Outside my window it’s cold and stormy and miserable (um, hello Durban, where is the sunshine?) so it’s the perfect time to look indoors for some swoony honeymoon inspiration. Because let’s be honest, you’re going to spend a fair amount of your honeymoon IN the bedroom, right? These ten suites from South African hotels are the bees knees and the cat’s miaow – they’re luxe, they’re atmospheric (often taking in absolutely breathtaking scenery), and most of all they’re super, super romantic. Start dreaming. (And PS, grooms take note – they’d also make for a hell of a proposal/anniversary surprise!)
1. Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge, North West Province
Set in the middle of the Madikwe Game Reserve, home to the Big Five as well as 60 other mammal species, all the Madikwe Hills suites are super luxurious with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, muslin draped beds and slate-clad chimneys for cosy fires on chilly nights. The Honeymoon Suite is set high on a hill, and has both a private plunge pool and a claw-foot bathtub built into a concealed outdoor corner – who needs game drives when you have a view of elephants at the waterhole as you soak?
2. Views Boutique Hotel & Spa, Wilderness
Views is all about the… well, views – with huge glass windows and light, tranquil decor, it almost feels like you’re part of the sea and sky. As well as a Penthouse Suite, there are five honeymoon suites, each with private balconies for champagne breakfasts, under-floor heating and free standing bathtubs with picture perfect vistas of whales and dolphins frolicking in the waves below. Wow.
3. Kapama Karula, Limpopo
This tranquil, luxurious lodge in the Kapama Private Game Reserve, is the perfect safari honeymoon hideaway. The superior suites are perfect for honeymooners – I love the mellow open plan feel, including ensuite bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers, his and her basins and bath. Outside the glass sliding doors, are private decks with panoramic views of the Klaserie River, full-size heated swimming pools and sunloungers, while indoors you’ll find a gas heated fireplace, a Nespresso machine, and a minibar stocked with champagne. What more could a pair of lovebirds want?
4. Bushmans Kloof Lodge, Cedarberg
Bushmans Kloof is an absolutely gorgeous honeymoon destination – a wilderness lodge set in amongst the ancient sandstone landscape of the Cedarberg (it also made our list of most romantic tables for two). The Riverside Suite has its own heated infinity pool (just look at that view!), a spacious master suite complete with wood and stone finishes and luxury linens, and a separate living room with fireplace and flatscreen.
5. The Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga
I’m a big fan of this elegant oceanside property, and while any of its rooms would be a perfect honeymoon treat, its presidential suite (which was booked by Princess Charlene and Prince Albert for their honeymoon), is quite something. Needless to say, the decor is plush, the views are amazing, and there are even his and hers bathrooms (decked out in lavish marble, of course). There’s a private lounge, a private rim-flow pool, a dining room that seats up to eight guests, a private bar and kitchen, and a private outdoor deck overlooking the sea. You get the idea – it’s huge, and it’s private. Honeymoon bliss- even if you don’t have the paparazzi on your tail.
6. Amanzi Island Lodge, Knysna
The Knysna Lagoon is one of the jewels in South Africa’s crown, and this gorgeous lodge on Leisure Isle is the perfect way to experience it. The honeymoon suite has a deck with spectacular views of the lagoon and the Knysna heads, an extra-long king size bed, and a double shower in the ensuite bathroom. It’s a tranquil place to chill in between sunning yourself on the white sand beach or eating in one of Knysna’s fantastic restaurants (not that you need an aphrodisiac, but be sure to try their famous oysters).
7. The Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town
Not just a great wedding venue, but an internationally renowned hotel and spa, the Twelve Apostles must have one of the most beautiful situations in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I mean, just look at the view from that bathtub, right? Wherever you look, you’ll see towering mountain or Atlantic sea. But of all the honeymoon-worthy rooms and suites, the Presidential Suite stands out as the ultimate luxurious indulgence – all 151 square metres of bedroom, bathroom(s), study and wraparound terrace. There’s a free-standing antique marble bath, Italian chandeliers, mosaics and carved panels in the walls. You’ll feel like a pair of movie stars.
8. Londolozi Game Reserve, Kruger
There’s a reason why Londolozi is still one of SA’s best-known private game reserves – not just for its pioneering ecotourism but for its gorgeous accommodation. The Private Granite Suites are ideal for honeymooners – secluded spaces decorated in silver and charcoal, with huge doors opening onto the Sand River and a private, heated swimming pool. Candlelight swims under the African night sky are a must.
9. Lion Sands Game Reserve, Kruger
Another fantastic safari honeymoon option, this lodge on the Sabie River is the kind of place where you can relax completely, knowing your every need has been anticipated and taken care of. You may recognise it from the 2011 season of The Bachelor. The Tinga Lodge luxury suites have outdoor showers, wooden decks (with both covered and open areas) and private plunge pools. But the ultimate for me is a night in one of the treehouses, platforms set high above the plains – about as close to sleeping in the middle of the open African bush as you’d ever want to get.
10. Grootbos, Western Cape
This five star lodge near Hermanus has been getting some amazing press lately, and when you combine their rustic coastal setting and exclusive accommodation. The Garden Suites nestled into the Milkwood Forest are a top pick for honeymooners, since they are private and freestanding, and offer bedroom, ensuite bathroom, lounge with fireplace, private deck and pool.
All images from properties’ websites/media.