The Best Africa Honeymoon Destinations, From Beach to Bush (or From Sea to Safari)

Sleep under the stars in a tented camp or in a bungalow on your own private island.
Couple on honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa
Photo: fokkebok / Getty Images
Lane Nieset
by Lane Nieset
Updated May 29, 2024
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An African honeymoon offers newlyweds the perfect package of R&R coupled with adventure. From beaches so beautiful, they're splashed on postcards and screensavers to remote tented camps in search of the Big 5 and forest treks with rare mountain gorillas, the continent is one of most diverse in terms of romantic honeymoon possibilities.

Don't worry if your Pinterest board is starting to feel more like a collage than an itinerary—this is one destination where you'll want to engage the help of an expert travel specialist or operator like Journeys by Design, Scott Dunn or Go2Africa to help narrow down the best honeymoon destinations in Africa to suit your style and budget. Whether you're after toes-in-the-sand luxury, more rugged adventure to disconnect and take a much-needed digital detox, or a mix of city and safari, we have just the destinations (and lodges!) in mind.

Depending on where you decide to honeymoon, you can break up the journey with a stopover in a city like Cape Town, Johannesburg or Nairobi en route to the beach or bush. The trip to Africa may be a long one, but it's easy to hop around once you arrive—and at first sight of one of the Big 5, you'll immediately see why this trip is one that'll top them all.

The Knot's Top 10 Travel Destinations in Africa

From gorilla trekking to horseback safaris and private island escapes in the Indian Ocean, here are 10 top spots for an Africa honeymoon.

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda Africa honeymoon destination
Photo: Dennis Stogsdill / Getty Images

Mention gorilla trekking—hiking along uneven national park terrain to share a rare and memorable moment with the "gentle giants of forest"—and Rwanda immediately comes to mind. The high-altitude cloud forests of Volcanoes National Park—the oldest national park on the continent, home to five of Virunga Mountains' eight volcanoes—count more than a third of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, as well as endangered golden monkeys and more than 300 bird species.

Things to Do: Before setting off on your trek, learn about how conservation in the region got its start at the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, where you'll come across items from Dr. Dian Fossey's two decades in the Virungas, where she conducted one of the longest-running studies of any animal species. Meet local crafters weaving baskets in a nearby village on a community visit or set off on a day-long hike to Bisoke Crater Lake.

Where to Stay: Sleep on the edge of the park at Singita Kwitonda Lodge, where each of the eight suites features a covered veranda and plunge pool perfect for soaking the afternoon away with your other half. Also near the park, One&Only Gorilla's Nest offers couples everything from forest treehouses to floor-to-ceiling glass suites showing off views of the gardens.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa honeymoon destination
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Often the entry point for a South African safari, Cape Town is a city that deserves a trip entirely of its own—especially since its jaw-droppingly beautiful hotels are practically made for honeymooners (just wait until you see those views over the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the mountains forming a backdrop in the distance). Looking for culture? The city's thriving contemporary art scene offers both galleries and museums, plus collections lining the walls of boutique hotels like Ellerman House. Ready for adventure? Hike the trails of Lion's Head or Table's Mountain or go surfing or scuba diving. And once you've crossed off the mountains and sea, head to the nearby Cape Winelands on a chauffeured tour of the region's gorgeous wineries and tasting rooms.

The trip from the US is a long one, so it's worth breaking up the trip with a stopover in a spot just as exciting, like Istanbul (if you need inspiration, we have tons of recommendations for couples). Spend a few days exploring the vibrant city before hopping on a plane to Cape Town (now's the time to splurge on a business class ticket and take advantage of Turkish Airlines' lavish lounge), sipping a mix of Turkish wines and enjoying the leisurely flight in style—arriving a little less jetlagged for your Cape Town honeymoon.

Things to Do: Start the morning with a sunrise hike up Lion's Head or go paddle boarding with penguins on a private experience curated by Escape+Explore. Make your way to the Old Biscuit Mill for the weekend morning Neighbourgoods Market and pizza and natural wine at Pavement Special, or spend the day touring artwork at the Zeitz MOCAA or Norval Foundation (the sculpture garden alone is worth the trek out here).

If you're planning a special meal, two should top your list: FYN, a Japanese-meets-South African tasting menu that champions the finest ingredients growing wild in the Cape, and Chefs Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic, where the oceanside restaurant's whimsical menu of small plates takes inspiration from the surrounding landscape. Tintswalo Atlantic is one spot where you'll want to spend the night, especially since the luxe, island-themed suites feel like you've slipped off to an entirely different country on the African coastline while just being a short drive from the heart of Cape Town.

Where to Stay: Grande dame Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, sits at the slopes of Table Mountain in the heart of the city center, making it an ideal base to relax at the poolside oasis in between sightseeing and excursions. For a stay that gives private villa feels, the six-room 21 Nettleton is an art-filled paradise perched over the sea, with an attentive team ready to bring poolside rosé or set up a romantic dinner on the lawn under the stars (the sunset views here are unparalleled). Dorp Hotel, on the slopes of Signal Hill, also shows off sweeping views over the city—which are best enjoyed from the plunge pool of one of the Premier Suites (our pick is Rose Cottage!). A longtime honeymoon favorite, The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is the sole hotel to claim a coveted spot on the coastal road that links Cape Town and Camps Bay with Llandudno Beach and Hout Bay (plus, you can helicopter right from the property to the V&A Waterfront or around Table Mountain).


Mauritius Africa honeymoon
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Known for its warm and welcoming spirit and mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions, Mauritius may be tiny, but the island off the coast of Madagascar offers plenty to keep couples as busy as they'd like to be on their honeymoon. A longtime favorite for the French when they're looking to escape and do absolutely nothing, this romantic island is slowly getting on the international radar thanks to its mix of toes-in-the-sand luxury, affordable beachside villas and vibrant capital city Port-Louis, with its charming 18th-century French architecture and fantastic street food and market stalls.

Things to Do: Start by basking on the calm beaches in the north (temps are perfect for year-round swimming) like Péreybère and Mont Choisy or take a swim in the protected marine park of Blue Bay. Water activities are the highlight here, so take your pick of a glass-bottom boat, catamaran cruise to see dolphins or something more adventurous like a submarine ride.

Where to Stay: In the protected northern part of the island, The Oberoi Beach Resort, Mauritius sprawls along the picture-perfect white sandy shores of Turtle Bay and rooms and villas embrace indoor-outdoor living. For something bespoke, book one of Muse Villas' expertly curated, full-service properties, which include the Robinson Crusoe-like lodging Villa L'îlot, set on its own private island in the middle of the Roches Noires lagoon.

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco Africa honeymoon destination
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Honeymoon like royalty in a Moroccan riad, traditional home or palace with an indoor garden and courtyard, inside the Medina walls in Marrakech. The pro of a honeymoon in Marrakech is it feels just far and exotic enough while just being a short, direct flight away from major cities in Europe (the journey will get even easier once United Airlines launches its nonstop flight from Newark this fall). Turn the trip into a two-parter venturing into the Agafay Desert for hot air balloon and camel rides followed by a stay in a tented camp like Habitas' Caravan Agafay.

Things to Do: The one restaurant you can't leave without trying is Le Grand Café de la Poste, which gives off (perhaps intentionally) Rick's Café (from classic film Casablanca) vibes. The souk can be overwhelming so it's worth booking a private tour with a guide who can point out the best spots (and help you haggle) for carpets and other souvenirs. Two museums that should top your list: Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, an ode to the late fashion designer, and the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL).

Where to Stay: If you want to go all-out, the one-time royal estate of La Mamounia is as over-the-top as it gets, with lavish rooms and suites outfitted in stunning antiques and intricate woodwork carvings and tiles. Just as picturesque but on the more discrete side, La Maison Arabe is known for its hammam and cooking school, and its 45 rooms unfold around the patio or garden, making it feel as if you were guests in someone's private home.


Seychelles Africa honeymoon guide
Photo: Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

From Johannesburg or Cape Town, hop on a flight to Mahé, the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago—which counts nearly 100 white sand-covered islands in total. Often dubbed Africa's best beach destination, the Seychelles feel as far-flung as, say, the Maldives (you'll need a boat or helicopter transfer to reach one of the smaller islands)—which means you'll want to carve out a good chunk of time to relax once you reach your overwater bungalow or beautiful boutique beachfront hotel.

Things to Do: With gorgeous beaches ranked some of the best in the world, the top activities for honeymooners take place on the water in the form of a catamaran or yacht cruise or, for more adventurous couples, snorkeling and diving.

Where to Stay: At Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, wake up in a hilltop ocean-view villa to a floating breakfast in your private pool before heading out on a guided snorkeling trip on the reef in Petite Anse Bay. On private island Félicité, Six Senses Zil Pasyon's beaches are bordered by vibrant coral reefs and couples can relax with sensory spa experiences in one of five double treatment villas or in the comfort of their own one-bedroom oceanfront pool villa.

Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, South Africa

Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, South Africa honeymoon
Photo: WaldemarWellmann / Getty Images

Spanning nearly 250 square miles, Sabi Sand Nature Reserve borders South Africa's flagship Kruger National Park and is home to some of the best game viewing possibilities in the country. Spotting the Big 5 is practically a given, but what makes this private game reserve really special is leopard sightings—a common occurrence on safari here. Since there's no fence dividing the national park and private reserve, wildlife roam freely between the two areas—and you're sure to spot anything from elephants to giraffes grazing right outside of your luxury lodge.

Things to Do: Game drives typically take place before sunrise and sunset, so rise and shine early to have Amarula-spiked coffee in the bush followed by breakfast and downtime back at the lodge before prepping for part two in the afternoon.

Where to Stay: On a quieter corner of Sabi Sand, safari pioneer Singita operates three different properties: its first-ever lodge, Ebony, which recently underwent a modern makeover in celebration of its 30th anniversary; the 12, glass-fronted suite Boulders Lodge, named after the rock-lined banks of the Sand River below; and antique-filled Castleton, the former family home, with six cottages and a stone-walled homestead designed for entertaining larger groups—if you plan to extend an invitation to family and friends.

Benguerra Island, Mozambique

Benguerra Island, Mozambique honeymoon in africa
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The second-largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, you'll feel like you've jetted off to your own private island in the Indian Ocean—one with lush jungles, towering sand dunes and dive-worthy coral reefs. In addition to migrating whale sharks, you'll spot tons of other marine life, including one of the last remaining viable populations of rare dugongs, which are similar to manatees.

Things to Do: Ride bareback on horses through the bathwater-warm ocean or take in views of the island on a sunset dhow cruise through the bay in similar style to the local fishermen. Private picnics are the highlight of an island like this one, and you can have your own castaway moment on a catamaran trip to a secluded shoreline.

Where to Stay: Located on its own private lagoon, andBeyond Benguerra Island is a destination of its own, with its thatched cabanas and casinhas (cottages), private plunge pools and Instagram-perfect dhow bar for sunset cocktails. Plus, one partner can save half off accommodations with the honeymoon offer.


Kenya Africa honeymoon
Photo: Diana Robinson Photography / Getty Images

A highlight of an East African safari, Kenya checks two very big boxes: the Great Migration and the Maasai Mara. A favorite for walking and horseback safaris, couples will spot tons of other bucket list wildlife like lions, zebras and elephants any time of year. Hop your way around the country on a multi-stop honeymoon starting in the lively capital city of Nairobi before heading out on a tented camp safari in the Maasai Mara, to the beach on Lamu Island or out to Mount Kenya, sleeping in a lodge overlooking Africa's second-highest peak after Kilimanjaro.

Things to Do: In Nairobi, go souvenir shopping at Village Market Mall (Friday is Maasai Market day), feed Rothschild's giraffes at the Giraffe Centre or visit orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage. If you're heading out to the Maasai Mara, many of the camps work with Maasai guides and can arrange a visit to the semi-nomadic tribe's villages.

Where to Stay: In the Maasai Mara, on the path of the Great Migration, Sir Richard Branson's Kenyan safari camp, Mahali Mzuri, sits within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy and features 12 tents with freestanding tubs looking out at the sweeping landscape. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club's history dates back to the 1950s and counts everyone from Sir Winston Churchill to Ernest Hemingway as past guests. A dream combo for couples looking for a mix of safari and resort amenities, the property features a manicured golf course, tennis, horseback riding and bird watching.


Botswana honeymoon in africa
Photo: Paul Souders / Getty Images

Arguably the most luxurious safari locale on the continent (even Meghan Markle and Prince Harry honeymooned here), Botswana is perhaps Africa's best-kept secret when it comes to wildlife. Get ready for morning game drives through Chobe National Park, home to the namesake river that's one of Africa's most stunning; sundowner G&Ts on the banks of the Okavango; and mokoro (a traditional canoe) rides through the shallow waters of the Delta, peering at hippos popping out through the papyrus reeds.

Things to Do: After eying wildlife from ground level, set off on a private helicopter tour taking in elephants and hippos from a different vantage point. For an adrenaline-filled ride, take off on a quad bike across the expansive, untouched Makgadikgadi Pans—the largest salt pans in the world. While you're here, embrace the energy of the Kalahari on a bushman nature walk learning about the ancient people who navigated these desert plains for centuries.

Where to Stay: Honeymoon like royalty in the same spot as Prince Harry at Meno a Kwena tented camp, which sits on a rocky cliff top above the Boteti River, where you can take a dip in the natural rock plunge pool in between game drives or a boat safari along the river.

Franschhoek, South Africa

Franschhoek, South Africa honeymoon destination
Photo: Straystone / Getty Images

A little over an hour from Cape Town, Franschhoek, nicknamed South Africa's "French corner," is considered one of the country's food and wine capitals. Cross off the names of some of the famous wine farms dotting the valley, like Leeu Passant, Le Lude Estate (known for standout sparkling Cap Classique) and Chamonix, whose history spans back 350 years. The wine tram is the easiest way to sip your way through local wineries, or you can arrange a more formal tasting of wines from Sir Richard Branson's Mont Rochelle at the resort's Country Kitchen, where the outdoor terrace shows off sweeping shots of the vines and surrounding mountains. If your tasting tends to linger on throughout the afternoon, consider staying the night in one of Mont Rochelle's wine-themed suites with private plunge pools and views overlooking the beautifully manicured vineyards.

Things to Do: Spend the day at Boschendal hiking or horseback riding through the valley before browsing the estate's South African art-focused gallery or sitting down for a wine tasting. At Leeu Estates, indulge in a tasting menu at the lauded La Petite Colombe or snag a coveted spot at the Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen's seasonal pop-up, JAN Franschhoek, at La Motte Wine Estate.

Where to Stay: The 30-acre La Residence feels like it was plucked out of Provence, but everything from the wine to the picture-perfect valley views shows off the best of South Africa. It'll be hard to peel yourself away from the pool on a warm, sunny summer day, but you won't have to go too far for fork-to-farm fare from the estate's own working farm or a wine tasting of local picks poured poolside or in one of the romantic nooks along the lake. Nearby, Sterrekopje is a healing farm that produces everything from spa oils and soaps to garden-fresh cuisine onsite. Tucked into the foothills of the Franschhoek mountains, you'll feel like you've really slipped away somewhere remote, especially when you're cozying up in your room by the fireplace or soaking in your private plunge pool underneath the stars.

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