Wild at heart journeys africa beach honeymoon azura quilalea beach

Ultimate privacy can be found at Azura Quilalea, a wholly uninhabited island that hosts a maximum of 18 guests. Image by Scott Ramsay courtesy of Azura Quilalea.

When envisioning a dream honeymoon, a romantic beach vacation is at the top of many newlyweds’ lists and, perhaps surprisingly, Africa offers some of the most stunning and secluded beach destinations in the world.

At the edges of east and southern Africa, couples can enjoy deserted island style privacy, unparalleled hospitality, and their own desired mix of relaxation and adventure - far away from the crowded beaches and activities of more typical honeymoon destinations. And, fear not, an African beach journey does not have to sacrifice wildlife experiences - not only are many of our favorite destinations available as supplements to a traditional safari, most also offer world class diving, snorkeling, birding, and wildlife. Monkeys and turtles, anyone?

Classic & Romantic African Beach Destinations

The southern African country of Mozambique and its coastal islands earn a few spots on our list of best African beach honeymoon destinations. On the mainland, Santorini’s, striking white architecture stands in sharp contrast to the cerulean sea, offering stylish, Instagram-worthy leisure areas and a wide variety of land and water activities: horseback riding, camel safaris, beach picnics, local cultural excursions, diving/snorkeling, kayaking, kiteboarding, deep sea fishing, and cruises in a traditional dhow sailboat. Logistically, a stay at Santorini pairs well with safari in Botswana or in South Africa.

Wild at heart journeys africa beach honeymoon santorini mozambique

Instagram-worthy atmosphere pairs with endless activities at Santorini in Mozambique. Image courtesy of Santorini.

Benguerra Island is an unspoiled, narrow sweep of reef, beach, and land off the coast of mainland Mozambique and home to the very unique Azura Benguerra Island. Azura is situated within a national park, hand built by and operated in partnership with the local community. Lodging is offered in a range of Beach Villas, all of which have a private undercover deck, plunge pool, outdoor his/her showers, and beachside sala (similar to a cabana). Meals can be taken on the beach, in the villa, or at Jellyfish, the on-site restaurant serving local dishes and fine wines flown in from the owners’ vineyards in the Loire Valley, France. Island hopping is the signature adventure at Azura, including a snorkel at Two Mile Reef, picnic on Pansy Island, and a hike to the dunes atop Barazuto Island for a 360 panoramic view. Azura also offers world class fishing and diving, paddle boarding, and horseback riding.

wild at heart journeys africa beach honeymoon azura benguerra plunge pool

Relax into a private plunge pool & beachside sala at Azura Benguerra Island. Image courtesy of Azura Benguerra Island.

Set on an idyllic coral island and marine conservation area among the Quirimbas archipelago, andBeyond Vamizi is blessed with a superb tropical climate and powder-soft beaches rivaling those of the Maldives. Though off the coast of northern Mozambique, Vamizi is more easily accessed from Tanzania and thus combines well with a safari experience there. Fans of andBeyond will recognize their signature luxury appointments in Vamizi’s villas and a seamless, sensual flow between private indoor and outdoor spaces. Picnics, community visits, dhow cruises, fishing, kayaking, diving, snorkeling are all offered here as well as seasonal whale and turtle watching. And, of course, exceptional spa services.

Also off the coast of northern Mozambique, Azura Quilalea is a hidden gem, a unique destination for couples to escape into a relaxed and comfortable “Robinson Crusoe” castaway style honeymoon. Quilalea is a wholly uninhabited island, surrounded by the pristine waters of a marine sanctuary, with accomodations for a maximum of 18 total guests at any one time. For newlyweds, we recommend the Cliff Top Villa Quilalea, set on its own portion of the island with private infinity plunge pool overlooking the ocean. In addition to diving/snorkeling/fishing and kayaking through the mangroves, Azura Quilalea offers outstanding cultural opportunities and wildlife watching- including 182 species of birds, whales, dolphins, turtles, and more. Our tip? Don’t miss the lantern lit dinner on a magical baobab tree.

Heading further northward to the Zanzibar archipelago, Mnemba Island is another andBeyond private paradise. Ten rustic palm frond bandas are tucked into a tropical forest fringed by a white coral sand beach, each with built in barazas (verandas) and private beach salas with traditional Zanzibari loungers. In other words, andBeyond Mnemba Island wants its guests to relax. Scuba, snorkeling, SUP, sea kayaking and fishing are all available here as well as a beach side spa treatments.

Looking for more ideas? See our 2017 list of most romantic African experiences, including the Manta Resort’s Underwater Room off Zanzibar’s Pemba Island and Thanda Island, a private island and luxury villa off the coast of Tanzania


wild at heart journeys africa honeymoon beach mnemba island dinner
The Kingston treehouse at Lion Sands. Image courtesy of Sabi Sands

Just south of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and former capital, is Ras Kutani, an idyllic hideaway where the Indian Ocean meets a virgin coastal forest. For newlyweds, the Hillside Suites are farther from the main building and feature a private plunge pool and sultan bed - all overlooking tropical ocean views. Ras Kutani offers alfresco luxury living and an assortment of water activities, but our “don’t miss” recommendations here are observing the local Colobus monkeys and visiting Kichangani, the local village, for insights into Tanzanian life.

On up to Kenya, Alfajiri at Diani Beach is considered one of the most spectacular villas in the world and the best beach in Kenya - walkable for 10 miles in each direction. The Beach Villa, with its high makuti roof and handmade hardwood furnishings, antiques, and decor from around the globe, is surrounded by lush palm gardens for the ultimate in privacy. The hosts here are Alfajiri’s owners, who personally enforce an “as you please” approach to serving their guests with dedicated butlers and chefs. Much of the stay here is all inclusive, including personal daily menus. For those who respond to “lavish, opulent, and individual,” this is your place.

Wild at heart journeys beach africa honeymoon alfajiri

Spectacular skies and service are the hallmarks of Alfajiri. Image courtesy of Alfajiri.

One only has to “zoom out” on Google maps to see just how remote North Island, one of 115 tiny islands in the archipelago of Seychelles, really is. With a total of only 11 villas, North Island offers unparalleled privacy and exclusivity. For honeymooners, we love Villa North Island - perched on a rock away from the other villas - and its “barefoot luxury” vibe. Villa North Island has multiple spacious outdoor levels, private beach entry, and unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean. When beach and underwater exploration grows tiresome (as if!), each Villa has a golf cart and bicycles to explore the dirt paths that line the island. Cap off each day with a walk to the Sunset Bar at the end of West Beach.

wild at heart journeys africa beach honeymoon north island hawksbill turtle
Jungle meets sand on North Island in Seychelles, where Hawksbill sea turtles share the sand with guests.
Image by Marc Stickler courtesy of North Island.

In Search of Offbeat & Adventurous

Perhaps what Africa offers more than any other continent is a diversity of landscape and we have a few favorite destinations that offer a unique twist on the classic beach honeymoon.

Kaya Mawa, located on Likoma Island in Lake Malawi, is described as having an “almost supernatural vibe.” Relaxation is a requirement at this lodge whose name translates as Maybe Tomorrow. From within Kaya Mawa’s airy stone chalets and the sandy shores, it is hard to imagine that the surrounding waters are a freshwater lake. Yes, all the typical lake sports are available here: water skiing, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, SUP, kayaking, and sailing as well as scuba/snorkeling to view fascinating fish species and rock formations. For all that action, stargazing, spa treatments, and supper on the beach are some of the most popular activities at Kaya Mawa.

wild at heart journeys africa beach honeymoon kaya mawa
 Lake Malawi, one of Africa’s largest, laps beneath the stone chalets at Kaya Mawa. Image courtesy of Kaya Mawa.

And then there is Greystroke Mahale. It’s no exaggeration to say there is nowhere in the world quite like this Tanzanian camp, situated on a white sandy beach overlooking the turquoise water of Lake Tanganyika, with the forested slopes of the 8000 ft Mahale mountains rising behind. Built with the intention to be minimalistically light on the land, Greystroke Mahale offers just six bandas (beach huts), built of thatch and salvaged dhow wood. All rooms have private verandas, an upstairs lounge area, and canvas drapes that can be closed in the event of a storm. To the fisherman passing in their small canoes, the rooms are almost invisible.

The Mahale mountains are home to the largest population of wild chimpanzees in East Africa and guided hiking here will introduce honeymooners to these and other shy mountain mammals. Add to this the warm welcome of Greystroke Mahale’s staff, sundowners in a dhow, plunges in cold waterfall pools, and time to “just be” with the abundance of butterflies, all making this destination feel like a coveted step back in time.

Greystroke Mahale Africa Honeymoon Wild at Heart Journeys Thatch Hut
One of just six private and minimal bandas at Greystroke Mahale. Image courtesy of Greystroke Mahale.

Start Planning Your Honeymoon Now

In the midst of engagement parties and wedding planning, making honeymoon arrangements can take a bit of a back seat. Wild at Heart Journeys can help with every aspect, from providing details and budgeting on these and other options to full service planning, booking, and logistical support before and during the trip. It is always our goal to make your wild at heart journey the trip of a lifetime. Just call 1-844-945-7697 or email us to set up a time to chat about your journey via phone, skype or facetime.

 wild at heart journeys africa beach honeymoon mnemba island dhow cruise
A private dhow cruise at Mnemba Island.  Image courtesy of andBeyond Mnemba island

Robin Francis of WAHJ has been providing African travel services for over 10 years and travels frequently to the continent to meet with partners and experience their lodging, amenities, and activities first hand. Partners regard her as one of the most knowledgeable African travel consultants in the US, who has also invested in giving back to the communities she works with. Robin and WAHJ are available for complete travel booking throughout Africa or consulting on bookings made through other providers.