Guest review by Susan Marks from her Wildland Adventures custom safari in Kenya
I fell in love with Africa in 2010 when I visited 4 different camps in Botswana. This time, I wanted to see a migration crossing so I chose a custom Kenya safari with Wildland Adventures. As I am also an avid equestrian, I wanted to visit a place where I could ride.
My first outing was a sight-seeing day in Nairobi. My expert guide took me to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is a home for orphaned elephants. Visitors can see them between 11:00AM-12:00N every day while they play and enjoy huge bottles of baby formula. It is an amazing place where elephants are taken care of until they are old enough to be introduced back into the wild. Giraffe Manor was next where visitors can hand feed them. I then visited the Kazuri Bead and Pottery factory where single mothers are employed to make beads and pottery. Kazuri literally ships to outlets around the world. The Karen Blixen Museum was last on the agenda and a personal guide was assigned to take me through the place where she had actually lived and worked.
The next morning I took off from a small airport to Ol Donyo, a beautiful lodge that overlooks a wildlife watering hole located in the Chyulu Hills. I spent three days and nights there and rode horses on the plains, took spectacular game drives and walked through a lava cave. The lodge also has a hide where you watch animals just outside it at ground level. I had my own guide, Dan, the whole time and the days were some of the best I have ever had. The lodge is very luxurious, the food fantastic and other guests were very friendly and interesting. I could have spent much more time there but had two other stops to experience.
My next stop was at Sabuk, located on the Nalare Wildlife Conservancy. The lodge itself is located on the Ewaso Nyiro River and overlooks the Laikipia Plateau and Samburu land. There are no outside walls or curtains facing the raging river, the sound of which put me to sleep every night and was the first thing I heard in the morning. Verity, the woman who manages Sabuk, believes that guests should experience more than game drives so activities there are varied and quite different. She has camels and horses to ride, and I was assigned two Maasai guides, Ekai and Gus, who walked with me over hills and dells and along the river. Each morning as we came over a bluff, there were two cooks fixing a full breakfast – in the middle of nowhere! The wildlife and bird life is abundant there and we also visited a grammar school, an outdoor marketplace and a small village.
Lastly, I visited the Masai Mara where I hoped to see a migration crossing. I stayed at The Karen Blixen Camp which is also located on a river where wildlife including elephants, giraffes, impalas and zebras can be seen most of the day. At night, it sounded like the resident hippopotamus’ were right outside my tent! The number of animals on the Mara is the most I’ve ever seen with large herds of elephants, impalas, zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, wildebeest, eland, topi and giraffes around every curve in the road. I also saw a large family of lions and several cheetahs though the leopards were hiding. I was fortunate enough to witness a river crossing where around 2,000 wildebeest and 100 zebras went from one side to the other. I also took a hot air balloon ride that ended with a champagne breakfast when we landed.
All in all, it was a great trip and more than met my expectations.
Susan J. Marks
Custom Kenya Safari with Wildland Adventures