Insider tip: where to start your honeymoon when you’re tired from the wedding

It always seems such a shame that so many honeymooners jump right into an adrenaline-pumping safari when they’re still tired from the wedding and, more often than not, an exhausting overnight flight or two. So, wherever we can, we try to tempt our guests on a safari honeymoon to spend a day or two relaxing before they head off on their adventure. Here’s our pick of places to really relax…

Ras Kutani Honeymoon Relaxation

Lie back and relax at Ras Kutani

Ras Kutani– This ultra laid-back beach lodge is just a 20 minute light aircraft hop south of Dar es Salaam, so if your priority is to get your feet in the sand as quickly as possible it should be top of your list. There isn’t masses to do here except eat, sleep, snooze with your book and take a dip in the Indian Ocean. Ideal preparation for a safari in the Ruaha or Selous Game Reserve.

Wildwaters Lodge

Tub for two overlooking the Nile? Could be worse

Wildwaters– most people come to this luxury lodge beside the Nile for the excellent white water rafting that Jinja has to offer, however, the truth is that this tiny private island seems much better suited to doing nothing at all. The bathtubs out on the deck of your room are seriously romantic, and a dip in the pool just inches from the rapids would certainly be a great start to making life-long memories together. Follow this on with more magic with gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park.

Tongabezi Honeymoon

Sundowners on the Zambezi? Yes please.

Tongabezi– this charming, rustic lodge on the banks of the Zambezi is one of our dream spots to start a safari honeymoon. It just seems made for the sort of magic you don’t find elsewhere- lunar moonbows over Victoria Falls, swimming in the Devil’s Pool, and gentle early evening cruises to watch the sun set. From here, it’s an easy hop on to safari in the South Luangwa National Park.

Giraffe Manor Honeymoon

Making memories of a lifetime at Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor– OK- so this one technically does involve a little wildlife- aside from the giraffes that you’ll meet at breakfast there are also a few friendly warthogs scampering around the lawns. However, with a couple of nights here you can truly relax before the early starts and long drives of a safari in the Masai Mara.

Winelands

Wandering in the Winelands

The Winelands– South Africa’s Cape Winelands are a truly blissful spot to spend a few days, whether it’s snuggling up beside the fire on a chilly winter’s day or riding through the vineyards on a hot sunny afternoon. Staying in central Franschhoek is the place to be for buzzing restaurants and the (occasionally raucous) wine tram, but if your wedding was party enough, there are some peaceful boutique hotels tucked away in the vineyards. Afterwards use the direct flights from nearby Cape Town to get up to safari in the Okavango Delta or Kruger National Park.

A report from a Mauritian Honeymoon

Thank you!

Thank you!

From the outset, we were looking for a company with that personal touch to help us to organise our honeymoon. We wanted someone we could trust and we certainly found it with Alex and Extraordinary Africa. The booking process was extremely straightforward, after discussing the official things like country, budget and dates Alex helped to develop a better understanding of our requirements and preferences before providing us with suggestions. The documentation that she sent through to us was more than you’d get from a normal company, it came with personal tips and advice about the best rooms, or best seats on the plane something I’ve not had before and a wonderful touch that reassured us that Alex really did know the place personally. Once we had decided on the location and hotel Alex took care of the rest with her in country contacts which made the trip itself very straightforward.

P1100093 (1280x637)

A week or two before the leave date we had our seats confirmed and a handy travel size pack was delivered to our door, we found this extremely useful as it had all our holiday details in one place as well as country details and emergency contacts. From the airport everything had been organised to ensure a smooth trip for us, the airline knew it was our honeymoon (I assume Alex had told them) and offered us extra legroom seats as we checked in. When we landed in Mauritius our name was on the board and our driver waiting. It’s worth noting that I have tried to organise in country transfers in a similar fashion on a number of trips abroad myself and something has always gone wrong, not with Alex’s in country partners though. We had a  smooth, swift transport to the hotel and when we arrived at 20 Degrees Sud we couldn’t wait to walk to the paradise beyond the huge wooden gate. Our bags taken and we were seen inside, offered a complimentary welcome cocktail and their guest relations manager met us to show us around and to our room. What a place, Alex was right, beautiful, right on the beach but with the added extra of being a small boutique hotel with the personal service that comes with being so.

20 Degrees Sud

Alex had advised us on the ‘charm’ room, and it was lovely, the bed decorated with petals, a welcome basket of fresh fruit and two gifts on the bed, a lovely touch to a beautiful room. With its own patio area, a deep bath, shower room as well as an additional outdoor shower it was right next to the pool, which ensured we always got the best sun beds.

The hotel staff were very attentive without being intrusive, it was lovely to be at a hotel that just said ‘yes’ to sorting any issue we had. Our own travel adapter broke on the first day, within minutes a new one was delivered to our room. We wanted to hire a car for a couple of days sightseeing, it was delivered the next day with no fuss or issues. The food every night was excellent, we were on half board, but never found we needed lunch as breakfast was more than enough and besides  at 4pm they had tea and cakes that changed daily. A couple of nights they had live music during dinner and on the Sunday offered a change to the usual waitered service with a ‘Traditional Mauritian Dinner’, although initially concerned as we aren’t that keen on shellfish it ended up being our best meal. Fresh breads, vegetable and chicken currys, dahl-type dips, stir fry, and plenty of it, my Husband had three helpings!

20 Degrees Sud

20 Degrees Sud

So when it came to leave the hotel and island it was with a heavy heart, but again the organisation of Extraordinary Africa helped smooth the process, we got a message two days before we were due to leave to confirm our pick up time. They arrived prompt (although we almost wished they would have forgotten so we would have to have stayed!) and we were delivered to the terminal building and our bags taken inside for us.

From start to finish Alex was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. We would certainly recommend the personal service provided by Extraordinary Africa, and indeed already have. From initial discussion through to booking and even while away we were reassured to know that Alex was there if we needed her. I didn’t think that a bespoke style holiday would be something we could afford, but with Extraordinary Africa we certainly could without the need to skimp on detail or quality. Thank you Alex!

Kirstie & Ed, Wales, travelled on honeymoon to Mauritius May 2016

What it’s like visiting Zanzibar in the short rains. Trip report- November 2014

A lovely email from Faye and Alan, who’ve just got back from  a beach honeymoon in Zanzibar, where it was (allegedly) the short rainy season! Lovely reading on a chilly morning at Extraordinary Africa HQ- thanks guys!

Hi Alex 
It certainly does feel like another world over there now we’re back! We had just the best time – really interesting place and so beautiful. We found everyone really friendly and lovely too. 
Stone Town was great and a real eye opener. We had a good look around by ourselves and a big night out actually on our first night! Emerson Spice was wonderful – what a location! Thank you for the recommendation, it was the perfect start. We then want onto the bar on the seafront and had a lot of drinks with the owner of the bar, very random! Serena was amazing and so nice to arrive at after a long journey. 
Stone Town on Zanzibar

Stone Town

Shooting Star wonderful, the pool incredible and we really enjoyed the beach here. Had it to ourselves and swam in the sea for hours each day, which we loved. Only 5 cottages were in use, which was good as it meant there was plenty of space around the pool etc. 
Anna was just incredible. Our favourite place… So attentive but relaxed at the same time. And the management were great too, really helpful. Nikki said to say hi!
Zanzibar Beaches

Relaxing at Anna of Zanzibar

We went to a spice farm from Shooting Star and added in a stop at Jozani on our transfer to Anna, which worked well. The monkeys were amazing! Then we did a morning of snorkeling at Anna. Apart from the first couple of days the weather was perfect and so hot. We loved every minute and didn’t want to leave at all. 
So nice to remember it all again!! Thank you for everything, definitely somewhere we’d like to go back to and would recommend to others. Maybe with a safari first next time! 
Thanks

How to pick a honeymoon: the Extraordinary guide

Picking a honeymoon should be a fun part of the wedmin. Up there with the food tasting and working out which of your single friends you’re going to set up with each other.  However, I often have people call me agonising over how they’re going to choose the perfect honeymoon, so I’ve put together a guide to make life a little easier:

  • First and foremost- relax- it doesn’t have to be “perfect” (whatever that is)- your honeymoon will be great, wherever you go. Even if you end up in a tent on Dartmoor (nothing wrong with that- one of my favourite holidays was spent there). It’s easy to get caught up in making a honeymoon perfect, but the reality is you’ll have a great time because you’re together, whether it involves gold taps and butlers or a simple picnic under the stars.
Chitwa Chitwa Honeymoon

Chitwa Chitwa- in our honeymoon hall of fame.

  • Try to incorporate both of your interests. This might sound obvious, but I once took a call along the lines of: “My fiancée wants to go on honeymoon to Italy. Anywhere except Africa in fact. But I want to go to on safari so I’m booking it anyway.” And then a few moments later he added “By the way, this is my second marriage, so it’s really important this one goes well.” Fortunately the unwitting bride loved the honeymoon in Tanzania we planned, but trying to make sure you’re both getting a little of what you enjoy is usually the best way to ensure you both have a fabulous time.
  • Be realistic about your budget. There’s a huge pressure to push yourselves and your budget to make your honeymoon impossibly special. However, the reality is that weddings can be expensive, and there is nothing more likely to ruin the romance of a honeymoon than squabbling because you spent so much money on your hotel you can’t afford a second gin and tonic. If you’re really set on going all out, and the budget won’t quite reach, consider a honeymoon gift service instead of a conventional wedding list.
Ras Kutani, Tanzania, one of our favourite honeymoon chill-out spots

Ras Kutani, Tanzania, one of our favourite honeymoon chill-out spots

  • Make time to take it easy at least somewhere during your honeymoon. Even the most adrenaline-fuelled couples can be exhausted by a wedding, and a long-haul international flight can never be described as relaxing. Safari and beach honeymoons work especially well for this- a combination of once-in-a-lifetime adventure and a chance to properly unwind before you return to reality.
  • Be flexible. If you have a dream honeymoon in mind, and you can’t make it work right after your wedding-don’t worry. I work with plenty of people who can’t get enough time off work, or their dream destination is underwater. Taking a “mini-moon” somewhere close to home and travelling long haul at a time that works better for you can be a great solution.

Proposing this Valentine’s Day? We have just the idea for you….

Let’s face it – we’ve all sat through a thousand boring ‘and then, suddenly, he was down on one knee!’ stories. A 2014 Valentine’s proposal demands something a little more interesting. Paris is passé, and New York is just a tiny bit naff ­- with direct flights, just an hour’s time difference (two in the winter), Cape Town has world-class food and wine, Valentine’s Day sunshine, and a certain understated cool that makes your moment all yours.

Luxury holidays in Cape Town

The Mother City: what girl could say no?

If you’re waiting for the right time to propose, a long weekend in Cape Town will leave you spoiled for choice. Take a helicopter flight over the city or spirit your beloved away on a speedboat ride in the bay. Whisk her (or him) up to the Winelands for a gentle horseback trot through the vineyards and a glass of award-winning local fizz.  Cycle through the Mother City by night, or hike up Table Mountain and then, when the timing’s just right…

And – assuming the answer’s “Yes”- celebrate with canapés and sundowners on the Waterfront, a picnic amongst the penguins at Cape Point or dinner in the private art gallery at Ellerman House. So much more interesting than a glass of champagne at the Eiffel Tower – and, once you’re factoring in African prices, not that much more expensive. Who could fail to fall in love with that?

Five of the best safari honeymoons

Every time we go back to Africa, we get swept up in the romance of going on safari. There’s just something so impossibly lovely about being out in the wilderness- magnificent animals, incredible starscapes, and sunsets to die for. Safari is a perfect adventure to start your lives together, and having been on a fair few, we’ve picked a handful of our favourite safari honeymoon spots.