The surprising new destinations adventurous couples are flocking to.
Time was, honeymoons—or any romantic getaway, really—were about hitting the brakes after a hearty dose of sun, sand, and fruity cocktails. No longer. Blame it on our high octane, multitasking lives, but be it a Costa Rican canopy tour or a pre-Olympic taste of Beijing, couples have been finding some pretty exciting ways to charge their shared battery. "My office is overrun with newlyweds in need of malaria pills and Tetnaeus shoots," says Marvin Cooper, MD, a Manhattan travel doctor whose clientele until recently mostly consisted of journalists and human rights workers.
Topping the twosomes' lists? South Africa, he says. Numbers seem to bear this out. Since 2002, the number of Americans, especially couples, booking trips there has been on a strong upswing (well outpacing competing destinations like Australia, Brazil, Kenya, and Morocco), according to data compiled by the South African Tourism Board. With its mix of culture, beach, wildlife, and adventure, the country's hitting all the right notes. Below, three over-the-top resorts to sate your boldest wanderlust:
Urban Retreat: Cape Grace, Cape Town: Perched on the majestic V&A waterfront, this classically designed hotspot (most recently featured in Blood Diamond) takes a "your wish is our command" approach. From arranging a picnic (replete with regional fare) seaside or atop famed Table Mountain, to offering high tea and regional wine tastings, a lexicon of neatly anticipated services are at your disposal. Newlyweds get complimentary use of spa areas, as well as in-room champagne breakfast. Sign up for the registry (your friends can buy you lunch—or a facial) and you’ll also get a 30-minute massage. www.capegrace.co.za
Coastal Paradise: Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, Knysna on the Garden Route: Commissioned by a billionaire international traveler intent on creating the "perfect" resort, Pezula offers everything from world-class cuisine and award-winning spa treatments to opportunities to horseback ride, canoe, and golf between lush mountains and sandy beaches (Rodger Federer is a regular guest, thanks to the superior athletic facilities). Tell them that you’re just married and you’ll find champagne and local oysters in your suite upon arrival, get daily in-room breakfasts, and receive a red-wine-and-truffles delivery during your stay. www.pezula.za
Safari Adventure: Ngala Safari and Tented Camp, Kruger National Park: Partially owned by the World Wildlife Fund and situated on the country's largest game reserve, this eco-conscious retreat offers twice-daily game drives, opportunities to track white rhino or cheetahs on foot, and area township tours. Guests can choose between two opulent settings: The safari lodge is more traditional (think Out of Africa), while the tented camp leans modern. Both combine over-the-top luxury food and service with a true adventure-in-the bush feel. Book the Safari Suite and you’ll get your own pool and the use of a private car for your game drives.