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Africa has played a pivotal role in two of the world’s most enduring and endearing modern romances. When screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor and her great love Richard Burton decided that they couldn’t live without each other following their first divorce, they married for a second time in Kasane alongside Chobe National Park in Botswana.

Thirty-five years later, in 2010, Prince William chose the rustic Rutundu Log Cabins on the remote slopes of Mount Kenya to present long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton with Princess Diana’s iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

At Go2Africa, we’ve been fortunate to have helped many clients arrange their unforgettable small destination weddings in Africa. Memorable ones include Polly and Donny McKay, who celebrated their nuptials with a Masai-inspired celebration at Sarova Mara in Kenya – complete with warriors singing traditional songs and a ‘good omen’ rhino crossing their path on their way back to their honeymoon tent! More recently, we helped Jerod and Jalisa Watson put together an intimate wedding ceremony officiated by a Maasai elder in the Masai Mara, followed by a dream honeymoon in the Seychelles – take a look at their short wedding video to get a feel for the festivities.

Say 'I do' in the wilds of Africa | Saruni Samburu

The wild spaces and endless skies of Africa remind you about what's important in life; a good reason why weddings and proposals are so popular here. In Africa, you are relieved of your daily worries and free to reconnect with what inspires you, so it's only natural for travellers to get back in touch with the fundamental human experience of love, respect and affection. It may well be all the fresh air that gives you the sudden insight that the person beside you is the perfect partner for you! Whatever it is, Africa overflows with romantic moments to share with the one you love. What better reason could there be to have a wedding in Africa?

More and more, safari lodges and camps are geared to facilitate a small destination weddings in Africa, complete with bubbly on ice and a wedding cake to share in the glow of new love. Here are a few of our favourite places for a small African destination wedding:

Southern Africa

Southern Africa

1. Lion Sands Narina Lodge
South Africa

Peace and privacy | Lion Sands Narina Lodge

Embrace tranquillity in at a luxury lodge settled underneath a canopy of ancient trees overlooking the Sabie River. A handful of exquisite private suites separated by raised wooden walkways give a treehouse-style feel and provide exclusive accommodation for your intimate wedding party.

Located in a prime game-viewing area, Kruger National Parks’ Tinga Concession, say your vows with wildlife as your witness. Indulge in a feast fit for any wedding, relax in your private plunge pool, enjoy a spa treatment, or venture off on a bush-based activity. Once the ‘I do’s’ are through, take advantage of the Lion Sands Treehouses for the ultimate romantic experience, a night sleeping under the stars. As African wedding venues go, this is one of the top.

2. Marataba Safari Lodge
South Africa

Dinner under the stars | Marataba Safari Lodge

Celebrate your nuptials in the beautiful Marakele National Park where a privately managed, unspoiled sanctuary provides breath-taking views of the Waterberg Mountain. An impressive array of wildlife species, including the Big 5, await your arrival. As a malaria-free, child-friendly offering, Marataba’s elegant stone lodge is ideal for all guests. Large glass windows allow or plenty of natural light inside while a sparkling swimming pool provides a cool respite from the warm sunshine.

Make the most of the tranquil atmosphere, safari-based activities, and the dedicated child coordinator to ensure everyone is entertained. Before your special day, enjoy an in-room spa session for ultimate relaxation. Venture out with your newly anointed spouse for a sunset picnic before spending a night under a carpet of stars in the treehouse.

3. Constance Prince Maurice

Pool loungers with umbrellas overlooking a beautiful pool and palm trees | Go2Africa
Palm trees and a warm breeze | Constance Prince Maurice

Venture to an idyllic island paradise and enjoy the best of beautiful beaches and lush tropical gardens at Constance Prince Maurice. Five star luxury and various accommodation options ensure a decadent experience for you and your guests. Book a day at the on-site spa for a day of rest, relaxation, and preparation for your special day.

The hotel’s culinary teams are on-hand to curate the perfect menu. During your down time, enjoy a host of outdoor activities from a host of water-based activities to an 18-hole golf course, or simply lounge by the pool. The Constance Kids Club is on hand to ensure any younger guests are constantly entertained with cooking classes, movies, beach excursions, and more.

4. The Oberoi Beach Resort

A thatched villa with loungers and a pristine pool in Mauritius | Go2Africa
A secluded spot, perfect for honeymooners | The Oberoi Beach Resort

Found on the pristine Turtle Bay, a natural marine park, The Oberoi offers a five star combination of beach and sub-tropical gardens. Lovely thatched villas with private pools and gorgeous pavilions provide spacious, well-appointed spaces for your guests to enjoy. Say I do in a beautiful beach cove and complete the experience with a candlelit dinner overlooking the ocean, should you choose an afternoon ceremony. The Oberoi features a host of wellness activities including guided breathing, yoga, Tai Chi, and nature walks designed to help you enhance connections.

5. Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge at Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe | Go2Africa
Watching the final moments of a sunset over Lake Kariba | Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Set on a hill about Lake Kariba, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge offers guests gorgeous views across the lake’s still blue water. Admire your exquisite natural surroundings from the rim-flow pool and connect with guests in the boma lit by lanterns. Beautifully appointed suites offer luxurious accommodation for guests, while the private Baobab Villa is ideal for newlyweds.

Embark on guided boat tours and sunset cruises and enjoy the best of Lake Kariba or venture into the Bumi Hills private concession for fantastic safari experiences. Should it tickle your fancy, spend a romantic evening aboard The Lady Jacqueline for a night out on the water. The Ngwana Club specialises in children on safari, ensuring their comfort, happiness, and entertainment. A perfect, peaceful place for an African safari wedding.

6. Khwai Leadwood

Part of a pool, two fake crocodiles and a portable bar on a deck overlooking a river and lush grass and trees | Go2Africa
Sundowners spent admiring the waterways and lush surroundings | Khwai Leadwood

Tucked under trees along the banks of the Khwai River, this elegant camp offers a handful of luxury tents and a family unit. Its location and amenities are ideal for wedding parties seeking an intimate, exclusive experience. Adventure and tranquillity go hand in hand here – venture down the river on a mokoro (traditional canoe), observe incredible wildlife, and venture out into the iconic Moremi Game Reserve. In preparation for your big day, spend time relaxing by the pool or lounging on your private deck, complete with hammock. If children form part of your wedding party or guest list, they will be well accommodated by the well-versed kids club.

7. Tongabezi Lodge

A suite at Tongabezi Lodge in Zambia with matching hanging egg chairs, a large bed, and loungers on the exposed balcony overlooking a body of water | Go2Africa
Nothing quite like a beautiful suite with a view | Tongabezi Lodge

Found just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Victoria Falls, Tongabezi offers lovely views over the Zambezi River. The lodge has successfully managed to combine romance and charm to create a welcoming atmosphere.

In terms of accommodation, various River Cottages and Houses offer uniquely decorated couple- and family-friendly options. While their charm is evident, each maintains the same luxurious look and feel. Their Honeymoon House has also won Travel Africa’s ‘Best Room in Africa’ award, which bodes well for newly married couples.

For adventurous couples, mark the occasion with white water rafting, bungee jumping, or even bridge swings. Alternatively, embrace the tranquillity of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park with nature walks and game drives, or boat cruises along the river.

8. Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa

A four poster bed with mosquito net facing an ocean view with a plunge pool on a surrounding deck | Go2Africa
Four poster dreams | Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa

If you’ve ever dreamt of being cast away on a paradise island with the one you love (and a generous measure of world-class service), Anantara is an ideal setting for your small destination wedding in Africa. After exchanging vows on a deserted sandbank, step over the threshold of your private villa with its plunge pool and romantic bed wrapped in a fluttering white mosquito net. Imagine the most fairy-tale African wedding destination and honeymoon setting come to life with alluring Indian Ocean hues.

East Africa

East Africa

9. Elsa’s Kopje

A stone carved bath and thatched roof with open side allows for views over surroundings | Go2Africa
A relaxing bath complete with incredible view | Elsa’s Kopje

Lion fans will want to head to Elsa’s Kopje in Kenya’s Meru National Park for their small destination wedding in Africa. The lodge is named after Elsa, the orphaned lioness who was hand-reared by conservationist and novelist Joy Adamson. The lioness became a global icon for the rights of wild creatures in Joy’s best-selling book – and hit movie – Born Free. Elsa’s Kopje is built on the site of the Adamsons’ original camp and infused with the tranquil spirit of a bygone era.

Begin your wedded days with breakfast served in the midst of golden savannah after watching the sunrise on a thrilling dawn game drive. Welcome each magical evening soaking in your spacious tub with its endless views over the Meru plains.

10. Mara Explorer

An open sided tent with bathtub and two chairs overlooking the surrounding bush | Go2Africa
A gorgeous tented experience with lovely views | Mara Explorer

Nestled within a riverine forest in the heart of the Masai Mara, this luxury tented camp offers guests the ultimate wilderness retreat. With only 10 well-spaced tents along the Talek River, you’re sure to enjoy the utmost privacy and exclusivity during your small destination wedding in Africa. Each tent is beautifully furnished in a classic style that pays homage to the romantic ‘explorer’ days of yesteryear. Think hand carved mahogany furniture, antique chests and historic prints, plus open-air Victorian bathtubs from which to watch elephant and giraffe quench their thirst at the river.

A Dream Wedding in the Mara

A couple who just got married holding hands heading away from the camera with a wide open space and mountains in the distance | Go2Africa
Just married! | Go2Africa

“The magic of an African wedding is unbeaten. Your choice of backdrop ranges from the wide open grasslands of the Serengeti to forests, mountains, remote hilltops to the Cape winelands – the choices are plentiful and all beautiful. Arranging such an important day when so far apart means a lot of thought needs to go into exactly what you want your special day to look like – we love to hear all your ideas, see photos, get the specifics on flowers, food, videographers/photographers and can then advise some of the best locations to make this dream come true. So, whether you prefer a traditional blessing in the Masai Mara or booking out an entire lodge we can make it happen – aim to start planning a year or more in advance.”

– Lauren Johansson, Africa Safari Expert

11. Saruni Samburu

Have an intimate wedding ceremony | Saruni Samburu

The Samburu tribe has the tradition of young men giving large amounts of beads to young women as an indication of ‘going steady’ before a wedding ceremony. Like the Maasai, marriage is important to the Samburu who live in north-central Kenya. At Saruni Samburu, your ceremony will take place in an authentic Samburu village – known as a manyatta in Swahili – with the revered elders, the women and the askaris (warriors) taking part. For cultural tourists, the Samburu National Reserve is one of the best African wedding destination spots.

12. Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge

A bush immersion | Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge

With experienced wedding planners, fantastic catering and exclusive accommodation for your guests, Serena Safari Lodge is one of the best places for a small African destination wedding. Whether you envision an intimate family BBQ by the pool, an elegant reception in the dining room, a traditional Maasai wedding with a local chief or a romantic ceremony in the bush, the possibilities are endless in the heart of the Serengeti.

13. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Romance abounds | Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Ngorongoro Crater is a natural wonder that will take your breath away. The world’s largest intact caldera from a long-extinct volcano, Ngorongoro is home to about 30 000 wild creatures who live within the safety of the caldera walls. With a gentler climate than the surrounding plains, the crater floor is lush with pastures and mineral-rich springs. It is one of the few wild places in East Africa where you are likely to see all of the Big 5 in a single game drive.

At Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, wedding ceremonies take place on one of three decks, each with spectacular views over the crater below. What better place to forge a lifelong bond than in a setting that has been unchanged over millennia? Imagine saying ‘I do’ while standing on the rim of the crater, a Maasai guard of honour watching over you, and the natural beauty of the wilderness unfolding around you. If you’re looking for a little opulence, this is one of the best places for a small African destination wedding.

14. Rubondo Island Camp

A gorgeous beach view from a picturesque suite at Rubondo Island Camp | Go2Africa
Exquisite views from the comfort of your bed | Rubondo Island Camp

Introducing the ultimate unspoilt paradise, Rubondo Island, otherwise affectionately known as ‘Noah’s Ark’. Not only does it feature fantastic views over the vast expanse of Lake Victoria, but is the only camp found on the island – exclusivity at its finest. Its picturesque private beach is perfectly contrasted by the lush forest canopies surrounding the camp. A few thatched cottages, and a family-friendly offering, enjoy waterfront views and were each hand-built using local materials. High ceilings and natural colours that blend seamlessly into their surroundings make the cottages a perfect romantic retreat.

Leading up to, and following, your wedding, embrace island life from the comfort of your hammock, binoculars in hand. If activities appeal to you and your wedding party, explore the forest on foot with a guide or on one of the open vehicles. Alternatively, enjoy the refreshing pool, indulge in afternoon tea, and venture out for a sunset boat cruise before a beach campfire under the stars.

15. Story Seychelles

Two pool loungers, a pool, and a covered platform with loungers overlooking tropical gardens and across to the beach | Go2Africa
Lush tropical gardens, pool loungers, and beach views | Story Seychelles

Settled on the end of lauded Beau Vallon Beach on Mahé Island, Story Seychelles epitomises luxury and boutique charm. Its location is ideal for couples looking to host their wedding as Beau Vallon is the only beach on Mahé that is swimmable year round. A gorgeous natural reef just offshore and exceptional accommodation make it an ideal venue.

The resort offers various wedding packages, which all include a wedding coordinator, making your experience even more seamless. When you’re not preparing to say ‘I do’, indulge at the spa and health club, enjoy the water-based activities, and ensure you snorkel out to the reef. The resort is also child-friendly.

Ready to Plan Your Dream African Wedding?

Like any journey, the help and advice of an Africa Safari Expert make all the difference. Chat about your expectations and the nitty-gritty like the required paperwork for your nuptials well in advance. Making or renewing your vows in an African setting is a moment you’ll treasure forever.

Get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make your small destination wedding in Africa:

Written By

Emma Thomson

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