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Okay, you’ve got a few key items on the bucket list – the romantic getaway with your spouse or partner to celebrate a big event? Throw in something really exotic like an African safari? Or possibly just a luxurious, five-star vacation without busting the budget? I am often asked what I think the perfect romantic getaway or honeymoon itinerary is, and I always think of Southern Africa.  The US$ is incredibly strong there and you’ll get a five-star trip for a three-star budget.  The perfect trip includes three destinations in southern Africa– Cape Town, Safari in the greater Kruger National Park, followed by two nights up in the very romantic Victoria Falls. This trip is easily doable from any North American city for just 10-12 nights.

Cape Town

Let’s start the trip in Cape Town, the “Mother City” of South Africa. My favorite luxury hotel here is the One & Only, located in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area. It’s luxurious, has high service standards, and is in a prime location for walking and exploring. It is also a terrific base for touring, with Robben Island (Nelson Mandela’s prison home for 20+ years), the Cape of Good Hope (where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic), Table Mountain, and the Cape Winelands (wonderful for your food and wine enthusiasts).

Safari at Lion Sands Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park

Just about two hours by air from Cape Town, the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve sits right across the river from Kruger National Park. The reserve has two fabulous lodges and the most luxurious is Ivory Lodge. This private suite, complete with its own plunge pool, is unlike anything else in the bush. Not only are the accommodations luxurious, the food is excellent, the wine list will suit any oenophile, the game viewing is excellent. The lodge is all-inclusive with nonstop food, drinks, activities, and game drives. I’ve spent more time with leopards here that in any other location in Africa! And, for the truly adventurous, be sure to book one night in the heavenly Tree House Sky Bed, where you’ll sleep under the stars.

Victoria Falls

My favorite, most-romantic lodge in Victoria Falls is the Royal Chundu Lodge. Just a 1½ hour flight from Kruger, two nights here in luxury on the Zambezi River is the perfect way  to end this romantic getaway.  Whether it’s the River Lodge on the mainland, or the more intimate Island Lodge out in the river, you’ll bask in unbridled luxury of the only Relais & CHateux property in Zambia. The all-inclusive lodge is also a wonderful base for all of the Victoria Falls activities, including white-water rafting, helicopter flights over the Falls, and bungee jumping for the non-faint-of-heart. Best of all however, the owners of the lodge are giving a free 2-night stay to one lucky winner of YTI!