Brendan Murphy & Stephanie Hall

Brendan & Stephanie

June 11, 2011

Brendan Murphy & Stephanie Hall

Brendan & Stephanie

June 11, 2011

Dear Friends & Family,

Thanks for visiting our honeymoon registry! We are looking forward to seeing all of you in Sonoma, CA this coming June for the wedding. It will be wonderful to have all of our friends and family there to share in our special day and celebrate with us. We really appreciate that you are planning to attend as we know it can be quite a trek, and we hope you'll enjoy wine country as much as we do.

Traditional wedding registries allow couples to register for all the items they need in order to start their new lives together. Plates? Got them. Good flatware? Have it. Cuisinart? Crock Pot? Use them all the time. Also, let's face it...we live in Manhattan and space (especially kitchen space) is precious! Our ideal 'gift'...is to spend two weeks traveling together, embarking on one-of-a-kind adventures that we will remember as the most incredible experiences of our lives.

As most of you know, we love traveling. We think that travel is the best way to grow as individuals (and as a couple!), the best way to become closer to one another, the only way to see, understand, and appreciate different cultures, and the only luxury we think is worth "splurging" on. We will forever be bitten by the travel bug, and this will be our first adventure traveling together as Mr. and Mrs. Murphy!!

A romantic African safari honeymoon is the perfect exotic adventure; it is the trip of a lifetime that we have both dreamed of and are so deeply excited for.

Deciding on an area of Africa to visit was not an easy task for us, because there are so many amazing and unique areas that are all equally as fascinating. We knew that we wanted to minimize travel times in between camps and also wanted to visit an area with a rich diversity of landscapes and wildlife habitats.

After months of research, we found what we were looking for in Botswana and Zambia. We will be be staying at four unique safari lodges in Botswana, each offering a different distinct ecosystem and perspective of Africa. We have also planned a few days in the Victoria Falls region of Zambia, a day in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a day in Zurich, Switzerland.

We have created our honeymoon registry so that our friends and family will have the opportunity to be a part of our journey by giving monetary gifts toward the different excursions and experiences we will have on our trip. Our itinerary is listed below so that you can see some of the areas we will be traveling to. We think its safe to say there will be many stories and pictures to share upon our return :)

Most importantly, we are thankful for all of you who are able to join us in Sonoma, CA for the big day! We are also excited for those guests traveling to wine country for the first time and are going to do everything we can to make sure you have an amazing mini-vacation! For all of our loved ones who will not be able to be with us, you will be in our hearts. We promise a lot of photos and videos!

Love-
Stephanie & Brendan
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Honeymoon Itinerary

6/15/11
Fly overnight from New York City to Zurich, Switzerland. Spend the day admiring the view of the Alps, exploring Old Town and strolling down the Bahnhofstrasse. That same evening, board overnight flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

6/17/11
Arrive in Johannesburg and check-in to the Westcliff Hotel. Set on the historic Westcliff Ridge, the hotel has spectacular views of the lush forested suburbs of Johannesburg and the city center. Pay a visit to the spa, sit poolside, and try to relax away the jet lag. Have dinner at the renowned "Carnivore" restaurant, featuring a wide variety of game meats and known as "Africa's greatest eating experience".

6/18/11
Depart Johannesburg for Livingstone, Zambia. Check in to the Nut House at Tongabezi Lodge, a romantic hideaway on the banks of the Zambezi River just upstream of Victoria Falls. The house has spectacular views over the Zambezi from the elevated position on the river bank. Spend the next two days enjoying different safaris and visiting Victoria Falls.

6/20/11
Transfer 20 minutes by boat to the nearby Sindabezi Island, an idyllic and exclusive camp on a private isle on the Zambezi River. Take a walk on the sandy shore outside of our Honeymoon Chalet. Enjoy the surroundings, embark on some boating adventures, and hope the mosquitos have better things to do than bother us!

6/21/11
Head back to the airport in Livingstone and hop a bush plane to Jack's Camp, an oasis of style and comfort in the middle of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert. We hear the 1940's persian-style tents, expert guiding, incredibly friendly habituated meerkats, unique desert wildlife, old-world safari styling and superb cuisine all come together to create an experience that is completely different to any other. Spend the next two days exploring the salt pans, meerkat colonies and local culture.

6/23/11
Fly to Savute Elephant Camp in Chobe National Park, an area known as the elephant capital of the world. The camp is perched on the banks of the Savute Channel with an elevated view of the river. It is a spectacular place to view the interactions between the elephants, lion prides, the endangered wild dog, leopard, cheetah, and the hyena that unfold daily. Go on game drives, star-gaze, and visit the ancient Baobab trees.

6/25/11
Transfer via bush plane to Eagle Island Camp in the Okavango Delta, a game-rich labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 17,000 square km and the largest inland delta in the world. Eagle Island Camp is one of the Delta's most pristine natural locations with its myriad waterways, palm-treed islands and vast floodplains. Spend the next two days on game drives, mokoro trips, safari walks, and their infamous helicopter game drive.

6/27/11
Take a short flight to the Khwai River Lodge in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, nestled on the edge of a leadwood and figtree forest, overlooking the vast Khwai River floodplains. Khwai is world-renowned for its large concentrations of big mammals such as elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog. Enjoy safari walks, morning, and night game drives.

6/29/11
Last game drive of the trip this morning, then transfer to Maun for a flight to Johannesburg. Fly back to our favorite city in the world, NYC, to get home to our little munchkin!
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After a long flight, we will be kicking off our honeymoon with a fabulous lunch at the Sonnenberg in Zurich, Switzerland. Situated high above the city, the restaurant provides panoramic views of the Alps and the Lake of Zurich.
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Upon arriving in Johannesburg, dinner for two at the acclaimed "Carnivore" restaurant. Known as “Africa’s Greatest Eating Experience”, serving crocodile, waterbuck, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, ostrich, hippo, warthog, hartebeest, and bles
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Premium bottle of South African wine for our first dinner in Africa (as a married couple!) at the "Carnivore" restaurant before heading to Zambia. Sláinte!
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After arriving in Zambia, lunch at the legendary Victoria Falls Hotel with a magnificent view of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World!
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A romantic dinner for two on our private terrace at Tongabezi Lodge. The Tongabezi Lodge is a romantic hideaway on the banks of the Zambezi River just upstream of Victoria Falls.
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Bottle of Champagne to enjoy from our moonlit Chalet on Sindabezi Island. This hide-a-way was selected by The Sunday Times in London as one of the best remote places to stay in the world.
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From Sindabezi, boat to a nearby deserted island for an indulgent, secluded three-course picnic lunch. We will pass close to the shores of the Zambezi National Park where many animals wander to find water at the river’s edge.
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Romantic dinner for two on a sanpan (floating table). After enjoying a spectacular African sunset, dinner is paddled out to our table via canoe (hopefully avoiding all hippos). Talk about an unforgettable experience!
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Private dinner for two under the stars at Savute Elephant Camp --- known for the herds of elephants that can be spotted roaming its plains. The African equivalent of dinner-time 'people watching'...
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Dinner for two at Eagle Island Camp, overlooking the Okavango Delta (one of the world's largest inland water systems -- stretching over 16,000 square km). Can you say "Oxtail Beef Seswaa Pumba Stew"?
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After flying halfway across the world, spa treatments for 'Mr. and Mrs. Murphy' at The Botanica Spa at the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg! Should we choose the Seaweed Envelope or the Moor Mud Body Mask...?
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Post spa relaxation, a round of cocktails at the vibrant Polo Bar at the Westcliff Hotel, overlooking the city lights of Johannesburg.
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While at the The Tongabezi Lodge, a sunrise boat cruise along the Zambezi River. Watch out for those hippos!
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After jaunting over to Botswana, a bottle of Champagne to toast our first night at Jack's Camp --- voted #1 by Conde Nast in 2010 as the favorite overseas leisure hotel in the Middle East, Africa & The Indian Ocean Islands.
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In an oasis of comfort and tranquility (no cellphones or electricity), sundown drinks next to the pool at Jack's Camp.
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Overlooking the vast floodplains of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, his and hers spa treatments on our own private tentdeck at Khwai River Lodge.
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Round of drinks at the Fish Eagle Bar at Eagle Island Camp --- noted by the New York Times as one of the most romantic bars in the world! Not that we will need it on our honeymoon...
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A night of storytelling, listening to traditional African songs, exchanging bush stories, feasting on African specialties and beverages at "Mothupi's Boma" (tales told by firelight) at Khwai River Lodge.
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Riding the world's largest land mammal, an elephant back safari at Victoria Falls! Did you know that elephant footprints are as individual as our fingerprints?
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View Victoria Falls from the air! Flight of Angels for two: a scenic helicopter tour of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. Coined by David Livingstone, "A sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it in flight".
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Afternoon game drive in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, home to Zambia's ONLY remaining white rhino plus various antelope, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra.
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Sunrise canoe safari on the Zambezi River to explore the waterways by Sindabezi Island. We are assured to see big game including hippo, buffalo, wild dog and elephants.
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Afternoon fishing trip by Sindabezi Island. The Zambezi is famous for one of the great freshwater game fish -- the Tigerfish. If we're lucky enough to catch one and we don't lose any fingers/toes in the process, the chef will prepare it for our dinner!
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Special trip to visit a local colony of meerkats in the northern Kalahari. Spending quality time with these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals, we will be able to see how they interact with each other and their environment. Hakuna Matata!
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Visit to the famous Chapman’s Baobab, which is almost 4,000 years old and is known to be the largest tree in Africa.
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While at Jack's Camp, a four-wheeling excursion across the Makgadigadi salt pans. This area was once a lake the size of Switzerland that dried up several thousand years ago. An off-roading paradise!
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Special trip to see one of Africa’s rarest carnivores, the brown hyena. Due to an active research program being performed on this species, the cubs are habituated to humans and will allow us to observe their social behavior without disturbance.
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Afternoon trip to visit an ancient baobab grove with a collection of paintings by Bushmen, thought to be more than 1,500 years old.
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Walking safari at the Khwai River Lodge early in the morning along the Khwai River. We are sure to see waterbuck, buffalo, elephants and hippos, and even the occasional lion!
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Mokoro safari at Eagle Island Camp; A canoe carved within a large a tree will glide us over shallow, clear waters --- with over 100 species of mammals and about 440 species of birds occupying the delta area.
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Open-sided helicopter safari at Eagle Island Camp. Spotting elephants, lions, cheetahs and buffalo from the air will truly be a highlight of our honeymoon!
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Explore a nearby island of Eagle Island Camp on foot. The advice we've been given? "Whatever you do, don't run...or at least don't be the slowest!"
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From Khwai River Lodge, a moonlight safari “into the middle of nowhere” - a rare opportunity to be surrounded by the infinite darkness of the African bush. All bush stories begin with "...we saw two shining eyes in the darkness..."
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Safari (aka "hope we look good in khaki") wardrobe for the newlyweds inspired by the luggage restrictions for the bush planes and safety in the wilderness. Don't worry, we'll stay away from any bright red shirts...
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Photography gear (mainly for Steph) including extra batteries, memory cards, lens filters, a mono-pod, and a super extreme telephoto zoom lens. Brendan will be the porter.
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Visas at Livingstone Airport, Malaria pills, and extra passport pages for entry into Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.
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Bottles of wine or bubbly to enjoy while safariing...aside from South African wine, we're hoping the different camps' have Joseph Phelps and Jordan. Hey, its our honeymoon!
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Emergency medical air evacuation, trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance for two. Not so romantic, but extremely necessary.
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Electrical outlet converters, mini flashlights, super bug repellent, binoculars, and various travel books on the area.
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We are so fortunate to be able to take such an amazing trip, and it would not be complete without giving back. We will visit the Tongabezi Trust School in Zambia and will bring classroom and art supplies to the children who are desperately in need.
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Long distance and roaming charges for the Blackberries. Its going to be hard for us to be away from our little tyke and we will need to check in often!
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