Most couples wish that their wedding day could last forever. They want the moment frozen in time, and sometimes they want to celebrate tying the knot totally removed from everyday life. That’s what makes safari destinations the perfect location for a wedding. There’s nothing more spiritual than nature. If nature is your religion, safari resorts and lodges seem like the perfect place to exchange vows. Here are 8 places in Africa where you can have a safari wedding.
If you want a wedding that feels frozen in time, plan it at the Kirawira Serena Camp in the Serengeti National Park. There are plenty of picturesque places to exchange vows like under a giant safari tent, or on top of a hill overlooking the landscape. The property arranges for a wedding cinematographer for you, and you’ll sleep in a luxury tent with colonial furniture, an enormous bathroom, and a deck with breathtaking views of the park. Guests can ask the staff to set up their reception out in the middle of the park, delivering everything from the wedding cake to the incredible natural setting.
If you’re expecting a large wedding party with guests of all ages, plan it at the family-friendly Tuningi Safari Lodge. The lodge organizes a very special wedding package that includes game drives the day before and after the wedding for all your guests, an intimate bush dinner for the wedding party the night before the big day, and live music and entertainment from a local choir. The ceremony takes place in the bush on a hilltop, and the reception is hosted in the main lodge. On the night of everyone’s arrival, the staff treats the guests to dinner under the stars.
If you want to get married in the desert, plan your wedding at the detail-oriented Little Kulala Lodge. The lodge practically sits on the sand, and the staff arranges unforgettable wedding treats like a hot air balloon ride over the sand dunes followed by a champagne breakfast. Most rooms are cottage style with one wall that is made entirely of glass to offer uninterrupted views of the desert. Several cottages come with private plunge pools and decks, as well as romantic outdoor showers. The property will provide live music and a cake for a wedding, as well as ATVs that you can take into the desert for some unique photos.
Zanzibar offers a unique combination of beach and safari settings. The Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort is well-known for its wedding package, which offers a ceremony on the sand, right by the water, or on a private deck, a gorgeous Zanzibar bouquet, recorded music for the ceremony, a reception with hors d’oeuvres and sparkling wine, cake, and photos. During a couple’s stay, they will also enjoy a five-course private candlelight dinner on the beach.
Not many couples spot live leopards running past their ceremony, but those marrying at the Simbambili Game Lodge in the Sabi Sands Reserve can. Another spot for an intimate wedding, this high-end, luxury lodge can accommodate just 16 guests, but they pay special attention to each and every one. The on-site chef will make you a delicious local dish at any time of day or night, and the highly knowledgeable rangers will take you up close to several of the Big 5. If you want your wedding to truly feel millions of miles away from reality, you’ll appreciate that many visitors of Simbambili say how remarkably quiet it is here—all you can hear is wildlife.
Victoria Falls runs through Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Tongabezi Lodge on the Zambia side has a special wedding package that includes a ceremony on Livingstone Island which sits right on the edge of the falls. At the ceremony, a local pastor will give the marrying couple his blessing before they head to the reception, which the lodge’s staff fully organizes. Tongabezi will handle everything from the marriage registration requirement in Zambia to the guest gifts, flowers, cake, and DJ. Couples can also dip into the honeymoon package, which involves a candlelit dinner floating on a sampan (a small boat), served entirely by staff on canoes.
The Seychelles National Parks overlook the Indian Ocean and cross a lush archipelago. One of the islands in this archipelago is called Round Island and on it you’ll find the Enchanted Island Resort, which is in the center of a marine reserve. Couples have the option to book the entire island for a memorable vacation for all their guests. This is the perfect place for a tropical wedding, with just 10 villas —each with a private pool– that can sleep 24 guests. The resort also has a full spa where the marrying couple can relax and rejuvenate before exchanging vows.
Couples hoping for an intimate wedding can book the Mara Gypsy Camp in the middle of the Masai Mara National Park, which only accommodates 20 guests. The staff are experts at planning weddings on the site with plenty of romantic surprises up their sleeves. A stream that runs through the property attracts a lot of wildlife and can offer some stunning photo opportunities—and unexpected furry guests! The camp is all-inclusive with spa treatments, butler service, sundown cocktail hour and more, so it’s an amazing place to spend your honeymoon, too.