5th August 2013
Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world with work and being pregnant certainly hasn’t stopped me. This year’s triathlon circuit has taken me to Madrid, Kitzbühel and Hamburg and the team will be back on the road with a trip to Stockholm soon.
Before my life is full of sleepless nights and dirty nappies, I’ve also managed to fit in a few babymoons in between work trips. My husband and I have enjoyed some lovely weekends in Italy and France and a very chilled out week in Barbados.
We chose Barbados as a destination when I was about 4 months pregnant because we were both craving an exotic beach holiday and Barbados is only an 8-hour direct flight away. The Caribbean island has the perfect combination of being remote enough that you can feel like you’ve ‘got away from it all’ and yet developed enough that you can feel secure you will have somewhere to go if you need medical help with the pregnancy.
We stayed at the adults-only boutique hotel, The House, and spent the week swimming in the sea (once with the island’s gentle sea turtles), eating ridiculous amounts at a few of the island’s countless delicious restaurants, having massages and going out sailing. I would highly recommend this tropical paradise if you want a beachy babymoon!
If you want something a bit more adventurous, here’s another idea: a safari in Africa. We’ve just returned from our final babymoon (I know, we’ve been very indulgent!) in Kenya. My mum was born in Nairobi and my dad was born in Tanzania so growing up, I spent most summers in East Africa with my grandparents, uncles, aunts and many, many, many cousins.
This summer, my brother's engagement celebrations took us to Nairobi. While in Kenya, I always like to fit in a visit to the coastal city Mombasa, where I got married, and a safari in one of the country's many game parks. But this year I had one big obstacle in my way - the risk of malaria. During pregnancy, a woman has a higher risk of contracting the disease and its associated complications. As I didn't want to take anti-malarials, I searched for places with a high altitude (where it would be too cold at this time of year for mosquitos to survive) where we escape for a few days.
I chose two places near the slopes of Mount Kenya in Nanyuki which is a comfortable 3-hour drive or a 45-minute plane ride from Nairobi. Nanyuki straddles the equator so it also gave me the opportunity to take the obvious 'bump in both hemispheres' photo!
Our first stop was Mount Kenya Safari Club, a refurbished 1950s-era hunting lodge, which was originally the retreat of Hollywood actor and Club founder, William Holden. It's set in more than 100 acres of landscaped gardens and is a beautiful retreat with plenty of activities such as golf, horseriding and safaris on offer. One of my favourite touches was the fireplace in the bedrooms, which staff light as part of their turndown service.
We then went on to stay at the Sweetwaters Serena Camp in the nearby Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The camp overlooks a watering hole which attracts a lot of game at all hours of the day - so you can be lying in bed watching zebra having a bath!
The resort also organised two game drives for us with a lovely female driver who was very careful to avoid the bumpiest roads. We were lucky enough to spot four out of the Big Five game (lion, rhino, buffalo and elephant - unfortunately those leopards proved elusive again!) and witnessed three lionesses and a cheetah attempting a kill.
While you can never call Kenya totally malaria-free, the Mount Kenya region is so chilly at this time of year (the Serena tented camp leave hot water bottles in your bed and provide blankets for the game drives to keep you warm), we didn't come across mosquitos. If you'd prefer a malaria-free safari, they are available in South Africa. Three years ago, I stayed at the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve on the Garden Route. While it's a very different experience from a safari in Kenya, I would certainly recommend it as a great option for a babymoon.