Tongabezi photo at Livingstone Island Zambia
Not only does Alex from Extraordinary Africa take all of the stress of planning off your shoulders you also don’t need to worry that you may have booked a dud as it is all tried and tested. Alex has some amazing anecdotal stories of trips that she has planned in the past, I particularly like this one… “My favourite proposal trip was one I planned quite recently – we arranged for the couple to hire an entire hot air balloon for themselves. As they were coming down to land, we had the whole staff of the safari lodge lined up with a huge sheet, on which they’d written “Will you marry me?” Needless to say, the lucky girl said yes!”
Governors Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
However using Extraordinary Africa is not cheap, with the typical African honeymoon starting at around £3,500 per person for two weeks, so I asked Alex to put together some points of advice for those planning their honeymoons themselves and here are her top five tips.
Bush dinner at Elephant Pepper Masai Mara Kenya
- Don’t try to rush it! One of the biggest pitfalls I find is exhausted brides thinking that they want to rush right off on honeymoon after the wedding. Often though, it’s much nicer to spend the day after saying a leisurely goodbye, and fly off that evening or the following morning. Some people even take a mini-moon for a few days right after the wedding and then go on honeymoon a few months later. This can often work well if your dream honeymoon destination doesn’t have ideal weather at the time you’re getting married.
Echo Beach Hotel, Zanzibar
- Think about building a few days R & R in at the start. Activity and relaxation honeymoons are really popular (99% of the honeymoons I do have some combination of safari and chilling out afterwards) and a lot of people think they want to jump right into the action and relax afterwards. But the stress of a wedding plus a long flight doesn’t always leave you bursting with energy. Sometimes it’s better to split the relaxation portion of your trip and relax at the start (at somewhere like Tongabezi – in the photo above) and at the end.
Kaya Mawa, Lake Malawi, Malawi
- Go bespoke. Most people don’t do an off the peg wedding, and it’s equally easy to personalise a honeymoon so it’s just right for the two of you. Tailor-made honeymoons are easy to arrange and should mean you get exactly what you want. Look for an advisor who’s actually been to the country (or countries) you want to go to, and can make it perfect, just for you! If you’ve always dreamed of a dawn hot air balloon flight, dinner under the stars, or snuggling up with your beloved in a luxury treehouse, this is the time to do it! Best of all, a tailor made honeymoon shouldn’t cost any more than a package of the same standard.
Elephant Pepper Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
- Be realistic about what you enjoy. It’s really, really important to be honest with yourselves about what you’d love. Don’t hold out for a boutique hotel if you really love having 4 or 5 restaurants to pick from in your hotel. Equally, I do a lot of safaris- if you love the romance of sleeping under canvas or in the open air- great, but if you’ll find yourselves lying awake all night petrified by the noises, a lodge might be better suited. This is your honeymoon- so it’s important to make sure you have fun!
Ibo Island Lodge, Quirimbas, Mozambique
- Consider a honeymoon gift list. Lots of people already have everything they need to start a house together. In fact, there are a few couples who might have a little too much stuff- perhaps the odd dodgy bit of a furniture or a guitar that might get “lost” next time you move. So, it’s worth looking at having a honeymoon gift list, where your friends and family can contribute towards giving you an extra special time.
Joys Camp, Shaba National Park, Kenya
Right… I’m off to try and convince my husband that a second honeymoon is a good idea!