Married in Paradise: Angela’s Safari Wedding & Zanzibar Honeymoon

Written by Thomson Safaris

angela and brendans wedding at gibbs farm in tanzania

Marrying her best friend on the slopes of Ngorongoro Crater had always been a fantasy for Thomson staffer Angela. She dreamed of the joy she’d feel exchanging vows under wide Tanzanian skies and blooming jacarandas.

This fall, her dream came true when she and her fiancé Brendan combined their wedding with a Thomson safari and Zanzibar honeymoon!

“Every moment felt magical,” Angela said. “From the first moment in the Eastern Serengeti to the last sunset on the Indian Ocean, it was like this magical safari sandwich.”

Here’s their story!


Making the Dream Happen

Angela’s dream was born in the Tanzanian wilderness during her Thomson training safari. She loved the wildlife, but it was Gibb’s Farm that captured her imagination. She couldn’t stop thinking about how perfect the rustic eco-lodge might be for a wedding.

angela enjoys the flowers in the Gibbs Farm gardensAngela enjoying the Gibb’s Farms gardens 

When the pandemic upended her original plan for a wedding at home, she wondered, “Why can’t we make this dream a reality?”

So, she did! After months of scheduling, sizing, reserving and excitement, she and Brendan flew to East Africa and set out on their fantasy safari.


Serengeti Solitude

November in the Serengeti is quiet. Coming down from the summer rush and before the busy December season, the plains enter a peaceful lull. For Angela and Brendan, fewer travelers meant tranquil golden grasslands and a more immersive experience of the bush.

great migration of wildebeest and zebras spread out on the serengeti plains

The Serengeti’s residents greeted them at every turn. Even though it wasn’t the calving season, Angela said she saw “baby everything.”

“Zebra foals, lion cubs—it was overwhelming! But baby warthogs were my absolute favorite—I must have drove Brendan bonkers, pointing out every one I saw.”

lion cub in serengeti

warthog family crossing road in serengeti

In central Serengeti, Angela and Brendan were captivated by a lion stalking a group of zebras–at the same time, a family of elephants meandered by, toward a pool of water already occupied by bathing hippos. With so much wildlife all around them, Angela asked herself, “Where do we even look!?”

elephants at water hole in serengeti national park tanzania

snarling lion in tanzania

Eventually, the lion lunged for the zebra, and a chase ensued. She didn’t catch her meal, but Angela and Brendan got a full course of safari magic in a single moment–and all of it, just for them.

“We had the Serengeti to ourselves,” Angela said. “November is such an amazing time to go. It’s like a little secret.”

thomson staffer angela and brendan wildlife viewing on tanzania safari


Camping in Comfort

As a safari novice, what about Tanzania impressed Brendan most? Of course, the lions, leopards, elephants and landscapes.

But also, the camps.

ngorongoro nyumba camp at nightEvening at Thomson’s Ngorongoro Nyumba Camp 

Despite hearing about Thomson’s tents from Angela, he was still impressed by the high thread-count sheets, private bathroom and hot water showers. Friendly Thomson staff said hi at every new camp and the service was the best he had ever experienced.

“I’ve never been glamping, so from the very first campsite, I thought it was amazing,” Brendan said. “Amazing to the point I was flabbergasted.”

thomson serengeti lounge tentLounge tent at Thomson’s Central Serengeti Nyumba Camp 

yoga at thomson serengeti campAngela’s morning yoga practice in the Serengeti 

Angela had fond memories of her previous stay at the camps, so she knew what to expect. Yet, she was impressed all over again. She practiced yoga on the camp yoga platforms, played board games with her fellow travelers and chatted with Thomson staff around the campfire.

“Seeing the wildlife from your tent door and smelling the Serengeti earth…you’re just so deep in nature,” she said.


Nasibu and the Leopard

Angela and Brendan’s guide, Nasibu, made the safari magic happen. He had an infectious, fun-loving personality, singing and joking with Angela’s travel group on long drives.

“He was the kindest soul,” Angela said. “Such a gem. I feel like he’s part of our family now.”

thomson guide nasibu with angela and her groupGuide Nasibu with Angela, Brendan and fellow travelers, Rachel and Andrew  

Having led Thomson photo safaris before, Nasibu was well-versed in the Serengeti’s nuances of lighting and character. He often angled their vehicle with consideration for the sunshine and how it fell on the wildlife, allowing Angela and Brendan to take better photos. He always reminded the group about the importance of being patient and staying positive, which resulted in some very special moments on the trip.

“I felt like we had a mini photo safari,” Angela said.

Case in point: Nasibu once noticed a leopard laying on a tree branch, splayed in a way that made only the back of his head visible. Other safari guides parked their cars to show their guests this hard-to-see side. But not Nasibu.

He drove Angela and Brendan to the tree’s opposite side for a better view. Soon after, the leopard sat up, yawned, and looked directly at Angela and Brendan.

“The cars on the other side of the tree definitely did not get the shot we got,” Brendan said.

leopard in tree in serengeti

leopard sleeping in tree on photo safari in tanzania


Tying the Knot in Tanzania

With an incredible safari under their belts, it was time to put the elope in antelope. Angela and Brendan prepared to wed at Gibb’s Farm, an eco-lodge on the forested slopes of Ngorongoro Crater.

Indulgence is the guiding philosophy of this gentle paradise, home to old-growth trees and sweeping valley vistas. Every cottage boasts vintage farmhouse charm, and bushes gush onto the walkways, blanketing everything in bounties of green.

view at gibbs farm

“Driving up the road is like coming into an oasis,” Brendan said. “The colors are bright, the flowers are beautiful, as were the farms and the vegetables and the crops, the animals. To me it felt so much like home.”

wedding ceremony at gibbs farm tanzania

Nuptials at Gibb’s Farm are fully customized affairs. Gibb’s organized the officiant and Angela’s hairdresser and makeup artists. Angela worked with the chefs to craft a personalized dinner menu that included “Marry Me Chicken” and grilled prawns served with saffron risotto. She also asked them to secretly make Brendan’s favorite cake: Baked Alaska, and the chef executed this delicious surprise perfectly.

After ten years of dating and three of engagement, Angela and Brendan married under the wide Tanzanian sky, in front of a wedding arch with farm fresh flowers. Jacaranda petals adorned the grassy aisle. Family and friends attended a livestream of the ceremony, and some surprise guests attended in person–Thomson staffers from Arusha, Tanzania!

Angela and Brendan greeting all of their virtual guests back home 

Sharon, Shamim, Mize, Tom and Patrick–colleagues and longtime friends of Angela’s–made the trip out to celebrate her and Brendan. Angela said this sense of community is one of her favorite parts about working for Thomson.

“You come here, and you’re family to everybody,” she said. “Having the Thomson staff there, I thought, ‘Oh, we’re home.’”

thomson staffers at gibbs farm weddingThomson staffers join Angela for her wedding 



From Zebras to Zanzibar

Angela and Brendan had an adventurous safari. Gibb’s Farm had been beautiful, but they spent most of their time there in wedding mode. Honeymooning in Zanzibar was the perfect finale to the trip.

island life in zanzibar

relaxing in hammock in zanzibar

“Finally, we could sit back, relax and enjoy a lovely cocktail as we watched the sunset,” Angela said. “It was the perfect end to our adventure.”

During their time at this tropical paradise, Angela and Brendan snorkeled under the turquoise waves of Tumbatu Island, played ping pong on sandy beaches and strolled the island’s famous spice gardens. Their favorite part was exploring historic Stone Town with their guide, noting the diverse influence of Arabic and Indian cultures.

“You go for the beautiful beaches, palm trees and drinks by the pool,” Brendan said. “But I found the parts away from that, exploring Stone Town and the spice farms, to be so interesting.”

As reluctant as they were to leave, Angela and Brendan were happy–the first chapter of their new lives began in peace, joy and fulfillment.

“We both came out of it with this sense of gratitude,” Angela said. “What an amazing way to start our lives together.”

angela and brendan get married in tanzania