Our wedding was held on a beautiful beach at Mnemba Island in Zanzibar, Africa. After celebrating at our reception until the small early hours, we quietly left and strolled down the beach to our honeymoon tent. Inside our tent, I had already placed pink champagne, flowers and truffles for my new wife. And we shared a romantic early morning bowl of strawberries and cream:
|Honeymoon tent with champagne, flowers & truffles; and strawberries in cream|
This had been the most wonderful day of our lives and while we were resting I gave Keely a beautiful crystal seahorse brooch as a wedding gift:
We were slow to sleep that morning but gradually the day's exciting events caught up on us and dawn found us sleeping soundly. And we continued to have a slow start to the day, choosing to snuggle the rest of the morning away:
|Inside our honeymoon tent at Zanzibar|
But early that afternoon I roused my darling for a surprise I had arranged - I had commissioned our portraits to be taken, then some leisure time at the private beach:
|Our beach portraits ... then enjoying ourselves on the beach|
Following our fun in the sun, we went to dinner at this amazing romantic restaurant perched atop of its own island right by the beach. This restaurant was totally exclusive and romantic; it catered to only one couple per night:
|Romantic private restaurant on its own island on our beach|
Following our delicious meal we strolled paw-in-paw back to our tent for an early night - because the next morning we were leaving to spend the rest of the week exploring the soaring heights of Africa's highest peak (Mt Kilimanjaro), the endless plains of the Serengeti and the incredible Ngorongoro Crater.
Standing on the Roof of Africa
|Keely posing with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background|
Mt Kilimanjaro lies on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, just south of the equator. And at an altitude of 5895m (19,341 ft) above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Kilimanjaro began forming at least 500,000 years ago and is now comprised of three distinct volcanic cones - Kibo 5895m (19,341 ft), Mawanzi 5149m (16,893 ft) and Shira 3962m (13,000 ft). Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim.
|Map showing Zanzibar (far right middle), Kilimanjaro & Serengeti|
We trekked up the lower levels of the mountain and were amazed at the significant numbers of wildlife inhabiting the area. Mammals include elephants, buffaloes, elands, duikers, leopards, baboons, and blue monkeys. The area is also frequented by colourful birds.
|top row: Blue Monkey, herd of Elephants, Yellow-bellied Waxbill middle row: Leopard, Duiker, African Hunting Dog; bottom row: Lion, Eland, Colobus Monkey|
Our accommodation throughout our journey up Mt Kilimanjaro was a wonderful tent that magically appeared at every stop and was always appointed with our every comfort in mind.
|Our tent for the duration of our safari to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro|
We gradually left the green lower levels behind us and trekked up the snowy high levels and finally on to the very top of the mountain.
|Standing on the Roof of Africa|
Serengeti National Park
Tanzania's oldest and most popular national park, the Serengeti, is famed for its annual herbivore migration, when some six million hooves pound the plains, like a vast voracious lawnmower on an exodus north.
A million wildebeest join more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thompson's gazelle in a frenzied three-week bout of fresh grazing and territorial conquests, pushing north in columns as long as 25 miles to replenish the species in a brief population explosion that produces more than 8,000 calves daily before the 1000km (600 mile) pilgrimage begins again.
|Wildebeest and Thompson's Gazelles|
Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers scintillating game-viewing - great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephants and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, impala and Grants gazelle for as far as the eye can see.
|A quick snap with an Elephant mum & baby|
Golden-maned lion prides laze under shade trees, solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River, while a high density of cheetahs prowl the southeastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.
|top left, clockwise: Lion, African Jackal, Spotted Hyena, Aardwolf|
But there is more to Serengeti than large mammals. A full 100 varieties of dung beetle have been recorded, as have 500-plus bird species ranging from the outsized ostrich and bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland to the black eagles that soar effortlessly above the Lobo Hills.
|Dung beetles are important little critters|
|Serengeti Serval Cat and Secretary Bird|
The Ngorongoro Crater sits on the eastern border of the Serengeti National Park and is what remains of a nearly 3 million year old massive volcano. Now collapsed and eroded, it forms an extraordinarily fertile bowl with areas of grassland, swamps, lerai forest (small patches of forest made up of yellow-barked acacia and yellow fever trees) and permanent water sources.
In fact, the Crater is the spectacular stalking, grazing and hiding grounds of around 20,000 - 30,000 wild animals at any one time, which is the most densely packed concentration of wildlife in Africa.
|Some inhabitants of the Ngorongoro Crater|
Ngorongoro Crater is also one of the last remaining areas in Tanzania where you are likely to see the endangered Black Rhino.
|Endangered Black Rhinos|
There was a lot to see and do during our safari trips, so on our time off we often took the opportunity to just sit back and relax.
|Our private swimming pool|
And whenever we could we made a point of watching the amazing sunrise and sunset of each beautiful day.
|Sunrise, sunsets and (bottom right) Moonrise over Africa|
The days flew by very quickly; it seemed that in no time at all we were saying goodbye to our guides and being collected by the Google Earth Jet. But we will always remember our wonderful honeymoon in exciting Africa.