On our first date shortly after we met in January 2007, Scott and I talked about travel. We had both traveled quite a bit, including stints living outside of the U.S., and we talked about places we had always wanted to visit.
I mentioned that I had always wanted to go to Kenya, ever since seeing pictures from a friend's safari of a lion eating a zebra. Gross, I know, but utterly fascinating.
At the time, I had no idea Scott had lived in Kenya for two years. Shortly after graduating from college, taken with seeing this beautiful country in "Out of Africa," he had worked with missionaries there, working with a church and helping start the business program at a technical college.
Fast-forward a few months to when we were planning a honeymoon (yes, that moved fast! More on that another time). It took me less than half a second to say "yes" to his suggestion we go to Kenya - and I said "yes" to his marriage proposal pretty quickly as well.
We planned to go in December after our October 2007 wedding, but violence after Kenya's presidential election forced us to delay until April. Between visits with his friends in Nairobi, with whom we stayed, we went on two safaris: one to the Mount Kenya area in the central part of the country, and one to the Masai Mara in the south. A few highlights:
I couldn't get enough of these guys. So beautiful.
Just before we took this shot, our truck had to stop to allow a puff adder to cross the road. I was more than a little freaked out by the reminder that the world's deadliest snakes live in the very jungle we were in - but I powered through.
Kenya, which is right on the equator and at a mile-high elevation similar to Denver, is blazing hot when the sun is out. But bundling up against the chill was essential for morning and evening game drives. The couple you see with us below were literally the only other guests with us at this resort, as most tourism had yet to return following the violence of several months earlier.
Fancy breakfast picnic during an early morning game drive. I'm all smiles - but I was almost certainly on the lookout for snakes in the grass.
Our tent at the Mara Safari Club (not exactly roughing it). We were situated along the banks of a river, and were awakened each day about 3:30 a.m. by the hilarious chaos of hippos returning to the water before the sun came up. Loud snorting, grunting, and bumping into each other as they fought to stake out their spot in the river for the day. They can be on land during the night, but need to avoid the sun during the day to protect their skin (who knew?)
On the final game ride of our last safari - we finally came upon a pride of lions. Zoom lenses are awesome for getting great shots - without becoming their evening snack.
"In the jungle, the mighty jungle..."
How many people can say they spoke at a marriage retreat on their honeymoon? The "young married" group at church invited us to join them for a retreat outside of Nairobi. This was especially fun for Scott, since several of participants - now married with young children - had been in the church youth group when he worked there 15 years earlier. We had a great time getting to know them, learning about their lives and answering questions about life in the U.S. Managing work and family life - and expectations of in-laws - all appear to be pretty much a universal thing.
Where is the most exotic place you have ever visited?
* All photos original to Shop with Style.