What is a babymoon you may ask? Similar to a honeymoon in that it is a celebratory holiday, a babymoon allows some quality time away with your other half before the arrival of the baby. Simply put, it is a great adventure to prelude the greatest adventure! Becoming a parent is one of life’s biggest adventures but it does not exclude you from being able to explore and experience a continent that is as diverse in destinations as it is in wildlife.
The Shock and Joy
Luise (my wife) and I are great travellers. We have floated meters away from elephants on the Zambezi River, been surrounded by feeding hyenas in the ancient walled city of Harar, peered down onto the molten lava of the Erta Ale volcano and haggled for camels on the Somali border.
Our annual highlight is our visit to the Kruger National Park and we set aside two weeks of every year to drive around, gaze over river beds, and have as many drinks stops as we can. We’ve always relished in the freedom to go where we want to and thoroughly made the most of the great opportunities that living in South African has afforded us when it comes to adventure.
Being in our late 30’s and early 40’s we’ve quite smugly smirked at our friends who have settled down and had families. You can imagine our surprise when a few days after returning from our most recent Kruger Park Adventure we found out that Luise is pregnant! Although overjoyed at the thoughts of a future with our own new little person who we can share these adventures with, I would be lying if I didn’t at first also picture the next 10 years (at least) being homebound with the limits that a baby places on you.
We had to cancel two trips because of the COVID crisis so we are sitting with airline credits that, at first, I didn’t think we would ever be able to use. Forthwith I called some mentors and friends who have experienced this all already and was immediately put at ease. Our life of travel experiences has not been put on hold. We just need to rethink things a little.
Where Can I Go for a babymoon?
I already have a number of great ideas for where we will be able to travel as a family but right now we want to get away on a celebratory trip. Not a “last hurrah” as I initially expected this to be but rather a trip that would enable us to some quality time together, and not necessarily all about seeing and doing as much as we could. Having travelled in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis I am not worried about the flying bits. It is very clear that airlines are being responsible, and there is no more risk in flying than there is in visiting your local supermarket. Even though people get pregnant and have babies every day in malaria areas, this is something that we did want to try and avoid. So we scanned our bucket list and came up with the following ideas:
Namibia: Direct flights from Frankfurt, Doha, Addis Ababa, and Johannesburg, make it very accessible from anywhere in the world. Packed with natural diversity (one of my metrics), and a major bucket list spot for me is the 200 million-year-old Namib Desert. Topped off with some of the world’s oldest cultures, wildlife, and landscapes.
Eastern Cape, South Africa: Also easy to access through Johannesburg and containing my favourite bush/beach combination. 4 nights each at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve followed by 4 nights of pampering on the Wild Coast at Prana Private Beach Estate and Spa. This is probably the most luxurious and relaxing of my ideas. Kwandwe will also tailor-make your game drive schedule to suit you and your comfort levels if you are there in the more uncomfortable later stages of pregnancy.
Lastly, the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands, South Africa: We’ve visited here a few times and it will always be a firm favourite. With direct flights from London, Doha, and Dubai, you can get there easily from anywhere in the world. Slow meandering drives through the misty hills, stopping at the entrancing villages like Nottingham Road and Winterton, and combining this with a safari or some time on the beach is very practical.
The greatest adventure starts here…
We have a good 6 months still in which to fit in one (or all) of those trips and I am preparing for the next few years and have already been checking the lists of child-friendly safari lodges, comparing car seats for nice slow easy road-trips, and toughening my shoulders to handle the baby carrier on hikes.