africa · kenya · tanzania

50 Photos From Our Dream African Safari Honeymoon

I have so much to write about our safari honeymoon that it’s hard to know where to actually begin.

I can, however, share a whole bunch of photos from the trip to give you a preview of what’s to come. It’s taken me a long time to sort them, let alone edit them – as you saw in my last post, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even had time to sit down and edit!

We started off with three days in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, before heading down into Tanzania for another four days of wildlife galore. It was exhilarating and exhausting and I loved every moment of the trip.

I was determined to bump my photography up to the next level on this trip too, because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see all of these animals in the wild, a dream of mine since I was yay high *gestures to not very far off the ground*.

(Not that that’s saying much because I am still very short.)

Wildebeest herd, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

From huge herds of wildebeest spanning the landscape, to an entire family of lions sleeping in a bush, I was excited by every chance I had to see these animals with my own eyes and a lens through which I’ve managed to capture so many memories from this trip.

I was thrilled when a huge bulk of them became the best photos I’ve ever taken, so I’m excited to share just a few of my favourites here.

Two male lions, Maasai Mara, Kenya

Starting off with one of my favourite memories – on our way from landing in a hot air balloon to our champagne breakfast (oh, I know, you have permission to tell me to STFU), we spotted these two male lions walking through the grass in the Maasai Mara. They ended up walking right next to our vehicle as we held our breaths. We then turned around to go back in the direction we were heading, and we had to stop to let them walk past us again!

I was actually a bit scared (and awestruck) and stopped trying to take photos as they got really close, but I did film them walking right in front of our truck.

Cheetah in the Maasai Mara, Kenya

From one big cat to another – I was thrilled when we managed to spot (ha) a cheetah!

Above, a cheetah surveys a herd of impala in the distance. She was sat here for a while, but we did manage to see her stalking towards them too!

Cheetah, Maasai Mara, Kenya

She is BEAUTIFUL.

While we didn’t catch a hunt on our trip, we did stumble across some lions eating a zebra in Tarangire National Park later on in Tanzania.

Don’t fancy some hard-boiled grisly nature? Look away now.

Lions eating a zebra, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

We watched these three cubs play with their food for a while. At one point, two of them took a break to get some water while Mum got annoyed at their disturbance.

It was an amazing thing to witness! Poor zebra.

For good measure, here’s a live one with her foal. Soooo precious!

Zebra with foal, Maasai Mara, Kenya

Every time I saw an elephant, I felt emotional. They are one of my favourite animals and my heart skipped a beat every time we spotted one. I absolutely adore this set of photos from the Maasai Mara, at the end of our main day on safari.

Elephant in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
Family of elephants in size order, Maasai Mara, Kenya

I couldn’t believe it when they all lined up like this, just for a moment!

And an unexpected highlight from the Maasai Mara: seeing AN ACTUAL LEOPARD!

Leopard in a tree, Maasai Mara, Kenya

I have literally no idea how this leopard was seen, because when we rocked up to see what all the other cars were looking at, all you could see was a tail hanging down like a branch. The rest of it was hidden in the leaves, and it was only when I zoomed right in with my camera that you could see it was there at all. After a long wait, it finally moved and headed down the tree so we could actually see it. What a beauty!

And, of course, the unassuming giraffe. This was one of the first photos I took on safari, but it took quite a few shots before I got all three heads in the photo!

Giraffes, Maasai Mara, Kenya

We saw a surprising amount of giraffes every day of the trip – to the point we stopped even bothering to stop whenever we saw one! They were fascinating to watch though.

Giraffe, Maasai Mara, Kenya

Shortly after this photo, we came across a safari truck that had got stuck in the mud. There had been a thunderstorm the night before and a lot of the ground was wet, and some of the tracks were pretty sticky. Unfortunately we never did manage to get them out, so who knows, maybe they were eaten by lions?

From the Maasai Mara, we headed back to Nairobi for a night and onwards south to Tanzania, where we started our next journey from Arusha.

We started off in Tarangire National Park, one that I’m afraid I hadn’t really heard of before and really knew nothing about.

Elephant eating, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

It turned out to be INCREDIBLE. It’s home to one of the highest concentrations of elephants, and we saw absolutely loads, including this young fella above who was right by the side of the road. He was so close I could touch him. Obviously I didn’t.

Elephant, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

I also finally got some really good photos of zebras, because despite seeing literally thousands of them in the Maasai Mara, we rarely stopped long enough to get good photos. This was one thing I preferred about our Tanzania safari – we felt like we had loads of time to stop, and because it was a private safari, we didn’t feel like we were compromising with other people.

Zebra, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Zebras are, undoubtedly, one of the most photogenic animals in the world.

Zebra, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

After Tarangire, we were off to one of the highlights of African safaris: Ngorongoro Crater! (Pronounced N-goron-goro, not N-gor-ongoro like I thought it was.)

Ngorongoro is fascinating and unique because it’s its own self-sufficient eco-system, which means it’s full of animals who never have any need to leave. Therefore there’s no migration, no quiet months, just a solid source of animal-watching all year round. The first photo in the post is from the crater, just to give you an idea of how many animals live here.

To my delight, before we’d even got that far, half way down to the crater floor we came across a lion.

Lion sleeping, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

I feel this mood deep in my soul.

There were a lot of trucks parked up and there was no way past, so we had no choice but to wait for them to move on. Eventually, we got a bit further down and saw why there were just so many and why they were taking so long…

Pride of lions, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Oh my GOD!!! An entire family!!

This is one of my favourite photos I will EVER take. The tiny simba is looking right at me!! I cannot!

What an amazing sight.

Eventually we had to move on ourselves and let some more people see the lions, but we were in for a treat for the rest of the day too.

First of all: BABY ELEPHANTS!!

Baby elephant playing with a branch, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

I love this photo!!! It was playing with this branch for ages!

Family of elephants, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

I’m really surprised just how many babies we saw on the trip. In the Maasai Mara, we saw baby warthogs running very, very fast and it was the most unexpected, CUTEST thing ever. We saw baby zebras, baby monkeys, baby lions and much to my delight, loads of baby elephants.

Ngorongoro Crater was unbelievable – although we saw a handful of hippos in the Maasai Mara, this was the first place we saw an entire lagoon of them.

Hippo lagoon, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

I loved seeing this one completely vegged out on the grass too, with a bird for company.

Hippo laying down with a white bird, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

We could all use a day like that.

Herd of buffalo, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

And of course there were wildebeest and zebra. Lots and lots of wildebeest and zebra.

Zebras walking, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Wildebeest, zebra and impala in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Buffalo drinking water, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

I almost caught these buffalo all drinking in a row, but that fourth one lifted his head just as I lined up the camera. Dammit buffalo!

As much as we didn’t want to leave Ngorongoro Crater, we were off to one of my absolute dream destinations: the Serengeti!

Lion in the Serengeti, Tanzania

I had several highlights from the Serengeti. One of them was our accommodation, but I’ll write about that in another post. I have enough photos of animals for this post! But let me tell you – it was the most beautiful lodge overlooking the Serengeti and I will never get over it. Absolute bucket-list material.

Of course, the trip wasn’t all about animals anyway. There was also one of the most famous sights of Africa: the sunset.

Serengeti sunset, Tanzania
AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH SAVANNYYYAAAAHHHH

I first watched the Lion King when I was five years old. I realise that’s a sunrise and this is a sunset, but I’ve wanted to see this view since approximately then, and I had hopes and dreams of seeing a view of the Serengeti with a tree with the sun going down behind it. I very nearly cried when we pulled up to the perfect tree. It was like our guide knew!

Serengeti sunset, Tanzania

As well as sunsets, we did see one particularly special sunrise – from a hot air balloon! This was one of the highlights of the entire trip, seeing the Maasai Mara from above. While we didn’t see a migration of wildebeest crossing the river like I’d secretly hoped, the experience of the hot air balloon was fantastic enough, and we saw giraffes, elephants and zebras from above. We even saw a hyena dragging a carcass across the grass.

Hot air balloon at sunrise, Maasai Mara, Kenya

A balloon safari was quite a late, and expensive, addition to our trip, but I’m so glad we decided to do it!

Hot air balloon at sunrise, Maasai Mara, Kenya

Anyway – back to the animals. Because the Serengeti was one of our best days ever.

First of all, the lion in the road. Actually, before we go to the lion in the road, I need to interrupt with another lion in the road.

Lion and cub, walking up the road, Serengeti, Tanzania

This was just after the sunset and isn’t one of my best photos because the lighting at this point was awful, but a LION AND HER TINY, TINY CUB stepped out into the road right in front of us. It took all of my strength not to scream “AWWWWWWWWWWW!!”. The cub even stopped to play with a rock in the middle of the road, which immediately made me think of *that* scene in the Lion King (thankfully no wildebeest here to trample them), just to complete my Lion King experience. Oh, it was so precious! So, so tiny!

Anyway, back to the other lion in the road.

Lion in the road, Serengeti, Tanzania

We couldn’t believe it when a young male lion just sauntered through the safari vehicles!

Young male lion, Serengeti, Tanzania

Eventually, he walked off and we thought that would be it, but later on we had to come back along this road and he had taken over completely!

Lion in the middle of the road, Serengeti, Tanzania

Zero fucks given.

Just down the road from the lion, another cluster of cars alerted our attention to something laid under a tree right by the road. (Honestly, if you’re not sure where to go, just follow the cars…)

Cheetah, Serengeti, Tanzania

It took a while to get there, but to our delight it was three cheetahs dozing!

Cheetah, Serengeti, Tanzania

They are just so beautiful!

Other highlights from the Serengeti:

This bull elephant. Absolutely massive and majestic.

Bull elephant, Serengeti, Tanzania

Another freaking leopard!! I am still in disbelief that we managed to see TWO on our trip! Not something I ever thought I would see in the wild.

Leopard sleeping in a tree, Serengeti, Tanzania

And another hippo lagoon, which was amazing to watch as occasionally they would annoy each other and all grunt and splash and jostle for space until they were comfortable again. It reminded me of the elephant seal colony in California where they would all fight and throw sand over each other when they pissed each other off.

Hippo lagoon, Serengeti, Tanzania

Unnervingly, we were out of the car for this. Hippos only being the most dangerous animal in the world. No big deal.

Hippo lagoon, Serengeti, Tanzania

It also stunk.

The Serengeti was unique in that unlike every other park, we basically didn’t see any wildebeest or zebra at all. They had all migrated north to the Maasai Mara. However, we did see a few buffalo lurking around, including from our balcony early in the morning!

Buffalo, Serengeti, Tanzania

The one animal that we almost didn’t see was a rhino. We were starting to give up hope on seeing one – and we barely did, to be honest. I have a very grainy photo to prove that there was indeed one in the distance in Ngorongoro Crater, but it was a tiny speck to the naked eye. If a full-blown adult rhinoceros can be a tiny speck, I’m not sure it counts!

Also introducing: the unsung heroes of the safari.

First up is the humble hyena. We first saw hyenas on the way to our hot air balloon ride, in the middle of the night, and I assumed that they were nocturnal animals and that would be our only sighting. Instead, we ended up seeing a few most days!

Hyena, Serengeti, Tanzania

Quite often they were lounging around in the mud. There was one we saw in Ngorongoro Crater that we thought was dead, but luckily it was just asleep.

This one seemed pretty happy, like a pig in shit.

Hyena sleeping, Serengeti, Tanzania

One animal I didn’t expect to see at all… a crocodile!

Crocodile in the Mara River, Kenya

These bad boys were lurking in the Mara River in Kenya, which was slightly disconcerting as we were on a walk along the river…

I did get a pretty cool photo of a massive crocodile with its mouth open, but the one above is a better photo! Either way, I wouldn’t have wanted to get too close to it, that’s for sure.

Another underrated animal – warthogs! To my absolute delight, everyone called them pumbaas. Remember when I said we saw adorable baby warthogs? It was really hard to get a photo of them, but here’s one! Grab the magnifying glass, they’re in the grass somewhere.

Warthog family in the Maasai Mara, Kenya

Baby warthogs are called piglets, but I really think they should be called hoglets.

I also loved the ostriches, and once again we saw far more of those than I ever expected.

Ostrich, Maasai Mara, Kenya

There were also the smaller birds! We saw vultures, eagles, hornbills, and a multitude of colourful birds like the superb starling which I was enamoured with. It was a bright pearlescent blue, which was really hard to capture well in photos.

Superb starling, Tanzania

We also spotted this striking bird at one of our lunch spots, which I think is a barbet.

Barbet bird, Tanzania

One animal you might notice has been very lacking is monkeys – we barely saw any until our final day was a half day in Lake Manyara National Park. I knew nothing about this park – but it was absolutely full of baboons!

Baboons, Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

How many baboons can you spot in this photo?

Baby baboon, Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

We even saw this BABY!! He looks like an old man!

This park also yielded one of our favourite moments of the entire trip, which was actually right at the end too.

In fact, I have an absolute ton of videos to share too – so here’s that one:

What an absolutely phenomenal moment.

I guess that’s a good way to end the post too, but I will be putting together a video of the whole trip. I took so many short snippets to bring our trip to life and keep those memories alive.

I am so, so happy with how my photos came out! If I had got just one of these shots, I would have been delighted.

I am still in awe that we saw so many animals in one trip, and I’m extremely grateful to the wildlife gods for giving us the opportunity to have such an amazing experience after waiting so long. Also very thankful that our guides were great at seeking out the best spots, with an extra special thank you to our wonderful Tanzanian guide, Emmanuel, and the tour organiser Philomena, both of whom made this the best trip we’ve ever taken. I’ll be writing a lot more about our experiences with both companies – in Tanzania, we were with African Savannah Trekkers, and in Kenya we did a shared tour with Explorers Wild Adventures.

Stay tuned for lots more stories, including how we almost lost our travel mascot Gulliver…

24 thoughts on “50 Photos From Our Dream African Safari Honeymoon

  1. You saw SO much on your safari trip, WOW! What makes it even more meaningful is that you’d been planning this for so long…the baby warthogs and baby zebras were so cute! Can’t wait to read more of your adventures on your honeymoon! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow…I would be with you and just wanting to scream awwwwwww all the time! either that or be in tears with the absolute beauty of it all. Definitely hope to see it one day. That sun behind the tree is absolutely stunning and all the cute animal shots are priceless. What lens did you use for these? Thanks for including the safari tour names too. Absolutely incredible adventures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I definitely had a few emotional moments! I used my 70-300mm lens a lot, although there were quite a few instances where the animals were so close that I had to switch back to my 16-50mm standard lens. It was just amazing! I’ll be writing some more about the safari companies too, especially the one in Tanzania as they really did go the extra mile and our guide was so, so lovely!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We went end of August / beginning of September – it was a great time to go to the Maasai Mara, as the migration had moved north. I was hoping to catch the migration crossing the Mara River but apparently it happened really quickly this year. July might be the best time for that. Generally July – September is best for the great migration. The Serengeti felt empty in comparison but we had some of our best big cat experiences there and still saw loads of bigger animals (just none of the zebra, wildebeest and impala).

      I’ve also read that January is a good time for baby animals, but as you can see we saw loads of them. Maybe it’s more baby wildebeest etc, which would probably be good for seeing hunts. I’d definitely recommend when we went, anyway! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t believe those elephants walked right between the cars! You whispered “scary,” but I was also thinking it. Also, you should get that photo of the sunset behind the tree enlarged, framed, and put in pride of place in your home. It’s magnificent. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, that’s hilarious cause I haven’t really watched it with the sound on and didn’t realise you could hear me saying that! 🤣 Definitely sums it up though, haha! I was especially nervous with the baby being with them, if they saw us as a threat, we would have been goners. Thanks so much – I absolutely love that sunset photo too! It was something else. I almost cried, to be honest. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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