If you had friends living in Kenya you’d definitely have to take advantage of the safari opportunity presented by visiting them, right? That’s exactly what Koen and Puteri’s friends did. The only challenge was how to schedule all the parks they wanted to visit amongst their obligations in Nairobi. Simple: three short safaris rather than one long one.
The first trip was to Maasai Mara….of course! As Kenya’s premier tourist destination, it is on top of most people’s lists when they come here. Sadly, Kenya’s premier tourist destination is accessed by one of the world’s worst roads and so the group opted to fly there. Koen, Puteri and their two children accompanied their friends for a three-day weekend in “The Mara”. They stayed at Mara Siria, a tented camp on the Oloololo side of the reserve.
A few days later, the three friends set out with Francis to Amboseli and Tsavo West National Parks. This was a four-day trip with mass herds of elephants and stunning views of Mt Kilimanjaro the highlights.
The first day they drove down Mombasa Highway to Lumo Community Sanctuary. They stayed at the beautiful Lions Bluff, a tented camp perched atop a ridge overlooking the plains to Mt Kilimanjaro. Their bar is The Best place for a sundowner in Kenya (IMHO).
The next day saw them cross the road into Tsavo West National Park, Kenya’s largest park and, together with Tsavo East National Park, takes up 4% of Kenya’s area. The animals in Tsavo West tend to be a bit shy compared to other parks; I think because it’s such a huge space, quite bushy and less visited, so they don’t get used to passing traffic. The travellers stayed at Voyager Ziwani, another tented camp again facing Mt Kilimanjaro for a dramatic sunset view. There is also a waterhole by the camp and they saw no less than ten Giant Kingfishers fishing. Leslie went for a walk near the waterhole and although she saw the crocodile, she thought it was a fake – you would, wouldn’t you?! But suddenly as she approached, it dived into the water. I don’t know who got the bigger fright!
The final stop before returning to Nairobi was Amboseli National Park. Rather than returning to the highway, it is possible to skirt around the base of Mt Kilimanjaro from Tsavo West to Amboseli. Travelling this way takes you through the Shetani Lava Flows, from the last time Kilimanjaro erupted. They stayed at Kibo Camp where the pool was a very welcome break from the vehicle. On their game drive in Amboseli, they saw a lion at last.
Leslie went home after this safari so there were only two who went with Francis to Samburu and Ol Pejeta Conservancy, in the north of Kenya….and in the northern hemisphere as they crossed the equator to get there.
Their first day in Samburu saw them chased by an elephant. Their second day in Samburu saw them reversing and retreating as an elephant was blocking the road and was not willing to budge for anyone. They saw a lion at the river and a caracal – not a common sighting. They stayed at Samburu Intrepids, a tented camp inside the park.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy was the last park for these epic travellers, and probably the highlight of their whole time in Kenya. They watched a lion hunt a baby rhino. Fortunately (for the rhino!) the lion was unsuccessful, but what an amazing thing to witness! They stayed at the Serena Sweet Waters Camp, one of Kenya’s nicest tented camps as the dining room and tents arc around a large waterhole. In the evenings, animals congregate at the waterhole – there’s almost no need to go out on a game drive! I remember arriving there one evening myself and as I entered the dining room, I was greeted with the sight of about five rhinos just outside the window!
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