Kenya…..a country you must visit if you love wildlife!
I planned this Safari as a surprise for my wife’s 60th birthday. In retrospect it was a great decision.
I booked a personal five day tour just for the two of us, visiting a reserve at the base of Mt. Kenya, followed by a night at Lake Nakuru reserve and then two nights at Maasai Mara.
Each location had its own charm and share of wildlife sightings. We were fortunate to spot all that was promised and more….
Arrived Nairobi in the evening. We were met by a representative of Sense of Africa Tours and transferred to Panafric Hotel in the City. At the Hotel, another representative met us and briefed us about the entire program.
Panafric was a good hotel. Rooms were nice and comfortable, very clean and had all the essentials. Atmosphere was great and they provided a wonderful Breakfast spread. Staff were very nice & helpful.
The next morning we were met by our Guide cum Driver, Yusuf in the minivan I had booked. This would be our mode of transportation for the next five days.
We had a four hour drive to our first destination at the foothills of Mount Kenya.
Roads were mostly good. Wonderful location and we had a good view of the mountain as it was a clear day.
Stayed at Serena Mountain Lodge. Great place overlooking a waterhole. All rooms look over the waterhole and you can watch the animals coming for a drink. We saw a number of deer, water buck, water buffaloes and of course Saik monkeys.
The temperature dropped considerably at night and we had to dig out our sweaters.! However the night was comfortable as they provided hot water bottles under our quilts.
Left our hotel at eight in the morning. Ran into a bad stretch of roads under repair and very dusty. Had the experience of crossing the Equator after about two hours drive.
Then we drove past the a view point of Great Rift Valley, a 6000 km valley stretching from Israel to Mozambique. We would later drive through this Valley as the Maasai Mara is part of it.
Reached our hotel Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge just in time for lunch. A longer drive than expected due to poor roads. Saw plenty of Zebra as we entered the Park. The Lodge is located inside the Park overlooking Lake Nakuru.
Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge was a great place. All rooms are in cottages, very well planned. Rooms were comfortable, clean and had all amenities. (Don’t expect Air conditioning, Fans or TV as you are inside a Game reserve) Staff were very friendly and helpful.
Food was excellent! All the meals had a great variety of salads, meats, main courses and deserts to suit all dietary demands.
After lunch and short siesta, we went out for our first Safari ride. Turned out to be quite an adventure as we saw many herds of Zebras, one group of Rothschild Giraffes, a few Two horned Rhinos, Olive Baboons, hundreds of Water Buffalo, Thompson Gazelles, Water Buck, and to top it all, a Leopard sitting on a tree.
This was only possible because of constant radio communication between Yusuf and all his fellow Guides. They keep each other informed of Game Sightings.
We also stopped at a view point to see a great many birds some Flamingo, Pelicans and many more.
I would consider that a well spent afternoon.!!
After an early morning wake up, we left Lake Nakuru for our drive to Maasai Mara.
As we were driving out we were extremely lucky to spot a Lion out for its morning walk. Hats off to Yusuf for spotting it! (No help from his radio network buddies!)
We drove past Lake Naivasha a medium sized lake with varied fish ….. ; and Hell’s Gate National Park which surrounds Mount Longonot which is a volcanic mountain which has not yet erupted. There are hot water springs coming out of it.
The drive took us nearly 6 1/2 hours since the last 70 km to the Park gate was under construction and therefore rough and dusty.
Our resort – Sarova Mara Camp was located a few kilometers inside the Park. All accommodation are tented, wonderful ambience. Staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Food was excellent throughout our stay.
That afternoon we went out on a Safari drive. Spotted a few elephants immediately.
Yusuf’s target of spotting the Big Five of Kenya – Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo…. was complete!!!
We also spotted two Cheetah devouring their kill, a number of Gazelles – both the Grand Gazelle and Thompson Gazelle, Topis, Impalas, Hartebeest, Eland, Maasai Giraffes and of course warthogs. On the way back we spotted two more Cheetah out for a stroll.
Returned to our resort fully satisfied!
The next morning we set off on a full Day Safari. Spotted a many herds of Elephants, Buffalo, Maasai Giraffes and four Lionesses stalking a group of Impalas. They didn’t succeed in the kill though. We saw a two horned Black Rhino and then Drove down to the Mara river and saw a number of Hippos and one crocodile in the water. We then spotted a Leopard who took a leisurely stroll in front of us. This completed the Big Five once again, that too in one day.
On the way back we spotted a few Ostriches and a Vulture sitting on a tree top. Maasai Mara is really worth a visit.
Returned by 4, exhausted, but happy.
Had a relaxing evening, a good nights sleep and left the next morning.
On the way out we were lucky to see a herd of Wildebeest. Most had migrated south to the Serengeti this year, which is why we had not seen them before today.
Just after driving out of the Maasai Mara gate, we visited a Maasai village. I was apprehensive, after reading reviews, but was pleasantly surprised. We had to donate $20 per person for the visit and guided tour. They performed a welcome dance for us and spoke about Maasai culture. Then took us to see the inside of their hut – which was really interesting. They showed us how they used to make fire in their traditional way using a stick and piece of wood. Then we were showed their community market of artifacts made by themselves. Proceed go,to a community fund I believe. What impressed us was that there was no pressure to buy anything or extort money. It was a really pleasant experience and worth our time.
Then on to Nairobi airport to sadly conclude our Kenyan Safari.