Whether you’ve been saving for the entirety of your relationship or asked wedding guests to contribute to a vacation fund, your honeymoon is the perfect excuse to go big. Enter: a safari. Luxury lodges, gorgeous savannah sunsets, and incredible wildlife are just a few of the highlights of this bucket-list trip. And while Africa remains the quintessential destination for a safari, there are alternative places, like Sri Lanka, that offer equally amazing experiences. With that in mind, here are six of the best honeymoon safaris to add to your bucket list.
If you want to combine a safari experience with some of Africa’s most stunning beaches, then Tanzania is the place to go. First, take in the dramatic scenery of the Serengeti — stunning prairies and vast skies will impress during drives through the region. There are plenty of reasons why Tanzania is one of the most popular safari destinations on the continent, and a game drive that puts you in close proximity to lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes, as well as presents incredible sights of wildebeest herds making their annual migration, is a major one. After the safari, tack on some beach time in Zanzibar at a resort like the Melia Zanzibar. Here, the pristine white sand, arching palm trees, and deep blue sea provide the perfect backdrop for reminiscing about your recent wedding.
2. Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park
You’ve just tied the knot, and you’re sure there’s nothing cuter than your partner — at least until you catch a glimpse of a baby gorilla during a safari in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Nicknamed ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda is a country of lush, thick forests, mountainous volcanic peaks, and diverse wildlife. Among the thick foliage of Volcanoes National Park, you’ll be led on guided treks that show the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda in their natural environment. While Rwanda may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of honeymoon safaris, those who seek a deeper connection to nature will find just that among the jungle that the gorillas call home.
South Africa’s most famous park, Kruger National Park, is a honeymooner’s dream, thanks to its luxe safari packages that attach equal importance to romance and pampering as the wildlife. The well-equipped national park offers a wealth of safari options, including self-driving tours for adventurous couples who wish to head into the wild alone. Aside from seeing the big five, great lakes, thrashing rivers, and breathtaking plains, visitors can also head out on hikes with knowledgeable guides for company.
An alternative to the great plains of Kruger National Park and the Serengeti, Botswana’s Okavango Delta offers a land and water safari that highlights amazing wildlife and the incredible natural ecosystem of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed floodplain. As you meander through and past lagoons, marshlands, swamps, rivers, and woodlands, you’ll spot hippos, giraffes, hyenas, lions, and elephants. If you want to start and end your day by being pampered with spa treatments, private plunge pools, and first-class service, book a stay at the luxurious, yet rustic, andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp.
If you don’t want to travel to Africa, Sri Lanka offers equally spectacular safari experiences. An island off the southern coast of India, Sri Lanka is packed with dense, forested wilderness, which forms the basis of the country’s government-run national parks. One top spot for a honeymoon safari is Yala National Park, where the native wildlife matches much of what you’ll find in Africa. From elephants, leopards, and buffaloes to spotted deer, bears, and slow-moving sloths, there’s plenty to see. And that’s to say nothing of the beautiful scenery. In addition to safaris, Sri Lanka also delivers on beautiful beaches. Staying at Uga Chena Huts, located just minutes from Yala National Park, is the best way to make the most of both. Here, guests can enjoy luxe personal huts with plunge pools and freestanding tubs, as well as access to a private beach. The property also employs knowledgeable rangers to lead daily safaris to different parts of the park.
6. Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve
In what is known as the Great Migration, more than a million wildebeest make their way from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya in search of greener pastures. The most incredible sightings can be found in Maasai Mara National Reserve, where the creatures must navigate the crocodile- and hippo-infested Mara River and contend with lions and hyenas on the other side. The best time to see this massive move is from July through October.
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