FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Mombasa, Kenya, Severin Safari Camp, Kenbali Spa

Jul 1, 2012
2012 / July 2012

I’m not sure who is more nervous: the Grant’s gazelle or me.

It is midday. The solitary male antelope sniffs the dusty air for lions. Through a frame of gently stirring drapes, I watch from a treatment bed in a shady, thatched rondavel. The masseuse kneads my back, attempting to pummel some semblance of relaxation into my muscles. It is no easy task. How can I relax? This afternoon I will be getting married.

I close my eyes and concentrate on the scent of marula oil wafting around me. On previous safaris I watched elephants go crazy for the fruit of the marula tree. Perhaps they were after more than just a snack. Recent research revealed the oil extracted from the nut of the marula fruit is rich in vitamins C and E and contains anti-aging properties. My skin is benefiting.

Anxiety subsides, and I am lulled into drowsy torpor. For a few minutes I drift contentedly on the combined effects of the massage, the marula oil, the familiar sounds of the bush and happy memories of childhood safaris. Then a rush of wind ripples through the trees, bringing me abruptly back to the here and now.

Momentarily spooked, the gazelle skittishly bounds away, then settles. My muscles tighten. The masseuse’s fingers adroitly tackle the new knots of stress. Why am I suddenly anxious? Oh yes, I remember. This afternoon I will be getting married.

Having decided on a small wedding, we had the entire world to choose from. As we began to address the options, we both felt the pull of Africa — on this continent I first met Hayley, and both of us had lived and worked here. Africa was narrowed down to Kenya, the Tsavo West National Park and the luxury Severin Safari Camp, located close to a cluster of self-catering chalets in which I enjoyed family holidays as a boy.

Severin Safari Camp boasts the world-class Kenbali Spa, whose philosophy that Africa stands for romance, natural beauty, originality and tradition felt in line with the meaning of the day ahead. So there I was, in my last hours as a single man, being pampered in the wilds of Africa.

The Severin’s Kenbali Spa opened in 2009. As the name suggests, it draws inspiration from Kenya and Bali, though the menu accentuates the African, from the treatment options to the natural, warm colors of the décor. The views of game, like my friend the gazelle, complement the magic of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Tsavo River outside the spa doors.

The Kenbali journey includes African-inspired treatments designed to revitalize the five senses. The 30-minute Safari Feelings back massage I’m enjoying, perfect for post-game drive, incorporates warm oil to boost blood circulation. Spa-goers continue the journey with the African Dream face and neck massage; the 30-minute Kenbali Journey of Dreams, a peel followed by a warm, concentrated oil massage; the Back to the Cradle of Mankind full-body massage; and the Gazelle of Wilderness foot massage.

The spa also boasts a fitness tent, open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., making exercise easier to bear with breathtaking panoramic views.

By the time my 30-minute treatment is up, the audience in the clearing in front of the rondavel has grown. A trio of giraffes and a zebra herd joined the gazelle. I dress, pulling on my safari boots and stepping into the blazing heat. My customary post-massage dreamlike state lasts for only a few strides … and then I remember this afternoon I will be getting married.

What happened next is something of a blur. Over the few hours, I bought my wife-to-be a bracelet from the camp shop, spent some time with our two guests, put on my suit and was accompanied to the wedding venue, a hill called Poacher’s Lookout. My recollection of the afternoon only regains focus with Hayley, stunning in her dazzling ivory dress, arriving in an open Toyota Land Cruiser.

The ceremony was simple. We exchanged vows and rings, and were declared man and wife. With celebratory Champagne, we posed for photos in front of the cinematic African backdrop as the sun set. Hayley had the tact not to mention I reeked of marula oil.

There was a major surprise still in store. Returning to camp in the open Land Cruiser, we encountered a pride of 12 lions ranged on both sides of the road. No wonder the Grant’s gazelle was nervous.

When a shaggy-maned male purposefully advanced toward us, we empathized with the gazelle. Hayley’s dress attracted the big cat. Spotting the danger, our driver, Sammy, expertly maneuvered us to a safe distance. Later that evening, after we retreated to the honeymoon suite, the lions stopped at the swimming pool beside the Kenbali Spa to drink.

Our honeymoon continued to various parts of Africa, and we spent our last few days beside the Indian Ocean at the Severin Sea Lodge. The history of this idyllic beach hotel, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, is entwined with my own. My school essays from the 1970s record some of the many weekend visits my family made here from our home in the nearby port city of Mombasa.

It was a fitting finale for the perfect honeymoon. With my new wife, I lounged beside the pool, strolled along the white-sand beach and enjoyed additional treatments in the beachside Kenbali Spa.

Lazing on the coast, we recalled the morning after our wedding. With the lions gone, we planted a commemorative acacia tree in front of Severin Safari Camp and then made our emotional farewells. The wonderful staff made certain our special day progressed seamlessly and, most importantly, that we didn’t get eaten in the process.

Kenbali Spa

Severin Safari Camp and Severin Sea Lodge
Tsavo West National Park
Mombasa, Kenya
tel 254 41 2111 800

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Aug 11, 2022

The Oberoi Marrakech’s New Wellness Program

The Oberoi, Marrakech introduces its new holistic wellness program, SAHA. Meaning health in Arabic, SAHA aims to help guests reach their full wellbeing potential. The program operates on four key cornerstones: soul & spirit, active body, holistic treatments and a better plate.

Los Cabos Sets Your Vacation Apart
from the Rest

Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.

Daily
Aug 11, 2022

Museum Hopping in Valencia, Spain

Filled with sunshine and beauty, Valencia, Spain, is also a great destination for diving into culture and art. Named World Design Capital for 2022, Spain’s third-largest city boasts a wealth of museums providing glimpses into history and fine art.

Daily
Aug 11, 2022

Nassau Paradise Island Resorts Offer Foodies a Taste of the Bahamas

Nassau Paradise Island resorts pull out all the stops for foodies this season with new culinary offerings to elevate guests' experiences. The Bahamas is home to chef-driven, award-winning restaurants, authentic meals and delicious drink options. In the next couple of months, the offerings and festivals provide an unforgettable culinary experience for everyone.

8 Reasons to Press the Green Button and Visit Ireland

Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.

Daily
Aug 10, 2022

Rosewood Vienna Opens

Rosewood Vienna opened Aug. 1, marking Rosewood’s first hotel in the German-speaking market and its fifth European property. The 19th-century hotel, situated at Petersplatz, sits just steps away from many of Vienna’s historical and cultural sites, including St. Stephen Cathedral and Kunsthistorisches Museum. Guests won’t even have to leave the hotel to immerse themselves in the rich history of Vienna, as the hotel encompasses the apartment where Mozart lived and wrote The Abduction from the Seraglio.

eFlyer Deals
Aug 10, 2022

Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa Launches New Summer Experiences

Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa’s new summer offers provides guests with unique and memorable ways to explore the region and relax on the property. The Lowcountry Adventure offer, in partnership with Outside Hilton Head, features a custom-designed, five-hour program for up to six people. The offer includes a variety of all-day adventures and activities around Hilton Head, such as boating local waterways, visiting private islands and exploring small towns. Guests wanting to book this experience can book a three-night stay through Oct. 31, with a 21-day advance booking required.

Celebrity Cruises’ Spring Sale

There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*

eFlyer Deals
Aug 10, 2022

American Queen Voyages Announces Free Air for New 15-Day Voyage Through Mexico, Costa Rica

For the first time in American Queen Voyages’ history, the cruise line offers free round-trip air from select gateways for guests booking their entire voyage from either San Diego to Puerto Vallarta or Puerto Vallarta to San Jose, Costa Rica. These new itineraries offer 15-, eight- and nine-day voyages to these destinations beginning Oct. 3.