Fairmont guests can reserve a bush breakfast or dinner. // © 2016 Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
Feature image (above): The common pool and lounge area of Alfajiri Villas’ Garden Villa is the perfect space for whiling away the evening. // © 2016 Alfajiri villas
Marriage can be life’s greatest adventure, so it’s fitting to start it off with the experience of a lifetime.
Honeymooners will find that Kenya is so much more than a safari destination: It’s also the perfect place to reconnect after the hustle of the big day. A blend of adventure, luxury and privacy makes for a perfect newlywed itinerary in one of Africa’s most exciting countries.
Days 1-3: Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club
A stay in one of the suites at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is a wonderful start to a honeymoon because it’s like a “choose your own adventure” book — you can tailor your stay to be active or low-key, depending on how you feel upon arrival.
First things first: Book a suite that comes with a wood-burning fireplace, which you can choose to have lighted at turndown. Not only is the crackling fire romantic, but it’s also the perfect way to cozy up on a chilly mountain evening.
For post-wedding pampering, the on-site spa offers Asian and Scandinavian treatments, facials and more. The elegant bar, Zebar, is bisected by the equator and provides a perfect safari atmosphere for sampling Kenyan beers and specialty cocktails.
When you’ve had a chance to recover from your travels and are ready to dive into your African adventure, take a guided horseback safari into Mount Kenya National Park, where you have the chance to see a variety of wildlife. To view animals up close, head to the on-site animal orphanage, which is home to a wide variety of species, including ostriches, bongos, monkeys, llamas, a pygmy hippo and even a giant tortoise. Perhaps the most unique experience in the animal orphanage is getting one-on-one time with cheetahs — you can actually go into their pen and pet them. Run your fingers through their soft fur, and they might just roll over on their backs and purr loudly like house cats.
Days 4-6: Sweetwaters Tented Camp
After resting up and getting your bearings, continue onto a reserve that’s perhaps not as popular (and crowded) as the Mara. There are plenty of these in the Mount Kenya area. If you head north, you can choose from a number of smaller, community-run conservancies such as Sera, Il Ngwesi and Naibunga, to name a few.
To the west of Mount Kenya is Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a well-developed reserve with tons of wildlife-viewing opportunities and hotel options. Located within Ol Pejeta, Sweetwaters Tented Camp is a lovely follow-up to The Fairmont. This property strikes a balance between rustic and upscale, with tented accommodations as well as cottages. Opt for a room that faces Mount Kenya, overlooking the watering hole at the center of the property — the view of the sun rising over the landscape is stunning. Throughout the day and night, you’ll see zebras, warthogs and impala drinking from the watering hole just a few feet away.
During your stay here, you’ll likely spend most of your time exploring Ol Pejeta on game drives. You can see all of the Big Five here, and you’ll find that the area is refreshingly uncrowded. Don’t miss the Morani Center and the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary between drives. Wrap up a long day with a sundowner and dinner back at the camp, chatting about the day’s activities while counting the stripes on the harem of zebras that has descended on the watering hole.
Days 7-10: Alfajiri Villas
After exploring the savanna and seeking out majestic wildlife, spend a few days soaking up the sun and the dazzling colors of the coast in Diani. A stay at the exclusive Alfajiri Villas is a perfect end to a Kenya honeymoon: You and your partner will have an entire villa to yourselves, with a private pool, an open-air dining room, a massage area and beach access, as well as butlers to take care of anything you need. You won’t see another guest during your stay: Privacy is at the heart of this three-villa property, which is why it’s a favorite of celebrities and discerning travelers.
Italian owners Fabrizio and Marica Molinaro share impeccable attention to detail and exude genuine Italian hospitality — they truly want you to feel at home. You’ll decide on each day’s itinerary together, working out your own plans for menus and activities. Everything is included in the rates, including 40 selections of wine, daily massages and all meals (ask Fabrizio about his Swahili calamari and handtossed pizzas). Marica’s interior design skills are on display in each of the villas, which she has decorated with items collected on her travels to India and Morocco. Most of the furniture here was crafted by talented local carpenters and woodcarvers who brought her vision to life.
For your last big Kenya adventure, spend a day on a "dhow" vessel that takes you to the exquisite coral reefs near the coast of Tanzania, about an hour’s drive from Diani. The experience will blow you away: You’ll snorkel or scuba dive among hundreds of species of fish, moray eels, rays and spectacular coral. The movement and shimmering colors will enchant you, and they’re the perfect experience to share before heading back home.
Spend your last day in Kenya relaxing with your love, sipping wine and overlooking the white-sand beach and jewel-toned waters of the Indian Ocean. Soak it all in: your wedding day, the adventure you’ve just experienced and your new life together. The magic is only beginning.