Renewing your vows could be even sweeter than saying them the first time. You’re (hopefully!) less nervous, you’re not worrying about the caterer getting the starter out on time and you can be surrounded by the children you’re bringing up and new friends you’ve made along the way. Africa is a truly unique place to refresh your pledge to the one you love: packed with outstanding natural beauty and thrilling wildlife. Adding a bucket list experience (or two) to your celebration is a great way to make the most of such a special family safari.
Make sure that you tell your African Safari Expert that you would like to renew your vows so that she can inform the lodge or camp in good time. Since it is not a legal ceremony but rather a spiritual or romantic one, you needn’t worry about paperwork and the moment can be marked by exchanging of personal vows in front of a small group loved ones.
I’ve picked some of our favourite places: special settings to more than match the specialness of your recommitment to each other.
1. If you want to get away from it all... The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille
Looking out over Mount Kenya and Ol Olokwe, The Sanctuary is a luxurious lodge in Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau. Perfect if you want to go a little off the beaten track and ride off into the sunset on the backs of either horses or camels. Camel-trekking is a wonderful way to see this ancient landscape - you'll be led by Samburu guides on camels that provide you with an excellent elevation view and the ultimate in ‘green transport’.
2. If the whole family is coming… Chobe Chilwero, Botswana
With 15 family-friendly bungalows, Chobe Chilwero is ideal if you’re planning a big blowout with relatives and friends gathering together. Located near Chobe National Park, home to one of the biggest elephant populations in the world, its other claim to fame is a wonderful spa with a treatment room slung between the boughs of an old tree. There is plenty to do alongside the ceremony - a great programme for the kids in the care of trained babysitters, winding down on a romantic sunset cruise on the Chobe River and visiting Africa's adventure capital, Victoria Falls.
3. If you a want a sophisticated safari… Morukuru Madikwe, South Africa
South Africa may be a long-haul destination but nowhere in Africa beats it for world-class infrastructure and seamless logistics. Just hours after touching down in Johannesburg, you’ll arrive in Madikwe Game Reserve, one of the country’s largest and best-stocked Big 5 areas. Take over the stylish Madikwe villas – the Owner’s House, River House and Farm House – to enjoy malaria-free game watching. A private chef will prepare a feast to remember as your family settles into their luxurious home from home. Expert tip: Sun City, Africa’s most popular resort, is a stone’s throw from Madikwe if you want to balance game viewing with high-octane vacation fun.
4. If you love food and wine… La Residence, South Africa
Perhaps you want to sneak away from it all, just the two of you. La Residence in Franschhoek is an ideal setting for a second honeymoon. Franschhoek means ‘French Corner’ and it's South Africa’s gourmet capital, home to exquisite wines, cheeses and award winning restaurants - right on your doorstep. Wake up on an exclusive wine and olive farm to be pampered by your private chef, butler and chauffeur. Foodies will love the fact that all produce is seasonal and local while design fundis will adore the individually decorated suites, sporting original art and sculpture.
5. If you’re adventurous… Sussi & Chuma, Victoria Falls
If you want to renew your vows AND get your adrenalin pumping, head to Africa's adventure capital. Add to luxurious accommodation a choice of tiger fishing, bungee jumping, bridge swinging, white-water rafting, micro lighting, hiking and game viewing on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. At the end of an action-packed day, it's cocktail hour on the Zambezi River for a sunset cruise and a wonderful return to your ‘tree fort’ at Sussi & Chuma in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park where you drift off the sound of hooting owls and the faraway howling of jackals…
6. If you want beach bliss… Benguerra Island Lodge, Mozambique
Tucked away in the remote Bazaruto Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique, Benguerra Island Lodge offers you all the sunshine, warm ocean, water sports and seafood you could ever want. Renew your vows on a sandy beach and then head off diving or snorkelling at Two Mile Reef. The African-Arabian décor reflects the area’s colourful history and provides a cosy haven to return to after a day horse riding on the beach or lazing in your private sala.
Whether you’re bringing the whole family or keeping it just for two, a vow renewal ceremony celebrated in Africa is something to cherish. The diversity of landscapes, the splendour of the accommodation and the excellence of the service will all combine to launch you happily into the next phase of happily ever after…