With the world slowly and tentatively opening up their borders or putting dates and plans in place to do so post the pandemic, we know the plan ahead motif is on the cards! Many people have already made plans for 2021 to embark on their once in a lifetime trip on safari to Africa or India – it is truly exciting as to what some people have to look forward to.
If you are looking to enjoy a safari and beach combination we would always recommend spending just under a week on safari, followed with 4-5 days to relax on the beach. Or do this route the opposite way around.
Think of Kenya and the many different and varied landscapes you can combine – Amboseli’s flat marsh plains, with its cacophony of birds, both migratory and residential a fabulous sight to behold. You can easily spend your days, both out on a game drive or relaxing back at camp, simply counting how many different species you can spot – effortlessly counting over 150 species! Of course, we cannot mention Amboseli without mentioning the famous herds of elephants. It is a sight that will stay with you forever: at first you will see the odd elephant here and there and think this is pretty spectacularly… just wait… slowly in the distance you will see matt grey shapes meandering measuredly towards you and before you know it, there are droves of family herds emerging out of the marsh bushes and thick acacia forests and just like that, you have over 300 elephants in front of you. Within the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro nestled behind the elephants, this view is simply breath-taking and one you will treasure for the rest of your life. Our go to place here would be Tortilis Camp, set within its own private concession, the only camp that is, with unspoilt views of Mount Kilimanjaro and its own landing strip, it is also one of the first camps that settled in Amboseli, so packed full of history as well.
Follow this excitement with a completely different view of the Samburu. The landscape in the Samburu region is reminiscent of that a child has made for a blue peter competition: a flat base board with large rocky hills that have been stuck rather rudimentary on the base – although it is simply spectacular. The wildlife is pretty outstanding too, from loan leopards cruising along the banks of dried up river beds to strange and wonderful endemic species only found north of the equator and in no other reserves in Kenya, the Grevy’s Zebra and bizarre looking Gerenuk antelope with its long skinny neck – perfect for reaching those tantalisingly tasty tiny buds in hard to reach places at the top of shrubs. The cultural experiences are a real must when staying in the Samburu. The Samburu people are one of the friendliest people and utterly fascinating, they truly take joy teaching others about their traditions and way of life, in some areas this type of experience can feel forced and extremely ‘touristy’, the Samburu take delight in teaching in a way that doesn’t force and is always respectful. Spending an hour with these people will feel like 5 minutes, you will leave hungry for more! The lodges we recommend here would be Saruni Samburu, located high on one of these stunning rocky outcrops, with superb views over the Samburu land and Sasaab, situated high on the banks of snaking river, which has a wonderful Moroccan-esque style themed throughout – the choice is yours, or speak to us to find out which camp would be most suited to you.
(A view from one of Saruni Samburu’s spacious rooms)
(One of Sasaab’s brilliant Morrocan themed interiors)
From here, you can wither fly straight down to the famous Masai Mara with its flat rolling plains OR stop for a few days within Lewa… Lewa is another wonderful location to experience an unforgettable safari. It is a combination between the rolling plains of the Masai Mara and the rudimentary rocky and flat land of the Samburu – it is stunning. Lewa is famous for its incredible conservation work on the protection of both black and white rhino. Sirikoi is a must when staying in Lewa, this lodge is real home from home and almost everything is produced or grown on site. If you haven’t been able to visit Giraffe Manor, then Sirikoi will be a fabulous alternative – they have a resident giraffe called Nditu who will come and join you for an orange juice at breakfast time. Nditu now has a friend from the Sheldrick Trust called Kiko. Both of these giraffes have fascinating stories behind them, if this is the only reason you visit Sirikoi, it will be worth it!
Look out for our next blog with more insights into where to go when you finish your safari down in the famous Masai Mara…!