Magical Kenya – A feast for my eyes
Let me start with this…..I just got back from Kenya. Yes I know I’m so lucky and working so hard to ensure that I am up to date with all the happenings so I can plan amazing holidays for you. I travelled with Kenya Tourism for the Magical Kenya Expo and met over 100 tourism suppliers over a period of 3 days. I also got the opportunity to travel to Nairobi, Lake Nakuru, Naivasha and of course the Massai Mara – my favourite.
Nairobi has developed into a big metropolitan city and lots of new construction and buildings everywhere. This of course means that traffic on the weekdays is really bad. My recommendation is either travel in or out of Kenya on a weekend if you can, or take advantage of the new highway and drive straight out to Naivasha which is just 1.15hrs from the Nairobi airport.
An hour anda half drive from Nairobi, Lake Nakuru is the starting point for your Kenyan safari experience. Famous for its population of rhinos we got to see three of them grazing with not a worry in the world. The perfect backdrop of the mountain, lake and the rhino was a picture perfect postcard for your camera.
On our game drive we saw the giraffes standing tall and proud, as well as hyenas, antelope and hippos.
The highlight of the game drive though was the family of monkeys. Little ones getting into trouble and mums pulling them out. Looking after the babies and grooming the dads. Whatever the species the family roles seem to all be the same.
Becoming a great alternative to staying in Nairobi, with the new bypass road it’s just over an hour from the Nairobi airport to Lake Naivasha.
With a large population of bird species this is paradise for a bird watcher.
Relax on a boat ride on the lake and enjoy bird watching. We got close to the hippos as they popped in and out of the water.
We stopped over at crescent island which is a private conservatory 20 mins boat ride on the lake. It’s a great place to have a picnic while herbivores graze around you. Giraffes, zebras and some buffalo too.
Massai Mara – The highlight of my trip
I love the Massai Mara, my fondest memory of it is spending one of my childhood birthdays here. We were at theSarova Mara tented camp and had left our tents to go for lunch. Kids being kids we were more in a rush to catch up with the adults and did not zip up our tents like we were shown. Low and behold, when we got back the monkeys had got in and rummaged through our stuff and stolen my CHOCOLATES!
On this trip my stay was a little different. I flew into the Mara airstrip and went on a game drive enroute to the hotel.
I was lucky enough to stay at the Olare Mara Kempenski property. This is part of a conservancy neighbouring the Mara and because of this there are some advantages. Some are that the camps on the conservancy are allowed to use open vehicles so you have an unrestricted view of the landscape and the game.
The resident guides know the resident animals well and where they hang out. Let me explain, the conservancy is a part of the Greater Mara and vehicles from the conservancy can go through the national parks but conduct the majority of their game drives in the 450000 odd hectares. If you are not staying at the camps within the conservancy you cannot go for game drives there. This means that at any good sighting you will have no more than 5 vehicles there.
Animals are territorial, especially the cats and tend to stay within a certain region of their territory. As the guides stay in the conservancy and drive there every day they have a fairly good idea of where to go looking for the animals based on where they saw them last.
This means you have a greater chance of seeing more game.
The Olare Kempenski is an unfenced tented camp with beautiful large rooms, a bathtub in your tent with amazing views. They are also by the river so the hippos come out at night to graze and you can hear them around the camp. The staff are so friendly and go out of their way to assist you. I got a chance to chat with the young Massai who’s families have leased out the land to the conservancy. Such lovely boys and so inquisitive about the world.
Back to my game drives . . . . coming in from the airstrip to the property we saw 4 types of cats in the first thirty minutes! The very rare sighting of the Tsavo cat, lions, a leopard feasting on a kill and a cheetah with 2 cubs. Did I mention this was just the first thirty minutes?
We stopped for a sun downer – which is a temporary drink and nibbles stop in a designated area out in the bush. We were greeted by dancing Massai and then got a chance to relax and enjoy the views with a drink and chat.
The early morning game drive was just as exciting as the previous day, we got to see a total of 12 lions of which one was guarding a kill. We tracked a leopard , saw the elephants, giraffe, zebra and antelope.
Tips on how to travel in Kenya
Bag size – if you are taking domestic flights the luggage allowance is 15kg as the aircrafts are much smaller so pack accordingly.
What to wear – clothing should be light materials and have a jacket for the morning and evening game drives. Take comfortable shoes as you might be walking on unsealed roads. Always have a hat or cap to protect your face from the sun.