Honeymoon Series – South Africa

Possibly the best part of planning a wedding for travel addicts is deciding where to go on the honeymoon!! Jay and I have been tossing around ideas for potential honeymoon trips for probably two years, but in the next few months we’re going to actually have to pick just one. We’re both dreaming big and seeing this celebration as an opportunity to splurge and take a trip we might otherwise right off as too expensive or  not easily achievable using just points and miles.

With that said, I’ll be writing a mini honeymoon series of posts about each destination. These posts will feature positives, negatives, estimated costs, and our general thoughts about each location.

Honeymoon Series

First, I took a look at a Mediterranean Cruise. Next up in the series is a trip to South Africa!

Overview:

For this post, I’m focusing on just one location: Cape Town. This city on the southern tip of Africa offers beautiful beaches, mountain views, and local wineries. It’s also within a four hour drive of a few different safaris / game lodges that give you a chance to see wildlife normally only found in zoos.

Our perfect honeymoon would be a mix of a few nights in the city, a few nights at a beach resort, and a few nights at a game lodge. However, with this destination you can easily pick and choose from the various vacation styles for a completely customized experience.

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Positives:

  • Access to beaches, city life, and safaris
  • No visa required for US Citizens visiting less than 90 days
  • A chance to see the Big 5 African animals (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) in the wild

Negatives:

  • Lengthy amount of travel time to get there
  • Might need vaccinations
  • Rental car required to visit wineries / safaris

Estimated Costs:

Since there are options to either pay cash or use points/miles for the flights and hotels, I’ll include details for both in my charts below. We would most likely use a mix so we’re not wiping out our points/miles balances or spending a fortune. I’m estimating 7 nights total for our trip. However, we’d split that up into at least two different hotels/resorts to experience more of the area.

Flights:

Despite plenty of searching, we were only able to come up with a few feasible flight options from the Northeast United States to Cape Town. After an hour, I was getting frustrated and annoyed and I wasn’t even the one doing all the work!

Airline From Layover Cost Miles
South African Airways (22 hours)  JFK Johannesburg $986 80,000 United miles  + $85 taxes
KLM Airlines / Air France (22 hours) Washington D.C. Amsterdam $1,103 80,000 Flying Blue (Air France) miles + $361 taxes
KLM Airlines (21 hours)
Air France (23 hours) – return
JFK
Cape Town
Amsterdam
Paris
$1,291 80,000 Flying Blue (Air France) miles + $361 taxes

 

Hotels:

There are a surprising number of American hotel chains to choose from in Cape Town. Marriott, especially had a large number of options. I only skipped them in my list below because neither Jay or I currently have any Marriott points.

In addition to the chains, there are endless local options. If you want a safari or beach experience, a local hotel/resort seemed the way to go.

Hotel Chain Location Cost (7 nights) Points (7 nights)
 The Westin Cape Town City center, Near the docks ~1,400 USD 60,000 (10,000/night – 1 night free)
 Hilton Cape Town City center ~1,460 USD 350,000 (50,000/night)
 Gondwana Game Reserve 4 hours from Cape Town ~ 3,262 USD N/A – includes breakfast and safaris
 Lagoon Beach Hotel Milnerton (10 min drive)  ~819 USD N/A

african-safari-2-1372235-1600x1200

 

Activities:

Name Cost Description
 Table Mountain Cable Car  $15 round trip  Hike or take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain
 SABP Winelands Tour  $65 / person  Guided tour of a few Cape Town wineries (includes tastings and lunch)
 Inverdoorn Day Safari  $95 / person  2.5 hour drive from Cape Town – 3 hour safari (includes lunch)

Overall Thoughts:

We’ve talked about a trip to South Africa on and off for the past year, placed it on our bucket lists, and even looked up flight and hotel options. However, for some reason it’s never felt like a feasible vacation. It’s quite far away, which means a lot of flying time and a lot of vacation days to make the trip worthwhile. It’s also a more relaxed, beach-y destination, which I tend to avoid. Ironically, both of those reasons actually make it a great option for an out of the ordinary honeymoon!


2 thoughts on “Honeymoon Series – South Africa

  1. Oh, South Africa would be so neat but the flight time is a huge downside. (On the upside, more time to read?!) But I bet it’d be a great experience!

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