For Vicky, the decision on where to honeymoon was easy. The itinerary? A homecoming safari in Africa. The final destination? Setting up camp at Serengeti Bushtops. The outcome? Downright dreamy. Bringing along the incomparable vision of Joy Proctor and talented lens of KT Merry Photography, we’ve got it all (including an Africa excursion packing list) waiting for you below! P.S. stay tuned for Part II
Africa evokes a deep recognition, an inexplicable
yearning to return. The place which still has what
most of the world has lost. Space. Roots. Traditions.
Stunning beauty. True wildness. Rare animals.
Extraordinary people. The land that will always
attract those who can still dream.
Outings brought new and different
paw prints, rare sightings, and lessons
about the order and balance of nature.
From Vicky, the founder of Alchemy & Co., creators of unique experiences and bespoke designs… Though I live in New York, Africa holds a very special place in my heart. It is not only where I grew up and the source of my fondest childhood memories, but also my favorite travel destination. Every trip feels like a homecoming. It is also an opportunity to experience a wild beauty that is both inspiring and grounding. This adventure was one I was eager to share with my husband.
We landed in Kilimanjaro, and from there, Jon and I flew in taxi-like bush planes over the Serengeti to the Koga airstrip. Looking out the window of our small plane, we witnessed herds of wildebeest crossing the waters of the Mara River. Each year, over a million wildebeest make the Great Migration across endless plains, from Tanzania to Kenya, as their internal compasses guide them to chase the rains in search of food.
Little did we know, this sight was just one of innumerable unforgettable memories. Each day’s outings brought new and different paw prints, rare sightings, and lessons about the order and balance of nature. Amidst the necessity of survival, there is also simplicity to life there: eat to live, rest to recover.
Our guide for the trip, Ahmed, deftly tracked animals while teaching us about their behaviors. Being the son of a guide, Ahmed had learned from an early age to read the rhythms of the land and the animals. On our first afternoon, he tracked two families of elephants crossing a river from opposite banks. Led by wise matriarchs, the families cautiously approached the water to quench their thirst and cool themselves. The young calves were the first to rush forward to greet each other; the adults were more formal in their greeting, extending their trunks out like handshakes. We were surprised to learn that elephants blow air into each other’s mouths. Their receptors are so sensitive that they are able to detect each other’s genetic make-up and determine whether they are related or not. Elephants’ intimidating size and strength belie their deep empathy and social grace: mothers are so in tune with their calves that they touch them every five minutes to ensure they are comfortable.
During an early morning game drive, we came across a large pride of some 20 lions sunbathing on a giant rock. The pride included lion cubs of all ages. Despite their youth, the cubs fearlessly explored the world around them, sometimes crouching mischievously in the long grass to pounce on unsuspecting siblings. We saw a mother lioness affectionately grab her cub by his tail as he played on the rock. We also came across a mother cheetah hunting her prey. We watched her quietly stalk a gazelle, and then suddenly break into gracefully powerful strides as she easily caught her target. She then brought the breakfast back and kept lookout as her three cubs eagerly feasted.
In the afternoons, we often drove to a giant boulder to enjoy a sundowner whilst drinking in the brilliant oranges and reds of the African sunset. At the end of each day, we returned to camp. Surrounded by the glow of campfires and hurricane lanterns, we exchanged stories from the day with other travelers. As we walked back to our tents, the river of stars in the Milky Way lit our path, reminding us of nature’s ability to inspire awe.
Our journey to the African plains was an unforgettable adventure. As Kuki Gallman aptly wrote, “It is Africa that, since the beginning of time, has evoked in travelers a deep recognition, an inexplicable yearning to return. The place which still has what most of the world has lost. Space. Roots. Traditions. Stunning beauty. True wildness. Rare animals. Extraordinary people. The land that will always attract those who can still dream”
We owe a deep gratitude to the Bushtops Camps family; none of these experiences would have been possible without their gracious hospitality. And heartfelt appreciation to the incredible Joy Proctor for her creative vision. Lastly, an elephant sized thank you to the talented KT Merry and Chad Keffer, for not only artfully capturing our adventure, but also being our favorite co-conspirators.
What to bring:
– Generous amounts of malaria pills
– Earth toned scarves, hats, and sunglasses
– Minimal luggage (bush planes only allow 33lbs per person)
*Note: Avoid navy blue + black, Tse Tse flies are attracted to these colors*
Photography: KT Merry Photography | Shoes: Rag & Bone | Bride's Company: Alchemy & Co | Design + Styling Direction : Joy Proctor Design | Hat : J.Crew | Hatbox : Trousseau & Co | Khaki Shorts: Theory | Location: Serengeti Bushtops | Long Beige Skirt: Elie Saab | Menu : Julie Song Ink | Olive Green Gown: Elie Saab | Purse : Mulberry | Silk Shirt: Equipment | Silk Top: Isabele Marant | Silk White Skirt: Theory | Throw : A Piece Apart | Travel Agent: Frosch Travel | White Robe: Salua Lingerie | White Shirt: Hickman & Bousfield