For some, a fortnight in an all inclusive sand strewn resort with crystal clear waters and organised nightly entertainment just isn’t going to kick it when it comes to making honeymoon memories that last a lifetime. If you really want to have that special time away together, create stories and pictures to dazzle family and friends then why not journey to one of the world’s most dangerous places and enjoy the spine tingling fear that comes with holidaying in a warzone?
Mali has had more than its fair share of troubles recently but these scuffles mask a real contender when it comes to finding an alternative honeymoon destination, after all not many people can say they went to Timbuktu to celebrate their marriage. The hotel Come Chez Soi in Bamako is a suitably leafy paradise in which to while away the hours and the city is bristling with things to do as well, from the artisan market to the Musee National and the Parc national du Mali, you’ll always find something. With only a shaky interim government and food shortages you’re guaranteed a very alternative experience.
The home of the modern day pirates, Somalia probably isn’t the place for a honeymoon cruise but that doesn’t preclude it from being a bone fide gem when it comes to the path less travelled. Assassinations, suicide bombings and random armed attacks make quite a lively place with Mogadishu largely run by warlords, but it does have a Starbucks. The Bakara market offers a little oasis in the middle of the war torn city but your best bet is to make for Hargesia in Somaliland and the well reviewed Ambassador Hotel. Rooms are basically furnished but security is top notch. Don’t think about leaving it, especially not at night.
With the capital city Bogota ravaged by drug wars and wholesale murder, Colombia is bound to keep any newly married couple on their toes. A very modest £500 will buy you a return passage out there from the UK and the low cost of living will ensure that your holiday budget will travel just that bit further. It’s worth making the hike to Mount Monserrate to get a panoramic view of the city, check out the Iglesia de San Francisco and take advantage of the Bogota Ciclovia – a bike ride through the city every Sunday. In the 90’s it was considered one of the most violent cities in the world but, with the lowest since 1974, it had managed to reduce the homicide rate to a hearty 24.4 per 100,000 in 2016.
Papua New Guinea
Forever associated with rabid locals boiling white people in cooking pots, Papua New Guinea is the ultimate destination for lovers looking for traditional danger and maybe some contemporary stuff as well. Anyone looking to get tied to a tree and eaten for dinner simply has to make for the remote areas of any parts of the country and you’ve got an above average chance of running into an amateur chef. The internal domestic conflict is found in Papua and West Papua. Flights will cost you £4000 a piece from London and there are stacks of honeymoon type accommodation to choose from with the Walindi Plantation Resort being a prime example. Golden rule is: don’t go wandering off into the wilderness.
It’s got all the credentials of a genuine exotic getaway with amazing beaches and sparkling, warm seas but it’s also quite lively on the action front, too. In 2011 29 people were killed in separate terrorist attacks and there’s also a hefty annual dollop of extrajudicial killings and disappearances courtesy of hooky politicians, making this the perfect honeymoon location for anyone who likes to inject ice cold fear into their holidays. The Island of Boracay is textbook white beach paradise and around £1400 return ticket from London will allow you to sample its pleasures. High end luxury for the night can be yours at the Shangri La Hotel at £300 a pop but for more modest budgets Dave’s Straw Hat Inn is a much loved traveller’s favourite.
Apart from South Africa, the African continent is much overlooked when it comes to honeymoons but with almost guaranteed sunshine and a low cost of living it could make a great alternative to The Garden Route and Table Mountain, which let’s face it, can come with their own unique brand of jaw juddering terror. Again The British Foreign Office has a bee in its bonnet about Nigeria and warns against travel to some areas. However, if you’re not overly concerned with the kidnappings, violent attacks, piracy and robberies, there’s plenty to enjoy such as the Conservation Centre, Museums and the Lekki Market. A very reasonable £600 return ticket form London will get you to the capital Lagos and once there make for the Wheatbaker hotel where costs can be rather pricely per night, but does have great security. If you really want to get your insides fizzing why not visit Port Harcourt? Stay at the Elkan Terrace and do your best to avoid the violent crime.
The Democratic Republic of Congo
Any couple hell bent on scaring themselves stupid must certainly consider the DRC. There are some amazing things to see and do here like the Zongo Falls, which if not a honeymoon destination, then would make an ideal place to pop the question instead. If you fancy a bit of wildlife then visit the monkeys at the Lola ya Bonobo in Kinshasa or take in the serene tranquillity of Ma Vallee lake, surrounded by awe inspiring jungle. However, it’s not all idyllic bliss as Angela Jolly will tell you and the country is so unstable that the FCO recommends that nobody ventures northward with terrorism, violent crime and social unrest also freely available in the south.
If you fancy mixing up that special time away with each other with a spot of camel racing then Yemen is the only place to be thinking about. The Moevenpick Hotel in the capital of Sana’a is probably your best bet for security meets western style rooms. The Old City is stunning and has been inhabited for over 2500 years – definitely worth a visit, as is the Wadi Dhahr outside of the city itself. If you do decide to make the trip on arrival you’ll probably notice the rather long queue of westerners waiting to leave, as the FCO has basically told everyone to pack their bags now – which should at least mean accommodation shouldn’t present a problem. Armed tribes, terrorists and children with semi automatics should ensure that like most classical honeymoons you’ll never leave your room.
Another oft overlooked sun spot, Chad has very few redeeming features for all but the honeymooners who simply demand each other’s company. The capital N’Djamena will be your first stop on a holiday of knee wobbling fear and abject horror. Check in to the Kempinski Hotel there at around £180 a night which comes highly recommended for its service and food but with a return ticket from London costing an eye watering £2500, this isn’t going to be the cheapest way of scaring yourself. And scare yourself, you will. The US State Department and the FCO both regard this country as an absolute no no apart from the capital and with retaliatory attacks likely due to the war in Mali, even that isn’t safe. More to the point there’s absolutely nothing to do throughout the whole country giving you plenty of time to focus on the threat and determine possible escape routes.