YOU’D BE SURPRISED at just how romantic a lion’s roar is in the middle of a still Botswana night. A little scary, sure. But a lot thrilling, too, if you’re hearing that ferocious growl while tucked safely away as newlyweds in a canopied bed in your luxury “tent,” out in the stunning wilderness. Depending on your countries of choice, an African getaway can be refreshingly remote (no cell service, no Internet, no TV) in the “bush” of Botswana — or more bustling, as you tour South African wine country and expansive beaches. There are dozens of African tour operators, but superb Wilderness Safaris, based in the southernmost part of the continent, offers a chance at a multi-country tour that can be as varied and adventurous or leisurely as you like.
BY DAY: Opt for Wilderness Safaris camps out in “the bush,” in either Botswana or Zimbabwe, and you’ll spend most of your days on game drives (morning ventures start as early as 6 a.m.), hoping to see wild animals — elephants, lions, hyenas, baboons, zebras, giraffes, hippos, kudus. WS camps are typically located on a mix of public and private reserves, but you’re definitely not at a zoo. Guides are knowledgeable and hospitable; expect to stop for morning tea or early-evening “sundowner” cocktails along the way.
For a trip that’s less remote, Wilderness Safaris operates lodges in South Africa where you can plan a mix of activities: a safari in Kruger National Park, a bicycle tour of wine country outside Cape Town, as much beach time as you like. There are also closer-to-urban Zambia camps near dazzling Victoria Falls.
BY NIGHT: Out on safari, you can spend evenings around a fire with a glass of zin, or at the lodge’s bar with a glass of Zambezi beer, swapping stories about sightings with other guests, or chatting with your guide and camp staff, who’ll be happy to answer questions about where you are and what you saw that day. At some camps, evening game drives are possible — and they offer a chance to see animals on the hunt.
WHAT TO EAT: WS camps are all-inclusive, and you’re fed well and often. Fresh-baked muffins are pre-dawn fuel before an early game drive. On the drives, you’ll stop for biscuits in the mornings, and salty and savory snacks in the afternoon. Lunches and dinners might be a plentiful buffet, or you might order from a menu of options, from filet to fish to pizza. Meals are also a time to mingle — you’ll get to meet people from all over the world. A nice, eco-friendly touch: You’re given your own water container, which you’ll fill from the filtered-water tap at every camp. Romance tip: Most camps’ tents have private decks; request a dinner by candlelight for just the two of you.