with mosquito nets and the softest linens; beautiful furnishings, which included a sitting area; a soaker bathtub; and, an enormous shower with a view of the watering hole. What a way to view the wildlife between safaris! We even had a plunge pool and outdoor shower on our deck.  Because we were in the wild, our safari guide would walk us to and from our suite; we did NOT want to come across a hippo on our path.

s. africa, rhinos

The level of service at the safari lodge was unparalleled to anything we have experienced.

Another perk to our trip was the onsite sommelier to help make decisions for the evening dinner. Dietary restrictions? No worries, as there were no issues with making specific requests to meet my allergy needs.

Dining on local cuisine was very exciting for us, bugs and all!

All of the staff members were friendly and there for whatever we needed.  Even better, I loved knowing that we were supporting the staff and their families who lived nearby. Striving to make our experience exceptional at every turn, they stayed excited to share their culture with us.

s. africa, dinnertime

The first evening of our arrival all the guests met in front of the lodge.

We were introduced to our safari guide and tracker, and we loaded up into the safari jeeps. We made quick friends with everyone in our Jeep, and we still keep in touch with them to this day!

On our first game drive, we saw giraffes, rhinos, lions, and zebras.

This was the moment our dreams literally came true. Everything we had read about as kids and watched from home on the couch was right in front of our very eyes. With two game drives each day, our excitement increased daily.  What animals would we see or where would we stop for sundowners that evening?

s. africa, leopard

One of the alternate tours we opted for was to visit a local community nearby.

Our tracker was our guide for the tour, and he loved showing us his hometown. We visited a school, and the children were thrilled to see us and immediately wanted to play!

The highlight of this trip was when our guide took us to a house he was building. 

It had no roof, but he was beaming with pride. He was building his house with his own two hands, with handmade bricks he had made himself.  This was the ultimate labor of love for his family and an experience I will never forget.

Not only is South Africa an ideal honeymoon destination, it is also extremely family-friendly.

South Africa is much more than a safari destination. From beaches to city life, there is so much to explore – as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. This is definitely an experience we want to share with our own children someday!”

If you’re ready to see glorious South Africa, let’s chat!

And, I’ll leave you with this sweet video – just in case you need a little more convincing.  Enjoy!

South African Tourism Video:

I'm Holly! I'm a travel advisor and I love to plan african Adventures

I worked and lived in Alaska for a few years, and I truly believe this is a bucket list destination! I’m always ready for an adventure trip, and I can’t wait to help you plan yours.
packed suitcase
Kelly Henry

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