I received so many questions about our honeymoon and I promised those who asked that I would write a blog post with all the details so here it is finally. We had an incredible time. It was a trip of a lifetime and we have memories that we will cherish forever.
First up, we did not organise all of it solo. We had the wonderful help of ‘Tropical Sky’ and more specifically Rosin Carbery who was just a dream to work with. ‘Tropical Sky’ was recommended to me by a close friend. They were incredible and put so much effort in. Everything that they organised ran smoothly. Transport transfers were waiting for us on arrival and all the hotel staff met us with such a warm welcome having already been informed that it was our honeymoon by Tropical Sky. So that is my first recommendation; go with a travel agent. Planning for a wedding is time consuming enough. Welcome the experts and pay that bit extra for the ease that it brings, you only have one honeymoon. Nonetheless, be prepared there is a lot of effort in planning such a big trip even with a travel agent. I clocked up five hours on the phone with Rosin so we got to know each other very well.
Choosing the destination:
We had no idea where to go. We knew we wanted a mixture of relaxation but also activity. We had Mauritius or the Maldives in mind but struggled to pick the second destination. We asked our loved ones and so many people recommended South Africa. It was never a country I planned to visit before but we are both so glad we did now, it was incredible.
*For anyone planning a honeymoon I just encourage you to be mindful of the Zika virus as some of you may be planning a family and it is widespread at the moment. A six month time frame is required in between visiting a country with the Zika virus and attempting to conceive.
We flew from Dublin to Dubai to Cape Town. In total, the journey was fourteen hours. The journey from Ireland is gruelling but manageable. During our whole trip we took seven flights so by the time we got home we are happy to have holidays in Ireland for a while. We spent five days in Cape Town. While it was hectic as we wanted to get everything in, it was enough time to see most things.
Where we Stayed:
We stayed in ‘The Twelve Apostles Hotel’ while in Cape Town. It was so lovely; the hotel staff were so accommodating and spoilt us with champagne and roses every night. We had to leave some bottles of champagne behind us because we couldn’t keep up with them. The hotel has the comfiest beds, a lovely spa and overlooks the sea. The food was also amazing. I highly recommend it.
Tours and Day Trips:
On the first day we got up at 5 AM and hiked Table Mountain. It was an experience I will never forget. We booked it with ‘Hike Table Mountain’. I will link it below. We did the India Venster Route. I recommend having a guide, first of all for safety but also because their knowledge of the best routes, places for photos and the wildlife makes it more enjoyable. Watching the sunrise while climbing with the love of my life beside me is something I will never forget (as soppy as it sounds). The climb takes about three hours but is relatively easy and manageable for all fitness levels. We hiked up and got the cable car down.
The second day we booked a private tour guide who was a lovely lady named Tanya. Tanya literally drove us around for the entire day and brought us to all the amazing spots. These included; Lion’s head, Cape Point, Boulders Beach and lovely little villages with nice pastries and markets. We did the ‘2 Oceans Half Peninsula Tour’ I will link her website below. The little penguins in Boulders Beach were so cute. Tanya knew all the locals and we really got a sense that we were experiencing all the different parts of South Africa. She was so informative about the country’s history which was also so interesting. I highly recommend this tour if you want to fit a lot in on one day.
Ian surprised me with a helicopter ride over Cape Town which was just incredible and such a treat. Ian booked this through ‘Water Front Helicopter Tours’ linked below. As this was towards the end of the trip we had explored Cape Town by foot so it was lovely to see it from the sky. I am glad this was a surprise as I would have been so nervous if I had known about it. A once in a lifetime experience but definitely worth it.
The following day we had booked to go to Robin Island but the sea was too wild so we didn’t get to do this. We spent the day instead exploring the city of Cape Town which was lovely and of course I managed to squeeze in a trip to Zara.
The Test Kitchen Restaurant
I can’t pick what our favourite part of Cape Town was but the dinner we had The Test Kitchen was definitely one of the highlights of the whole trip. I spoke about this on Instagram which is saved on my highlights under ‘Honeymoon’ if you want to have a closer look. It was just such an incredible food experience and I actually struggle to put into words how amazing it was. It stimulates all of your senses at once and just creates an atmosphere and experience that you will never have come close to before. All I can say is just book it. They open bookings six months prior and they sell out in a matter of minutes I set my alarm and was on the website the second they went on sale so you have to be quick but it is completely worth it. FYI at the time of booking you have to pay a hefty amount towards the overall experience so just make sure that you can definitely go. South Africa is just such an amazing incredible place full of beauty. The mountains, the sea but the people were the highlight for me they were so welcoming, lovely and positive.
Pumba Safari in Port Elizabeth:
From Cape Town we flew to Port Elizabeth which is about a two hour flight. Once we landed, it was an hour and a half drive to Pumba Game Reserve. We stayed two nights and while it would have been lovely to stay longer it was totally enough time to see everything. Anyone who knows me will know that I am animal obsessed. A Safari has always been on my bucket list but I wasn’t quite prepared for how amazing it was going to be. We stayed in the Water Lodge, it was so idyllic with a private pool, a fire and the most beautiful views with Elephants and Hippopotamuses in close proximity. Again there is a highlight on my Instagram with a room tour of the accommodation. It is very pricey per night to stay here but it includes all meals and two Safari drives a day. We saw four of the big five which was incredible. Elephants and Lions were literally right beside the open top Safari Truck. Watching them in all their glory and in their natural habitat really made me feel so grounded and appreciative of nature. On safari you are completely immersed in nature and this has such a calming effect. Even Ian, who struggles to switch off at the best of times felt really relaxed and peaceful here. The staff in Pumba were amazing and so respectful to the animals which I loved. It would be such an incredible place to bring children hopefully some day.
From Port Elizabeth we flew to Johannesburg. We spent one night here as a stopover and then flew to Mauritius which was a four hour flight.
We stayed in the Maradiva a five star luxury resort. After all the early starts and travelling in South Africa we really just wanted to relax and that is exactly what we did. Once we drove through the gates we didn’t leave the place for the five nights. It was incredible and like nowhere we have ever stayed before. There was a private beach, private pool in our villa and four different restaurants to choose from all of which were incredible. The hotel also has an amazing gym which I loved, daily yoga classes and a Tennis Court.
Our package was half board which is the only option they offer. This includes Breakfast and Dinner every day. It excludes any drinks alcohol or other. As Ian and I aren’t really into drinking we found this fine. The main issue we had was having to pay for water. As someone who drinks four litres of water a day this began to add up fast. Ian kindly got a taxi to a local supermarket and bought bottles of water along with snacks. Often we didn’t have any lunch because we didn’t need it after breakfast and three course dinners everyday so the half board suited us but it is important to keep this in mind when booking. Many of the other resorts are also similar.
The honeymoon package included lots of little extras; a champagne breakfast, a rose petal bath and couples massages along with a beach candlelit dinner. They were all very memorable experiences. When we arrived they had a honeymooner present in the room which was a lovely basket of treats and on the back of the candle they gave us was the quote we used for our wedding invitations which I thought was a lovely coincidence.
The resort had an Ayurveda trained Doctor which I had a consultation with. It was free of charge and so interesting. I talk in detail about this experience on my Instagram highlights if you want to have a further look.
The staff were so lovely and attentive. I have an allergy to shellfish and each of the waiters throughout the week remembered this. The resort is kept to a very high standard. I have left the link below if you want to have a look yourself.
Some people have asked how much it all cost and I am not going to share that here but if you want to know the price of accommodation or tours just private message me.
In summary, the highlights were; climbing Table Mountain at sunrise, the most incredible fine dining experience in The Test Kitchen, the helicopter ride over South Africa and the Pumba Safari. It was a trip of a
lifetime and one we will always look back on fondly.Thanks for reading and I hope it inspires some ideas for any newlyweds who are planning their honeymoon.