High school sweethearts Cecilia and Jake Segal watched as a leopard sauntered by just feet from their truck parked in Kenya’s Mara North Conservancy.
“It was coming straight toward us, which was a little bit terrifying,” Cecilia said. “Even our guide was taking pictures with his phone. When your guide is impressed, you know you’ve witnessed something really rare and exciting.”
A close encounter with a leopard was just one of the many adventures the Segals had on their amazing – and action-packed – honeymoon. But their biggest adventures involved just getting to and from their destination.
“We couldn’t catch a break travel wise,” Cecilia said. “Everything in the trip itself was great but everything to do with getting there and back was a nightmare.”
Their first travel troubles? A delayed flight and a missed connection on their way to the Seychelles, an island nation located about 930 miles east of southeast Africa in the Indian Ocean.
“We ended up taking two red eyes in a row and then when we got into Nairobi (Kenya) we had to sprint to catch our flight to the Seychelles,” she said. “Our bags didn’t make it. So when we landed in the Seychelles we hadn’t slept in a bed in over 48 hours and we had no clothes.”
Making due with hotel gift shop bathing suits and sarongs for five days isn’t ideal, but their flight to the Seychelles was nothing compared to their journey home after the safari.
“The Nairobi International Airport burned down two days before we were supposed to leave,” Cecilia said. “Our airline had emailed us saying they had booked us a new flight out of Uganda, but there wasn’t internet at the camp so we didn’t know.”
Cecilia and Jake didn’t find out about the fire until they were already on their way to the airport and didn’t realize how serious it was until they got there. They spent the next 12 hours waiting in line at every airline desk they could find, trying to find a new flight home.
One bright spot of help: the travel agency they had booked their trip with, Elevate Destinations, was also helping them find a place to stay, since they were by no means the only people stuck in Nairobi.
“Finally at two in the morning we got seats for the next night on an Air Kenya flight and they bused us to a hotel,” Cecilia said.
Missed flights, lost luggage and a burnt-down airport is a lot to handle on your honeymoon, but luckily Cecilia and Jake had more than enough good times in between to make the craziness worth it.