Wedding tourism is a growing phenomenon as the ease, and relative affordability of international air travel makes it possible for more and more couples to combine their big day with an experience of a lifetime by holding their wedding in any number of exotic destinations. The only drawback, of course, is the risk of jet lag, particularly if you are going to be crossing several time zones just before the big day. As few people have the time – or the budget – to arrive at the wedding destination with sufficient time to acclimatize, check out Consumer Advisors for information on effective jet lag remedies that will ensure you (and your guests) enjoy the celebrations to the max.

For those who want a wedding destination that offers a range of exotic experiences, take a look at what Southern Africa has to offer.

Cape Town

Cape Town – right at the southern tip of the continent – is widely acknowledged as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its most iconic symbol is Table Mountain – so named because of its flat top from where the views of the ocean and the city are breathtakingly spectacular. On a clear day, you can also see all the way to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 years incarceration. As a wedding venue, Table Mountain stands second to none.

You and your guests will be transported to the top of the mountain via the famous cableway. There are six different venues to choose from. Our favorite is the Twelve Apostles Terrace which overlooks the spectacular mountain range of the same name. However, it is an open air venue (which can accommodate up to 200 people), so it might not be wise to choose to get married on Table Mountain in the winter (June/July/August) months, as the chances will be high that Table Mountain will be covered by its famous tablecloth (cloud).

Another popular outdoor venue in Cape Town is Kirstenbosch Gardens, acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. However, few gardens can match the sheet grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.  And Kirstenbosch Manor, a Cape Dutch style manor house built in 1914 with views of the gardens,  valley, ocean and surrounded by beautiful proteas and other indigenous fynbos vegetation,  is an ideal venue for your wedding reception.

However, there are literally dozens more incredibly beautiful venues for weddings in and around Cape Town – from those with incredible ocean views, to romantic vineyards – all set against towering mountain backdrops.

Bush Safari Wedding

But perhaps, if you’re going to travel all the way to Africa for your wedding, you’d want a location that is unique to Africa. Like on the banks of a water hole or river, perhaps at sunset, just as the elephant, buffalo and smaller game come down to drink.

There are literally hundreds of safari lodges that offer wedding packages. These range from the luxurious sophisticated five-star resorts to more rustic setups. If you want to get married during the northern hemisphere summer holiday (May through August), many South African venues offer winter special prices during these months. While it might get chilly in the evenings in many areas, the days are usually quite warm – and the chance of rain is minimal in the inland provinces.

Victoria Falls

Moving further north, another breathtaking, spectacular backdrop for any wedding is Victoria Falls. Referred to by the locals as “the smoke that thunders”, the falls are the actual border between two countries – Zimbabwe and Zambia. There are many venues, in either country, that could host your wedding.

In addition to the specular sight of the falls – hailed as the biggest curtain of falling water in the world and far larger than the Niagara Falls – your wedding could well be shared with wildlife. There’s one particular lodge on the Zambian side of the falls where elephants regularly troop right through the hotel lobby!  Others boast zebra, warthog and various antelope grazing on their lawns. Just remember, that these are wild animals and must be treated with respect. You also cannot expect them to turn up at your wedding – but chances are that some might.