“Africa — You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the Hand of God. You watch the slope lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. In Africa, there are iridescent blues on the wings of birds that you do not see anywhere else in nature. In Africa, in the midday heart, you can see blisters in the atmosphere. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.” Jodi Picoult
I suppose everyone has their idea of the ultimate wedding destination, but mine will always be the African Bushveld. Lauren and Jonathan chose ReTurn Africa to host their intimate wedding in the Kruger National Park. Close family and friends joined them for the small but perfect wedding ceremony, unfenced and beneath trees, totally absorbed in nature.
It rained a lot the week leading up to the wedding, and even more so in the Kruger National Park. If you have visited here, you will know this is super extraordinary. The bush comes alive; rivers, once only sandbanks, are now flowing, meandering. It invites many birds and abundant wildlife. It is a sight to see! And also, the endless array of spots to exchange vows – under the fever tree forest or along the riverbanks. In an open savannah area with views as far as the eye can see or between the giant baobab trees.
The Pafuri Tented Camp, situated in the Makuleke Contract Park north of the Kruger National Park, offers accommodation in luxury safari tents raised on wooden walkways. They have magnificent views of the Luvuvhu River, bush bar, swimming pool, dining area and guided game drives.
Other venues that come highly recommended:
Misava Safari Camp is a real gem. Small and intimate with a setting in the Klaserie Drift Private Game Reserve with boundless African plains spreading beside the meandering river. What better way for this adventurous couple to celebrate their life together than by embarking on a post-vow safari game drive with champagne and cake naturally part of the deal.
(See Chelsea-Rae & Nathan’s elopement here)
Chitwa Chitwa, with their uncomplicated yet spacious rooms, are divine! They house modern accommodations with decks and private plunge pools overlooking the magnificent bushveld. They cater to an array of preferences; my bride even went for a workout in their gym before the ceremony, and traditional dancing ends the exciting game drives.
Lion Sands takes pride in delivering on experience. They are situated on a private game reserve and are home to the southern hemisphere’s highest and most diverse concentration of wildlife. Accommodation includes six lodges with an assortment of stays and all-inclusive rates.
(See Lauren & Peter’s Sabi Sands Elopement here)
Return Africa is the ultimate African Safari at the Pafuri Tented Camp in Northern Kruger. They offer African escapes in various locations and are the ideal place to host your ceremony. Because they situate alongside the river, there are endless opportunities for fantastic animal sights, and you can hear the hippos nearby.
Although any time in the bushveld promises to be magical, certain months take preference. Here’s why:
Between March and May: In the pre-winter or winter, the veld is dry, and the deciduous trees turn brown and drop their leaves. Sights are picturesque as everything seems golden in colour – a perfect match for skin tones and beautiful photographs. Pleasant temperatures make for warm days, low humidity and virtually no rainfall accompanied by dipping night-time temperatures. You can easily spot the animals frequenting waterholes and rivers.
Between September and November: Temperatures are higher with a wet summer season. Birds come out to play, and baby animals are everywhere during spring.
A smaller wedding simplifies traditional marriage celebrations and leaves you with everything that matters to you. Your wedding day is about you, your partner, and those closest to you. You remove the add-ons to make way for the unforgettable.
As a photographer, I treasure part-taking in the lasting memories of any intimate marriage celebration.
Lauren, Jonathan, family, and friends, thank you so much for making me part of your special day. It was beautiful. You guys were gorgeous, and we loved every moment. Enjoy your memories captured!
Thinking of planning your own intimate Safari wedding? Contact me today.