I had always heard that Africa is captivating. That once you've been there, you never forget it. That its light stays engraved in your memory forever. After traveling to Kenya, I know it's true.
Upon arrival, we headed to the Hemingways Nairobi hotel, an elegant accommodation with a charming colonial atmosphere located on the outskirts of the city. There we were able to get some rest after the trip, enjoy its cuisine and feel the tranquility of this hotel nestled in the residential neighbourhood of Karen, very close to the legendary farm depicted in the famous novel Out of Africa.
After a well-deserved restorative sleep we headed to Loisaba, a private conservancy in the area of Laikipia, where we spent a few days.
This region is very interesting in terms of wildlife since you can spot animals that are not found in other areas such as the Masai Mara, like the beautiful Grévy’s zebras, larger than the common ones, or the reticulated giraffes, with elegant squared spots.
Staying in a private conservancy has many advantages, since there is a wider range of activities than in national reserves, such as night game drives, walking safaris, horseback riding and even camel riding.
We decided to go on a walking safari during which we discovered the native plant life, in addition to visiting the hippos, and we even came across a large male elephant that was in the area. The knowledge of the rangers and guides of the conservancy ensures that these kind of experiences are always interesting, and above all, very safe.
From Loisaba Tented Camp we enjoyed amazing views over the valley, which can be seen from the infinity pools, the restaurant, the bar, and of course, from the comfortable and elegant tents.
We also enjoyed a very original and rustic stay in Loisaba Starbeds, a cozy 4-room accommodation with excellent service where we were a able to sleep under the stars, in a large wheeled bed. Nothing better than having a drink by the fireplace in the evening, sharing this cozy moment with other guests and the camp staff, as if we were a big family.
In the area of Loisaba wildlife is shyer than in other places. In addition, due to the shape of the land, sometimes it might be difficult to spot it.
Still we were able to see countless animals, from zebras, giraffes, elephants, ostriches, buffalos, hippopotamus, warthogs, dik-diks, oryx, elands, gazelles and impalas, to a family of three lionesses with their five small cubs, an elusive leopard, and even a caracal!
From Loisaba we travelled south, to Masai Mara. In this incredible national reserve that borders the Serengeti, in Tanzania, the plains go as far as the eye can see, and the large amount of wildlife that can be observed is unbelievable.
In the Mara we witnessed the incredible beauty of pure wilderness. Even at the end of the rainy season, when the grass of the savannah is higher, we were able to admire many fantastic natural scenes.
Large esplanades full of elephants, giraffes, gazelles, wildebeests, impalas...
Young male lions defending the precious carcass of a buffalo, protecting it from opportunistic scavenger animals.
Jackals surprised by our presence on a very quiet road.
Playful cheetahs hiding in the tall grass.
Baboons scanning the horizon from the height of a small hill.
Lionesses resting on a lonely tree at sunset.
Buffalos completely bathed in mud to protect themselves from the sun and flies, as if they were having a wellness treatment.
Small elephants playing in the middle of the road or walking clumsily next to their mother's legs.
In Masai Mara wildlife is surprising, but so are the landscapes. There is nothing like admiring a storm in the savannah, at dusk, observing how the light changes constantly on the infinite plain.
In addition, in this national reserve there are exclusive accommodations for all tastes.
In Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp we travelled back in time, to the bygone era of the 1920s, to live an authentic vintage safari experience, with all the comforts of a modern luxury camp. With only 9 tents, the experience at Cottar's is completely bespoke, offering excellent service. In addition, the camp can boast about its history, as it is run by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa, the Cottars, spanning over five generations.
The Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp enjoys a very interesting location, in a private conservancy next to the Serengeti and Masai Mara. The tents are located among the lush vegetation, on a hill, offering privacy as well as beautiful views over the distant plains.
For those looking for a truly private stay, the camp also offers a modern and luxurious villa with capacity for up to 12 people and a staff of 8 people, including the chef. All rooms have a private bathroom and balcony or terrace, and the villa also has a private pool, beautiful views and an excellent location.
From the 1920s we traveled to the 21st century to stay at Angama Mara, a modern, stylish and elegant accommodation. Angama literally means "suspended in mid-air” in Swahili, and its name makes sense from the moment you set foot in it.
The views from Angama Mara are truly spectacular. One could sit on a chair and observe the landscape all day long. In addition, it was one of the locations chosen for the filming of Out of Africa. The beautiful rooms also offer infinite views over the savannah. There, one runs the risk of being trapped by the beauty of this imposing panorama!
Our last stop in Masai Mara was Mara Bushtops. This camp, located within its own private conservancy, offers beautiful views over the bush and, best of all, a fantastic spa with a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and fantastic massage tents for two. The restaurant has an extensive à la carte menu, and its own cellar.
In addition, in front of the camp there’s a salt lick where animals go to have a drink, so it’s very easy to spot many animals there during the day.
In the Mara Bushtops conservancy there’s a group of lions, which we were able to see during the evening game drive. Afterwards we had a drink by the bonfire, while we admired the beautiful colours of the sunset over the bush. Finally we enjoyed a night game drive during which we were able to spot several lionesses and a group of hyenas. One of the best moments of the trip!
We bid farewell to the Mara with a lovely private breakfast in the middle of the bush; a truly magical moment.
I will always remember this trip to Kenya with fondness. The landscapes, the colours and smells of the savannah, the amazing wildlife… But above all those things, the people. The kindness and warmth with which they took care of us, and the excellent service in the camps is something we will never forget.