With a world of choice at my fingertips, deciding on my perfect honeymoon destination was always going to be a challenge. Working in a busy travel agency I have been arranging dream holidays for clients for many years and I wanted to get my own just right. However, after a lot of consideration and research we decided on a safari followed by a week of pure relaxation on the beach in Zanzibar.
We were warned about the early mornings, long days and possible malaria risk but nothing could have prepared us for the greatest wildlife show on earth that unfolded before our eyes on each daily adventure. We started in Nairobi and took the opportunity to visit the Daphne Sheldrake Elephant Orphanage. It was an emotional visit, we heard how these young elephants arrive there, as their mothers have lain victim to the ivory trade, yet they still were inquisitive, resilient and playful in their new surroundings. I even got close enough to hold a trunk which was amusing!
The following morning we left Nairobi for Samburu. It was a long day’s drive but worth it when we reached the park and took part in our first game drive – we spotted a cheetah snoozing on our first afternoon! After a welcome night’s sleep, we were woken at 5am and headed out for our first morning in the park. It was to be a memorable morning; 2 lioness’ up a tree stealing a leopards kill, watching a cheetah stalk and then catch some prey, our first sighting of zebra and finally returning to the original tree to see a hungry leopard looking for her gains – a rare sighting – even our guide admitted not seeing one for several months.
After a couple of nights here we travelled on to Aberdares and spent a spectacular night at the Treetops Lodge. Treetops was made famous when Queen Elizabeth found out she was to be Queen. The lodge is set in a tree and next to a watering hole and throughout the day and night a variety of animals pass through. You can view the wildlife on all levels and you are at touching distance – whilst we were there we watched a family of elephants come in to drink throughout the night.
Next we moved to Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha. Highlights here were seeing our first rhino, buffalo, lion and then hippo. We went on a boat trip to see the hippo lazing in the river then we were taken to the island where the film ‘Out of Africa’ was filmed. Here we were able to walk freely with zebra, impala and giraffe which was a unique experience.
Our final stop was the Masai Mara, where we spent our last few days watching the migration. We saw prides of lions, herds of elephants along with wildebeest and zebra joining together to continue the migration – a spectacular sight.
Our next adventure was Zanzibar and after a short flight our slice of paradise began at the Breezes Beach Club. The hotel offered traditional Zanzibari style and warm hospitality and our room was set on the beach with views out across the reef. The beach has been voted one of the world’s top 30 island beaches by Conde Nast Traveller and it didn’t disappoint. We spent our days relaxing in this idyllic setting, snorkelling and watching the reef come alive before our eyes.
Stone Town was just an hour away and we spent a day there uncovering the town’s distinctive features. It offers a real mix of Arab, Persian, Indian and African traditions joining together. Perhaps the most well-known feature of Zanzabari houses are the finely decorated wooden doors, with rich carvings and big brass studs of Indian tradition. We mingled with the locals in the markets and bartered in the shops for souvenirs – everyone we met was welcoming and friendly but keen for us to view their wares.
Like all good things, our adventure came to an end, and it was time to say farewell to this beautiful island. But we both promised ourselves we will go back one day.