Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Africa & the Middle East (
-   -   Final September 2007 Tanzania & Kenya * Honeymoon & Wedding* (

lanienyc Jul 30th, 2007 07:08 AM

Final September 2007 Tanzania & Kenya * Honeymoon & Wedding*
For my fiancé and I this started as a day dream for our honeymoon last August. Going on safari has always been a childhood dream for my fiancé and I love to travel so it did not take any convincing for Africa to be our destination for our honeymoon. We thought we were being such eager beavers beginning to research back in August. Ha ha! After reading posts, I soon realized we may be late in the game especially if we had specific Camp preferences. So it was full speed ahead.

Planning: I love to plan read up on hotel reviews; where to go; where to stay. But I will have to say within days of looking at reviews. I felt like this was a little over my head. I knew this was going to unlike any other planning I have done before. In order to make the most of your trip you have to do your homework. And thank goodness for finding this forum. I would not even have known where to start or what questions to really ask. When is the best time to go? Migration patterns where? How long? Budget? (not including air) Type of Accommodations? Private or not? Fly or drive?

We started to craft our itinerary 1ST thinking all Tanzania at first because my concern of safety and quickly after posting on the forum my mind was quickly changed and reassured to include the Mara. (What was I thinking?) We sent out for quotes to several companies but we ultimately decided to go with African Serendipity good price, in NYC and she is a frequent contributor to this forum– Sandi is great! As this is such a big investment you want to ensure that you will be taken care of. Sandi does just that. She is very knowledgeable, prompt responses with any questions you have, great resource of information. We are so pleased with our choice.

I have not been a frequent poster as newbie can not comment on much that would be helpful right now. But since the day I found this wonderful forum, I have been an avid reader almost daily of the wonderful advice’ tips, reviews and information that has been shared for the benefit of all who have been or will be bitten by the “Africa bug”. You all have been “friends in my head” for quite a while.

So many unexpected turn of events have happened while finalizing our honeymoon itinerary. Funny cause we were so focused and excited about planning the honeymoon that we realized that we had not finalized the wedding yet. We never had in our thoughts to have a traditional state side wedding big reception; we wanted something unique; we always thought destination wedding. Our original thought was to have it in Marrakech (some amazing places there) w/some family. But most family has small children and this was not feasible. So the * bulb* went off in both of our minds … Let’s do it, why don’t we have the wedding ceremony while we our in Africa! So it was done! We reached out to Sandi and she has become our unofficial safari/ wedding planner. *Note about wedding planning: not many pictures or reference for anyone who is dare I say a “bridezilla type” into every detail- this may not be your cup of tea. You have to be able to go with flow- that is the beauty and exciting part of it. (Though sometimes it’s not that easy) Hardest part has been trying to secure a photographer, as we will not have family with us so we want to make sure we capture every moment.- Hopefully this will be wrapped up soon. But Sandi’s assistance and reviews and pictures of site; we know it will be amazing!

Like most who have an upcoming trip I am counting the days before our departure but can’t put in words how excited we both are to see, smell & hear the sounds of Africa. Full of anticipation for such an incredible experience and beginning our lives together. This is truly our trip of a lifetime.

Here is our final itinerary private fly and drive safari
Depart NYC- to AMS 2 nights
Arrive Kilimanjaro (JRO) Tanzania – Kibo Palace Hotel
2 nights – Swala Camp
1 Nights– Serena Lodge afternoon and am trip to crater
1 night Ngorongoro to the Serengeti – Mbuzi Mawe Camp
2 nights Migration Camp
2 nights Naibor Camp – plan for a Hot Air balloon
3 nights Saruni Camp
4 nights Shompole Lodge
Day-room at House of Waine

We realize that during September it is not the ideal time to visit Serengeti, but fiancé really wanted to stay at Migration camp (maybe it was also the his memory of watching the “Lion King” that the Serengeti was a must) But I think we have great opportunity to see the migration during our stay in the Mara so we are not missing out. And I really do not think this will be our first and only trip so it will give a great excuse to go back to see other parts of Kenya. Maybe for an anniversary  We wanted focus and max out on safari and not include beaches as for us this can be done anywhere.

Our stay at Shompole will be our wind down part of the trip. And we are saving the best for last this is where our Wedding ceremony will take place. So if any Fodorites are staying at Shompole September 24 consider this your invitation!

What’s left to do- lots of stuff! We depart NYC September 8th
Vaccinations- we have to an appointment next week. Final Packing List - (thanks LyndaS) need to make final purchases. Need to start to pack & weigh bags to make sure we are less than 33lbs. Still stressing on how to best transport wedding dress. Haven’t had final fitting yet. Get familiar with our new DSLR we purchased the Pentax K10D, we have been taking trips to the zoo to practice. We still are looking into Photo storage options.

I’m sure we will have many questions as our departure date gets closer but I just wanted to say Thanks to all of you for all your contributions because it helped shape our upcoming trip which will be remembered for a lifetime! To be continued…..

hguy47 Jul 30th, 2007 07:19 AM

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials and on a wonderful itinerary. This will likely be the "first but not last trip of a lifetime to Africa," but the "first and only wedding of your lifetime."

Calo Jul 30th, 2007 12:25 PM

Congratulations, lanienyc!

Your itinerary looks delightful and I can understand your excitement. I'm sure this will be the first of many trips to Africa for you both.

Will your family be joining you at Shampole for the ceremony?

Patty Jul 30th, 2007 12:37 PM

Wow, congrats!

lanienyc Jul 30th, 2007 05:21 PM

Thanks hguy47 and Patty.

Calo- Unfortunately, we will not have any family due to distance and time lots of small children in the family. That was the hardest part of the decision. But we will be holding a small party at home with family and friends, hopefully with lots of great stories and photos to share.

hills27 Jul 30th, 2007 06:41 PM

I had to transport a gown with a train to Lima (and trek all over Peru with it for a week before I arrived back in Lima), so I can give you some advice.

I put it in a very long plastic drycleaning "bag" and then put it in a "one-suiter" that came with one of my 22" rollers and zipped it close. The one-suiter was only about two-thirds the length of the dress. So, I carefully folded the bottom third of the dress and plastic up towards the top (with the suiter already zipped up) and then folded the suiter in thirds (as it was designed to do). That one suiter then was packed last on the top of my rolling duffle bag.

As soon as I arrived in Lima, I unpacked it and hung it up so the weight could go to work on the wrinkles.

The next day, I hung it up in the bathroom, turned the hot water on in the shower, closed the door to the bathroom, and essentially steamed it. I let the hot water run until the bathroom was all steamy, then quickly sneaked into the bathroom trying to let as little steam out the door as possible, turned off the water, and then snuck out again. I didn't open the door for an hour.

Of course, this may not be doable in the bush, so I would check with the lodge. If they have a lot of weddings, they may have a portable steamer. If not, you might want to take one. They are so small and light they won't make a dent in your bag.

hills27 Jul 30th, 2007 06:42 PM

Btw, my dress was silk and there were not many wrinkles that had to be steamed out after I hung it up overnight. And they weren't that noticeable...I probably could have done without steaming it if I had had to. The plastic is the key.

hills27 Jul 30th, 2007 06:44 PM

Holy moley...what awful grammar....sneaked in???? Sorry!

Duane Jul 31st, 2007 09:12 AM

You have an awesome trip planned. Having just returned I envy you.

You are staying at a few of the places we also stayed at. We spent 2 nights at Migration Camp, 1 at Mbuzi Mawe and 1 at the crater Serena Lodge, in that order. You are doing it right, Serena, Mbuzi Mawe then Migration Camp. This way the camps get nicer and nicer.

All I can say is you will love the Migration Camp. It was the highlight accommodation of our trip. Mbuzi Mawe was very nice too, but no comparison. Read my trip report for further information. Also, save you laundry for the Migration camp as it is all included as are drinks, water, soda, etc. (I think that is the same at Swala too, although I am not sure)

I have always wanted to visit Shompole Lodge as it seems such a great place.

Have a great time and I hope the dress makes it OK :)

bat Jul 31st, 2007 02:18 PM


Congrats--looks like a lovely itinerary, and a great wedding spot.

carolines Aug 1st, 2007 08:30 AM

Congratulations and best wishes for a marvellous wedding and honeymoon! You are doing something special I'm sure many of us have dreamed about... Lucky you, I can't wait to hear all about it and see your photos! Have a wonderful time!

LyndaS Aug 1st, 2007 12:52 PM

Congratulations, lanienyc! I can't think of a better place than Africa to get married, that's so cool!

Have you looked into maybe shipping (DHL or similar) your dress to Shompole? That way, no lugging required...

hills27 Aug 1st, 2007 07:23 PM

I wouldn't ship it. It could get stuck in customs or stolen in transit and you wouldn't know until you got there. Plus, you might have to pay a huge tariff. That happened to friends shipping wedding clothes to Peru once.

lanienyc Aug 4th, 2007 05:42 AM

Thanks hills27 for the advise Wow- carrying a gown all over Peru! Yes I agree with on carrying it with me just for peace of mind. I have my final dress fitting soon so we will see what happens. Duane thanks for the feedback, it is always helps to be reassured on your decisions where to stay. Glad that you had such a great time.

hills27 Aug 4th, 2007 01:33 PM

Well, it wasn't a wedding dress, but I was still worried. It worked out well.

Of course, I love Peruvian food so much that I was petrified that I'd gain weight during the 10 days between my last fitting and wearing it. Thank god the hiking kept that in check.

joeyi Aug 4th, 2007 03:26 PM

Congratulations, you will love your wedding/honeymoon. i am sure Sandi will find you a photographer but if not hopefully someone at Shompole will be kind enough to take some pictures for you.

I'll relate our wedding story and try to keep it short. My husband and i were married on the beach in the Cook Islands. we had the trip planned and then decided to get married about a month before going. the one photographer on the island was booked for that night, but an American couple that we meet the first day of our trip befriended us. Not only did they end up taking pictures for us, which i expected to just recieve a packet of pictures in the mail, they bought a beautfiul photo album in tahiti on their stopover on their return home. i didn't cry at my wedding but i cried when i opened this package and looked at the photos in the album they made for us.

gingerlee22 Aug 8th, 2007 05:11 PM

Hi - will you PLEASE let me know how Africa Serendiptiy did for you as I'm thinking of using them this time next year and it's just a huge, huge investment for me and for my sister.
I can also be emailed (and I'll probably see it quicker) at [email protected]. Hope all went so well for you two!
Ginger Nickerson

lanienyc Aug 24th, 2007 04:33 AM

Sure Gingerlee I emailed you directly and have nothing but rave reviews for Africa Serendipity and Sandi. She really is Awesome. She managed to solve for my wedding dress issue. She arranged it so I can leave it in the local offices and pick up on my way to Shompole. And even better she managed to get me permission for a Blowdryer at Shompole! lol Thanks Joeyi for sharing your wedding story,The pictures must be amazing. What a wonderful surprise ** 2weeks to go before we leave!!

cooncat2 Aug 24th, 2007 08:31 AM

Congratulations and have a fabulous trip! Judging from Sandi's photos, I would think Shompole will be a truly fabulous, romantic place for a wedding. Hope you'll share your photos with us!

mancfi Aug 24th, 2007 02:50 PM

Hi laine,

I have recently got married on safari and it was wonderful. We married at a lodge in South Africa and it was just what we wanted, it was intimate, low-key and just fabulous!

We did have some issues with our wedding photographs and do accept our part in these problems.
1. We should have asked for detailed information on what the package was.
2. We should have requested a date by which we would recieve our photographs.
3. We should have got in writing how the photos would be sent to us (courier/standard post).

In our situation, we had a vague idea of the package (ie 150-200 photos plus printing). It didn't say how many would be printed etc. We actually recieved more than we anticipated (21 A4 sized and 76 smaller sized photos)

We had agreed on the day with the photographer that he would send the photos by courier in 3 weeks time. We actually got the photo's 3 months later. We did not have an agreement in writing.

I honestly didn't think to ask the above questions, I was a very relaxed bride and they didn't cross my mind. However, in hindsight (after the stress of wondering if we'd ever get them) I would certainly ensure I had the above info. I have also fed this back to the lodge who booked the photographer on our behalf.

I am sure you will have a wonderful wedding and amazing experience. Congratulations :-)

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:03 AM.