This dazzle of zebra is wetting its whistle near Onguma The Fort.

Namibia & South Africa Honeymoon Safari | Stargazing, Skybeds, Winelands & Sunset Cruises | 12 Nights Etosha National Park, Sossusvlei Region, Franschhoek & Cape Town

A honeymoon safari in Namibia and South Africa that takes in both the vast expanse of Etosha and the orderly vineyards of the Cape Winelands provides the ideal backdrop for romance, and you’re bound to return home more in love than ever – with Namibia, South Africa and each other.

  • The still immensity of Etosha and the intense colours and curvaceous forms of Sossusvlei provide a complete contrast to the gentler landscapes in the Cape Winelands and the delightful maritime vibe of Cape Town.
  • Opportunities for exceptional wildlife viewing while waterhole hopping and from hides in Etosha; to explore the intense beauty of the Sossusvlei dunes on foot and by hot-air balloon; to spend a day in the Cape Winelands in Franschhoek; and to explore the Cape Peninsula, scuba dive with seals and embark on a taste odyssey in the culinary capital of Cape Town.
  • A unique fort-style lodge in Etosha, a luxury lodge close to Sossusvlei and two superlative South African hotels – one a boutique, countryside affair and the other a model of understated elegance between the city and the ocean. For more information see Onguma The Fort, Little Kulala, Le Quartier Français and Cape Grace.

Three nights at Onguma The Fort

We were delighted to find a fastness in the vastness of Etosha – from the moment we spotted the viewing tower of Onguma The Fort standing proud above the level landscapes of northern Namibia, we felt like the king (and queen) of the castle. Arriving in the afternoon gave us time to settle into our honeymoon suite and watch a succession of animals come to drink at the waterhole, before climbing to the tower’s viewing deck for what we were told was the best sunset in Namibia. As it was our first, we had no real benchmark, but it would take some beating.The landscape may have been desiccated, but our guide’s energy and passion transformed our day of waterhole hopping in Etosha into a drama more gripping than any movie. Zebra, giraffe and springbok laid siege to the permanent springs and waterholes which ring the pan, but their evident relief at finding water was clearly tempered by the anxiety of not knowing which bush or rock might conceal a lion. We did see one kill – a jackal raced out of nowhere and seized a hapless guinea fowl, which could only scold feebly in protest. Our own starlit dinner was much more romantic than the jackal’s.An interpretative nature walk around the lodge gave us the chance to appreciate its unique castle-like architecture from every angle, and learn more about the animals who’d been to drink the night before. Our guide led us to the water-level hide, from where we saw our first black rhino – a rather mediaeval-looking creature in his suit of armour. After a chilled afternoon, we spent the evening in raptures gazing at the stars. We made up constellations and wrote star-crossed poems in the sky. I realised just how happy I was when I saw a shooting star, and could think of nothing to wish for.

We were delighted to find a fastness in the vastness of Etosha – from the moment we spotted the viewing tower of Onguma The Fort standing proud above the level landscapes of northern Namibia, we felt like the king (and queen) of the castle. Arriving in the afternoon gave us time to settle into our honeymoon suite and watch a succession of animals come to drink at the waterhole, before climbing to the tower’s viewing deck for what we were told was the best sunset in Namibia. As it was our first, we had no real benchmark, but it would take some beating.

The landscape may have been desiccated, but our guide’s energy and passion transformed our day of waterhole hopping in Etosha into a drama more gripping than any movie. Zebra, giraffe and springbok laid siege to the permanent springs and waterholes which ring the pan, but their evident relief at finding water was clearly tempered by the anxiety of not knowing which bush or rock might conceal a lion. We did see one kill – a jackal raced out of nowhere and seized a hapless guinea fowl, which could only scold feebly in protest. Our own starlit dinner was much more romantic than the jackal’s.

An interpretative nature walk around the lodge gave us the chance to appreciate its unique castle-like architecture from every angle, and learn more about the animals who’d been to drink the night before. Our guide led us to the water-level hide, from where we saw our first black rhino – a rather mediaeval-looking creature in his suit of armour. After a chilled afternoon, we spent the evening in raptures gazing at the stars. We made up constellations and wrote star-crossed poems in the sky. I realised just how happy I was when I saw a shooting star, and could think of nothing to wish for.

Three nights at Little Kulala

We’d already learned that flying over Namibia was just as much part of the safari experience as the game drives and walking safaris, but nothing could have prepared us for this astonishing sea of red dunes that seemed go on forever.Little Kulala was not only the closest luxury lodge to the impressive Sossusvlei dunes, but it had access via a private gate, meaning that we could beat everyone but the rising sun to this most photogenic of places. The lodge was also the perfect blend of eco-sensitivity and comfort, allowing us to completely relax. We spent our first afternoon on a guided walking safari, to get a closer look at the almost-lunar landscape around us, and to meet some of the remarkable creatures that manage to live in what looked at first to be an unforgiving environment.Our visit to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei began before dawn the next day, as the sun dispelled the shadows to reveal the towering dunes. When our guide mentioned that one was known as Big Daddy, it was as though he’d shown a rag the colour of the sand to a bull! We tried to charge up its flank on foot, but soon sank into the deliciously soft sand. We caught our breath – and views over the endless dunes – from the summit, before tumbling down again, hearts and boots both full. We’d never felt more alive than we did later that morning, walking hand in hand between the skeletal trees of Deadvlei.A second early start saw us take to the skies in a hot-air balloon over the Namib Desert. Drifting silently along, we followed the voluptuous forms of the dunes with our eyes. At one point, we spotted an oryx – seemingly completely alone – climbing a dune with rather more finesse than we’d shown. After a champagne breakfast amid golden grasses, we meandered slowly back to the lodge to find that our private rooftop viewing platform had been converted into the most wonderful open-air starlit bedroom. More bubbly and yet another gorgeous Namibian sunset awaited us, and all was well.

We’d already learned that flying over Namibia was just as much part of the safari experience as the game drives and walking safaris, but nothing could have prepared us for this astonishing sea of red dunes that seemed go on forever.

Little Kulala was not only the closest luxury lodge to the impressive Sossusvlei dunes, but it had access via a private gate, meaning that we could beat everyone but the rising sun to this most photogenic of places. The lodge was also the perfect blend of eco-sensitivity and comfort, allowing us to completely relax. We spent our first afternoon on a guided walking safari, to get a closer look at the almost-lunar landscape around us, and to meet some of the remarkable creatures that manage to live in what looked at first to be an unforgiving environment.

Our visit to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei began before dawn the next day, as the sun dispelled the shadows to reveal the towering dunes. When our guide mentioned that one was known as Big Daddy, it was as though he’d shown a rag the colour of the sand to a bull! We tried to charge up its flank on foot, but soon sank into the deliciously soft sand. We caught our breath – and views over the endless dunes – from the summit, before tumbling down again, hearts and boots both full. We’d never felt more alive than we did later that morning, walking hand in hand between the skeletal trees of Deadvlei.

A second early start saw us take to the skies in a hot-air balloon over the Namib Desert. Drifting silently along, we followed the voluptuous forms of the dunes with our eyes. At one point, we spotted an oryx – seemingly completely alone – climbing a dune with rather more finesse than we’d shown. After a champagne breakfast amid golden grasses, we meandered slowly back to the lodge to find that our private rooftop viewing platform had been converted into the most wonderful open-air starlit bedroom. More bubbly and yet another gorgeous Namibian sunset awaited us, and all was well.

Two nights at Le Quartier Français

The plane that brought us into Cape Town was the largest we’d been in for a few days, and gave us our first views of Table Mountain, the massif that would stand sentinel over the Fairest Cape and the second part of our honeymoon safari.The sudden, soothing greenness of the Cape Winelands, the serried rows of vines and the carefully-tended gardens of Le Quartier Français spoke of calmness and order – but also promised experiences just as thrilling as those we’d enjoyed in the desert. This was the perfect setting in which to indulge, and we began with a sensational couple’s massage, followed by an early dinner in the informal tapas-style second restaurant. During our private screening of Gone with the Wind in the hotel cinema, my partner leaned across and whispered, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn if we never go home’.A day in the iconic Cape Winelands is made even more enjoyable when you have a chauffeur, and our designated driver shared with us the fascinating history of the refugees-turned-winemakers who’d founded Franschhoek. He professed a fondness for South Africa’s own red wine, Pinotage, and as this was new to us, we focused on visiting the cellars where we could try it. Sunshine, wine and be mine forever. I hadn’t told my partner that I’d booked us a table in the hotel’s world-class La Petite Colombe restaurant, where the food was every bit as magical as the wines we chose to go with it.

The plane that brought us into Cape Town was the largest we’d been in for a few days, and gave us our first views of Table Mountain, the massif that would stand sentinel over the Fairest Cape and the second part of our honeymoon safari.

The sudden, soothing greenness of the Cape Winelands, the serried rows of vines and the carefully-tended gardens of Le Quartier Français spoke of calmness and order – but also promised experiences just as thrilling as those we’d enjoyed in the desert. This was the perfect setting in which to indulge, and we began with a sensational couple’s massage, followed by an early dinner in the informal tapas-style second restaurant. During our private screening of Gone with the Wind in the hotel cinema, my partner leaned across and whispered, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn if we never go home’.

A day in the iconic Cape Winelands is made even more enjoyable when you have a chauffeur, and our designated driver shared with us the fascinating history of the refugees-turned-winemakers who’d founded Franschhoek. He professed a fondness for South Africa’s own red wine, Pinotage, and as this was new to us, we focused on visiting the cellars where we could try it. Sunshine, wine and be mine forever. I hadn’t told my partner that I’d booked us a table in the hotel’s world-class La Petite Colombe restaurant, where the food was every bit as magical as the wines we chose to go with it.

Four nights at Cape Grace

As we headed for the city, the tablecloth of white cloud lying over the mountain lifted and we saw Cape Town much as we imagined the first settlers must have done, and we were filled with the same sense of promise.From our step-out balcony, we looked over the yacht masts swaying gently in the marina. We were in the heart of the port of Cape Town, and yet being on private quay, the Cape Grace maintained a dignified distance from the hustle and bustle. We took advantage of the hotel’s chauffeur service and the clear blue skies, and headed for Table Mountain. It looked even more daunting a climb than Big Daddy, so we opted instead for the cable car and soon we were swaying gently too, looking down into the City Bowl and out to the infamous Robben Island.The hotel staff spoiled us discreetly, with romantic turndowns and delightful surprises at every turn. We were also spoilt for choice when it came to new adventures, whether snorkelling with seals or heading along the coast to Hermanus to look for larger marine mammals. We already knew we’d be back, so instead took a stroll around the V&A Waterfront, listening to the seagulls and snatches of conversation in a dozen different languages. The salt tang in the air gave us the urge to head out to sea, and the hotel’s luxury yacht, well-stocked with oysters and bubbles, proved just the ticket for a sunset cruise.Finding a book in our room about the history of the Cape was all it took to make us want to explore; one call to the concierge and our private tour of the Cape Peninsula was arranged. It was a wonderful day out – all the best bits of a childhood holiday by the sea combined with more grown-up pursuits. The day passed in a glittering parade of shipwrecks and lighthouses; rugged cliffs and breaking waves; ice creams and windswept selfies. Our driver was a fount of knowledge, and his tales of maritime adventures and mishaps competed with the spectacular scenery for our attention.Knowing that we’d found ourselves in one of the world’s epicurean capitals gave us a real appetite to explore. A short drive brought us into the city, where we began our gourmet tour at a steampunk espresso bar. Asking the barista for her recommendations yielded the sort of information only the locals know, and we were soon tracking down intriguing flavours in converted industrial buildings and shady gardens. Cape Town’s food scene was clearly thriving, and we loved the pride taken in using local ingredients. Back at the hotel, after a Bascule bar toast to our honeymoon, we slowly turned our thoughts homewards.

As we headed for the city, the tablecloth of white cloud lying over the mountain lifted and we saw Cape Town much as we imagined the first settlers must have done, and we were filled with the same sense of promise.

From our step-out balcony, we looked over the yacht masts swaying gently in the marina. We were in the heart of the port of Cape Town, and yet being on private quay, the Cape Grace maintained a dignified distance from the hustle and bustle. We took advantage of the hotel’s chauffeur service and the clear blue skies, and headed for Table Mountain. It looked even more daunting a climb than Big Daddy, so we opted instead for the cable car and soon we were swaying gently too, looking down into the City Bowl and out to the infamous Robben Island.

The hotel staff spoiled us discreetly, with romantic turndowns and delightful surprises at every turn. We were also spoilt for choice when it came to new adventures, whether snorkelling with seals or heading along the coast to Hermanus to look for larger marine mammals. We already knew we’d be back, so instead took a stroll around the V&A Waterfront, listening to the seagulls and snatches of conversation in a dozen different languages. The salt tang in the air gave us the urge to head out to sea, and the hotel’s luxury yacht, well-stocked with oysters and bubbles, proved just the ticket for a sunset cruise.

Finding a book in our room about the history of the Cape was all it took to make us want to explore; one call to the concierge and our private tour of the Cape Peninsula was arranged. It was a wonderful day out – all the best bits of a childhood holiday by the sea combined with more grown-up pursuits. The day passed in a glittering parade of shipwrecks and lighthouses; rugged cliffs and breaking waves; ice creams and windswept selfies. Our driver was a fount of knowledge, and his tales of maritime adventures and mishaps competed with the spectacular scenery for our attention.

Knowing that we’d found ourselves in one of the world’s epicurean capitals gave us a real appetite to explore. A short drive brought us into the city, where we began our gourmet tour at a steampunk espresso bar. Asking the barista for her recommendations yielded the sort of information only the locals know, and we were soon tracking down intriguing flavours in converted industrial buildings and shady gardens. Cape Town’s food scene was clearly thriving, and we loved the pride taken in using local ingredients. Back at the hotel, after a Bascule bar toast to our honeymoon, we slowly turned our thoughts homewards.

What sets it apart

If marriage is a journey, then ours began with an incredible voyage. Now that we’d both found our ideal travelling companion, we couldn’t have chosen better destinations for our first post-nuptial voyage than Namibia and South Africa.Each destination spoke to us during this special period in our lives. The shimmery shiny, beautiful briny Etosha Pan was – to our eyes – not so much empty as full of promise. Our guide explained how after the summer rains it becomes a shallow, temporary lake, and we immediately added seeing that to our bucket list.The colours and forms of the Naukluft Mountains and iconic red dunes of Sossusvlei made us appreciate the beauty all around us anew, and the visuals were so intense that they almost obliged us to pause and drink in the scenery.Our time in Franschhoek and Cape Town was equally sensuous, as we explored new landscapes and languages of taste. Our playfulness returned, and we giggled like school children when one sommelier asked us to describe each other as though we were wines. It was these joyful moments – some eagerly anticipated, others completely unexpected – that set this honeymoon safari apart from other trips we’d taken.It’s hard to imagine any other trip that could begin on the shores of a temporary lake and end by the ocean, via ambushes and rosebushes, grapevines and canines. Truly we felt like we’d both had our (wedding) cake and eaten it, and it was just as delicious as every other meal we enjoyed on our honeymoon safari.

If marriage is a journey, then ours began with an incredible voyage. Now that we’d both found our ideal travelling companion, we couldn’t have chosen better destinations for our first post-nuptial voyage than Namibia and South Africa.

Each destination spoke to us during this special period in our lives. The shimmery shiny, beautiful briny Etosha Pan was – to our eyes – not so much empty as full of promise. Our guide explained how after the summer rains it becomes a shallow, temporary lake, and we immediately added seeing that to our bucket list.

The colours and forms of the Naukluft Mountains and iconic red dunes of Sossusvlei made us appreciate the beauty all around us anew, and the visuals were so intense that they almost obliged us to pause and drink in the scenery.

Our time in Franschhoek and Cape Town was equally sensuous, as we explored new landscapes and languages of taste. Our playfulness returned, and we giggled like school children when one sommelier asked us to describe each other as though we were wines. It was these joyful moments – some eagerly anticipated, others completely unexpected – that set this honeymoon safari apart from other trips we’d taken.

It’s hard to imagine any other trip that could begin on the shores of a temporary lake and end by the ocean, via ambushes and rosebushes, grapevines and canines. Truly we felt like we’d both had our (wedding) cake and eaten it, and it was just as delicious as every other meal we enjoyed on our honeymoon safari.

Day 1–3

Enjoy sundowners in the bush near Onguma The Fort. © Onguma

You’ll be met as you disembark from your international flight at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, and assisted through customs and immigration. After a scheduled flight to Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, Namibia, you’ll take a transfer to Eros Airport, also in Windhoek, and a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Etosha. A transfer will then take you to Onguma The Fort, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 4–6

The pans near Little Kulala are often bone dry, like Deadvlei. © Wilderness Safaris

After a transfer from Onguma The Fort to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Sossusvlei. A transfer will then take you to Little Kulala, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 7–8

Le Quartier Français is centrally located in Franschhoek. © Leeu Collection

After a transfer from Little Kulala to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Windhoek, and a scheduled flight to Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, South Africa. A transfer will then take you to Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, where you’ll spend two nights.

Day 9–12

Cape Grace overlooks a yacht marina. © Cape Grace

A transfer will take you from Le Quartier Français to Cape Grace in Cape Town, where you’ll spend four nights.

Day 13

South Africa is famous for its big-cat sightings. © Andrew Schoeman

After a private transfer from Cape Grace to the airport, a scheduled flight will take you to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, to connect with your international flight.

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