It’s official, I have been planning our honeymoon for over 20 months. That is one of the many crazy side effects of COVID-19 crashing our wedding plans. The silver lining within the mayhem of postponement is the gift of extra time. Anyone out there who has planned a massive trip abroad knows that any added time to organize your travels is always appreciated. Now I have the additional time to ensure our honeymoon is exceptional in every possible way!
When our honeymoon anticipation began back in 2018, we both knew I would be leading the charge on planning this trip. Honestly, it didn’t take much discussion for us to decide our first trip as husbands should absolutely be an African safari! Having been fortunate enough to travel to Africa on two separate occasions, I really wanted to experience being on safari with the love of my life. Lance has yet to step foot on this magical continent, which makes our honeymoon the perfect reason to get him to Africa.
After many conversations and loads of research, we decided that Kenya would be the perfect country for our honeymoon. Having visited South Africa, Botswana, and Tanzania – I wanted this destination to be new for both of us. Once that was decided, I reached out to Africa Adventure Company, travel experts that I’ve worked with before. Together we started bringing this dream honeymoon to life. I seldom work with travel companies, in fact, the last time I did was in 2012 for a safari with this same company! For our honeymoon, I knew that help from travel professionals would make all the difference. They know the ins and outs of coordinating transportation, in-country flights, finding the best rates, and balancing our itineraries. Plus, the team at Africa Adventure Company would give Lance and I the peace of mind to skip any stressing out over the details and just relax into our honeymoon. Little did I know their professionalism would be priceless in navigating the nightmare of COVID-19 rescheduling. Considering travel bans and having to postpone everything out a year, I really don’t know what we would have done without the help of the Africa Adventure Company team. It would have been a full-time job just coordinating all the date changes, deposits, and postponements. Certainly, a reminder that working with travel planners can be a quality investment beyond your expectations, especially in 2020.
With nearly 10 months till we embark on our safari honeymoon, I’m already reflecting on what made Kenya stick out to us. In my initial planning stages four different things stood out about Kenya, making it our perfect match for this trip. Here are the four reasons why we chose to plan our honeymoon safari in Kenya.
Elephants, giraffe, lions, zebra, rhino, cheetah – the list could go on and on. Kenya is home to every iconic Africa species of megafauna (large animals) making it an ideal location for a first-time safari. With over 25,000 animal species the chances of observing wildlife in their natural habitat is guaranteed with Kenya’s rich biodiversity. To boost our chances for seeing animals, most of our stay will be in Masai Mara National Park. The Mara is known for its iconic grassland landscapes dotted with wildlife. Our days will be centered around safari activities, with both morning and afternoon game drives. My hope is to include a couple of walking safaris in the mix too. Some of my all-time favorite animal encounters have come from venturing out and discovering wildlife on foot. Since our flights have us going back and forth to Nairobi, we also have planned a few game drives through Nairobi National Park. Oddly enough this metropolitan wilderness is home to over 100 black rhinos. I’ve only been teased with a fleeting glimpse of a rhino before it crashed into the South African brush. I would love to savor a sighting of this critically endangered species in Kenya. Whatever sightings we are treated with, I have no doubt that we will be in complete awe over Kenya’s abundant wildlife.
Luxurious Safari Accommodations
Lance and I have many shared interests, but when it comes to sleeping accommodations, we don’t always see eye to eye. In other words, I love the idea of rolling out of a sleeping bag, while he prefers to be snuggled into a plush bed. This honeymoon is for the both of us, so we chose to air on the side of comfier for our accommodations. In fact, each of our three stays are luxurious in their own way while still immersing guests in nature.
Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, Masai Mara National Park: Even though Lance doesn’t love the idea of camping I still wanted us to experience Africa under canvas. Kichwa Tembo has struck the perfect balance between sleeping in a tent and being spoiled. Each permanent canvas tent has electricity, hot running water, plush furniture, and killer views of the grasslands. For four nights we’ll sleep in one of their superior view tents that have a back porch that overlooks the endless Masai Mara horizon.
Ololo Safari Lodge, Nairobi National Park: Flying in and out of Nairobi is a must for all travelers going to Kenya. But instead of resting our heads at some stale airport hotel, we’ve opted to keep the safari experience going. This sprawling city is blessed with a National Park literally next to all the hubbub. If you have ever seen photos of giraffes with skyscrapers in the background, odds are it was taken from this metropolitan park. For two different nights, we will stay just outside of the park’s southern border at Ololo Safari Lodge. This is one of the few accommodations near the park that offers a true safari style environment. We’ll even be treated to game drives inside the park, fingers crossed for a black rhino sighting!
Finally, we will be staying at one final property during our honeymoon. But this one is so special that we consider it to be one of the four main reasons we chose to safari in Kenya- Giraffe Manor!
This stunning property has taunted the both of us for years with photos from its unreal residents- a herd of Rothschild’s giraffes. In fact, I remember as a kid checking out and rechecking out a book from my school library all about Daisy the giraffe that lived at Giraffe Manor. Wish I could go back and tell seven-year-old Milo that someday he would be lucky enough to travel to that same place. Giraffe Manor is much more than a fancy hotel outside of Nairobi, it offers an experience that can only be had here in Kenya. Breakfast with the giraffes, yes literally sitting down for a delicious breakfast with long necked neighbors sticking their heads into the sunny dining room. I know it sounds too whimsical to be true, making it even more special for us to include in our honeymoon. We are beyond excited to spend two nights at Giraffe Manor, and even though our budget wasn’t quite prepared for the cost we are paying for those two-whole nights. But at the end of the day our honeymoon is a once in a lifetime trip! So, we splurged to the highest heights, considering we’ll be in the company of giraffes.
As if a Kenyan safari didn’t already have enough to offer, this country is known for their world class conservation efforts. Many say that conservation is a cornerstone of the Kenyan economy, proof that humans and wildlife can provide for each other. One of the largest organizations is Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and their work to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate orphaned elephants. Both Lance and I are proud foster dads for a handful of baby elephants; Luggard, Enkesha, Larro, and Roho (click on each of their names to see their incredible rescues)! During our time in Nairobi we will be lucky enough to see Sheldrick’s conservation work in action by visiting the elephant orphanage. The public are welcome to attend the mid-day mud bath and watch the little ones up-close and hear about their amazing success stories. To extend our time at the orphanage we will return for a more private visit exclusive for foster parents. This evening ritual involves the eager babies stampeding back to their corals for a bedtime bottle. Supporting Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been such a neat experience, and their regular updates have gotten us even more excited for our future visit. Seeing their work firsthand is sure to be an emotional experience during our honeymoon.
Together these four components helped to bring our plans for a honeymoon safari to life. Full disclosure: there are few things more rewarding than having a trip fully planned and booked! Now all there is to do is wait and grow our anticipation for this unbelievable adventure. Wish it could be June 2021 already!