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.
First, I took a look at a Mediterranean Cruise. Next up in the series is a trip to South Africa!
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.
- 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
- Lengthy amount of travel time to get there
- Might need vaccinations
- Rental car required to visit wineries / safaris
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.
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!
|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
|$1,291||80,000 Flying Blue (Air France) miles + $361 taxes|
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|
|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)|
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!
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!
Ha such a good way to look at a long flight! I’d have to bring lots and lots of books along…