‘The Only Man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa ….for he has so much to look forward to ‘
Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on Earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it. How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephants paths. Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginning’s, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannahs of long ago.
It was towards the fag end of the Migration period when I decided to hit Kenya. The season starts from June Onwards till the Month of October when you can catch the best of wildlife.
The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Masai Mara in July and remains until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Wildlife viewing is good year-round, but this can differ for some parks. The Vast plains of Masai Mara come truly alive when over 1.5 million wildebeest and Zebras migrate here from Tanzania end. It’s very dramatic, busiest season in Kenya and also the most expensive, so one needs to plan in advance.
I had a direct Kenyan Airlines flight from Mumbai which helped me reach Nairobi in six hours for an overnight stay in the Hotel there. As Visa is on Arrival, it was done quickly with a Simple Form and a payment of 50 Dollars there. Ensure One has the Yellow Fever and Polio Vaccinations in place and card handy to show if they ask. After a short drive, I checked into Stanley Hotel in the heart of Nairobi. This Hotel had an old world charm there, build in 1902 this was the first luxury hotel in this city. Some history it has, the place has hosted the likes of Churchill, Clark Gable, Sean Connery, Grace Kelly to name a few there. We had a nice pleasant stay overnight and a quick round of history of the hotel by the staff the next morning before we decided to take off the road to Amboseli National Park post breakfast.
The drive was smooth and we were welcomed by a herd of elephants, as we checked into Ol Tukai Lodge there. It’s bordering Tanzania, so here I had a room to open with Mount Kilimanjaro view. This mountain is said to be very moody and hardly shows a glimpse there, so I was hoping before I check out I catch it well in glory. The Hotel was very serene, with Zebras, Elephant herds and lot of birds all around. The Safaris we had helped catch flamingos and Elephants in lots . As we checked out early morning, when I almost thought Kilimanjaro will remain in veil showed up in full glory and I was ecstatic. I left enroute Lake Naivasha with much happiness and solace. So after a good almost six hours drive (300 km) we reached for Lunch in our posh Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge. You realise as you drive here the topography of the region completely changes to a green patch all ovover.he lawns of the lodge had Giraffes, Deer’s and Zebras grazing all around. The Lake here a fresh water one and is 15 kilometres long with hippos, and lots of pelicans and birds. I decided to sit by the evening with my book in solitude and enjoy some reading here. The Next day early morning was a Boat ride around the Lake watching the Birds and the Fauna around, which one should definitely do if you are there.
I wished Lake Naivasha instead of just One night was two days over, as the place will leave you much spell bound. So here we were driving to Masai Mara finally for our last 3 days. The drive is pretty long and most of the roads towards the end are hard with rough bumpy terrain. Checked into Sarova Mara Game Park which is one of the Best Game Reserve there. However, on checking in we learned that one of the night which was next was missed here while booking so we have to move to another camp which was quite a disappointment. However, there was little that we could do, as this place was overbooked and with no tent to spare. The food here was mind-blowing, and it was the Best so far on the trip. We decided to go for some game drives post Lunch and was awed by the vast terrain. In Africa you have space, there is a profound sense of space here, space and those beautiful skies. Finally, it seemed like the Kenya I have seen in all the Nat Geo Wild Life Channels, the wildlife, that Lone tree standing. It did not take long to sight those lions here; they are by a dozen all over here. You will see a pack of Lionesses who are sitting in groups or that Lone Lion roaring away. We were pretty lucky to catch the Cheetah too, however, missed seeing the African Rhino. So I almost sighted the other Big Five, except for the Rhino. Make sure you do as many Game drives as you can, as that’s the best way to sight many there. We almost saw a live kill too, and absolutely in their natural habitat. Everything in Africa bites, but the Safari bug is the worst of all.
You can also go for the Hot Air Balloon Ride here but I decided to give that a skip. Most of the Safari Camps will arrange to help you Book one, and it’s around 350 Dollars per person. I went over to the Maasai Village one evening to spend some time with the tribes there. I have a separate Blog published on that there. So here the one week just passed and we took our ride back to the Airport for the return flight. We had a quick stop over for a late Lunch before that at the very famous and world Popular Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi. It’s an open restaurant with an all meat buffet wherein you can dig into exotic Ostrich, Crocodile and other meat. I especially relished the Ostrich one.
So it was finally to get back home after a much exciting week. The security at Nairobi Airport is very strenuous so make more time for it, also make sure you web check prior as we saw a lot of people who got offloaded there.
Plan Kenya for that lifetime experience to see wildlife beyond the Zoos that you catch them in and before they disappear to get extinct.