Find out all about my incredible honeymoon in Africa... Having to organise your own Africa honeymoon rather than wait for your romantic husband's surprise selection. The upside? Being able to speak personally to a bunch of the worlds best travel consultants (who happen to be sitting next to me) and asking their advice on the 'ultimate honeymoon'.
Shompole in style
Our brief was to kick off with somewhere uber-relaxed where we wouldn't feel guilty nodding off during the day and where we could have some time for a wedding debrief. Shompole was suggested and boy did it fit the bill and more. We flew into Nairobi and were at Shompole in time for a breakfast looking out onto mountains, plains and Lake Natron in the distance. The couple of days we had there were spent reluctantly tearing ourselves away from our incredible room (which was bigger than my flat in London, completely open-air, and with a bed big enough to house a family of five) to follow our cheery Masai guide Sammy for walks and drives around the beautiful reserve. Highlights for me included sundowners by Lake Natron where we watched the hundreds of flamingos and the surprise bush dinner which was supremely romantic (and a touch scary when we heard the hyenas getting a bit excited...).
Highlights for me included sundowners by Lake Natron where we watched the hundreds of flamingos and the surprise bush dinner which was supremely romantic...
Onto the safari
We whizzed from Shompole to the Masai Mara which is somewhere I had heard so much about and had always wanted to go to. It really didn't disappoint and for my husband's first ever safari, he was spoilt rotten. We were there during the end of the wildebeest migration and saw some incredible game including a very exciting river crossing and so many lion and cheetah I lost count. We stayed in an authentic tented camp called Off Beat Mara, which is small and brilliantly located for game, and with excellent guides. James, our Masai guide, seemed able to read the animals' minds and was - literally - always one step ahead of the game, knowing where they would be and what they were going to do next - amazing.
Paradise in Mozambique
After four days of hardcore safari, we were just about ready for some lie ins and beach action....so it was off to Mozambique. As we flew into Vamizi Island I couldn't believe that what we were looking at below was real and not some photoshopped image - turquoise water and soft white sand and no hotels or people in sight. Well, the reality was even better, and we were in paradise. Vamizi only has one lodge on the island and I don't think we saw any other guests during our time there other than at meal times. Our best day was when we were dropped off on a stretch of untouched beach on the other side of the island and left with a 'picnic' which consisted of lobster, prawns, squid, king fish and a bottle of chilled white wine - oh yes! They had thoughtfully built a small shelter on this isolated picnic spot equipped with cushions and sun beds to pass out on after lunch.
I don't think we saw any other guests during our time there...
The contrast of the three different places during our Africa honeymoon was fantastic and we left each place wanting just a little bit longer so I very much hope that we will be back. Planning that research trip as I write...