Wildlife and Weddings: Capturing Your Love Story Amongst Nature

Jamie-Leigh Bartlett

A wedding is a very precious occasion where true love deserves to be celebrated. Thanda means ‘love’ in the Zulu language and the founders, Christin and Dan Olofsson, transformed their dreams into a reality by creating romantically beautiful spaces where loved ones can come together and cherish the moment two people exchange their vows.  



Thanda Safari’s 14 000-hectare Big Five private game reserve uncovers one of Earth’s most majestic locations, the African wilderness, one of the most perfect safari wedding venues to unite love and nature.



The rise in safari weddings is ever-increasing as the African bush landscape provides naturally beautiful spaces to celebrate the joining of two hearts. An African sunset, softly glowing lanterns, the background orchestra of the wild or even using the reserve’s flora to form a natural bridal bouquet, game reserve wedding venues are nothing short of spectacular and can be as understated or as glamourous as you want it to be.



The Charm of Safari Wedding Venues 



Where love meets nature in all its glory. Admiring the African sunrise, a steaming mug of coffee in hand and the gentle brush of dewy bushveld against your skin. Standing in nature and holding onto the warm morning glow as a rising sun smile appears across your face. The roar of lions and birds chirping cheerfully as you wake up to your day, the day of your wedding in the wild.



It is a privilege to offer our guests a South Africa safari wedding. Gathered in a secluded bush location, shaded river beds, or at a serene waterhole, our Thanda Safari team do have specific ceremony sites that will ensure nothing but beauty and serenity when you exchange your vows on African soil, whilst also protecting the wildlife as much as possible.



Planning Your Wedding in the Wild and Overcoming Challenges



No day is the same in the African wilderness so you can be rest assured that your wedding in the wild will be completely unique, and specially tailored to who you are as a couple.



Wedding planner



Thanda Safari offers a highly experienced, specialist bush wedding planner, Lesley Munday, who would be the point of contact for all your essential planning and logistical related matters including the organisation of a wedding celebrant, a florist, and musicians to name a few. Your only worry is not to worry and rest and relax before your wildlife wedding. 



Location & travel



Thanda Safari is remote, but not too remote. You’ll be travelling to Kwa-Zulu Natal – a coastal South African province. Guests joining you can fly to King Shaka International Airport (Durban) which is approximately 3 hours from Thanda Safari. Transfers to / from Thanda Safari can be arranged if required. Click here for more details on travel https://thanda.com/thanda-safari/thanda-safari-lodge/location/






Wedding weather – always a stress, however, you’re in the capable hands of our Thanda Safari team who will make it beyond special, no matter the weather. If you enjoy hot weather (30ºC+ / 90ºF+) and do not mind the occasional rain or overcast days, then summer is the right time for you. Summer will provide early sunrises and late sunsets. The South African spring and summer season is between September and March.



If you enjoy milder temperatures during the days (20-25ºC / 70ºF) and cooler evenings, then the South African winter is the best time for you to have your South Africa safari wedding. It is usually a very dry season with minimal rain and it is the best time for wildlife viewing. April – August is an exquisite time in the African bushveld.






Thanda Safari borders a low-risk malaria area, however, it is recommended that guests use a mosquito repellent on exposed skin which is provided for by Thanda, however, please be advised by your doctor or health department about the appropriate malaria medication.



Although tap water in South Africa is safe to drink, we recommend that you use the bottled water provided by Thanda Safari for drinking.



If for any reason there is a medical issue, the closest hospitals to Thanda Safari are in Richards Bay (1.5 hours drive) and Ballito (2.5 hours drive). 



The Photographic Journey: Capturing your Safari Wedding



Creating a time capsule for your African game reserve wedding is a forever piece and this is why you want the right destination photographer, and one who is passionate about celebrating love. Thanda Safari offers a private bush photoshoot – whether it’s for your wedding day, honeymoon or on safari with your loved ones, our in-house photographer Christian Sperka will take professional portraits, which will forever remind you of a special time.



Guests are encouraged to invite their own preferred choice of photographer for their special day, especially if the couple have very wedding-specific requirements. Our Thanda Safari team can recommend photographers based in South Africa should you need assistance in this regard.



We recommend a photographer who is familiar with wildlife, and the African weather elements. Wildlife is so unexpected, and so is the weather so you want a photographer who is agile and can adapt quickly to changing environments. These photographers will also have the experience of capturing the incredible light as the sun rises and just before it sets.



Integrating Wildlife into Your Wedding Theme






Beiges, creams and whites are recommended as darker colours might show dust a lot more clearly. A special note to the bride if she decides to wear a dress and have a photoshoot in the bushveld – think of getting in and out of a game drive vehicle. The reserve’s flora is also available for décor and any bouquets required by the bridal party. With this all be said, it is your big day and the Thanda Safari team can provide/outsource any specific elements you require.



For guests wanting to dress according to the weather, please see more information here: https://thanda.com/thanda-safari/safari-travel-tips/






The focus is on enhancing the natural beauty of nature and wildlife at your safari wedding venue. From subtropical gardens and animal print fabrics to bamileke seating and Zulu inspired elements, our safari wedding planning team has everything necessary to integrate safari-inspired décor. The team tailor it to your specific requirements – from lowkey and natural to safari glam!



Wildlife Encounters:



A priority in the wedding planning. Your game reserve wedding venue will be in the habitat of Africa’s wildlife, with some of the most dangerous predators in the world and we therefore need to respect that we’re in their home. Thanda Safari’s dedicated and experienced team of wildlife rangers, guides and trackers are dedicated to protecting both our guests and the wildlife.



The Ceremony: Exchanging Vows Amongst Nature’s Splendor



Two hearts exchanging vows amidst untamed beauty. A carefully selected location under African skies or ancient Marula trees, your ceremony will symbolise a divinely blessed marriage.  A candle-lit boma or a sumptuous venue overlooking the African bush, there is no better wedding venue than Thanda Safari to celebrate romance, marriage, and life.



The Reception: Celebrating Love in Heart of the Bush



Your unforgettable wedding ceremony is followed by the ultimate South African safari-style wedding reception in a star-lit boma or a spectacular venue overlooking the African bush. Capture the beginning of your forever journey as the sun falls heavily against the backdrop of African bushveld. Loved ones celebrating under starry skies, experiencing local cuisine and entertainment and, dancing to the beat of Zulu drums are all the little things that make for the most majestic African game reserve wedding.



Offering cuisine for every dietary requirement, Thanda Safari delivers only the best quality of food, all of which is inspired by local gourmet delights. From bush barbeques to high-teas and four-course dinners, there is African authenticity behind your every meal.



This heaven-on-earth property is a place where precious memories are made. Guests have the opportunity to enhance their experience through a range of activities which include game drives, bush walks, wildlife photography courses, cultural tours and wellness retreats to name a few.



Creating Lasting Memories: From Ceremony to Honeymoon



Honeymoon? You need not have to travel far. Extend your time after your wildlife wedding and continue to be at one with nature as a married couple. You’ve shared the love with your nearest and dearest, and perhaps your honeymoon is a time to acknowledge the deep love you have for one another. Thanda’s properties offer you not only a safari wedding venue, but a honeymoon destination too. From private moon-lit bush dinners to petal-scattered linen, bathtubs for two and romantic couple’s massages, Thanda Safari’s luxury safari honeymoon offers the most romantic experience in the African bush.
Every day, during every stay, you are contributing to our local environment and empowering our communities.



Embark on an adventure and plan your dream wedding with Thanda



Nature. Love. Luxury. The ambience of African sunrises and sunsets and the magical background orchestra of the wild. A vow renewal, special celebration, traditional Zulu blessing or an African-style ceremony, Thanda Safari is where the spirit of love and togetherness is woven into your love experience through one of the most enigmatic cultures in the world.



It would be a privilege for us at Thanda Safari to host you and your loved ones for an unforgettable love experience in a place we’ve named Thanda, ‘Love’ in Zulu.



Our romantic safari wedding package is called the Kanye Package (pronounced Ganye), meaning Together in the Zulu language. For advice, inquiries, bookings, or costings, please get in touch with Lesley and our Thanda team by emailing weddings@thanda.co.za or for more contact details, visit https://thanda.com/contact/



For further info: https://thanda.com/thanda-safari/experiences/safari-wedding/