Most people imagine their honeymoon to be lazing in an all pampering luxurious, the most star possible hotel somewhere exotic. Others may want to spend their honeymoon at some renowned spa where massages and all manner of bizarre mud and hot rock treatments flow like milk and honey. Many long for white beaches, gently lapped by crystal azure wavelets with hammocks strung between palm trees and no other people within miles. And then there are the rest of us. Not all can afford such expensive and exclusive honeymoons on today’s tight strings.
I have done some research and brainstorming to come up with alternative, but really cool honeymoon ideas for the masses. You may even have a reasonable honeymoon budget but don’t quite fancy all the fuss of people running around after you picking up and putting down, fetching and carrying your every demand and whim, then this article is for you too.
How clichéd it is to hear of so and so going to this Indian Ocean island for their honeymoon. I have been to a few of these locations myself and can testify that it is indeed a great place for honeymoon. I would go to any of these destinations at the drop of a hat. Sadly, not many people wear hats nowadays and so this means fewer excuses to visit one of the aforementioned delightful tropical Indian Ocean islands.
The origins of “honeymoon” seem to be somewhat scattered and inconclusive. There seems to be some inference to Nordic folklore where a groom would kidnap his bride to be from a neighbouring village and would go into hiding until her family gave up the search. Other views point to European customs whereby the newly-weds drank mead, a honeyed alcoholic drink, for the period of a month after their nuptials. Some English poets and prose writers of the 16th and 17th century thought that it referred metaphorically to the initial full moon and subsequent waning of love as the couple aged together in the marriage.
Nevertheless, it certainly speaks of a time where husband and wife are initiated into their new relationship for a period of time before they resume the regular rigours of normal life. This then gives us an idea of the original purpose of the honeymoon and that is a time of separation from normal daily life, family and friends, and dedicating time alone to each other to explore and discover one another without all the regular distractions. With this in mind let us take a look at some ideas that epitomise this notion.
1. A self-catering cabin in the mountains. Generally there are mountains within a few hours access of most of the country. They are dotted with establishments of this ilk. You don’t have to go with self-catering if you can afford to eat out, however this can amount to a great saving and you probably won’t be eating a lot anyway. This can be a particularly great destination in winter, where you can snuggle up in front of a cosy log fire in the berg. Do some research and find some specials. Make sure that all the services that you require are available.
2. A seaside cottage or resort. South Africa is home to some absolutely stunning seaside destinations. Many of which are remote, which is what most honeymooners are after. Always do your homework and ask around to make sure you find a reputable place to stay. This may however still be out of the reach of many.
3. A camping getaway. Many resorts and destinations offer private ( privé ) permanently tented accommodation with your own ablution facilities and secluded setting. Such destinations can be situated anywhere, whether in the bush, in the mountains, in the forest or at the beach. It is important to book well in advance as the better of such establishments get booked up quickly.
4. Rent a house boat. There are not many destinations where this option is available but if you can, you will be guaranteed exclusivity and privacy. Drift around or move to another location as it suits you. You won’t be bothered by any passers by and being on the water is an experience of note.
5. Take a cross country ramble and explore the country at your own pace. There are numerous attractions on most routes. Plan your trip together and discuss things you would enjoy doing together and sites you would like to visit along the way. This planning can be fun and is a great way to get to know more about each other.
6. You could book a Slackpacking multi-day hike at many places throughout the country. Most of the tours can accomodate 2 people. Hikes range from a few days to 5 days in various locations across the country. You can choose mountains, beaches and even safari hikes. This is a luxurious way to hike as all your kit is ferried to the next stop over and meals etc. are prepared for you.
7. A cycling holiday tour is a new concept that seems to be rising in popularity. There are a number of operators that organise such tours where you can go at your own pace and all the accommodation and meals are organised for you. This is popular at many overseas destinations but is now becoming more popular locally.
8. Some companies offer kayaking holidays for 5 days that include accommodation along the way. These are limited though to certain rivers such as the Sundays and Breede rivers. There are also a number of operators that offer ocean and shore based tours. This can be an inexpensive and fun way to spend time together.
9. Wwoofing. No, it is not a typo, it stands for “Willing workers on organic farms”. This could be exciting for the new couple, although it is going to involve some “shoulder to the plough” kind of labour. The experience varies from farm to farm with stays from a week to a year. You can expect to be well fed and be provided with board and lodging. Join the family for meals and be a part of the community. It is a great and cost effective way to have that rural experience getting your hands a little dirty. There are many wwoofing opportunities and a lot of the terms are negotiable.
10. Horse back safaris are offered throughout South Africa. They cater for beginners and offer a whole range of experiences. One can do the “big five” safari, or try one of the other venues that offer beach, forest and bush safaris. If you are an eager equestrian then this is a great option. It is important to note for non-riders that riding can really take its toll on your body if you are unfit, but most establishments will give you freedom to decide your own pace and activities.
Published in Issue 13 – Written by Grant Derrick