One afternoon on our honeymoon safari, while bundled up in the back of an open-aired Jeep, surrounded by biting flies, waiting for a cheetah to murder an impala before it started to rain, I realized: a safari honeymoon is nowhere near as sexy as I thought it would be.
Here are the top 10 reasons why:
1. The tiring honeymoon safari schedule
You’ll most likely wake up between 5 and 6am every morning to go on a game drive for at least 5 hours. You’ll come back to camp with just enough time to eat and hopefully get in a quick nap before you go on your evening drive from around 4-7pm. Then you’ll want to stay up for dinner and drinks and… other honeymoon stuff. Which means by day four… the exhaustion sets in.
2. Being bundled up AF
Forget those cute safari outfits you had planned. You’ll be wearing almost every layer you brought to avoid the sun, the cold, the bugs, the dust, or a combination of all of them. Speaking of which…
3. The cold
Okay, the cold (mornings and nights) can actually feel romantic when you’re clinging to each other for warmth. But the full body shivers (and If you’re like me, cold weather-induced body aches) can detract from the mood.
4. The heat
After freezing on your early morning game drive, afternoons are often too hot to get intimate. You barely want to touch your own sweaty, smelly, dust-coated skin – let alone someone else’s.
5. Vicious bugs
Tsetse flies, giant wasps, whatever that weird one in your bed is… on safaris, there are bugs everywhere. Some of them make you itch like mad and leave welts.
6. So much death
Nothing like witnessing the death of a cute baby lion before your romantic picnic breakfast on the Serengeti. Or searching for napping leopards and finding a half-eaten zebra corpse in a tree instead. The cruelty of nature is your nausea-inducing third wheel. Speaking of third wheels….
7. Alone time is rare
Whether it’s your guide(s) spending up to 8 or 9 hours a day in a car with you, the family of 6 at the group dining table, or the guy standing outside of your tent, filling water buckets while you shower… you may start to feel like you never have a moment alone. That’s mostly because until night-time, you probably won’t. Which brings me too…
8. Dangerous nights
The stars of the night sky are gorgeous, but you won’t have a chance for a romantic moon-lit stroll when there are murderous buffalo around. Playing the “what was that sound and did it seem like it’s getting closer?” game doesn’t always set the mood for love, or a good night’s rest. And it gets worse…
9. Malaria pill-induced nightmares
Gone are the days when Anti-Malaria pills caused psychotic breakdowns. Now they just make you have psychotic dreams. You’ll wake up every morning feeling exhausted from your various and disturbingly realistic nightmares. And that brings me to the biggest romance killer…
10. The bathroom sitch
When we hung out with other honeymooners and I told them about writing this article, they all said (practically in unison) “Are you mentioning the bathrooms!?” Whether it’s the open-concept luxury suite, the toilet in your tent (that flap does nothing to muffle the noise or your shame), or going to the bathroom behind the truck in the middle of the plains while everyone waits for you — there’s no hiding when you have an upset stomach from each other.
But all of that said…
There’s one reason a honeymoon safari may be the sexiest trip of your life:
An owner of a safari camp told us that his father’s best relationship advice was, “Don’t marry someone before bringing them on a safari.” While we happened to get married first and THEN go on safari, that seems like solid advice.
A honeymoon safari isn’t the easiest honeymoon vacation, but it does bring you closer together in ways you may have never wanted (*cough cough* the bathrooms) and will forever benefit from.
Besides, what’s more sexy than sipping drinks together, while watching the sun set over the Serengeti, after surviving a charging elephant? No other honeymoon choice can make you realize how precious life is — and how lucky you are to start your new life together.