Eric and Tessa's wild, South African, philanthropic, pre-honeymoon

By on Oct. 22nd

Eric and Tessa with the 3,000 year old Baobab.

Honeymooners: Tessa and Eric

Type: International travel

Budget: ALL-OUT! ($10,000+)

Where did you go? We purchased a week at safari lodge in South Africa from a non-profit annual auction, and planned on using the trip in 2012. Since we were both not working we decided to make the most of the time off and planned a month long odyssey in South Africa.

What did you do?


A view of Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch Garden

  • Lots of driving. We literally drove from one end of the country to the other. We visited Johannesburg, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the Drakensburg Mountain Range, Royal Natal National Park, Zulu Nyala Game Reserve, Hluhluwe Umfolzi Game Reserve, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Blyde River Canyon, Kruger National Park, Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet, Bloemfontein, Mossel Bay, Hermanus, Betty's Bay, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Table Mountain, and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.

    I think this might win for cutest photo on OBB everrrrrr.

  • Learned how to drive South African style — on the left and pass without regard to the lines on the road.
  • Visiting the penguins in Betty's Bay.
  • Spent an entire day in a bureaucratic mess at the police station so we could file a hit and run report on our rental car.
  • Ate a multitude of English breakfasts (fried eggs, fried mushrooms, fried tomato, toast, bacon, and sausage).
  • Hiking — our favorite hike was Sentinel Peak.
  • Got lost for three hours without water and almost trampled by a herd of giraffes.
  • Played in the Indian Ocean.

    Cape Town.

  • Went on safaris and saw the "Big 5" and even more.
  • Whale watching in Hermanus.
  • Rode a gondola up Table Mountain.
  • Stumble Inn wine and cheese tasting in wine country.
  • Amazing dinner at Bizerca Bistro in Cape Town.
  • Had English tea and walked around Kirstenbosh National Botanical Garden.
  • Saw a 3,000 year old Baobab tree called "The Big Tree."

454What was the most meaningful moment of the trip?
There were a multitude of moments. Some that were extremely challenging and, after we met those challenges, I felt proud of us for working together. There were also moments of complete joy, when the experience was so beautiful that I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

What would you have done differently?
It's hard to see suffering on the side of the road and happily drive by. I would try harder to forgive myself for being rich, so I could ease my guilt and relax more.


Eric and the 3,000 year old Baobab Tree

What's your advice for other offbeat honeymooners? You can pick a honeymoon that gives back. Our US dollars went into South Africa's economy. Their international unemployment rate is over 25%, they have fewer social services, and poverty is far more severe than we are used to.


Gorgeous photo of central South Africa.

We purchased the safari trip from Casa Latina, a non-profit organization that assists Latino immigrants with education and employment opportunities.

During the trip we also stayed at the Scalabrini Center Guest House. This organization provides welfare programs to support the needy in Cape Town.

You can also help support conservation by visiting national parks and game reserves. Your entry fee will help save habitat and wildlife.


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About Megan Finley

Megan Finley is the Associate Publisher for the Offbeat Empire. When she's not slaving away for the Empire, she's sharing her dork side on her own blog, Twitter @meganfinley, and Instagram @meggyfin.