Thornybush, South Africa

C H A P U N G U | TENTED BUSH CAMP


Photography: Yours Truly

Photo Jul 15, 11 54 54 AM

“It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you! There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do! I bless the rains down in Africa. Gonna take some time to do the things we never had…”

-Toto

Now that Toto’s on replay in your head (Sorry, not sorry because I’m seriously obsessed with this song lol), let’s talk Safarimoon! Again, through the help of Go2Africa, Shelly, our agent booked us a 4 night stay at Chapungu Tented Lodge in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve. We traveled to Hoedspruit from Cape Town, which took about 3 hours total. We hopped on a tiny plane and got to see an awesome aerial view of South Africa.  Chapungu is about 30+ minutes from the airport (I’m pretty sure it’s because of the miles of unpaved roads we had to travel slowly on).

LODGING: C H A P U N G U

Welcome to Chapungu! Isn’t it a dream?? I mean, I was NOT happy about leaving this little paradise in the savanna (but the hubs wouldn’t let me stay).

I so wish we came in the summer time so I could’ve taken dip in this ridiculously cute pool! I should’ve jacked one of the wet suits from our shark dive– next time!

Oh high zen garden! There were zero phones and televisions in our rooms. It was so neat to see people really embracing being unplugged and cuddle up with a blanket and book in between our drives.

R O O M | W I T H  A  V I E W

And that cute little canvas tent was our little abode (have I mentioned I never wanted to leave??) There is a total of 8 tents on property- limiting the number of guests to about 16-18. I LOVED how intimate this set up is.

Can we talk about this view?? Every morning, John and I woke up to the sounds of monkeys and birds! So cool! The double doors to our rooms easily opened up to have an indoor out door feel. At night, the staff would turn down the rooms (including the mosquito nets). Such a dreamy sight to come back from a chilly drive to have the heaters on, and the curtains and canopy let down.

HONEYMOON SURPRISE:  V I N O | B U B B L E S

I mean, check out this awesome surprise we walked into after one of our evening game drives!

Warm bath drawn for us overlooking the wilderness and a yummy bottle of wine! Unfortunately, we didn’t get to take advantage of the bath tub considering it was 1) outdoors and 2) winter! I said brrrrrr!

DINING:  F A M I L Y |  S T Y L E

This area hosted our EARLY morning coffee/ tea and post morning game drive breakfasts! I love that all of the guests were situated together and we were able to share stories from our drives as well as get to know everyone personally. We met some of the sweetest visitors on this trip (and even had a couple of Americans to relate to!)

Photo Jul 21, 9 53 12 PM

Seriously, one of my favorite things about our accommodations is the family-style set up they created for every meal. Our dinner location would change every night, so it was always such a fun surprise after our game drives! I think my favorite spot is the hidden gem where they held their braai’s (barbecue). Can we stop for a second and talk about South Africa’s barbecue 2.0?? This seriously trumps what we have here in the states. A braai revolves around food and fire (see picture above). Food is cooked on wood (not gas grills) and it’s truly a process. This was one of my favorite nights. Our Ranger, Henry, was able to join us allowing us to actually talk without having to yell from a car’s distance. After dinner, a few of us gathered around the fire to finish the rest of our drinks before we headed back for another early morning game drive.

SO MUCH to talk about so I’m splitting up our trip and dedicating a separate post just about the game drives and our Chapungu Tribe!

-Xo Em

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Cape Town, South Africa


Photography: Yours truly & Yeah Yeah Photography

Yeah Yeah Photography

After months of internet searches, wedding blogs, and Pinterest suggestions, my husband and I randomly decided on a unique honeymoon experience- South Africa! I reached out to an amazing travel agency called, Go2Africa, to coordinate our trip- highly recommend going through a travel agent because they seriously managed EVERYTHING for us from start to finish! First stop on this insanely long journey, Cape Town!

LODGING: C A P E | C A D O G A N

_DSC0242

Pause for a second to take in the cuteness that is, Cape Cadogan! Located in the heart of Cape Town, this trendy (and surprisingly under the radar for many locals), Cape Cadogan is a blogger’s dream come true! This historic hotel is a bed and breakfast with the sweetest staff.

MUST get my hands on these lawn chairs!! For real!

They were readily available to give us dining suggestions, make reservations, coordinate with our drivers for all of our excursions, etc. If you are looking for a charming hotel, delicious macarons, within walking distance of Cape Town’s finest, book a stay with Cape Cadogan!

WHAT TO DO/ SEE: T A B L E | M O U N T A I N

Table MountainTable Mountain

Table Mountain is a MUST SEE when visiting Cape Town (You wouldn’t pass through northern Arizona without stopping at the Grand Canyon would you??).

Still slightly jet lag from our gazillion hour flight, we didn’t have any plans the afternoon we arrived into Cape Town. After speaking to our concierge, they suggested Table Mountain for our first Cape Town experience. Table Mountain, we’re told, can be very finicky. Because you’re foregoing any sort of sensibility by hopping into a rotating cable car (hung by a few… you guessed it, cables), wind plays a huge factor in whether or not you can check this Seven Wonders of Nature off of your bucket list! Any sort of breeze can cause the cable cars to shut down indefinitely. So if you happen to have beautiful weather, don’t procrastinate and get your booty up that mountain side.

We were able to purchase our cable car pass + entry fee to Table Mountain through the concierge at our hotel. If you’re not that lucky (it’s truly the small things), you can purchase your tickets here!

Table Mountain _DSC0198

S H A R K | D I V I N G

Marine Dynamics Marine Dynamics

Two questions. 1) Whose bright idea was it to stuff my wifed- up self (aka post wedding weight gains) into a restrictive wet suit only to jump into freezing cold water with sharks?? 2) Who’s the idiot that drank the kool-aid and agreed to this nonsense?? Yes girl! That would be The Greig’s.

Marine Dynamics

My husband, Mr. “I’ve never watched a day of ‘Shark Week’ until it was literally the week before our Honeymoon!,” suggested that, when in Africa, we just HAD to go shark diving… with Great Whites. How does the saying go? “Love makes you do crazy things!”

  Marine Dynamics Marine Dynamics

Anyhoo, enough with the complaining because this was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve EVER done in my entire life! Just a two hour drive west of Cape Town is a town called Gansbaai (aka Goose Bay). Our reliable transportation company, Ilios Travel (seriously, we would be literally lost without them) picked us up at 7:25 am and forged through heavy morning fog to make our 9:30 am arrival time at Marine Dynamics. They provided a great breakfast spread for us- possibly to help distract us from the safety video and the signing our life away disclaimer form! But seriously, Marine Dynamics is SO professional and knowledgeable. Excursions come with a dedicated marine biologist on board to answer any questions you may have- so basically real life Shark Week! After a quick journey to Shark Alley on board Slashfin, our crew prep the cage and chum the water. It seriously didn’t take long before our grinny friends arrived. Anxious and excited, I practically zipped myself into my wet suit as I was frantically forcing it onto my body– there was seriously zero time for grace or finesse when you’re doing this on a tiny boat with a bunch of other wildly enthusiastic people. We spent a generous amount of time in the cage and my husband and I were able to see a few shark breeches. The largest shark we saw measured out to about 4.5 meters long (that’s 14 feet for us AmericanNOT tell you how meters convert into feet), named Ingrid.

Marine Dynamics

just the tip 😉

If you do plan on going shark diving, I seriously suggest you bring very warm clothes (and lots of it). Granted we went during the winter, but between the water and the chilly ocean air, it’s definitely worth packing extra clothes (above and beyond what you wore to the venue). You’ll thank me later!

Ilios Travel

Lastly, if you have a cool driver like we did, he’ll have a couple of little stops for you to/ from Gansbaai. The first stop is this ADORABLE market/ coffee shop- it’s seriously Trader Joe’s 2.0. The second location was this look out point in Gansbaai where we attempted to spot some whales. It was a little late in the day to see anything but can we talk about the view??

Ilios Travel Ilios Travel

B O – K A P P  &  L L A N D U D N O | B E A C H

 Yeah Yeah Photography Yeah Yeah Photography

So we scheduled a  honeymoon photo shoot with the amazing Yeah Yeah Photography on our second to last day in Cape Town. I bought all of these cute dresses and was expecting a sunny, Arizona-esque winter. Wrong. Our awesome weather from the day before (this is why you take the first opportunity you have to visit Table Mountain), disappeared into a cold and soggy situation!

Our first location was Llandudno Beach. This was such a pretty beach (even if it looked like a scene right out of The Perfect Storm)! This beach was completely empty (probably because everyone was staying dry and warm from the comfort of their ocean-side property), aside from the occasional locals walking their dogs, with gorgeous, large boulders! Seriously need to visit this place again in the summer!

Yeah Yeah Photography Yeah Yeah Photography

Our second location is Bo-Kaap! I have been DYING to see this colorful little town from the day we first booked our South African honeymoon. All of the houses are different colors and there are random side streets covered with cobblestone. Le swoooooooon! It’s tricky filming on these streets because it’s easy to forget that people actually LIVE in this mermaid’s paradise lol. I don’t know how many times we stopped to pose by a cute front door and the sounds of people making breakfast could be heard!

Well, that’s all folks! If you ever have a chance to go to Cape Town, please DO! It’s such an amazing city with SO much to do. I wish we could have spent more time there but stay tuned for my next post about the second leg of our honeymoon we affectionately call our “Safarimoon!”

-Xo Em

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading