All aboard: 5 steamy honeymoon ideas

2016-07-29 13:30 - Carina Greeff
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Some plan the dress to the last sequin embroidered detail, the cake to the last fondant flower or the décor to the last colour-coded ribbon. Me? I’ll be investing my time planning the most epic honeymoon. There are just so many options available – from backpacking adventures through Mexico to hotel-hopping in Europe.. Island hopping in Thailand or a luxury Garden Route expedition. The options seem endless. One almost-forgotten form of transport caught our attention that will make for a romantic vintage honeymoon to remember. 

Capetonians taking the train to Kalk Bay may also have experienced an unparalleled feeling of nostalgia soon followed by the urge to travel the world by train. Imagine trekking through Africa, spotting game from your cabin. Or exploring the beautiful rocky mountains of Canada with your hubby. A vintage honeymoon on board the most luxurious train or train hopping between Europe’s most romantic cities – I say all engines go for a trainymoon.

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But where to go? Here are five honeymoon ideas to make the planning easier:

1. 25-day journey through Europe

What better reason to visit the world’s most romantic cities than on honeymoon. G Adventures suggest touring Europe by rail from London to Istanbul over 25 days. A rich mix of history, sights, cuisine, people and romance awaits.

What you can expect:

You will depart from London to Paris on board the Eurostar train for the journey through the Chunnel to Paris where you can explore the city on foot. Visit the Eiffel Tower, famous museums, Luxembourg Garden, the Seine river then indulge at street side cafes scattered throughout the city. Don’t miss The Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Rodin Museum, the Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur and Champs-Élysées.

From Paris, you will head to Lausanne, Switzerland, where the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne is a must visit. From Lausanne, journey to Zermatt in the Swiss Alps – a loved stop for the hikers.

A day on the Glacier Express passing magnificent mountains and villages will take you to Chur and then Munich where a beer and local Bavarian food at Hofbräuhaus is fundamental.

After two days in Munich you will head to Salzburg in Austria where a history lesson of note awaits. A Dachau concentration camp visit comes recommended as well as exploring the charming Old Town of Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fans of the classic film, the Sound of Music, shot in the beautiful Salzbury, will be thrilled by the Sound of Music tour. 

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Vienna is up next where museum visits and strudel can be enjoyed. From Vienna travel to Budapast in Hungary to experience unique eastern charm in Europe. A dip in one of Budapest’s famous baths will rejuvenate the senses after a long day’s travels and will prepare you for two days of exploration in Budapest. Visit Buda Castle or take a bike tour of the city.

Sibiu is your next stop where after you will head to the enchanting Sighi?oara – a hotspot for cultural attractions and eats. For a unique culinary experience, the Casa Dracula specializes in game dishes own to the area.

Your journey takes you to Brasov next where the Romanian countryside waits to be explored. This medieval village is best explored with a guide. A must-see is the mysterious Bran Castle or Dracula’s Castle with its legends and tales.

From Brasov you will travel via Bucharest, to one of the oldest cities in the world, Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. A medieval exploration of sights and cuisine awaits in this ancient city. The Tsarevets Fortress just outside the city is also worth a visit to explore homes, churches and towers dating as far back as the 5th century. Adventurous couples can opt for hiking or mountain biking before journeying on to Sofia.

Sofia brings a broad variety of cuisine before being ntroduced to Plovdiv’s specialty Baklava. After exploring the hilly Plovdiv, you will embark to Istanbul.

Istanbul will keep you busy with city tours, exciting bars and restaurans. Visit the Hippodrome, Ava Sofya, and the Blue Mosque. Spend your final day further exploring Istanbul. Check in at Hotel Sultania or Millenium Suites to end off your honeymoon in the lap of luxury.

2. The Royal Canadian Rockies  

Royal Canadian Pacific boasts a signature route covering the Rocky mountains in absolute luxury. Trek through Canada’s magnificently rugged terrain while taking in the heritage and culture of this beautiful route. Click here for all the details.

This ’tour of a lifetime’ embarks from Calgary in Alberta and makes its way back to the starting point over seven days. The Canada Pacific Railway line will host you for an unforgettable honeymoon adventure and you will experience the nooks and crannies of the Rocky mountains in a totally unique way.

What you can expect:

The seven day journey will take you to Banff, Canada’s first National Park which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Banff is one of Canada's top tourist destinations and attracts hikers, skiers, bikers and lovers of the outdoors. With the beautiful mountainous surroundings, and we can see why!

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Lake Louise is situated in the Banff National Park and with its beautiful turquoise water, surrounded by rocky mountains, its like scene out of National Geographic. Hikers enjoy a view from the top and in winter, try your luck at skating on the frozen lake.

Your journey will take you over scenic passes and through romantic tunnels buried beneath the mountains.

You will travel over the Kicking Horse Pass and through Spiral Tunnels. The kicking horse pass at 1 627m above sea level is a national historic site and hosts the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Spiral Tunnels were created in 1909 to provide a safer route than the original route that was the steepest stretch of rail in North America.

Marvel over the Columbia Valley Wetlands, one of North America's longest wetlands. Surrounded by reserves and parks, this is an undisturbed beauty.

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The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel is also a highlight of the trip, and will take you on a historic journey through rail travel in Canada. Your journey will pass by Frank slide, located on Crowsnest pass, where the mining town of Frank was almost buried in 1903 after the tip of Turtle Mountain broke off causing this historic landslide.

You will also experience the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. This park is rich in plant life and hosts many mammal species, boasting magnificent prairie, forest, alpine and glacial features. A remarkable sight combining the beauty of the US and Canada.

To finish off the journey in style, opt for a helicopter tour on your final day and see the rockies from above.

3. Spain to Morocco

Click here for all you need to now about booking for the journey from Madrid to Marrakech.

What you can expect:

Your journey with G Adventures will embark from Madrid where you will explore the city, museums, shops and famous restaurants. On day two, the train heads to Barcelona were you will also explore the city. Track down famous works by artist Antoni Gaudí, scattered throughout the city. Masterpieces include Parc Güell and the Sagrada Familia. Experience Barcelona's nightlife in Santaló and Mariano Cubi streets for great food, drinks and people.

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Day four allows for more Barcelona adventures before embarking to Granada. Granada provides ample opportunity to discover tapas and wine bars, but do make time for Alhambra Palace first. Depart form Granada on day seven towards Seville where you can visit Santa Cruz and the Alcázar Palace.

Depart from Seville to Chefchaouen, a quaint village high in the Riff mountains. You will cross into Africa by ferry to enter Morocco and head to this spectacular town marked by hues of blue.

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On day nine, you will pass through Meknes and ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis on your journey to Fès.

Day 10 brings awesome explorations of Fès medina streets with a local guide. This UNESCO world heritage site is known as Morocco’s cultural and spiritual centre, providing an authentic experience of Moroccan history.

Travel from Fès to Casablanca for an architectural treat, Casablanca in a bustling industrial hub. Visit the spectacular Hassan II mosque on day 12 before catching the train to Marrakech. On day 13, Enjoy a medina tour with a certified city guide and visit Djemaa el Fna Square in the evening. Local musicians and street performers will leave a lasting Marrakech impression. Enjoy your 14th day soaking up the last bit of Moroccan culture before you head home after a honeymoon of a lifetime.

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4. African Safari onboard the Dune Express

Experience South Africa and Namibia by train while learning all there is to know about the heritage of these African jewels. The Dune Express will take you from Johannesburg to Windhoek in sheer luxury. Click here to find out more and to book that dream honeymoon safari. 

Namibia boasts picturesque landscapes where newlyweds can unwind in the unspoiled stillness. Whilst onboard, pamper yourself in the luxurious cabins of the Shongololo Express.

What you can expect:

Depart from Boksburg East Station and settle in. By day two, you will reach the Free State where you are spoiled to a choice of tours. Explore Bloemfontein, olso known as the city of roses, and a safari drive to Kimberley where your train awaits. Or explore Kimberley’s Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum,

Explore the Augrabies National Park with its thunderous waterfalls by foot and experience the magnitude and stillness of the Fish River Canyon. Your adventure continues to Keetmanshoop and its Giant’s Playground and then to Aus.

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Luderitz and Kolmanskop are next in line. See the horses en route to Luderitz and walk through the famous ghost town of Kolmanskop.

Board your train at Aus station to continue your excursion to Windhoek, followed by the journey to Etosha.

Etosha National Park is a favourite among visitors to Namibia. Spot elephant, giraffe,wildebeest, rhino, lion and more from a classic safari truck.

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Omaruru is your next destination where you will be introduced to the Namibian wine industry. This town is known for Namibia’s largest wine cellar, Kristall Kellerei Winery, and out-of-this-world dinosaur footprints nearby Otjihaenamparero.

After a good old Namibian braai you will head to Swakopmund. On this leg of your journey, explore Spitzkoppe’s granite peaks and pay a visit to Cape fur seals in Henties Bay.

Overnight in Swakopmund before heading to Walvis Bay. Explore the Namib desert, tour the Welwitschia Nature drive, spotting Oryx, Springbok and zebra and try to count the flamingoes scattered around Walvis Bay. Don’t pass the opportunity to pop in Swakopmund’s selection of Dutch bakeries and snack on a brochen or two.

End off your safari honeymoon with one last onboard breakfast on day 15.

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5. Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Our final suggestion, for the adventure seeking honeymooners out there, takes you all the way to Tanzania in the luxurious Pride of Africa. Visit Rovos Rails for all the info on this epic African journey. 

What you can expect:

Depart from Cape Town Station on the Pride of Africa. On the first evening you will arrive in the beautiful Koroo town of Matjiesfontein. Step off the train for some exploring and return for your first night on the train

From Matjiesfontein you will head to Kimberley and discover Kimberley’s legendary Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum. After departure, keep on the lookout for flamingos, known to grace the Kamfer dam outside Kimberley in flocks of up to 23 000.

On your third day, you will arrive in Capital Park, Pretoria where you can take a walking tour of the station and locomotive workshops, followed by lunch on the platform and a city tour of Pretoria. Thereafter, the North West Province awaits as you head to Zeerust.

On day four you will be transferred to Madikwe Reserve for a two-night stay at TAU Game Lodge. Here you will enjoy numerous game drives and relaxing time at the lodge. Indulge in the meals provided and get in touch with mother nature.

On day six you will head for Gabarone and day seven comes with plenty of on-board leisure time. On day eight you will reach the glorious Victoria falls. Soak up the magic of the Zambezi on a sunset cruise and unwind at the hotel. Activities around Vic falls include fall tours, helicopter tours, elephant-back safari, walking with lions, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping and golf – enough to give the adventure seekers a great taste of Africa.

On day 10 you will cross to Zambia. Enjoy an informative lecture by the on-board historian as the train heads towards Kapiri Mposhi. You will reach your next stop, Kasama, on day 12 where you will explore the Chisimba Falls, before embarking to Tanzania.

Stroll through the town of  Makambako before heading to Mlimba. Marvel over the beautiful Rift Valley and travel through the Udzungwa Mountains.

Day 14 brings one last game visit to the Selous Reserve, before heading to Gwata for an overnight stop. From Gwata you will head to the end of your journey in Dar Es Salaam.

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