Day 1 - 2
Land at O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and a local representative is on hand to assist your transfer onto a domestic flight to Richards Bay. A safari guide meets you at the airport and the first impressions of Zululand leave lingering memories. Colored circular huts dot the green hills, endearing smiles come from the locals, and within an hour you get your first sightings of Africa's big mammals. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve is the oldest in Africa, a testimony to the commitment to conservation in this corner of the world. It's a haven for the big and the small; 300 plus bird species flutter above over 1500 White rhino, elephants and buffalo share space with kudu and reedbuck, while a dozen hoofed species try escaping the attentions of wild big cats.
The Tambotie Chalet radiates this vacation's blend of Zulu tradition with modern luxury. The indigenous design seems to fit effortlessly with the big game that passes by the private viewing deck, and that's complemented by air-conditioning, a jacaranda en-suite bathroom, plus pool and spacious decking area. Champagne is chilling on ice as you arrive and a welcome dinner for two is served as the ramblings of White rhino litter the horizon.
Game drives provide immediate access to Africa's famed Big Five. Despite its long history, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is a compact and easy to navigate reserve, ensuring you see a vast range of wildlife in just a couple of hours. Elephants hoot as you arrive, lion prides are regularly spotted in the long grasses, and there's a peculiar collection of antelope to admire. Duiker, suni, waterbuck, and now the spiral horns of majestic nyala impress as you take unforgettable game drives through the reserve. Elusive wild dogs are another inimitable highlight, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi reveling in an ability to offer game viewing that often escapes the most seasoned of safari aficionados. Back at the lodge, breakfasts come with marvelous views onto the wild game and dinners showcase the culinary mix of local tradition with international influence.
Day 3 - 4
Zululand is rich with game and it's less than an hour before you’re immersed in a new safari destination. A private transfer takes you on a meandering journey through the region's colors and into Thanda Private Game Reserve. Many couples dream of a honeymoon safari. But safari is a wide ranging term that struggles to capture the complexity of the experience. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi provides a very traditional African wildlife experience, complete with the elegant modern touches of course. Thanda is a multi award-winning luxury lodge that sets new heights for safari indulgence. Settle into the vast Jabula Tent and survey the 360 degree surroundings. You're in the heart of big game Africa, yet your accommodation is drenched in a sumptuous opulence tailor made for honeymooning couples: private pool, multiple viewing decks, canvas walls that fold away to provide timeless vistas.
A 45 minute in-room spa treatment is an indication of what's to come. Lie back, relax, but keep your eyes open for the wildlife that comes to say hello. Breakfasts are served on the viewing deck and dinners are supplemented by soft kerosene lanterns. Lunches can be taken out in the reserve as private game drives offer authentic interactions with a whole host of colorful characters. Once again, the healthy rhino population seems to contradict the mammal's endangered status. Stay silent as you slowly approach a lounging lion pride, manes flowing on the breeze and yawns revealing ferocious teeth. Elephants have a habit of flattening out path through the forest, and as you follow their tusks a brief movement comes from the periphery. A leopard lingers on the tree branch and it remains unmoved as the guide brings you closer.
Thanda Private Game Reserve is another home for the famed Big Five but this unique honeymoon goes beyond these notions of five must see animals. Safari is too good and too diverse to focus on merely five. Thanda alone has over 50 mammal species, while Hluhluwe-iMfolozi features over 80. Furthermore, it's not just a rhino. After the ongoing White rhino intimacy you stumble upon a new delight. The color is the same but the size and lip indicate that this is one of the world's few remaining Black rhinos. Providing additional enchantment is Thanda's commitment to privacy. It's unlikely you'll come across any other guests and the Jabala tent provides the seclusion demanded by honeymoon couples.
Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Day 5 - 6
This part of Zululand is known as the Elephant Coast, so no prizes for guessing what can occasionally be spotted from the side of the road. And also no prizes for guessing the next evocative piece in Zululand’s geography jigsaw puzzle. Meander through the green hills and you're soon standing on an extensive stretch of white sand beach. There's hardly a footprint in sight; although look carefully because iSimangaliso is a game rich area. Rocktail Beach Camp continues this blend of sand and safari. Tucked beneath a green canopy of indigenous trees, yet barely meters from the beach, this lodge provides dreamy ideas of a tropical getaway. Monkeys swing around the periphery, various antelope hide in the forest, and your wooden chalet is idyllically situated to enjoy it all.
The next two days in this UNESCO World Heritage site present a range of options. Rocktail Beach Camp opens out onto Maputaland Marine Reserve, a charming home for dolphins, hawksbill turtles, and vivid Indian Ocean reef. Snorkeling is included and diving excursions offer access to remote and rarely seen marine life. Swimming with dolphins can be arranged, or you can spend the day soaking up the solitude of a beach reserved for just a handful of guests.
Included in your itinerary is a boat safari through iSimangaliso and this can be arranged for any time during your stay. Cruise the lush waterways and lagoons, the green forest alive on the banks. Reedbuck and kudu sip from the blue, elephants swing trunks with comical delight, and the hippos start to come with increasing frequency. Large pods cover the waters, snouts exposed and mouths opening to reveal immense molars. With a private boat safari you come within meters, a skilled captain sidestepping the elegant beasts as they huff and wheeze-honk in the water. Traverse Lake Sibaya, home to one of Africa's largest hippo populations, then keep heading through the trees to deserted islets for an ocean swim and sunbathing. As always, your evenings are quiet and leisurely, and gourmet meals are served to the sound of waves and nearby monkeys.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - 10
By reaching Rocktail you've almost completed the journey through Zululand. You're on the northern reaches of this renowned tribal land and the wonders of Mozambique are just a short drive away. Cross the border and there's an immediate change in atmosphere. While Zululand offers iconic African images, Mozambique's Portuguese influence is readily apparent and the country runs at the kind of rhythm you would associate with its long Indian Ocean coastline. The private transfer takes you along this coastline to the nearby capital of Maputo, where a local flight takes you to Bazaruto Island via Vilanculos. You should arrive on Mozambique's largest island by early afternoon.
Mozambique seems to be built on sand, the white powder engulfing the entire country and surrounding your island retreat in postcard perfection. Your beach villa at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort and Spa is elegantly situated, the surrounding azure waters often featuring the dipping fins of whales and dolphins. Indulge in this beach paradise for four days, savoring the tranquility and beauty of an unspoiled Indian Ocean island. Two treatments at the acclaimed spa are included, as are a range of ocean activities: daily snorkeling trips, deep sea fishing excursions, water skiing, and wake boarding. Providing enhanced enchantment to the honeymoon bliss is a sunset boat cruise. You're not in a fancy motorboat; you're sailing on a traditional wooden dhow, the elegant boat perfect for a locally caught seafood dinner. This is a beach escape that builds on the theme of inimitability as it presents island bliss.
Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast
Day 11 - 12
After the 15 minute return flight to the mainland, you connect onto a scheduled departure to Nelspruit. Within less than two hours you've been catapulted from the ocean and back to Big Five hinterland. Kruger National Park is South Africa's most celebrated safari destination, a vast expanse of rugged African bush that's home to well over 100 different mammals and around half of the planet's wild rhino population. The safari starts immediately as you journey through the park. Elephants regularly cross the track, an astonishing proportion of lion prides mark the adventure, and the regular favorites impress at every turn. Spotted hyena, large buffalo herds, giraffe standing proud, impala covering the plains; you're quickly reacquainted with the delights of African safari.
Imbali Safari Lodge ensures a fitting conclusion to your honeymoon accommodation. A large private deck overlooks the river and the queue of mammals waiting to drink, while a private Jacuzzi is ideal for tranquil evenings gazing out onto the bush. Evocations of a bygone era abound, from the gracious wooden flooring to dinners illuminated by candle light. Such luxury almost tempts you to spend the whole time at the lodge and allow the big mammals to elegantly come to you. But a tailored program of game drives provides final intimacy with wild Africa; leopards and cheetahs are abundant, the whole Big Five takes barely an hour to find, and a wild picnic lunch is served in the heart of the bush.
Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast
Today you leave South Africa and head home, the memories of this unique luxury honeymoon likely to last a lifetime. You're transferred to Nelspruit with a final game drive through Kruger, this morning providing a chance to say goodbye to the wild mammals who've provided such indelible memories. A local flight takes you to O.R Tambo International and your international return flight.
Browse the South Africa safari reviews to learn what travelers experienced while on their customized tours.
The very word Zululand brings evocative images; it's a place of historic African traditions, wonderfully preserved wildlife, and dramatic natural geography. It's also an idyllic setting for a honeymoon adventure, one that effortlessly combines originality with the opulence expected from a once in a lifetime vacation. This is where you'll find Africa's oldest game reserve, its most celebrated luxury lodge, and arguably the continent's finest mix of safari and beach. Zululand’s neighbors provide additional enchantment. You'll fly over to a sublime Indian Ocean island, Bazaruto, for four days of white sand and cocktails beneath palm trees. Then it's just a quick jump to the wonders of Kruger National Park, your fourth safari destination. Expect little surprises throughout, from in-room spa therapies to uncorking the champagne with the untamed African hinterland as your playground.
You're picked up at Richards Bay Airport and whisked off to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, Africa's oldest reserve and home to over 1,500 wild White rhinos. The full Big Five immediately leave an impression on a compact safari route of thrills and charm. Thanda Private Game Reserve is your second Zululand stop, a place merging modern opulence with traditional notes and hues of wild Africa. Your honeymoon suite could hardly be more idyllic, the wildlife roaming past a private swimming pool, viewing deck, and lounge area. Step onto the tropical sand of iSimangaliso and there's nobody else around; the silence is broken only by chirping monkeys and sapphire ocean rollers. This is part beach paradise, part safari. A boat elegantly traverses lagoons and rivers, bringing stunning intimacy with hippos and elephants, as well as unrivaled access to deserted islets.
Expect a coating of indigenous enchantment as you discover Zululand, the surroundings unlike anywhere you will have experienced before; circular thatched huts on the horizon, wildlife roaming without fences, welcoming smiles with every turn on rugged green landscapes. From here you cross into Mozambique and four days on an Indian Ocean island. Bazaruto fulfills all dreams of a pristine beach getaway and it comes without the crowds. Completing the itinerary is Kruger National Park, South Africa's most acclaimed safari destination and a further offering of secluded luxury amongst big game filled hinterlands. A private driver provides the transfers and all safari activities are tailored towards a honeymoon couple.
For more itinerary options, read about additional safari tours in South Africa.
$5195 per person (excluding international flights)
This trip is customizable for your private travel.
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.
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