OUR HONEYMOON, PART ONE: CAPE TOWN

I’m so excited to kick off this week’s honeymoon recaps! We kicked off our two-week honeymoon with four nights in Cape Town, South Africa, and this post will have all the info on where we stayed, what we did, where we ate, etc.

ellerman house cape town review on design darling

ellerman house cape town

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design darling ellerman house cape town

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design darling ellerman house cape town honeymoon

How we got there: flight from New York to Cape Town with a layover in Paris

Where we stayed: four nights / three days at Ellerman House

I had come across pictures of Ellerman House in my online research before our trip and it was at the top of my list for places to stay in Cape Town. I’m happy to say it exceeded our very high expectations! It’s an eleven-suite property so it’s extremely intimate (I swear there was a day we didn’t see a single other guest!) and the view from our room and our breakfast table each morning just couldn’t be beat. It was also an easy Uber ride to everything we wanted to see in Cape Town!

The staff at Ellerman House also went above and beyond to make the start of our trip extra romantic. Things like leaving champagne and fresh flowers in our room, drawing a tub, lighting candles, leaving rose petals on the bed… they were sort of classic honeymoon gestures but we got a kick out of each one!

camps bay cape town

cape point on design darling

chapman's peak cape town on design darling

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design darling penguins in cape town at boulders beach

kirstenbosch gardens in cape town

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boulders beach penguins cape town

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kirstenbosch garden cape town

cape of good hope design darling honeymoon cape town

boulders beach penguins cape town design darling honeymoon

Day one: guided tour of the Cape Peninsula

We booked most of our trip with the Atlanta-based travel agency Currie & Co., who came highly recommended by our friends who had honeymooned in South Africa a few years ago. We told them the hotels we wanted to stay in and they were very helpful in building a framework of activities around those destinations (with our input of course!). I was also pretty focused on researching great restaurants in Cape Town (since we wouldn’t have much flexibility on safari meals later in the trip) so I made several reservations in advance and they added them to our itinerary. (P.S. You can follow our favorite travel advisor Sarah on Instagram — her feed gives me constant wanderlust!)

For our first full day in Cape Town, Currie & Co. coordinated a private driving tour with Ilios Travel. I was very weary of starting our honeymoon with a guided tour (and made sure we wouldn’t be on a giant tour bus… the opposite of romantic) but it was such a relaxing way to take in the South African coastline and learn more about the country’s history, geography, and current events. It definitely didn’t hurt that we were in a private car with the sweetest driver and thoughtful additions like bottled water in a cooler at our feet. The scenery reminded me a lot of driving the California coastline with my family growing up. It is just breathtakingly beautiful (I could not get over the color of the water!) and our driver was kind enough to keep pulling over so we could snap more photos!

We made stops at Clifton Beach, Camps Bay, the Cape of Good Hope, and a (rather unremarkable) lunch in Simonstown before heading to the highlight of our first day: seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach! My second grade class had studied penguins and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since, so getting to see them in person and in their natural habitat was such a treat. I could have watched them all day!

We visited Kirstenbosch Gardens in the afternoon, which was beautiful but not yet totally in bloom as it was the end of winter when we visited in September. We ended the evening with dinner at The Potluck Club, which several of you had recommended on this post and which was a hip spot to take in the city skyline over yummy tapas-style dishes. The receptionist at Ellerman House was so impressed that we’d managed to score reservations (I think about six weeks out?) so this is definitely one you’ll want to book in advance.

delaire graff wine tasting

design darling delaire graff south africa

delaire graff rosé south africa

Wine tasting at Delaire Graff

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design darling babel at babylonstoren south africa

design darling babylonstoren

babylonstoren ducks

design darling babylonstoren honeymoon

Lunch at Babylonstoren — wearing Cuyana hat, Ray-Ban clubmastersRalph Lauren sweater, Ralph Lauren button-down, Frame jeans, and Joie booties

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grande provence wine tasting south africa

design darling honeymoon wine tasting

design darling south africa honeymoon

Wine tasting at Grande Provence

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design darling winelands south africa

design darling honeymoon south africa winelands

Day two: the Winelands

Our same Ilios driver picked us up on our second morning for a day of wine tasting in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, a little over an hour outside of Cape Town. I’ll preface this by saying that neither Will nor I is particularly educated when it comes to wine (and that I stuck to rosé for most of our trip…), but we were excited to explore this region and try some of your recommendations in the area.

We started the day with a wine tasting at Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch and then drove to Babylonstoren for lunch at their farm-to-table restaurant Babel (another spot you definitely need to book in advance!). As a vegetarian, I was in heaven with all their fresh vegetable dishes and think it was one of the best meals of the trip. We also took some time after lunch to wander the property and soak in the gardens, mountain views, and beautiful Cape Dutch architecture.

We did an afternoon tasting at Grand Provence and took a little walk through the charming streets of Franschhoek. We ended the day with sunset cocktails and dinner reservations at La Residence (which we practically had to ourselves that night!). We had an incredible meal and amazing service and definitely crawled into bed that night feeling very full after a day of eating and drinking our way through wine country.

bo-kaap cape town

bo-kaap houses cape town

bo-kaap cape town south africa

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design darling south africa honeymoon

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The colorful homes of Bo-Kaap

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view from top of table mountain

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At the top of Table Mountain — wearing  Cuyana hat, Ray-Ban clubmastersSaint James t-shirt, J.Crew jeans, and Hubbell Hille loafers

kloof street house cape town

Dinner at Kloof Street House

Day three: Bo-Kaap and Table Mountain

By our third day, the jet lag had caught up with us and we decided to take the morning to catch up on sleep. But there were two more places in Cape Town we didn’t want to miss: the Bo-Kaap neighborhood and the cable car to the top of Table Mountain!

First we took an Uber to Bo-Kaap, a neighborhood full of brightly colored Georgian style houses originally settled by descendants from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and India who were brought to Cape Town as slave labor in the 1700s. The exteriors reminded me a little of those in St. George, Bermuda, and while it made for a fun Instagram, the area was swarming with tourists (and bloggers haha) and we only stayed long enough to snap a few pictures. Let’s just say this wasn’t exactly Will’s favorite stop on our trip. 😉

Then we made our way to Table Mountain, where we’d purchased tickets online to take the cable car to the top. What we hadn’t realized was that the cable car rotates 360 degrees on its way up, so everyone gets an incredible view on the way up as well. The view of the ocean was incredible and we stopped for a cup of coffee at the top just to soak it all in.

For our last night in Cape Town, I’d made reservations at Kloof Street House, a charming indoor/outdoor restaurant with a little more local flair. It was a perfect spot to sit and reminisce about our favorite moments from our three days in Cape Town and get excited about the next stop. I’ll be back this afternoon with photos from part two of our honeymoon: our first safari at Londolozi!

11 thoughts on “OUR HONEYMOON, PART ONE: CAPE TOWN

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  1. Loved reading all of the posts about your honeymoon! I’m planning to do a safari with my husband for our big 4-0, but because we are close to 4-0 I don’t think we have quite as much stamina to do that much traveling across locations. Say you were older and more tired… how would you have changed up your itinerary? Keeping the Giraffe Manor because it’s everything of course!

  2. Happy you had a blast in my home town, your photos are beautiful. I wish I had realised you were here so I could’ve recommended a place for lunch in the Southern Peninsula instead of wherever you went in Simonstown.

  3. Heading to South Africa for 2 weeks on Christmas Day and have 2 days in the winelands….did you need reservations for tastings or were you able to just walk in?

  4. Hi Mackenzie,
    Your photos are gorgeous! I am going to Africa with my family next summer – do you have any photography tips or resources (books, youtube, etc) that you use? I want to make sure this likely once in a lifetime trip is extremely well documented. I plan on renting lenses for my DSLR for game drives, but want to make sure my technique is as good as it can be! Thanks and love reading along! -Natalie