Looking for the best African safari for your honeymoon? &Beyond specializes in giving you just that. They are in the business of helping couples plan some of the most romantic and memorable honeymoons.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Tarryn Gibson, Market Manager for &Beyond, who graciously took the time to share some more information with me about the company and how brides and grooms like you can have the honeymoon of a lifetime.
The great thing about &Beyond is that they offer many different packages to lots of different parts of Africa so you'll have lots to choose from.
They've just launched a new website at Honeymoon Safari where you can get even more information about how to have the best African safari (and more) honeymoon.
&Beyond originally started out as a private game reserve with the mission of maintaining wildlife sanctuaries across the African continent. How did your organization evolve from that to what it is today? What was the driving force behind the change?
&Beyond (then CC Africa) was formed in 1991 to demonstrate that a financially sound, wildlife-based tourism operator could make a significant contribution to conservation and sustainable community development. After 19 years of pioneering this model of luxury responsible tourism, &Beyond has shown that by delighting guests, it is possible to make small but meaningful differences to help improve our planet.
The first reserve to be established was Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and the company soon expanded its green frontiers and luxury safari lodge offering to other pristine, wildlife-rich areas in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya.
Today, &Beyond owns and operates more than 35 extraordinary lodges and camps in Africa and India’s wilderness high spots. The company is also one of Africa’s leading inbound tour operators, designing luxury safaris and personalised travel itineraries in 16 African countries, and India.
The driving force has always been, and will always be &Beyond’s true commitment to its core ethic of “Care of the Land. Care of the Wildlife. Care of the People.”
For our readers who might not be familiar with the concept of ecotourism, can you please explain what it is and how &Beyond accomplishes that?
The Definition – from TIES (The International Ecotourism Society’s) website:
Ecotourism is: "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990)
Principles of Ecotourism: Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.
Founded in 1992 to support &Beyond’s commitment to conservation and communities, Africa Foundation - a registered non-profit organization - has built up a highly successful track record in empowering and enriching the lives of communities living in and around &Beyond’s conservation areas and safari lodges.
Supported by &Beyond’s business, partners and guests, Africa Foundation completes the model of integrating conservation, high-end tourism and communities to their mutual benefit. Whilst the lodge and travel business of &Beyond forge permanent links with communities through employment, land leases and economic stimulation in the regions, Africa Foundation focuses on specific social upliftment and empowerment projects within the areas of healthcare, education and small enterprise development.
To date, R42 million has been raised from donors and guests who have stayed at &Beyond’s lodges and fallen in love with Africa and its people and been inspired to support the Foundation. This has enabled us to facilitate a consultative development practice that produces a host of projects, such as the building of schools, clinics, training, bursaries, small business development and many other initiatives throughout Africa.
Every day &Beyond looks at ways to Give More to the planet and Take Less. These are just a few of the success stories from last year:
- 2500 trees were planted (to add 40 000 already planted)
- Recycling introduced at 50% of &Beyond’s lodges
- 8.5 million acres of land protected under conservation
- Drop in Co2 emissions (lowering use of generators, fuel and petrol during energy-free hours)
- 1200 hectares added to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve
- 3600 Eco Overhead reports submitted from the field
- Various reintroduction projects of cheetah, leopard, giraffe, black rhino and duiker
- Translocation of suni, Guar, buffalo, elephant, rhino and reedbuck
- 40 Research and field projects by rangers and staff
- 62 Leopards are now collared and monitored in KwaZulu-Natal
- 4000 conservation lessons for community children and teachers
- 60 000 hours invested into Ranger Training
- Improved water access for 19 000 people
- 75 ablution and sanitation facilities built in the neighbouring communities
- Beds and facilities built for 1000 orphaned vulnerable children
- Improved the facilities at 4 health clinics
- Built housing for 7 doctors and nurses
- 120,000 medical consultations
- R7.5 million worth of ARVs donated to the Victoria Falls community
- Vegetable gardens and nutrition for over 3000 people
- 220 micro enterprise jobs created and sustained e.g. bakeries and poultry projects
- Improved 62 classrooms
- Supplied 200 desks
- Computer lessons and access to 260 people
- School feeding scheme for 1200 children
Thus by choosing to travel with &Beyond, each guest contributes to the company’s conservation strategy and makes a meaningful difference to sustainable community empowerment.
Honeymooning In Africa
A good percentage of non-Africans don't consider Africa a typical "honeymoon destination spot" but your organization proves otherwise. Please tell us what you think makes your African destinations perfect for honeymooners looking for that one-of-a-kind honeymoon experience.
&Beyond’s safari lodges are set in remote, idyllic wilderness locations in Africa and India…offering the perfect option for couples seeking a truly romantic setting away from the crowds. The remote and pristine wilderness of the African and Indian wilderness offers indescribable magic and charm, and the combination of daily game drives/safaris and wildlife encounters (i.e. excitement!) combined with the luxury/intimacy of the camps, warm local hospitality and special surprises for honeymooners ensures countless memories to last a lifetime. Adventure by Day and Romance by Night!
&Beyond’s Honeymoons in Brief:
- Extensive choice of luxurious safari destinations from lavishly romantic to wildly adventurous
- Intimate suites offering the ultimate privacy
- Al fresco showers and private plunge pools at many of the lodges and camps
- Private candlelit dinners for two
- Breakfast feasts in bed or in romantic bush settings
- Romantic turndowns
- Private butler service
For those in the know who are familiar with Africa and popular African safari spots it's nice to know that you offer trips to places like Kruger National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Center, the Serengeti National Park, the Okavango Delta, etc., but of all the destinations you offer, which would you say are your "Top 3 Must-See" spots? Which ones are the hidden gems that most people have not yet discovered?
Top 3 Must-See &Beyond Lodges:
- Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
- Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
- Phinda Vlei Lodge, South Africa
Top 3 Must-See Spots that not everyone has discovered yet...
- Sossusvlei, Namibia (&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge)
- Phinda Private Game Reserve (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
- Perhaps Mozambique or the Seychelles
Choice of accommodation throughout East, Southern and South Africa is limitless – stilted treehouses, exclusive sole-use villas, mud and thatch cottages, barefoot paradise beach bandas, spacious Hemingway safari tents, and suites with private plunge pools and personalised butler service.
What/where do you consider to be the most romantic spots on the African continent?
- Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
- Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania
- Serengeti Under Canvas, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
- Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
- Bateleur Camp at Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara, Kenya
- Phinda Vlei Lodge, Phinda Private Game Reseve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
- Ngala Tented Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa
- Leadwood Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
- Xaranna Okavango Delta Lodge, Botswana
What, if any, activities do your offer honeymooning couples?
&Beyond will do everything possible to ensure that newlyweds are thoroughly spoilt with the most memorable of honeymoons.
Treated to intimate private bush breakfasts just for two, complete with French champagne, long-stemmed roses, fresh fruit kebabs, muesli and other delights; decadent private deck dinners; and romantic turndowns with rose petals and tea lights adorning the room leading through to luxuriant bubble baths.
Exceptional game viewing led by &Beyond trained rangers and trackers or guides.
Romantic turndowns and other delightful surprises during their safari.
What advice do you have for couples who are planning their honeymoon in Africa? How would you advise them to best prepare for this trip of a lifetime and once-in-a-lifetime experience?
I would advise them to visit Honeymoon Safari to get ideas of where to go, suggested itineraries, recommended lodges, activity ideas etc.
An African safari honeymoon can be one of the most memorable trips a couple can experience together, to connect to nature and each other at the same time, but I would recommend careful planning with a renowned safari specialist who will make sure that their trip is tailormade to suit their specific requirements, as well as ensuring they are taken care of from the minute they arrive until the minute they leave (the last thing you want to be doing on your honeymoon is worrying about arrangements!)
Excellent camera and binoculars can also make a safari trip that much more memorable...
Thanks again to Tarryn for taking the time to provide more information about planning the best African safari honeymoons for our brides and grooms.