Year after year, South Africa holds its spot as our most popular destination; it never fails to wow. We asked Imagine guests Angus and Sarah Wilson, who recently travelled there on honeymoon, to tell us why this unique and varied country stole their hearts.
South Africa had been at the top of our adventure list for quite some time, and we decided that our honeymoon was the perfect opportunity to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The big decision about who would help in creating the trip came down to trust; friends had previously booked with Imagine Africa, and their effusive reviews were enough for us. Jo Hudson, our consultant, put together a truly incredible itinerary.
We arrived in Cape Town, excited to start our trip in the ‘Mother City’. Nestled spectacularly between the ocean and Table Mountain, the place was alive with colour and sound. The Dock House, our hotel for the three-night stay, was the perfect start; a tranquil retreat in the beautifully restored Harbour Master’s residence, at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. The location was ideal, with the Atlantic shore, bustling markets, and an abundance of bars and restaurants on our doorstep.
The highlight undoubtedly was our final evening spent watching the sunset from Table Mountain, followed by dinner-with-a-view at The Roundhouse, and dancing into the early hours at a gig in one of Cape Town’s vibrant neighbourhoods.
Franschhoek was our next stop; the drive there led us through the verdant valleys of the Cape Winelands. We stayed at the wonderful Leeu House, a stunning Cape Dutch country house with a wonderful family of friendly staff, which provided an oasis of calm and luxury. A long lunch at La Petite Ferme, taking in the splendour of the valley whilst sampling the region’s finest food, couldn’t have been better. A day aboard the wine tram was a brilliant way to explore the estates, and became increasingly more entertaining with the more ‘stations’ we stopped at.
After the buzz of Cape Town and our over-indulgence in Franschhoek, we were ready for the ultimate escape. Situated deep in Marakele National Park, in the foothills of the Waterberg Mountains, Marataba Safari Lodge’s atmosphere of seclusion and intimacy provided the idyllic safari home. The staff were exceptional, treating us with the warmth of old friends.
The lodge was a sanctuary, it had an understated luxury and perfectly balanced exclusivity and authenticity. Eating and drinking had never been so good; we enjoyed breakfasts against the backdrop of mountains, Amarula-laden coffees on the plains, and candlelit dinners beneath the camelthorn tree. But the real focus of course was the safari; each day we embarked on morning and afternoon game drives, in vehicles containing no more than six. Our ranger, Matt, had exquisite knowledge of the flora and fauna, which he shared with infectious passion and humour.
We tracked lion and cheetah, and furtively observed the magnificence of white rhino, elephant and buffalo (with some occasional rapid reversing)! A walking safari brought us up close and personal with hippos, and our sunset water safari treated us to one of the finest aerial displays: a swallow murmuration. Stumbling upon the rare black rhino gave us a breathtaking few minutes, and one of life’s greatest experiences. We would wholeheartedly recommend Imagine Africa, and Jo personally. Put simply, you nailed it, from start to finish. The expertise, personalisation, and friendly service throughout helped create an unforgettable honeymoon; the perfect beginning to married life.