#TEAMTIMFORD: 10 TOTALLY UNFORGETTABLE HONEYMOON IDEAS FOR NATURE LOVERS

10 Unique honeymoon activities - plant a coral reef in the Maldives
How do you combat the winter blues? By planning your dream honeymoon, of course! Ok it might almost two years away but a girl can dream right?

We are true nature lovers so top of our honeymoon priorities will need to be unforgettable animal encounters and outdoor activities. We have a huge bucket list of destinations we want to see in our lifetime together, so as you can imagine picking our top 10 was soooo hard, however  we have managed to narrow it down to 10 unforgettable activities, from sleeping under the stars on safari to planting coral reefs in the Maldives, now just to choose one!

1. Plant a coral reef in the Maldives

The only way to describe the Maldives is ‘paradise’. Jess and I were very lucky to have won a holiday there last year and it was everything we had imagined it to be and more. Made up of lots of tiny, picture perfect coral islands and surrounded by crystal clear waters, holidays in the Maldives can be as laid back or as adventurous as you want them to be. Choose to stay in overwater beach huts, rustic jungle retreats or on a stunning beach villa.

A honeymoon in the Maldives might not sound like something for the adventurers amongst you but don’t be fooled, there are lots of water activities for sea life lovers. We swam with whale sharks, dolphins, turtles and saw so many different species of corals and fish that I couldn’t keep count.

As nice as it was spending time with Jess, we agree however that we weren’t able to take full advantage of the island. The Maldives are known for their romantic dinners at sunset and luxurious couple’s retreats, so I would absolutely love to go again, next time with Mr T in tow (and Jess smuggled in my suitcase!)

10 Unique honeymoon activities - safari

2. Sleep out under the stars on safari

This really would be a trip of a lifetime. An African safari is so high up on our bucket list that it is practically off the charts. Sanctuary Makanyane certainly has the wow factor for us, tucked away in the wilderness your lodge is surrounded by lush forest setting with awe inspiring views of the tranquil Marico River.

This reserve is one of the largest in South Africa, is responsibly managed and has an abundance of the Big 5, a myriad of bird species, cheetahs and brown hyenas and is also the best place in South Africa to see wild dog, also called “Makanyane”.

10 Unique honeymoon activities - Seychelles baby turtles

3. Meet the Giant tortoises and baby turtles in the Seychelles

Wildlife lovers will know all about the plight of the endangered Hawksbill and green turtle. Between October and February these turtles lay their eggs on the pristine beaches of the Seychelles under the supervision and protection of the one of the longest running monitoring programmes.

I am very lucky to have already witnessed this spectacle first hand in Borneo but I would absolutely love to see it all again and share it with Mr T. He is a huge lover of Tortoises and Turtles, so much so, his nickname is ‘Turt’, so this would be his dream!

10 Unique honeymoon activities - elephant mahout

4. Learn to be an Elephant Mahout in Thailand

There are many experiences you can have with elephants in Asia. Before I knew better, I rode an elephant in Borneo. It was an amazing experience and one I will never forget, but it left me feeling guilty (although the elephant was very well cared for!) and I have since been more interested in ethical elephant experiences.

Something we would love to learn is how to be elephant Mahouts. This is where you are taught about the importance of elephant husbandry and care, correct eating, sleeping, bathing and exercise. They are not trained to perform tricks and instead use elephant riding as a gentle form of exercise and stimulation, rather than making them trek through forests for hours with a heavy chair attached to their back, which is most unnatural to them.

There are many elephant parks that offer this experience some are better than others, just make sure the one you choose, offers the elephants plenty of rest time away from tourists, with plenty of food and freshwater. Try to avoid trekking camps that use chairs as these are too heavy for the elephant, instead you should be allowed to ride the elephant just behind its ears. Finally try to seek mahouts that do not use bull hooks, some will insist this is necessary, which is arguable, but you can check they aren’t misusing them by ensuring the elephant is free of cuts near its ears, mouth or armpits.

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Travel Gawker: When I Went to Borneo…

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Ok so this week I wanted to do something a little different with my travel feature. We are always talking about the places we would like to visit but this week I wanted to tell you all about a trip I took four years ago with a group of friends that I had met at college.

Some might be surprised to know that I have a degree in animal biology and ecology and it is because of this very trip that decided I wanted to continue with my studies. It all began with a newspaper clipping that my dad had kept for me which included photos of an Orangutan swimming in the river Rungan in Borneo. The feature was detailing the stark reality that tropical rainforests are disappearing at such a rate that many animals are having to find ways to escape the islands they have become marooned on in order to find more food.

The Orangutan has always been my favourite animal so seeing these pictures made me determined to follow my dream of experiencing these animals in their natural habitat. I was lucky that I was in a class with other like minded students, so with the help of our college lecturers we raised enough money for a small group of us to make the trip to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo.

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