Some honeymooners want to be left alone on a beach somewhere for their newlywed getaway. Others would prefer to museum hop in cosmopolitan cities. And then some couples would like to interact with animals. If having a monkey perch on your shoulder or donning a snorkel mask to see the sea life below suits your fancy for your honeymoon, you aren’t alone. Many animal loving duos want to spend their first trip as a married couple in destinations rich in wildlife. From African safaris to heading where the buffalo roam in Wyoming, we are sharing some unique honeymoon destinations for animal lovers.
Perched at 5,889 feet above sea level, most likely Nairobi isn’t on your radar for your honeymoon. While its reputation often precedes it, Nairobi acts as the main hub for visitors to Kenya. It is often the first stop for anyone headed to the wildlife parks of East Africa. What many don’t realize about this dynamic African city is it offers the rare opportunity to satisfy the needs of animal loving honeymooners. You don’t have to go far in Kenya’s capital city to find lions, rhinos, and cheetahs.
Nairobi National Park sits on the city’s southern outskirts. In fact, it is the only national park in the world that borders a capital city. You can see lions, buffalos, leopards and the awe-inspiring black rhino, all within the backdrop of sun-baked plains and skyscrapers. In addition to Nairobi National Park, couples can also spend some time with baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. You can watch orphaned baby elephants, saved from poachers, play and joyfully bathe. Nairobi is also home to the AFEW Giraffe Center. You can feed, watch or even smooch the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe.
Where To Stay
Nairobi also lends the ultimate animal lovers accommodation option in Giraffe Manor. As its name would give away, the boutique hotel is famous for its resident herd of Rothschild giraffes. These elegant beings scream for your attention through the windows of the manor home. You can see the remarkable animals poke their long necks in the windows, hoping for a treat, usually in the morning and evening. Set on 12 acres of private land, Giraffe Manor makes for an idyllic honeymoon spot for animal lovers also from a luxury standpoint. One of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings fills with 1930s charm. From the stately facade to the elegant interior, couples can rest up in one of 10 rooms, each with their own distinctive personality.
Northwest Wyoming, U.S.A.
If you exclaim to someone that you are headed to Wyoming for your honeymoon, you might be met with a few long strange looks. However, the upper corner of Wyoming, specifically the northwest area, is actually a great spot for animal lovers. Northwest Wyoming proudly houses two spellbinding national parks, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone’s rich wildlife is legendary. You can spot bison, sheep, bobcats, elk, coyotes, mountain goats, moose deer and hopefully just bears at a distance. As America’s first national park, Yellowstone boasts a rich geography in addition to wildlife with half of the world’s geysers, mountains, forests, and lakes. However, it is the wildlife that draws most crowds, especially to see North America’s largest free-roaming bison herd.
Yellowstone often overshadows Grand Teton National Park, but it too is a wildlife paradise. Situated just south of Yellowstone, the park affords 310,000 acres of beauty. Known for its gray jagged peaks of the Teton Mountain Range, the Wyoming national park also claims the largest elk herd in North America and the only population of grizzlies south of Canada.
Where To Stay
Most couples visiting both parks elect to stay in the central Western town of Jackson Hole. The town is home to the Wort Hotel, a historic boutique property. Boasting 55 luxurious guest rooms along with five Western-themed suites, the boutique hotel claims beginnings in 1941 in Jackson Hole. The epitome of historic charm, the Wort sets itself apart from the lodges and cabins surrounding the parks by adorning with custom-made furniture and original Western art. In fact, the hotel’s art collection claims over 200 pieces. The location also can’t be beaten, just minutes from Grand Teton National Park and one hour from Yellowstone National Park.
Lord Howe Island, Australia
Lord Howe Island might be a little-known island to the rest of the world, but its blessings from a landscape and wildlife stance are legendary. Due to its isolation and varied landscapes, Lord Howe in the Tasman Sea has cultivated an environment of many habitats and, as a result, a rich plant life and wildlife. While idyllic in appearance for its cliffs, ocean views, and seclusion, the island appeals to animal loving honeymooners, specifically bird loving couples. Lord Howe Island boasts 207 different bird species alone. 32 of those species breed on the island including the endangered Woodhen. Considered one of Australia’s best birding sites, the island also claims some 14 species of seabirds from terns to shearwaters. You can also spot one of the rarest birds in the world, the Providence petrel.
The wildlife doesn’t end with birds. The UNESCO World Heritage site also claims more than 1,600 terrestrial insect species, over 500 species of fish and 90 different coral species. The rich and diverse underwater wildlife warrants donning a snorkel mask and fins to explore the scene below Lord Howe’s surface. To reach the island, you can take a two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane.
Where To Stay
Honeymooners are frequently drawn to Capella Lodge while on Lord Howe Island. The luxury property sits in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. Perched on the shore of the secluded and appropriately named Lover’s Bay, Capella Lodge offers 9 suites to choose from on your stay on the island. Each comes with wood floors, contemporary design, and breathtaking views. In addition to the suites, Capella Lodge lends several public spaces from the outdoor terrace with its infinity pool to the on-site restaurant with its Pacific-inspired cuisine. In addition, guests can use the spa at the lodge or partake in endless activities on the island from snorkeling to glass bottom boat tours to rare bird watching.
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Perched four hours by car from Johannesburg, Madikwe Game Reserve provides honeymooners with that classic South Africa game experience. Stretching 300 square miles between the South Africa and Botswana border, the reserve boasts Big Five wildlife watching at its best. As the fourth largest reserve in South Africa, the Madikwe Game Reserve offers the chance to see lions, hyenas, Cape buffalo, rhinos, giraffes, and elephants. The space claims more than 60 mammal species and nearly 300 species of birds.
The reserve began as mere farmland until 1991 when was turned into a game reserve. Hundreds of wildlife were relocated here so they could thrive in a protected space. Bordered by the Dwarsberg Mountains in the south and the Marico River in the east, the landscape isn’t too shabby either. You can expect rocky hills, perennial rivers, seasonal wetlands and savanna grassland. The Madikwe Game Reserve also falls in a malaria free zone so animal-loving honeymooners will have one less stress to consider on their South African escape.
Where To Stay
As you have to stay in the reserve in order to go on a safari, you can rest up at the exclusive Morukuru Madikwe Game Reserve villas. Made up of three main villas, the Owner’s House, the River House and the Farm House, many couples select to spend their honeymoon at the Owner’s House. The villa affords honeymooners seclusion and romance and even boasts its own wine cellar. Located right in the heart of the reserve, the luxury villas also come with staff on hand to cater to your needs, from leading you around the reserve on a safari to preparing your African meals.
With its long-standing dedication to protecting the environment and great biodiversity, Costa Rica acts as the home to loads of rare and endangered species. Honeymooners seeking animal life will no doubt find it in Costa Rica as it is frequently toted as one of the best wildlife viewing destinations on Earth. Chalk full of extraordinary animals and nearly 900 species of birds, it is no wonder many animal loving couples land in Costa Rica for their honeymoons.
From tree frogs to howler monkeys, there are several places around the country to spot wildlife, beginning in Corcovada National Park. The protected rainforest boasts loads of monkeys, crocodiles, and bull sharks. You could also head to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve to see more monkeys, sloths, and anteaters. It is also considered a good spot to see frogs, snakes, and other amphibians. Tortugero National Park appeals to turtle lovers. The park claims one of the foremost turtle nesting beaches on the planet.
Where To Stay
While Costa Rica is home to countless hotels, villas, and lodges where you can lurk in those wildlife habitats, Nayara Springs lends one of the most private and idyllic honeymoon settings. Made up of 16 villas, the property sits right in Arenal Volcano National Park, home to one of the world’s most famous cloud forests and one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Largely composed of lush mountain forest, Nayara Springs lends couples their own private villa while on their honeymoons. Villas are so private you can only reach each one by way of an elevated walkway. Amenities include verandahs for lounging, indoor and outdoor rainfall showers, butler service and plunge pools. In addition, the property lends a full-service spa and two fine dining restaurants.
Love animals and your spouse? Which wildlife-rich destination would you choose for your honeymoon?