South Africa Elopement Planning | 2022 Guide - JayneMayAgnes Photography
The coast of South Africa where towering mountains meet the ocean

South Africa Elopement Planning | 2022 Guide

International Elopement Locations, Location Inspiration

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Featured Elopement Location: South Africa, December 2023

If the idea of getting married in the South Africa lights a fire in your soul — or was already on your elopement bucket list — and the dates I’m there align with when you want to get married, all of my travel fees are waived! My dates for South Africa are currently flexible in the month of December 2023. Want to come with me? Let me know ASAP.

What is a featured location?

Before I get to the GOOD STUFF, I wanted to tell you about my featured locations. A featured location is somewhere I already have plans to be. If the dates I’m there align with when you want to get married, all of my travel fees are waived! (A $1,000 savings!) So yeah, you could technically count this as a reason to shuffle the budget and fit in an epic activity on your big day. That’s enough cash for a private chef, a private helicopter tour, or even a massive upgrade to wherever you’re staying!

What could a South African Elopement look like? Read on for all the details.

Written by the wonderful Sam Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home

Stunning scenery, incredible wildlife, top tier wineries, beautiful beaches, great nightlife… South Africa is a deeply special and unique place, and you’ll always leave wanting more. What better place to elope? 

Planning a South Africa elopement isn’t necessarily easy. It can be tricky to know where to go, what to do, where to stay… It all adds up, and it can feel overwhelming. If you find yourself asking exactly how to elope in South Africa, don’t worry: I’m going to walk you through the whole process and make it totally seamless, so your South Africa elopement goes off without a hitch. Whether you want to say “I Do” on safari or spend your elopement wining and dining across Stellenbosch, there’s an option for you! 

The coast of South Africa where towering mountains meet the ocean

Where to elope in South Africa 

Eloping in South Africa? Between the serene beaches, rolling hills, and wild safaris, there are so many spectacular locations for couples looking to elope in South Africa. You won’t forget the breathtaking South Africa. These are some of the best places to elope in South Africa: 

KwaZulu-Natal

Located on the Eastern coast of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal is a beautiful, wild location with rolling hills, mountain peaks, and ocean views. There’s an especially beautiful location in the foothills of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountain range, complete with wineries, luxury hotels, and spas. It’s a great area if you want to combine your trip with your honeymoon. 

Sabi Sands area, Kruger National Park

Looking to elope on safari in South Africa? Why not combine your South Africa elopement with your luxury accommodation. The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is the perfect place to combine a luxury South African safari experience with a Big Five game viewing. It’s hands down one of the nicest lodges in South Africa, and we can plan all sorts of incredible shots in this beautiful part of Kruger National Park. 

Land of Giants, Kruger National Park

If you don’t mind picking a sparse backdrop, the Land of Giants in Kruger National Park is beyond epic! The Pafuri area is home to the otherworldly baobabs and ancient settlements, but there’s so much more here for couples looking to elope in Kruger National Park. The sprawling desert with giant baobab trees are an absolutely epic place for your South African elopement. 

Safari Elopement South Africa 

Rhinos cross a dirt road in South Africa

Is a safari elopement in South Africa your dream come true? We can make it happen in South Africa! South Africa has several popular safari areas, but Kruger National Park remains perhaps the best-known safari area. If you have always dreamed about eloping in the midst of wild animals, let’s talk about the different ways to make this happen: private tours, accommodations in the park, group tours…There are so many options! 

Garden Route

The Garden Route runs more than 200 kilometers along the coast of South Africa, and it is an absolutely stunning place to elope in South Africa. Wide sandy beaches, lagoons, sprawling lakes, and forests are just some of the many beautiful scenes along this highway. Why not plan an epic road trip along this route and elope along the way? 

These are some of the most popular places to elope in South Africa – and some of the most beautiful. But if you don’t see your exact vision here, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can plan something together. 

What to do on your elopement day in South Africa

A lone tree grows in the desert in the South African wilderness

Eloping in South Africa? If you’re planning an epic South African elopement, you probably want to do more than just get married and fly out. There is so much to do in South Africa, there’s a good chance you won’t even have enough time to cover everything you want to see. From wine tasting to bungee jumping, here are some of the all-time coolest things to do on your elopement day in South Africa: 

  • Book a South Africa safari: Kruger National Park is truly a must-see in South Africa. The park has nearly 2 million hectares of safari with historical and archaeological sites as well. If it’s your dream to go on safari, you absolutely cannot miss Kruger National Park! 
  • Rent kayaks and see the penguins: If you’re staying in Cape Town, you cannot miss the penguins! Yes, you heard that right…penguins!!! At the beautiful Boulders Beach, you can get up close and personal with penguins. Alternatively, rent kayaks and see them from the water. 
Penguins walk along the coast at South Africa's Boulders Beach
  • Hike in Cape Town: Have you really visited Cape Town without heading up to Lion’s Head? On a clear day, spots like Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, and other popular hikes are totally worth the journey. Lion’s Head is one of the simplest hikes with plenty of different routes to the summit, depending on your fitness ability. 
  • Go bungee jumping: Looking for a little dose of adrenaline? Head to Bloukrans Bridge Bungy, the world’s highest commercial bridge at 216 meters. Located along South Africa’s Garden Route, taking the leap off this bridge will satisfy any daredevil! 
  • Road Trip to Garden Route: Driving the Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most popular stretches of highway. This route, which stretches around 200 km, takes you through some incredible national parks, forests, lakes, and beaches. You CAN’T miss this!
  • Plan an elephant safari: Have you always dreamed about seeing elephants in the wild? ADDO Elephant National Park, the third largest national park in South Africa, is located east of Cape Town. This gorgeous national park is home to these majestic elephants, and it would be such a special experience to see them in the wild.  

The best time to elope in South Africa

An aerial view of mountains, with a lake running through the valley, in South Africa

The best time to elope in South Africa is November, April, or May. Remember, the Southern Hemisphere experiences winter when the Northern Hemisphere experiences summer. That means the peak time to visit South Africa would be during their summer season, November to April. 

During the months of November, April, or May, you’ll get to experience milder weather and fewer tourists. December tends to be the peak time to visit South Africa, so it will be crowded with tourists and locals on vacation. However, if you navigate around peak travel times, you can find great weather and fewer tourists for your elopement. 

Keep in mind that temperatures do vary depending on the region of South Africa. Depending on where you choose to elope, temperatures may be slightly different. 

Where to eat in South Africa

South Africa has a huge variety of high-end eateries featuring eclectic taste profiles. In South Africa, the food is heavily influenced by the indigenous population, along with the Dutch, French, Indians and Malaysians cultures. The result is such a vibrant, delicious cuisine – a lovely variety of tastes! 

Looking to try a bit of the local flavor? Here are some of the most traditional dishes in South Africa: 

  • Biltong & droewors, dry cured game meat
  • Boerewors, a special South African sausage
  • Cape Malay curry, a unique curry influenced by Indonesian, Indian and Malaysian cultures
  • Malva pudding, a sticky and sweet baked pudding with Dutch origins
  • Bunny chow, a South African street food
  • Bobotie, a minced meat baked pie with lots of spices

And for those of you looking for the best culinary experiences: Here are some of the top restaurants in South Africa: 

Where to drink in South Africa

There’s nothing like topping off the evening with a nice drink. South Africa is also home to some of the most celebrated wineries, another great way to raise a glass and celebrate your achievements. Here are some of the best places to grab a drink and celebrate in South Africa: 

Where to stay in South Africa

An aerial view of Cape Town in South Africa

Looking for the coolest accommodations in South Africa? There’s no shortage of insane, epic places to celebrate your elopement. Take a look at some of my personal favorites: 

Not seeing THE spot? Don’t worry, we can work together to find the best accommodations near your elopement location. 

Vendors I recommend in the area

Here are some of my recommended vendors for your South Africa elopement. 

Florist

Hair and Makeup Artists

Bakery

Officients

Catering

How to get to South Africa

There are two major airports in South Africa:  O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, Gauteng and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) located in Cape Town. You will need to pick an airport based on your elopement destination. Johannesburg has its charm, but it tends to be much more dangerous (especially in recent years) compared to Cape Town, which is a popular international destination. Both cities, however, offer their own pros and cons to the surrounding nature. 

If you plan to visit Kruger and plan a South African safari, Johannesburg might be much closer than Cape Town. If you want to visit the vineyards at Stellenbosch, Cape Town is much closer. 

If you plan to explore the country, you can book your own domestic flights within South Africa as well. Both Cape Town and Johannesburg are larger, metropolitan cities, and it’s not recommended to walk around within many areas of both cities for safety reasons. Consider planning out transportation within the cities, even if that’s just taking Ubers around town. 

How to legally elope in South Africa

I’d personally recommend getting legally married in the U.S. to make it easier on you both and then have the symbolic ceremony in South Africa. 

But if you want to legally get married in South Africa, it is possible. What do you need to elope in South Africa? South African couples with residency or citizenship will need an abridged marriage certificate. However, foreign couples may need an unabridged marriage certificate or an apostille. Unfortunately, the exact requirements for legal marriage in South Africa will depend on where you hold citizenship and where you reside. 

My tips for exploring South Africa

Giraffes stand on the road in South Africa

South Africa is a much bigger country than most people expect, and you should plan your trip accordingly. If you do plan to explore South Africa, keep these tips in mind:

  • Consider exploring multiple areas: If you have the time, consider spending time in different regions of South Africa. If you base yourself in Cape Town, consider driving the Garden Route or planning a South African safari. There’s so much to see! 
  • Keep safety in mind: One of my biggest tips? Safety, safety, safety. Remember to stay vigilant and research proper safety protocols for the areas you plan to visit. That might mean, for example, planning out transport, keeping car doors locked, or staying out of certain neighborhoods. You may also want to avoid walking alone at night. 
  • Will you need a visa? U.S. citizens do not need a visa, but nationals from other countries might need a visa. 
  • Tipping is common practice: Tipping is commonplace in South Africa, much like in the U.S. 

Closing Statements

Planning a South Africa elopement may seem daunting, but this beautiful country is completely worth a visit for the adventurous traveler! There’s something wild and wonderful for all the couples planning to elope in South Africa. 

Ready to book your elopement?!

HELL YES We're IN!