There's nothing quite like the moment that you look at the person you're with and realize that they're the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. For many of us, the thrill of finding your soulmate is soon followed by thoughts of marriage - which in turn lead to the search for the perfect place to pop the question. Whether you're thinking of a luxury vineyard or the untainted wilderness of the African bush, South Africa has a solution for every taste. Full of romance compounded by stunning scenery and an irresistible sense of adventure, here are 10 possibilities for your perfect proposal.
This article was updated and re-written in part by Jessica Macdonald on January 24th 2018.
Pack a romantic picnic and a bottle of your favorite South African vintage and take the cable car to the top of Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain. Check the weather forecast carefully and time your visit for sunset, then sit back and let the breathtaking view set the scene for you. With the panorama of two oceans and the city itself as your backdrop, say "I love you" surrounded by heavy-headed proteas and fragrant, herb-scented fynbos.
Located just outside Cape Town at the tip of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Point is not the most southerly point on the continent (that honor belongs to Cape Agulhas). However, it's easier to get to, more scenic and therefore more romantic than Cape Agulhas, with windswept clifftop walks and endless ocean viewpoints. After proposing, celebrate the beginning of the rest of your life with a gourmet meal at nearby Two Oceans restaurant.
The rolling hills and Cape Dutch farmhouse of Buitenverwachting wine estate provide an idyllic backdrop for your engagement photos. Go out during the day for a wander around the historic manor and immaculately-kept vineyards, stopping to arrange a private picnic on the lawn with the helpful staff. Alternatively, spoil your loved one with an unforgettable meal accompanied by acclaimed wines at the superbly romantic courtyard restaurant.
Nestled deep within the indigenous forest, 5-star Tsala Treetop Lodge is a secret retreat and architectural wonder located in between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Set the tone for romance in a private treetop villa, complete with its own fireplace, luxury bathroom and open deck. After dinner in the glass-fronted restaurant, pop the question while admiring the sunset from your private infinity pool. Select the perfect vintage to celebrate with from the lodge's hidden wine cellar.
Filled with aquamarine water, Kimberley's Big Hole was once the center of South Africa's diamond industry. Between 1871 and 1914, it yielded 6,000 pounds of diamonds; and now, the hole is both a scenic wonder and the home of a fascinating museum. Although perhaps not the most obvious choice for a proposal, the on-site jewelry shops give you the novelty of being able to choose the perfect South African-made ring together.
There are few things more romantic than a long walk on a secluded beach. If the ocean is an important ingredient in your recipe for the perfect proposal, consider Prana Lodge, part of the Portfolio Collection of boutique hotels. With only eight lavishly decorated suites, you'll have all the privacy you need, while the front step opens out onto 13 miles of uninterrupted golden sand. Afterwards, celebrate with a couples treatment at the decadent spa.
Rocktail Beach Camp, Kwazulu-Natal
If you like your water warmer, opt for the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast instead. Rocktail Beach Camp is tucked into the coastal forest just 20 minutes' walk from the beach, where humpback whales, dolphins and turtles are often seen in season. The nearby marine reserve offers pristine coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and diving. If you're looking for something truly unique, nearby Rocktail Dive Centre can even help you organise an underwater proposal.
It began life as the family fishing shack and still has all its cozy family-run informality and memorabilia, but these days, this lovely lakeside hotel in the Drakensberg Mountains' Kamberg Valley also offers sumptuous decor and mouthwatering cuisine prepared by an award-winning chef. It’s the perfect choice for adventurous couples, with opportunities for fishing, horse-riding and long mountain walks followed by romantic evenings in front of the fireplace.
God's Window, Blyde River Canyon
The second largest canyon on the African continent, Blyde River Canyon is one of South Africa's best-kept secrets. Of its many stunning viewpoints, the most spectacular is known as God’s Window. Here, the escarpment plunges 2,300 feet/700 meters down to the valley floor, and on a clear day you can see right across the Kruger Park to the Mozambique border. For those with a head for heights, it's hard to imagine a more memorable spot.
If you're looking to evoke the magic of Karen Blixen-era Africa with your proposal, you can't go wrong with a trip to world-famous Kruger National Park. Choose one of the park's luxury lodges as your base, then sign up for a safari and head out into the tranquility of the bush. After a day spent admiring the park's iconic wildlife (including all of the Big Five), drop to one knee during champagne sundowners or beneath the star-studded canopy of the African night sky.