Real honeymoon: Bex and Nik’s Tanzanian safari adventure

An African safari is one of the most popular, not to mention classic, honeymoons on offer – days tracking big game, nights under the stars, and the wild savannas stretching out around you…it’s no surprise it’s full of an old-fashioned romance and glamour. I’m delighted today to have Bex sharing her amazing honeymoon to Tanzania with us, including some truly wonderful photographs that show just how close the couple got to the wildlife. You can see more of Bex’s wonderful photography on her website

Safari honeymoon in Tanzania

I have always wanted to go on safari.  I love animals and have always been fascinated by wildlife documentaries, David Attenborough is one of my childhood (and adulthood) heros!  I finally got my chance on our honeymoon last year and wasn’t disappointed!  With my love of photography and animals, I was in heaven!

We started our travels in Zanzibar for some chill out time and diving after our wedding but the real fun started when we hit mainland Tanzania.  We flew past Mount Kilimanjaro (according to our pilot it’s very rare to see the peak above the clouds) to Arusha where we were picked up by our guide for the next six days and started our adventure in Tarangire National Park.

Tanzani honeymoon - Mount Kilimanjaro

As soon as we entered the park there were dozens of animals and I could hardly contain my excitement.  I took over three thousand pictures on our honeymoon, the majority of which from these six days.  Even the “common” animals such as zebra and impala were fascinating to me and I wanted to try to get the best photos I could manage of all the wildlife!

Honeymoon safari in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

One of my favourites were the giraffes and there were so many elephants!  I was also surprised at the number of trees and greenery.  I had been imagining a fairly orangey landscape but there was all sorts of shrubbery and even palm trees (which make good scratching posts apparently!).

Elephant-spotting in Tanzania on honeymoon

Our first lodge was Kikoti, a small camp with what are effectively half log cabins, half canvas tents on stilts.  We had a whistle and torch as there were no phones and we had to wait for an Askari (security) escort to get to dinner or if moving around the camp in the dark due to the risk of animal attack.  They each carried some kind of weapon – shotgun, bow and arrow, spear…  Very comforting!  They shine a light into the tall grasses when leaving the camp fire by the main building before heading along the path to the cabins, you know – to check for eyes reflecting back!  It was very exciting and listening to the noises of the bush while lying in bed was exhilarating.

Cabin at Kikoti, Tanzani honeymoon

As we travelled back through Tarangire to get to our next lodge at Ngorongoro Crater we saw hundreds more animals and some beautiful coloured birds. The Ngorongoro Farm House was a much larger complex with a coffee plantation and pool.  Or room here was massive and even had a fire which we paid the extra $5 to have lit after dinner and were so glad we did as the mornings were so chilly and we still had warmth coming off our fire when we woke.

Ngorongoro Crater was amazing to behold and had such a huge concentration of wildlife – we saw rhino here, in the distance and asleep but we were very lucky to even glimpse it as they’re so rare now!  The lions and other beasts were less shy and one lioness was sleeping right next to the road.  They are so used to the vehicles passing through – of which there are many – and often wandered close by or even across our path.

Sleeping lioness, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

The crater also made for a great backdrop for the photos as we were surrounded right down in the crater itself.

Elephant in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzani honeymoon

Our next stop was the Serengeti where we had our longest time (and longest bumpiest, fastest drive to get to). I also think I got my best photos here as I’d had more practice and had discovered that using our 4×4 as a rest (in lieu of my tripod) gave me much sharper results with my zoom lens.  Our driver guide was excellent and always turned his engine off when we stopped so there were no vibrations from the vehicle (not to mention emissions) and was full of knowledge after years in the job.

Serengeti, Tanzania honeymoon

We saw more elephants, got roared at by a hippo (out for a wander which is also rare during daylight) who didn’t like the sound of our engine going past, saw yawning hippos in a river with the most amazing light as the sun went down and had to race along the bumpy roads during sunset as we’d been held up so long at the gate due to all the paperwork to enter the park.  You’re not supposed to be out in the park when it’s dark as it’s unsafe for obvious reasons.

Hippos in the Serengeti, Tanzania

We had two nights at Bilila Lodge which was the most luxurious of hotels we stayed in.  Our room was huge, modern and stunning.  I loved the interiors of the whole place and took dozens of photos which sadly got lost when our small camera went missing (either Nik lost it or it was stolen)!  It was the most like a Western hotel with a huge bathroom, including a bath and big rain shower.

The staff here were amazing and when I asked if there was anywhere in the hotel I could take photos of sunset (as the right direction seemed to be behind some buildings I couldn’t see past) we were escorted by the head of housekeeping to the (empty) $10,000 a night villas which balconies looked over the plains towards the sunset!  I have to say, I was almost more interested in nosing around the rooms but managed to get a few good shots of the sun too!  She seemed to take great delight in showing us round and was obviously very proud of her hotel.  On our way back, she even showed us round the presidential suite – amazing

Honeymoon in the Serengeti

The next day was our last full day and we were taken to the hippo pool – literally a pool full of hippos wallowing in filth – it stinks! And went past a pool of water where zebras were drinking, getting scared, running away, then slowly going back in for another drink.  I was in my element taking photos of the action here for ages!

Zebras, Serengeti, Tanzani honeymoon

When we finally moved on, our amazing guide managed to find us a leopard (which Nik, despite five previous safaris – his family live in Kenya – had never seen) lazing in a tree!

Leopard, Serengeti, Tanzania

It was a perfect stay in Tanzania and although I had nothing to compare it to, a fantastic, varied safari!  We saw all of the “Big 5” and many more interesting creatures besides.  Our hotels were fantastic and the food in all of them was delicious with many choices from buffets featuring things like roast lamb and fish. I would highly recommend a similar trip for a honeymoon or any special trip to Africa!



All photos © Bex



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