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

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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?1386

  • 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.1093
  • 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.1196
  • 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.


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. 993

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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Comments on Eric and Tessa’s wild, South African, philanthropic, pre-honeymoon

  1. i am SO jealous! Africa is absolutely on my bucket list. Though i totally empathize with the feeling of guilt about having so much when you are surrounded by people who don’t – i felt that way when i went to the Dominican Republic as a 19 year-old. Very humbling.

  2. I was reminded that guilt is pointless, but action is everything. You have to help whenever you can and even when you think you can’t, because billions of people are not as lucky as I am. I’m definitely not a rich person—my last job was working for a non-profit org—but I learned how truly wealthy I am, because I don’t have to beg for food. I saw people living in metal shacks, miles of shacks made out of scavenged materials, just outside the modern city of CapeTown. In the middle of the night I saw a man without arms and legs risking his life to beg for change in the middle of a busy street. South Africa is working hard to make the country a better place for its people—but they have a long struggle to move away from the shadow of Apartheid.

  3. I’m also very blessed to be living in South Africa and is very excited to marry the love of my life in December under the warm African sun!

  4. LOL! So many fellow South Africans.

    I, too, am very happy to be living here. Haven’t been to the baobab yet, though.

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