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Traveler’s Corner: East African Honeymoon

February 17, 2022  By: Gretchen

Colin and Lydia had Africa on their bucket list and when they got engaged, they knew they wanted to honeymoon on the continent. They wanted an adventurous trip and to see animals – something that was ‘once-in-a-lifetime.’ The pandemic threw a wrench in their wedding plans, but once they started working with AAC Journey Specialist Diana on their honeymoon, they felt comfortable that things would work smoothly on the trip side of things. They settled on Uganda, Kenya and Seychelles for their honeymoon adventure, and while it was indeed a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip, their adventure exceeded their expectations, and the newlyweds definitely plan to go back to Africa for more time on safari!

gorilla trekking group

They kicked things off in Uganda with a primate safari. Colin and Lydia chose a gorilla habituation experience, which differs from the usual gorilla trekking in that guests can spend more time with the gorillas, but may also have a harder hike, and the gorillas are less habituated to human presence. They were the only two guests on their habituation trek, so were treated to a very exclusive experience.

“It was very cool how deep into the ‘impenetrable’ forest we were. We were surrounded by bush that reached our waists. Few people get to have that kind of experience. It was cool to work so hard for it - it made it more special. We learned a lot from our guide and our ranger.” - Colin

Colin and Lydia recommend the habituation experience for travelers with a moderate to high level of fitness and with a thirst for adventure.

view from Clouds

They were based at Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, a special spot located high in the Nkuringo area of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. They were treated to a beautiful flower arrangement on their bed in celebration of their honeymoon. Colin and Lydia loved Clouds for its stunning location, the wonderful staff, five-star food and excellent service. Each chalet at Clouds has a private butler. Their butler Innocent ‘was remarkable and went out of his way’ for them.

Batwa village
“Try to immerse yourself in the culture wherever you can. We went to a village in Uganda and talked with the village elder – a 105-year-old woman. We sat with her and she shared the story of the village and the area. Went also to a local bar and drank banana gin and danced with the Batwa people. Those experiences were unexpected and great.” - Colin
feeding rhino

From Uganda, Colin and Lydia headed to Kenya for a traditional East Africa safari. A few highlights included:

  • “…seeing a leopard in the tree eating an impala. It was very cool as they are difficult to spot. The lion activity was amazing. When they are walking straight for your vehicle, for a few seconds you don’t know what will happen until you realize they don’t care about the vehicle at all. Within our first 60 minutes in Kenya we saw almost everything except hippo and crocodile.”
  • Being “stuck in a rainstorm on a night drive next to two lions mating. Our guide turned the vehicle lights off so we could listen to the thunder and see the lightning. On one strike we saw 7 lions walking by. It struck again and we could see their footprints.”
  • Visiting Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia where they saw the last two northern white rhinos on earth. It was a very special but sad experience knowing they are the last two of their kind.
  • A surprise dinner in their honeymoon tent at Basecamp Leopard Hill, which they served around their private firepit and sitting area.
  • Staying in a private conservancy. Many of the activities they enjoyed such as night drives and off-road game viewing aren’t allowed in the neighboring Masai Mara Game Reserve. They also enjoyed the more exclusive nature of visiting a private conservancy versus a reserve.
group picture
“In Kenya we loved talking with our driver/guides and got to know them well. At Leopard Hill we planted trees to help with their carbon initiative. We also visited a women’s beading project where they teach women to bead for income.” - Colin
scuba group

From Kenya, Colin and Lydia headed to the paradise of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean for a few days of beachside bliss. They especially enjoyed the scuba diving, remarking on the incredible water clarity of the Indian Ocean and the prolific sea life. On their third scuba dive (ever) they were extremely lucky to see a whale shark. It swam near them for ten minutes and the experience was the ‘perfect cherry on the sundae of their trip!’

floating breakfast

Their resort, Anantara Maia Seychelles Villas, had some special touches in store for their honeymoon. They hosted a private dinner for the couple on their helipad, prepared a floating breakfast one morning in their villa’s private infinity pool and even set up an outdoor bath one night for them complete with flowers, Champagne and bubble bath.

“We knew it would be nice, but they went above and beyond. Anything you want to do, eat or drink they will make it happen.” - Colin

Colin and Lydia have a few special tips for Africa travelers:

“Get off the beaten path as much as you can. Take on challenges as your efforts will be rewarded. Make the effort to learn as much about the local culture and traditions as possible and visit the villages and ask lots of questions. It’s a magical continent and the people couldn’t be more welcoming and appreciative.”
couple feeding giraffe

They summed up their experience working with Africa Adventure Consultants this way:

“Overall, the experience working with the AAC team and Diana was amazing. It was the trip of a lifetime and everything was so well thought out. It removed so much stress from our plates – especially during COVID times. Everything was taken care of, allowing us to really enjoy the trip. All of the places we stayed and the people that took care of us were totally amazing.”
couple by water

Are you interested in traveling to East Africa?