It’s always wonderful when an expert visits Londolozi and even better when they write for us. This piece is from someone who has done everything, seen everything, and been at the cutting edge of their industry. Zhenya has been in the wedding industry for years and is in the know with brides and their planning process. She recently came to stay with us and we sat down with her to ask her a few questions. For a long time Londolozi has been a private honeymoon destination for many couples and a sacred space for elopements and vow-renewals. It has also been a cocoon for couples to reconnect, escape from it all, fall in love and experience a true adventure together. Zhenya and her partner have captured this experience so beautifully for us to share with you.
A Private Honeymoon Destination Review From International Wedding Photographer
Zhenya has been in the wedding and photography industry for 10 years – her interest ignited during her journalims degree. Her work has been published in Vogue Australia, National Geographic Russia, L’Officiel Voyage, Brides UK, Hello, Kinfolk, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Frankie Mag AU, Tina Mag, The Noisetier, Veter Mag, Style Me Pretty, Travel and Leisure etc. While shooting weddings around the globe, Zhena also worked with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Wedding Magazine, Virgin Limited, Sony, Barilla and others. Zhenya was named one of the best Wedding Photographers in Russia by Wedding Vibes in 2016 and 2017 and since then she has taken to the international market.
So don’t take our word on it, take hers…
Throughout my career as a destination wedding photographer I have shot the most beautiful, emotional, touching, epic, exotic and most grandiose weddings in more than 20 countries around the world. Not only that – but I have experienced the ultimate private honeymoon destination. Being in this industry I often get asked the same question:
“After experiencing so many weddings – how do you imagine your own wedding to look like?”
I have no concise answer to this question yet! It has almost become more difficult for me as I have seen too much. So, usually my answer is…
“Let me get proposed to first and then I will think of the rest!”
However, when it comes to my honeymoon I am more decisive. I have travelled half of the world, have visited plenty of gorgeous hotels and shot in unique places. I find it easy to give a couple valuable advice about honeymoons, but my private honeymoon destination was sorted a long time ago.
Visiting South Africa for the first time five years ago; I left my heart somewhere between the vast South African beaches, the majestic mountains of Drakensberg and, of course, the wildness of the South African bush. After my first ever safari I knew there was no way back and this addiction would only become stronger over the years to come.
“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa — for he has so much to look forward to” ~Richard Mullin
For those of you who are not acquaintances with Africa yet, I suggest you watch ‘Out of Africa’ or read Karen Blixen’s books about it. Once you’ve done that I am certain your curiosity will build! And if you’re lucky enough to be planning a honeymoon– book your trip to Londolozi – and I mean that!
What are the highlights of a honeymoon? What are people looking for after their wedding journey? I guess they want their first mutual memories to be exceptional. They want to start married life as a real adventure full of romance and novelty. They seek opportunities to love stronger, connect deeper and be amazed together as well as learn new things about the world in each others company.
Having said that, my best advice here would be booking a trip to South Africa and spending at least 3-5 nights at Londolozi to immerse yourself fully. Londolozi is the ultimate private honeymoon destination. If you have never seen a leopard mother with her two cubs on a tree during the golden light; or shared a dinner with your loved one under the glowing carpet of stars; or never slept in the bush and listened to lions’ roar from your bed…
then it is hard to compare this feeling to anything else.
During our stay we asked our guide to bring us to any view point from where we could see a sunrise and enjoy a cup of fresh aromatic coffee with Amarula (African style) and have a special moment with my partner. The next early morning we drove to a small mountain and witnessed six sleeping hyenas, three giraffes and plenty of impalas on the way. The morning was fresh and hazy, the dawn painted the sky in purple and lilac tones. After we parked the vehicle by the bottom of the mountain, our guide made a brief inspection of the location and then we started hiking up to the view point.
It was a short 15 min walk up, but the moment we finally stepped on the top of the huge rocks – I was awe struck. It was one of those ‘Lion King’ moments, where we saw the vast valley covered in the morning mist. We heard thousands of birds and felt the immense gratitude for the world we live in. We were standing there speechless and with tears in our eyes – when our guide took a couple of stunning photos. Now it’s one of my favourite couple photos of us from the whole trip as they reflect the beauty of our romance in collaboration with natural wilderness and rawness of the place.
To me Londolozi is exactly the destination for awakening and precious moments to share with your partner. This private honeymoon destination opens up various opportunities to customise your time according to your lifestyle and preferences. I have gathered a small personal list of things to do at Londolozi for couples and hope it can come at hand and help you plan your time even better.
Cool things to do at Londolozi as a couple – a private honeymoon destination
- Ask for a romantic private dinner in your suite or on your private deck (we stayed at the Private Granite Suites and it was spectacular)
- Attend a yoga session on an open deck surrounded by diverse wildlife
- Book a couple’s massage or a Body Activation treatment at Healing House
- Learn more about community work by visiting Londolozi’s Futuristic African Village
- Ask your guide as many questions as possible on safari to educate yourself about nature, animals and the local environment
- Purchase a print or print your own picture at Londolozi’s Photographic Studio and take it home
When my brides or followers visit places I recommend – I get so excited and happy. I often receive pictures from those places or even messages from people who decided to surprise their loved ones and plan a dream trip for them. Fingers crossed, I hope to receive some from those of you who visit Londolozi one day.
And last, but not the least, a useful tip on planning your trip… Make sure you take a plane from the Londolozi airstrip to your next destination as it will save you so much time on the day of departure. It also means that you can celebrate on your last evening and not have any stress the next day!