If your first date was a trip to the zoo or your favorite rendezvous involved riding horses, walking dogs or hiking with llamas, if you still like to watch cute cat videos, have more than one teddy bear, and can’t pass by a puppy without cooing, we’re pretty sure you’re an animal person. For honeymooners who need creatures to make life complete, we’ve gathered a menagerie of honeymoons that embrace furry friends as their focus.
Glimpse a baby elephant in the bush, and your life will be complete. Add in the undeniable romance of flitting across soulful Africa on a private plane, landing at remote, luxury campsites, and channeling the circa-1920 Hemingway heyday era when adventurers pitched their tents amid the grassy plains, filled them with civilized items from books to gramophones, and celebrated the end of their animal tracking expeditions each day with cocktails, as they watched the setting sun. Tackle Kenya in style with eco-conscious Elewana Collection’s SkySafari’s Kenya Connoisseur, an eight-day trip, which takes you to three camps in diverse reserves: Meru National Park, Loisaba Conservancy and the renowned Maasai Mara. skysafari.com
Board Aqua Expedition’s Aria, an intimate, five-star cruise ship which whisks discriminating adventure seekers down through the lesser traveled portals of the Amazon and its verges and tributaries. Partake of their night excursion on the back waters of the Nauta Caño, as well as along the El Dorado River, to ogle exotic, nocturnal wildlife. Beneath the brightest canopy of stars, unhampered by artificial light, catch sight of caimans, capybaras and bats. Lucky honeymooners will see a jaguar, considered auspicious to Meso-American cultures. When not animal watching, enjoy the ship’s stellar Peruvian cuisine, fishing for piranha, kayaking (in non piranha-filled waters), and biking. aquaexpeditions.com/luxury-cruise-ships/aria-amazon/excursions-off-the-vessel-aria
Close to home, the world’s first national park awaits. Yellowstone National Park, bestrides immense portions of three states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. With five entrances, the expanse holds volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, mudspots, mountains, forests — and a plethora of wildlife. Home to bison herds, bears, bighorn sheep, elk and the elusive gray wolf, Yellowstone’s wide open vistas fulfill a shutterbug’s dream. Enjoy a daytime guided tour which leads you to park highlights, including a place where a rainbow appears for just a few minutes each day. Stay at historic Old Faithful Inn, composed from local logs and stone. It overlooks the famous geyser. yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodgings/hotel/old-faithful-inn
When Kangaroo Island broke from southern Australia’s mainland 12,000 years ago, it isolated a slew of native plants and animals. Thriving now without threat from introduced predators or disease in this protected park region, this dramatic landscape boasts unique species that differ from those found on the mainland — such as the endangered glossy black-cockatoo, a sub-species of the western grey kangaroo and the sooty dunnart — a small, carnivorous marsupial. A habitat for sea lions, fur seals, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, platypuses, goanna lizards, bandicoots and 243 species of birds, this Eden ensures animal interaction. Based at Southern Ocean Lodge, an eco-hotel poised on a cliff above the sea. Their concierges can organize a face-to-face kangaroo happy hour and wildlife tours galore. southernoceanlodge.com.au
In a storybook landscape right out of a Rudyard Kipling tale, Ranthambore National Park sports the ruins of ancient temples, brushy, lake-studded jungle terrain and winding bumpy roads. Amid it all, around 40 endangered tigers roam, some of the last of their kind in the world. Once the royal hunting ground of the maharaja of Jaipur, the national park now protects its feline residents — not to mention plenty of other species, such as sloth bears and wild boar. Sign up with Micato Safaris for a peerless tour of India’s top sights, which can include a few days at Ranthambore. You’ll stay at Oberoi Vanyavilas, a tented, glamping-style hotel on the edges of the park. micato.com/india
They call Chilean Patagonia the land of the giants, mentioned this way first in the writings of Ferdinand Magellan who recorded his travels to this wind-swept, barren expanse, which eventually unfurls all the way to the Andes. Its soaring Torres del Paine massif boggles the mind, as does its intrepid, elusive resident — the Patagonian puma. On a six-day Puma Tracking and Photo Safari Tour, explore Torres del Paine National Park, where puma and llama-like guanacos gather. Bump through the park in your personal Jeep, following the advice and direction of scouts who use expert techniques to improve your chances of multiple sightings. quasarex.com
Pandas. They might be the cutest animals on Earth. Natives to central China, especially Sichuan Province, they’ve been displaced due to re-forestation, and only approximately 2,000 (or so) have survived the development of urbanity. Chengdu Research Base helps protect China’s national treasure — a fat, fluffy bamboo eater — on 92-acres of natural landscape. Visit Chengdu for your panda extravaganza. Stay at The Temple House, a spectacular design hotel, which blends tradition with modernity, and offers many canny immersion programs, from Tai Chi to calligraphy. Their Panda Tourist Package includes a four-hour trip to the panda base. Spoil yourselves in the bi-level penthouse, where romantic flourishes (think carpets of rose petals) await. Don’t miss the city’s famous spicy cuisine. thetemplehousehotel.com