Because Love Has Everything To Do With It

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It has been said that there are two types of people in the world. Michael Jackson people and Prince people. Beatles people and Elvis people. Of course, this already makes four different kinds, but let me add two more… Valentine’s Day people and everyone else.

I may have uttered a few sentiments in the past (few weeks) that would make one think that I was of the latter persuasion, but the truth is, I am all for it. I am for anything that celebrates love. (Because, sorry Tina Turner, but love has everything to do with, well, everything.) Even if it’s showy and gushy, but particularly if it’s about an experience. Something quiet and intimate, preferably. A little wild, definitely. Something like a safari. The Honeymoon Safari, perhaps, which at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand of South Africa is not only for honeymooners but lovers of all kinds.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day this month, take a look at this safari of love in the African wilderness, as experienced at Londolozi, below.

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The Honeymoon Safari

Africa… The very name of the continent summons up romantic images. It’s a place where great herds of elephant still roam, where the night is sequined with a million stars, where lions call in the dawn light. A Londolozi safari is not simply a holiday. It is a pinnacle life moment, an experience that lives on in you forever. The wilderness finds its way into the hearts of all who visit, including those of couples visiting us at this particularly romantic time of the year.

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One of the special experiences Londolozi offers is the Honeymoon Safari. This is ideal for any couple looking to combine incomparable luxury and services with an authentic wilderness adventure topped with romance and privacy. Pride of place is given to the Honeymoon Vehicle on game drives – with a one of a kind chariot, a short wheelbase Land Rover with a safari couch for two. It has a dedicated ranger to ensure flexibility and the opportunity for extraordinary discoveries. The vehicle is perfectly equipped to explore Londolozi’s hidden pockets and secret places.

Along with game drives, experience bush yoga, meditative walks, animal tracking, champagne sunsets, full moon bush dinners, and a wilderness couple’s massage on an elevated lookout deck in the heart of the reserve.

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Included:

  • The Honeymoon Safari Land Rover with private guide and tracker
  • Personalised itinerary for each day
  • Private dinners
  • Romantic turn downs
  • A couple’s wilderness massage overlooking the Sand River
  • Wilderness Picnics The Honeymoon Vehicle can be pre-booked prior to your arrival and is available regardless of which Londolozi Camp you are staying in.

Londolozi recommends a minimum three-night stay so that you can sink deeply into the experience.

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For more about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Relais & Châteaux style, take a look at our special Instants article, 10 Restaurants for a Romantic Dinner for Two.

The Art of Honeymooning at Anjajavy l’Hôtel

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The art of honeymooning is like much else in life. It has become only better, sweeter, with age. In the beginning, far back in the 1800s, honeymoons weren’t post-wedding trips aimed to get away from it all.

“They were social journeys, demonstrations of a couple’s new status,” in the words of The Believer literary magazine. “Like so many marriage traditions — diamond engagement rings, white dresses, rice throwing, Jordan almonds in little net bags — honeymooning is relatively new. In early nineteenth-century England, it became common for newly married upper-class couples to take a ‘bridal tour’, often with friends or family, to visit far-flung relatives who couldn’t attend the wedding.”

Today, honeymoons are a lot more fun. The change began in the Belle Époque, considered the golden era before the two world wars and a time of great joie de vivre – the essence, similarly, of the honeymoon itself. At least to modern minds.

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Savouring this joie de vivre recently was Relais & Châteaux traveller, Jacqui Hemphill and new husband, Graeme Marais. Their destination: Anjajavy l’Hôtel in Madagascar, far, far away from friends and family, just in case one of them were considering a traditional celebration. Discover more about the couple’s Indian Ocean island experience in these 10 Questions below.

1.     What was it like celebrating a honeymoon at Anjajavy l’Hôtel?

Honeymooning at Anjajavy was the most surreal experience. You are treated like you are the only two people at the whole lodge. The GM, Cédric de Foucault and all of his staff are incredibly attentive and look after your every need.

2.     What surprised you most about Madagascar?

How breathtakingly beautiful and remote it is.

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3.     The highlight experiences at Anjajavy?

Kayaking from Anjajavy into the Mangrove forests all on our own to search for the elusive Madagascar Fish Eagle. We kayaked a couple of kilometres from the lodge and never saw another person. Another big surprise and highlight was sleeping out under the stars on the edge of the beautiful rock face overlooking the ocean.

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4.     The best thing you tasted in Madagascar?

All of the seafood at Anjajvy was absolutely delicious.

5.     How does it fare as a photographer’s destination?

The landscapes are breathtaking and photographing lemurs is an absolute must especially when they move across the short grass allowing for excellent low angle images. There are also beautiful birds to capture and of course the most incredible sunsets. Not to mention baobab trees.

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6.     Don’t miss…

Spending time walking along the deserted beaches and being the only people swimming for miles.

7.     Don’t forget to take…

Your camera!

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8.     What animals, insects and birds captured your attention most?

The lemurs were by far the most intriguing creatures. We loved observing and photographing them in and around the lodge. In addition to lemurs what struck us most about the bird life was how we have many similar species in South Africa with only one or two difference like the colour of a beak or a small crest. For example the Madagascar king fisher is identical to the Malachite King fisher apart from the colour of its beak. This inspired many thoughts and conversations about evolution between us.

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9.     A word on the Madagascan people at the lodge…

Very friendly people that go out of their way to ensure you have a wonderful time. Nothing is too much trouble. When we came back from our Kayaking adventure we landed back on shore far down the beach from where we had intended to come in. one of the friendly staff members spotted us having some trouble with the kayak and came running to assist us. This really stuck out for me as he was far away at the time and he made sure he dropped what he was doing to help us get to shore properly. Just another moment that proved to me that the team at Anjajavy are dedicated to looking after their guests’ every need.

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10.     If you could go back what one thing would be sure to do again or make more time for?

We would have spent more time exploring the area surrounding Anjajavy, they have spent years planting huge forests of trees. Their focus on conservation and preserving this area of Madagascar for future generations of wild inhabitants is something I admired most. With lemurs, birdlife, fauna and flora all endemic to Madagascar, Anjajavy is very conscious of creating a wild safe space for the future.

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All images by Jacqui Hemphill