Exotic is the name of the game when it comes to honeymooning in Africa & the Middle East. Here’s a trio of delightful choices you’ll want to shower on your soon-to-wed clients.
arabian journey in dubai
A Dubai honeymoon can be the perfect blend of relaxation, indulgence and cultural awakening, with glorious beaches, glittering nightlife, iconic architecture and photo-perfect desert adventures. This is a glitzy destination that offers both chic resorts and tranquil desert hideaways. In fact, it’s a modern city and a beach resort rolled into one, where refined Arabian hospitality dictates an experience of romantic and luxurious proportions. On offer are bustling shopping malls, souks and shrines, complemented by a pristine coastline and some exciting excursions such as the desert safari and Wild Wadi Waterpark. Or, honeymooners can sail along Dubai Creek in the moonlight, enjoy a camel ride, try sand skiing or take a seaplane adventure. When they want to find time to relax, one of the best honeymoon picks for your clients is the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, for a plush stay that includes Oriental massages, gastronomical delights and exceptional service. This luxuriously furnished, 617-room honeymoon haven—your clients can choose between 598 oceanview rooms and suites or 19 traditional Arabian-styled beachside villas—offers spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf and an array of amenities, including a scuba diving center, several pools, a private beach, 19 dining venues, the Talise Spa with all the “must” goodies, including a long list of treatments, and complimentary, unlimited access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark. Newlyweds can also take off into the sunset on a romantic cruise or get a bird’s-eye view of this visually stunning destination during a helicopter ride. Rates start at $300 per night. jumeirah.com
…in mozambique, there’s azura
Couples looking for a deserted stretch of a white-sand beach should be directed to Mozambique, home to the blissful Azura Benguerra Island, part of the Azura Retreats collection, which, incidentally, has now expanded to Tanzania. This romantic beach retreat with 17 thatch-roofed villas is nestled along a Marine National Park, and sprinkled with some of Mother Nature’s finest attributes: sparkling turquoise seas crisscrossed by local dhows plying their trade, sunny days and a blanket of stars across the night sky. Romance never looked so good. Here, couples can while away the days with snorkeling excursions, get pampered during traditional African spa treatments, plunge into private pools, dine on culinary feasts prepared by their private chefs, go island-hopping, whale watching or scuba diving, and do nothing at all because when one is in paradise, it’s nice to sit back and take in the grandeur of one’s surroundings. All the villas are magnificent, but tell clients to opt for the Luxury Beach Villas, which are steps from the beach—and isn’t that what they are here for?—with a private plunge pool, outdoor his/hers showers, Mozambican butler-host service, private undercover deck with daybed and dining facilities, and a poolside sundeck. All newlyweds staying at Azura Benguerra Island will receive complimentary ½-hour couple’s spa treatment of their choice (subject to availability, cannot be exchanged for another activity/treatment);
bottle of chilled sparkling wine in villa on arrival; private dinner and special honeymoon turndown on one evening;
sunset dhow cruise; Land Rover Red Dune Community Island Drive; and room upgrade on arrival if available. Prices ranges from villa and season from $550 to $895 pp per night for beach, luxury beach, or infinity beach villas.
For couples who have dreamed of visiting Victoria Falls for their honeymoon, here are two options you’ll definitely want to recommend. Victoria Falls River Lodge, set in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi National Park, is built on the banks of the Zambezi River and close enough to Victoria Falls, it is said, to see the spray of the “smoke that thunders.” Here, couples can delight in their newfound life together in one of 10 luxury tents, each of whose location has been carefully chosen for its unique views of the river and for the surrounding trees that provide the utmost of privacy. The honeymoon accommodation of choice is the King Luxury Superior Suites, with their own plunge pool and Matepe poles for an outdoor shower, and honeymooners can sit back on their private deck and spot one of the 415 bird species recorded in the 150,000-acre park, or better yet, get pampered with an in-room massage. Rates are $470 pp sharing, and include transfer to/from Victoria Falls Airport, all meals, local beverages, optional daily transfer from camp to Victoria Falls town, a tour of the Falls (exc. entry fee), two game activities (game drive and river cruise), high tea, birdwatching on Kandahar Island, and access to the Tree Hide, overlooking a waterhole. Honeymooners will love Victoria Falls River Lodge’s “tree-hugging” surprise: When honeymooners arrive, an indigenous sapling from the area (mahogany, levoa, acacia, etc…) is ready for the couple to plant together. As the tree takes root, so does the couple’s life together. The property keeps a database of the trees and e-mails the honeymooners with updates as their tree progresses. victoriafallsriverlodge.com
Victoria Falls is also on the menu—this time in Zambia—in African Safari Company’s 9-day Best of Zambia itinerary, an intimate, off-the-beaten-path safari that’s inclusive of unique bush accommodations including a private cottage with plunge pool at Victoria Falls and a brand-new luxury lodge in South Luangwa. Couples will get to enjoy day and night game drives as well as canoe safaris, boat trips and exploring afoot. On-request departures are offered during the dry season between April 15 and Oct. 31. The pp dbl rate is $6,436 to $9,282 plus $1,126 pp for light aircraft flights. Accommodations are out of this world such as at the Tongabezi Lodge, located on the banks of the Zambezi River just upstream of Victoria Falls and where each accommodation is beautifully styled with furniture and embellishments from all over Africa; the Chiawa Camp, also on the banks of the Zambezi River, under a grove of evergreen mahogany trees, but in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park; and the 6-villa Chinzombo Camp, each villa with its own private pool, and set within 60 acres of private land with Luangwa River frontage. Needless to say, the views from all of these lodges and along the way are mind-blowing—what a way to start a life together as a married couple. africansafarico.com ●
—Carla Hunt contributed to this article.