Honeymoon Destination: Sun and Safari in Kenya
20 Apr 2012
Travel expert Julia Croucher waxes lyrical about Kenya - her favourite honeymoon destination…
In the days of colonial empires and adventurous hunters and explorers, Kenya was home to a ‘Happy Valley’ of British settlers who filled their farms with elegance and opulence. That was back in the early 1900s when sadly animals were more hunted as trophies to send back to Europe than ‘shot’ by photographers as they are today.
But those early days did pave the way for tourism in Kenya. As the settlers sent back tales of exotic wildlife and dramatic local tribes people with old photographs and diaries, this inspired the imagination back home and resulted in attracting tourists to Kenya building up a really strong economy with the country’s main ‘product’ being safaris and tourism.
When you travel to Kenya, maybe for your safari and beach honeymoon, think carefully about where you’re going and the impact on the local economy. It’s very easy to grab a bargain and go for an all inclusive fly and flop beach resort but what actually happens to your money and how much of it do the local people see? For every beach hotel there are probably hundreds of staff employed there, all supporting large families and it’s important to make sure they receive a fair wage and have good living conditions. But what’s this got to do with my honeymoon, I hear you ask? It’s probably best to give me a call to talk about this, with a background in zoology and having worked in Kenya myself for many years in tourism I know all the tricks of the trade!
The Masai Mara is the main safari destination for most first time safari visitors to Kenya. It’s got fabulous game viewing all year round and plenty of big cat action. Here you’ll see elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, cheetahs, lions and, if you are lucky, leopards and maybe even wild dogs. In ‘migration season’ (July to September) you could also be joined by a few million wildebeest on their annual migration. If you love elephants in particular, take a trip to the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi and a safari to Amboseli in the south of the country, where famous families of elephants have been researched for years and let you get very close to them – all with the wonderful backdrop of snow capped Kilimanjaro.
There are so many options for your honeymoon to Kenya. The stunning scenery of the Rift Valley is absolutely breathtaking and there are some superb lodges, luxury camps and spas around the Laikipia and Samburu areas. Loisaba is a particularly great option if you want some pampering and you could take a night or two out to sleep in their ‘star beds’ too – a truly unique experience.
Pink flamingos dance around the edge of the soda lakes, leopard prowl quietly though the forested areas and the haunting whoop of the hyena calls through the night. From the cosy inside of your romantic safari tent, lit by oil lamps, you’ll drift to the sounds of the African night after a fireside meal and night cap. Waking early to the dawn chorus, you can smell the earth as the dew covered grass becomes warmed by the sun. Maybe take a morning walking safari and learn about the smaller things in the bush before a hearty brunch and a siesta with time for a dip, maybe a massage and a nap before heading out for a drive before dark.
After all those early starts and bumpy roads on safari you’ll be ready for the beach! The Indian Ocean coastline is stunning, choose from amazing boutique hotels around Diani Beach or wonderful Kutazama Lodge above the coast in Shimba Hills (the most incredible view from a pool I have ever seen!).
Kutazama Lodge on the edge of Shimba Hills was created and built by Gill and Garry who have been in Kenya for decades, with backgrounds in conservation and teaching. The lodge only has two suites (both huge, with jacuzzi tubs) and the centre piece of the property are the stunning two tier swimming pools, built into the edge of the cliff face, surrounded by masses of tropical plants. It really is the ultimate in luxury Africa Below the pools on the plains stretching as far as the eye can see is an elephant sanctuary. As you sit in the pool, cocktail in hand watching the huge African sun slip over the horizon with elephants wandering past you will truly believe you have found paradise.
The main lodge building has a cosy lounge (for cooler winter nights) with a library and a collection of Gill and Garry’s artifacts from their travels. There is a large dining room and bar area and again, views over the plains below from the terrace.
If you like isolation, head north to Delta Dunes, a gorgeous rustic luxury lodge on about 70km of wild sandy beach or to the Lamu Archipelago which has a range of beach huts and luxury spa hotels.
If you prefer you could fly further into the Indian Ocean for some beach time on the Seychelles or Mauritius. Ask me about special honeymoon offers in these idyllic tropical destinations.
Travel With Jules is a bespoke travel consultancy offering impartial, honest advice, wherever in the world you want to go. Let me take the stress out of organising your holidays and honeymoons.
I am a specialist in wildlife, adventure and long haul and love a challenge to find unusual holidays. With over twenty years’ experience and a passion for travel, I can tailor make your honeymoon into the perfect trip of a lifetime. Take a look through my website for ideas and inspiration and get in touch to find out how to make honeymoon dream into reality.