When it came to their honeymoon this past July, Amanda Lobell and Neil Roach knew that they had to do something spectacular. So they chose to spend three weeks in South Africa to give themselves a chance to really explore everything the country had to offer. The bar was set pretty high because their past trips have included Belize, Peru, Turkey and New Orleans. But they managed to make South Africa their best trip yet as you can see when you are reading the itinerary below. Really, this is the ultimate honeymoon itinerary!
London: Our first stop in South Africa was Cape Town, but Cape Town wasn’t the first stop on our honeymoon. Because we live in Boston, which is a long way from South Africa (and there aren’t any certainly direct flights!), we decided to stop off in London first for three days. We were lucky to be given tickets as a wedding gift to Richard III starring Kevin Spacey.
Cape Town: We spent three days in Cape Town. One of our favorites sites was Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. The plant species in South Africa are amazing — so different than we have here! We also went to Robben Island, and did a tour of Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope and the towns/areas on the Cape, including Boulders beach, with penguins, the town of Hout Bay and the Cape of Good Hope itself.
Franschhoek: From Cape Town, we drove to the nearby town of Franschhoek in Wine Country. We spent the next three days exploring the towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, as well as the vineyards in the area. We stayed at The Last Word Franschhoek, which we really enjoyed — check out our review!
DeHoop and Hermanus: Next we drove to three hours to DeHoop Nature Reserve, still in the Western Cape, and then to the town of Hermanus. DeHoop has a few species of animals, but the most amazing thing is the huge white sand dunes. If you go to DeHoop or Hermanus during whale season, as we did, you can see whales right from shore. There are accommodations right in the park, and we stayed in one of their rondowels, overlooking a beautiful river.
Durban: We drove from Hermanus back to Cape Town (about 1.5 hour) where we caught a flight to Durban.
Drakensberg Mountains: The next morning we drove up to the Drakensberg Mountains, where we spent two days. We ventured up the Sani Pass, but unfortunately we didn’t make it all the way to Lesotho. We stayed at The Cleopatra, an upscale rustic hotel located in an old farmhouse. It has miles of walking trails, and we loved that the hotel’s two resident dogs would accompany us on our walks!
Phinda Forest Lodge: From the Drakensberg area we drove to Phinda Forest Lodge, a private nature reserve where we enjoyed our first safari. Owned and operated by the safari company &Beyond, the lodge is made up of private wood and glass bungalows set into the woods of a unique sand forest. The rooms were luxurious and it was amazing to see animals from our room and deck. After four days in Phinda we drove back to Durban and flew up north to the Kruger area.
Kruger: We spent the next four nights on safari in the Sabi Sands private game reserve. Like at the last spot, we saw an incredible array of animals: lions,cheetahs, leopards, elephants, cape buffalos, rhinos, giraffes, zebras and lots of different antelope types. After the safari, we flew to Johannesburg.
Johannesburg: Our final stop was two days in Johannesburg. We went to the hominin fossil site Sterkfontein — it’s a cave near the city in which some famous fossils of Australopithecines (early hominins, aka human ancestors) have been found. (Note: Amanda and Neil are both anthropologists!) We also went to the Apartheid Museum, which was very well done and interesting. We took a short our of Soweto, but mostly focused on historical sites. Then we embarked on the long trip back home.