Luxury Honeymoon: Relax in the Maldives + Safari in Kenya

Be inspired by this couple's incredible 20-day honeymoon to the Maldives and Africa!

Discover Jamie and Nick's incredible 20-day honeymoon itinerary, beginning with Singapore and the Maldives and ending with luxurious safaris in Kenya – plus Giraffe Manor!

honeymoon ideas mara plains camp in kenya before safari honeymoon itinerary ideas kenya and the maldives
Photo: Courtesy of Great Plains

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Following their elegant winter wedding in Orlando, Florida, Jamie White and Nick Norden spent the holidays with their families before enjoying a relaxing honeymoon in the Maldives followed by an adventurous safari experience in Kenya.

Learn more about their honeymoon itinerary for two nights in Singapore, six days in the Maldives, and an unforgettable 10-night safari experience in Kenya.

Destination: Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

Though the journey to the Maldives was long – beginning with a two-night stay in Singapore to break up travel time and ending with an inter-island flight and boat ride to Laamu – Jamie and Nick agree it was well worth it. “We were immediately rewarded when we arrived,” Jamie shares of their experience at Six Senses Laamu. “Guests are encouraged to remain without footwear for the duration of their stay. While that might seem interesting to some, it set the tone for an extraordinarily relaxing six days.”

In addition to spending quality time in their overwater villa, Jamie and Nick dined at every on-property restaurant – recommending both Zen and Leaf. Never short of things to do, the newlyweds sipped Champagne on a sunset dolphin cruise, swam with sea turtles while snorkeling, and learned about the destination’s sustainability practices on an island tour. “We recommend this, if for no other reason than to feel slightly less guilty about enjoying everything the hotel has to offer,” notes Nick.

Their favorite experience, however, was renting one of the hotel’s private islands. “We thought that meant a small little island with staff around... That was not the case!” Jamie exclaims. “They packed us a delicious picnic for lunch, brought us to our island, and gave us a satellite phone to use when we wanted to be picked up. We loved every second!”

Laamu Water Villa with Pool at Six Senses Laamu

Photo courtesy of Six Senses Laamu


Cherishing newlywed bliss. “Our favorite days were spent blasting music in our overwater villa, ordering room service, and taking dips in the 85-degree Indian Ocean.”

Biking around the island. “The hotel offers each guest a bike with an accompanying initialed license plate as a souvenir.”

Indulging in a private dinner. “It was just the two of us in the glass-encased wine cellar – the best way to end our stay.”

Honeymooners on Sunset Dolphin Cruise in the Maldives

Photo courtesy of Jamie White and Nick Norden

Destination: House of Waine, Kenya

After plenty of relaxation, Jamie and Nick flew to Kenya for the next chapter of their honeymoon: a safari. They worked with Hippo Creek Safaris to put together their dream itinerary, arrange transportation, and act as a complete resource for the trip. “We can’t overstate the importance of having someone hammer out all of the logistics,” affirms Nick. “As novices to safari, they made sure we were entirely prepared, from packing properly, to getting the proper vaccinations, to providing recommended reading.”

Before diving into the safari experience, the newlyweds spent two nights getting settled at House of Waine, a boutique hotel located in Karen, a suburb of Nairobi. “We were able to explore Nairobi this way and see a few local gems,” confirms Jamie of their initial stop in Africa. With only a few days to tour the capital city, the honeymooners visited the Karen Blixen Museum at the Out of Africa author’s former African home and even met their adopted elephant at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphanage.

House of Waine - Kenya

Photo courtesy of House of Waine


Adopting an elephant. “The orphanage nurtures elephants in the wild... It was a treat to meet our feisty elephant daughter, Maktao.”

Visiting the Kazuri workshop. “It’s a women-owned jewelry company that gives other women – especially single mothers – an opportunity for employment.”

Dining at The Talisman. “Recommended by multiple people in Kenya, we were blown away by the Michelin-quality feast that was prepared for us.”

Honeymooners at Kazuri Beads in Kenya

Photo courtesy of Jamie White and Nick Norden

Destination: Sirikoi Lodge, Kenya

The couple’s extraordinary safari experience began at Sirikoi Lodge in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. With just four luxury tents and a private cottage and house on property, the newlyweds loved the intimacy of the setting. They dined alfresco on the main deck, which boasts a view of the busy waterhole, and appreciated getting to know those who made their experience memorable. “The family-managed staff made us feel like family for the duration of our two-night stay,” says Nick.

Each day, the honeymooners partook in game drives morning, evening, and night. “We’d definitely recommend Sirikoi Lodge – in no small part due to our phenomenal guide Legei, a Maasai tribesman,” shares Jamie. In addition to the impressive wildlife, the couple relished in the daily “happy hours.” “We found our ‘sundowners’ (sunset cocktails and snacks prepared by our guide during our evening game drive) to be quite memorable,” she smiles.

Deck with Buffalo at Sirikoi Lodge

Photo courtesy of Sirikoi Lodge


Sipping sundowners. “There’s truly nothing like watching a pride of lions prepare for their hunt while sipping gin and tonic as the sun sets on the Serengeti.”

Seeing lions up close. “A 600-pound male lion came within petting distance of our open-sided safari vehicle. Our hearts both stopped!”

Bonding with wildlife. “One resident giraffe took an interest in Nick. As he took selfies with Kiko 20 feet behind, she got closer with each snap until he actually felt her breath.”

Honeymooners with Lewa Conservancy Guide on Safari

Photo courtesy of Jamie White and Nick Norden

Destination: Mara Plains Camp, Kenya

From Sirikoi Lodge, Jamie and Nick were transported by small plane to Mara Plains Camp, a Relais & Châteaux property in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. “The camp spares no effort in taking you to the bygone era of the 1920s,” describes Nick of the impressive design, which pays homage to the essence of East Africa. Large wooden doors reflect the Swahili heritage, red accents honor the Maasai chiefs and warriors, rich materials complement the surrounding wilderness, and guest rooms offer unparalleled settings. “Our generously sized ‘tent’ was safely suspended above a creek of bellowing hippos,” notes Jamie of their exquisite accommodations.

Like the previous safari, the couple received wake-up calls at 5AM to prepare for their morning game drive with coffee and orange juice. Experienced guides took them out in the bush in open vehicles to track lions, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, elephants, and more. Afterwards, they were treated to a gourmet lunch on the deck, followed by plenty of relaxation time before yet another game drive and sundowners in the African wilderness.

Though it wasn’t included in their stay – like the fully inclusive wildlife viewings, meals, beverages, and outdoor activities – the newlyweds arranged for a balloon flight across the Maasai Mara National Reserve. “One major optional activity we’d recommend is a sunrise hot-air balloon ride, spent spotting animals below followed by a Champagne breakfast in the bush surrounded by ostriches,” urges Jamie.

Honeymooners After Hot-Air Balloon Ride

Photo courtesy of 
Jamie White and Nick Norden

Destination: Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Following their safaris, Jamie and Nick flew back to Nairobi before flying home for one final stop: Giraffe Manor. “A once-in-a-lifetime, Instagram-friendly experience,” confirms Jamie of the bucket-list destination from The Safari Collection. “Giraffe lovers should certainly stay here!” They do, however, recommend only staying overnight to have more time to experience the additional wildlife Africa has to offer on safari.

Since the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes that visit the manor are wild, encounters with the elegant creatures are not guaranteed by the property; however, the newlyweds were thrilled to have plenty of opportunities to see the stunning animals up close and personal during their short stay – both while exploring the grounds and also at breakfast the morning they departed from Nairobi back to New York City.


Sipping sundowners. “There’s truly nothing like watching a pride of lions prepare for their hunt while sipping gin and tonic as the sun sets on the Serengeti.”

Seeing lions up close. “A 600-pound male lion came within petting distance of our open-sided safari vehicle. Our hearts both stopped!”

Bonding with wildlife. “One resident giraffe took an interest in Nick. As he took selfies with Kiko 20 feet behind, she got closer with each snap until he actually felt her breath.”

Honeymooners at Giraffe Manor in Kenya

Photo courtesy of Jamie White and Nick Norden

Jamie and Nick wouldn’t change a single thing about their extraordinary honeymoon, save for perhaps switching the order of destinations to end their trip by the beach. “The Maldives was certainly more relaxing than our action-filled days on safari,” adds Jamie. Their biggest surprise of the 20-day trip was “only that everything, somehow, greatly exceeded our vast expectations,” Nick expresses.

Travel Tips from Jamie & Nick:

“Plan early! Safaris book up quickly. We booked over 12 months in advance.”

“Save up your credit card points. Over 30 hours of flight time is made significantly more enjoyable with a flat bed – especially when points are used to pay for it.”

“Use a safari service if you plan on going on safari. They take all the guess work and logistics out of the equation.”

“Learn how to use a professional camera. The lodges provided excellent, but extremely technical cameras. We fiddled without ever truly understanding their functionality.”

“Our only regret was not being certified to dive, as we missed out on swimming with the Maldives’ famous giant manta rays!”

This story was originally published as a Travel Diaries feature in the Winter 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. To order a copy of the Winter 2022 issue, visit our library of Inside Weddings back issues available for purchase.