Thanks for visiting and I’m thrilled to share my travel tales as I take a fantastic group through Kenya and Tanzania on their Nairobi to Dar es Salaam adventure…..
Today we picked up some new people who are joining our trip in Nairobi. We first head to the Giraffe Sanctuary so that everybody can feed the giraffes, learn some cool facts and get slobbered on by the tall gentle giants themselves! This spot is great for a close up animal selfie of a giraffe licking your face! An hour or so here, then we make our way to Sheldricks Elephant Orphanage.
This is such a lovely and heart warming experience that even I, as a Tour Leader coming here often, opt to do over and over again. The baby ellies are a delight to watch as they run around, playing in the mud and being hand fed by giant milk bottles. Each elephant has its own story and the loving staff talk you through each one until you feel you know them on a personal level. Afterwards, you have the opportunity to sponsor your chosen baby ellie and follow his or her path until release. Do not expect to come back clean though, they are extremely cheeky and love to splash about in the muddy puddles!
Once back on the truck we made our way to Nakuru but not before stopping to get supplies for the next few days. John, our cook who only joins on this section of the trip, makes delicious food and tonight we will have mushroom soup followed by his delicious beef stew with rice. Once we made it to camp, we set up tents, unpacked bags and went over the following day’s activities. Tomorrow is the group’s first game drive and everybody is extremely excited! Early bedtime for us all as it is an early start. As I lay in bed, I can already hear the sound of hyenas laughing in the distance!
Up early this morning, Jon, and I made French toast complimented with chocolate spread, honey and fresh fruit. The group are all bustling around the campsite getting ready to set off for their game drive. The 4×4’s arrive at 6am and they head out. It’s definitely worth the early start as the cooler it is the more active the animals will be. Plus, early hours of the morning is prime hunting time so if you’re lucky you may get a glimpse of a chase!
The group will be out for a full days game viewing today so everybody took a packed lunch with them. There is a lovely place they stop for lunch in a nice hotel with a beautiful swimming pool, so everybody took their swimmers too. Myself, John and Robert our truck driver (yes, it is a truck, not a bus…5 pushup rule if you call him a ‘bus driver’!) stayed in camp today to catch up on truck maintenance, paperwork and dinner preparations.
The group came back from their safari full of it and absolutely buzzing! They saw 15 rhinos in total, both black and white and many close up encounters with giraffes, zebras, buffalos and flamingos.
It has started to rain this evening and everybody has run for the showers. They are gorgeous here, open top with bamboo surrounding you and nearly always nice and hot. Tonight, we are having BBQ chicken with baked potatoes and salad and I’m sure another early night for all after a long day’s safari.
Today everybody had a nice lie in, we had breakfast at 07.30am of sausages, beans, eggs and toast. We left at 8am and headed for Naivasha. Usually on the way we would stop at a local school and take them supplies whilst we spend a few hours here playing with the kids. Unfortunately, due to all the rain yesterday and overnight it made the roads impossible to pass with the truck so we had to give it a miss this tine round. We stopped to grab lunches and supplies from a shopping mall and then an hour later we arrived at the edge of the hippo infested waters of Lake Naivasha at a camp called Marina.
It is a lovely campsite, with only a fence between your tents and the hippos! This is one of my favourite spots on this trip; there is so much to do.
After lunch, most of the group decided to take a walking safari with a great guide and friend of Absolute Africa, ‘Chris’. I have been many times on this excursion and always get up close and personal to giraffe, zebras, warthogs, and impalas and spot some fascinating birds and plants. Watch out for those buffalo though and even the leopard has been spotted lounging in the trees above you!
Then you walk to the viewpoint of the Green Crater Lake, which is perfect for a snack and photo stop.
Afterwards you can visit Elsamere, the home of Elsa the Lion and learn of her life whilst visiting the gardens of the Adamson’s and hearing their story over afternoon tea.
It’s so gorgeous here, the house is right on the water edge and usually zebras graze on the lawns and black and white colobus monkeys swing above you. My group will visit here on their way back from their walk. It is a highly recommended afternoon. Some of the group decided to stay here at the campsite and catch up with sunbathing, reading and washing clothes. There is also a pool so a few are chilling out there. Tonight I usually do ‘Africa Night’ and John and myself will cook goat, chapatis, local greens and ugali (a local maize meal a bit like mash potato). Then we will show the group how to eat with one hand like a real Kenyan! Tonight I will tell everybody to watch out for those hippos, but enjoy listening to them from the comfort and safety of their sleeping bags.
This morning all 14 of my group headed out to cycle around Hells Gate National park. This is one of my favourite optional activities and I always get great feedback. It is the park that The Lion King is based on and you will see the reasoning for this if you go, it has stunning scenery.
The day is usually 8am until 1pm and includes a walk through the gorge that you see the stampede occur in the movie!
Two new clients joined the group at lunchtime and everybody bonded this afternoon on their Hippo cruise. This boat ride is a highlight of the area and one not to miss. Life jackets on and you jump into boats, camera and a beer in hand.
You find great pools of hippos wallowing and get up close and personal. This isn’t just for hippo spotting, if you are a keen bird watcher, this is a great spot for it and if you are lucky you may even see the fish eagles catching fish that the boat men throw. It poured with rain half way out for my group, but it only made the hippos more active and the group returned very happy. Tonight, we had Tilapia from the lake, bought fresh at the market, homemade potato wedges, veggies and salad. Everybody told stories to the new guys of their trip so far and then headed up to the bar to sit around the campfire and toast marshmallows over a few beers and new friendships were formed.
Today is an exciting day and I can feel the buzz in the campsite. We are heading to the Masai Mara! We had egg in the nest for breakfast with fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal. Last night I decorated the truck as it is one of the guys birthdays today. We set off driving, balloons blowing in the wind and birthday vibes all round and en-route spotted the many flower farms and beautiful scenery. We arrived in to a town called Narok at lunchtime and here I usually give the group a choice of shopping for lunch supplies or eating local food. Everybody chose local food, so we headed to the back of a butcher shop and all shared Nyama Choma (BBQ meat) Ugali, cabbage, chapatis and greens just like the locals. The people in the area are always happy to see us and love to show us their ways. Afterwards we bought meat from the butcher for the next few days dinner and then I ran off to find a cake for the birthday boy! The road into the Mara is what the locals call getting an ‘African massage’…it is very bumpy but worth it as you begin to see animals appear on the roadside.
We arrived into camp and there were 3 4×4 vehicles waiting for us, everybody jumped in and off we went for our afternoon game drive. Within an hour we had already seen elephants, giraffes, zebras and the stunning views of the Mara. Then we were lucky enough to come across who I now know as Eliza (named by the local Masai) and her 6 cubs. We sat with her and watched the cubs play for over an hour, it was magical. As we headed out of the park, the sun set behind us and storm clouds formed in the distance to make a stunningly picturesque drive back to camp.
John and Rob had been working hard on dinner and it was ready when we got to camp, the storm passed us luckily and we ate outside by the fire. Tonight, was lamb curry and afterwards I brought out the cake and we all sung happy birthday. The birthday boy said it had been his best birthday so far. Tomorrow we go in search of the Migration, deep in the park. Everybody is very excited.
Another early start this morning with a 5.30am breakfast. The 4×4’s arrived at 6am to take us on our full days game drive. We drove into the park as the sun came up behind us and headed in search of the migrating hooves. Our drivers were local Masai, all coloured in their blankets and jingling jewellery. They knew so much about the park and the animals as they have lived here their whole lives, they know every inch of the land.
The radio was constantly bustling with other drivers explaining where the animals had been found, we heard the key word ‘Simba’ and suddenly it was full throttle speeding through mud across the plains to find the treasure that was a family of lions and lionesses all walking around and also sunbathing!
After a good 45 minutes with them, we headed out further to find the famous Masai River. Along the way, we were driving past hundreds and thousands of wildebeest, zebra, antelope all part of the Great Migration from the Serengeti. It was just like being on one of David Attenborough’s wildlife documentaries!
When we got to the river we were lucky enough to see a heard of wildebeest wanting to cross. We waited here for an hour as they stood at the water’s edge, toes inches from the river……it will only take one, just one to go for it and the rest would follow. Unfortunately, the croc infested waters put the wildebeest off entering for today and they all returned to their grazing. It would have been the cherry on top of our safari to see the famous crossing, but it was so lucky to see them approach the water and consider showing us the display. We had lunch at a lovely viewpoint and took photos and continued our game drive. We got so close to everything, sometimes just a metre away from lions and elephants. The day was fantastic, I never get tired of the game drives as each is different and you just never know what to expect.
Upon our arrival into camp, John had made a lovely chicken stew with mash potato and a veggie curry. Everybody was tired from the long day but went to bed glowing from a full day in the sun surrounded by wildlife. Some even said it was ‘genuinely one of the best days of their lives!’
This morning we saw so many giraffes, about 20 of them all together on the side of the road, it was the most I have ever seen together.
After some more animal spotting we went to visit one of the driver’s local village. Here, you have the option to pay $10 and experience some of the local Masai culture. They perform dances, sing and show you their home. You learn how to make fire by rubbing sticks and learn why each Masai is dressed differently.
Afterwards, you can go into the small market where the ladies offer handmade jewellery, wooden ornaments and different coloured Masai blankets just like the ones they wear. These make great sofa throws! We spent about an hour and a half here and my group came out looking like locals, covered in the colours and jingles of the market. It’s the perfect spot for souvenir shopping here and giving something back to the local community. Then we started our drive into Nairobi. We stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the Great Rift Valley and had lunch.
Tonight, is the last night for 7 of the group so I booked a table at ‘Carnivore’ – a well-known restaurant in Nairobi centre. It was a great night to say goodbye to such an amazing bunch of people. They will be greatly missed by all on our big yellow truck. Cocktails all round and we said cheers to a fantastic adventure. Tomorrow I pick up 9 new people who will join our group and continue towards Tanzania, the Serengeti and Zanzibar. Let the new section full of wild and wonderful things begin!