A honeymoon in the North West province offers contrasting experiences. In game sanctuaries such as the Pilanesberg or Madikwe game reserves, nature’s marvels are the attraction. At the Hartbeespoort Dam and Sun City, the human propensity to entertain is seen in creative recreational amenities. Or combine the two for the best of both worlds.

Did you know?

Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club golf course is host to the world-famous annual Nedbank Golf Challenge, South Africa's most prestigious golf tournament.

A Sun City honeymoon provides a fantasy world contrasted by a magnificent bushveld setting. Entertainment is non-stop, with gaming, shopping, restaurants, movies and live concerts. There are adventure activities such as hot-air balloon rides, zip slides, quad biking and parasailing. In addition, there are two world-class golf courses and water fun to be had at the Valley of the Waves.

For something different, try the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, right next door to Sun City. The Pilanesberg is a Big Five sanctuary with the distinction of being set in an extinct crater. Here you can embark on day and night game drives, either self-drive or professionally guided. Or you can hike and identify some of the 300 species of birds that occur here.

There’s a good network of roads in the park, with hides and picnic sites where you can stretch your legs and enjoy an ‘out-of-vehicle’ experience. A dozen bush lodges in the park offer three to five-star accommodation.

Like the Pilanesberg, Madikwe Game Reserve is home to the Big Five. It is about a four-hour drive from Johannesburg, heading towards Botswana. Situated at the edge of the Kalahari, animal and plant life here is diverse, and is best experienced through guided day and night safaris in open vehicles.

Accommodation in Madikwe is of a high standard and includes bush lodges in the four and five-star categories, ideal for honeymoon couples looking for some 'Out of Africa'-type pampering. Madikwe can only be accessed by booking at one of the lodges and then exploring atop a 4x4 vehicle supplied by the lodge. There is no self-drive option available.

While on honeymoon in the North West, you could also book a B&B in the Magaliesberg or at the Hartbeespoort Dam, try a township stay in Soulspoort, or experience some local colour and culture in Groot Marico.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

North West Parks and Tourism
Tel: + 27 (0)18 397 1500
Email: info@tourismnorthwest.co.za

Sun City
Tel: + 27 (0)14 557 1000
Email: crobook@suninternational.com

Pilanesberg Game Reserve
Tel: + 27 (0)14 555 1637
Email: pilanesberg@nwptb.co.za

Madikwe Game Reserve
Tel: + 27 (0)18 350 9931/2
Email: madikweadmin@telkomsa.net

How to get here

The North West is accessible by road, and is within easy distances of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Roads are suitable for all types of vehicles.

Best time to visit

The North West can be visited any time of year. Summers (November to February) in the game parks may be hot, but game drives are usually done at sunrise and sunset, avoiding the heat of the day. During the ‘siesta’ hours, the hotel or lodge pool is the place to be.

Around the area

Game drives and bush walks are a highlight of staying in the Pilanesberg or Madikwe reserves. You can also go hot-air ballooning and/or enjoy water sports at Hartbeespoort Dam.

Tours to do

If you're staying in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, a visit to the Mphebatho Museum is an enriching cultural experience.

What will it cost

Prices vary according to accommodation establishments. The honeymoon suites are generally a bit more expensive than standard suites, but well worth it!

Length of stay

A weekend to a week-long break.

Where to stay

There is a wide variety of accommodation available in the North West, from rustic bush camps to five-star lodges and hotels. Township home-stays are also an option.

What to eat

There are excellent restaurants at Sun City, and the luxury lodges in both Madikwe and Pilanesberg offer superb bush-style cuisine.

What's happening

If you enjoy history, then spending some time in the historic town of Mafikeng is worthwhile.

Best buys

Fine craftwork is to be found at the craft markets around the Hartbeespoort Dam. Galleries in the same location specialise in works by South African artists, which are well-priced.

Related articles