That Time We Had A Brush With Death On Our Honeymoon

As soon as Brooks and I learned the classic film Out of Africa was filmed at the resort we were staying at, we wanted to see the movie. We waited for a rainy day and watched Out of Africa — in Africa. We were so moved by the true story based on Karen Blixen’s life in Kenya and the incredible things she did for the Maasai people. In the romantic drama, there is an iconic scene where Robert Redford and Meryl Streep are having a picnic. Of course upon discovering that the location this scene was shot at was just over the hillside, I wanted to pay homage to Blixen and her story by recreating the iconic photo from the movie — picnic and all!

With the help of our rangers we replicated everything. It was beautiful. Everyone took off to allow Brooks and I to enjoy the moment. We sat there looking out over the land, having champagne, and reflecting on our magical trip.

A post shared by Brooks Laich (@brookslaich) on

We were taking in every bit of the scenery when a low-pitched, gut-turning growl surrounded us. We weren’t scared… we were terrified. Within seconds we were in survival mode. We knew not to run or make any sudden movements, and Brooks grabbed the only objects we could use as weapons if we needed to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, two of those things were butter knives. For a second we thought about breaking the champagne bottle to use, but decided we’d feel awful about shattering glass all over nature. We heard the growl again, and this time it was even more terrifying. I’d never seen Brooks this scared.

We glanced out over the cliff and later admitted we both thought about jumping and hanging on to a tree until someone rescued us from the giant beast of a cat who was clearly stalking us. Instead, we decided to slowly rise up and briskly walk ourselves back to safety. Our hearts racing, we began making our way down the hill back to the resort.

We looked back once halfway down the hill to find our ranger yelling and waving his hands from where we’d just escaped. “Elephant! Elephant!”

“No elephants! There’s a cat up there!” We alerted him.

The ranger radioed the guide and responded, “Elephant purr!”

Brooks and I looked at each other in disbelief. How could what the ranger is saying be true? After dramatically escaping death by beast we decided to bring our picnic inside. As soon as we were within reach of wifi we did some digging and, as it turns out, elephants do in fact purr! And it’s really cute.

Julianne Hough
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Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough is just trying to be a nice person who dances as often as possible, usually in public. She recently wifed up to NHL star Brooks Laich and is the proud dog-mom of two pups, Lexi & Harley (they’re the real brains behind everything).
Julianne Hough
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  • Lisa Nasco

    You’re one of my favorites. You are a breath of fresh air. Thank you for entertaining us with your talent.

  • Adrianna Boen

    Wow what a crazy adventure! 😂😂

  • Kay Frank

    Julianne, I love you and I respect you, but really, ‘feeling awful about shattering glass all over nature’ ? That’s what you’re worried about, when you’re – as you thought back then – about to get shredded by a feline predator ?

  • Christina

    Wow! Thank for sharing your story. Glad everything turned out all right. 🙂

  • Stylesplendorbliss Tasha Juli

    Well, the photo turned out beautifully and you got a funny story out of it!

  • M Carlos

    Enjoyed reading your stories of you and Brooks.

  • Lauren Clark

    I love this! My fiancé and I are also going to Kenya for our honeymoon, and now I want to do the same thing (minus the near attack). I read your packing post but didn’t see them — where can we find those PERFECT brown boots?! I can’t find anything like them!

    • Dana Golibersuch Gorman

      I’m trying to get the same answer on the boots please