Luxury African Safari at it’s finest!
This is truly a trip of a lifetime! We saw the BIG 5. The price tag of $7995 pp excluding airfare and additional incidentals and any upgrades you take seems pricy to many but it is worth every dollar! It s an amazing adventure and our favorite trip of all we have been on. ( and that says a lot) Each day brings new excitement and adrenaline for what is in store. Nothing planned, just nature in it’s most natural habitat. The biggest draw to this area in late September and October is the annual migration of the wildebeest which is the movement of over one million wildebeest and two hundred thousand zebra from the Serengeti through the Mara in Kenya. Our group saw the biggest migration crossing the Masai Mari river so far this year, approx 13000 wildebeest and a dozen or so Zebra followed.
12 days departing USA to Nairobi Kenya, overnight at Ole Sereni Hotel a beautiful resort overlooking a game reserve. Next day domestic flight to Masai Mara for 3 nights at “Rekero Confluence Camp and then 3 nights at “Naboisho Conservancy Camp”. Each camp held 9 couples so our group of 18 split into two groups and 1/2 went to one camp for 3 nights and the other group to the other camp for 3 nights. Then we switched camps for the other 3 nights. Both camps had their own uniqueness in accommodations and surroundings and game watching. The last 3 nights were spent at the Ocean front Serena Hotel in Mombasa in the South Coast of Kenya on the Indian Ocean. This allowed everyone to wash the dust off from the game drives and relax on the beaches and visit the local area. The last day was back in Nairobi for a full day city tour to the famous home of House Baroness Karen Von Blixen from the Out of Africa Movie, to feeding giraffes and a wonderful lunch under the trees with local goods for sale. You could either stay over night again in Nairobi or depart back to the USA. Any layovers along the way adds to the duration of this trip.
Hardly the right word for these luxury accommodations and amenities. They are permanent luxurious tented suites with a large verandah. They offer private facilities and king-size beds with large screen windows to let the sights and sounds of the Kenyan wilderness surround you. All tents have en-suite bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. The main lodge has a large open air gathering area with large couches and chairs in front of a large wood burning fireplace as well as family style dining with chef quality selections. They really make an effort to cater to special needs. Fresh water is plentiful, meals, wine and all drinks are included. The nice touches that make it feel special is they personally bring your shower water warmed to your liking when you ask for a shower and it goes into a large pouch where you pull the draw string, the hot water bottles at your feet at night in bed and they bring your coffee and biscettes to wake you up in the morning to get ready for your game drive. We would head out around 6:30 am ( the best time for viewing as the animals are active then. After an hour or 2 of game viewing breakfast is served out in the wild either under a tree or by the river, with wildlife around you. The do a fantastic spread of fresh breads, fruit, yogurt, sausages, boiled eggs, small quiches etc. along with hot coffee & juices. There is usually a daily variation with some nice surprises. A few more hours of game driving and then back to camp for lunch. We would head out again at 4:00pm for more game drives. We would stop for a sunset cocktail before heading back to camp for the evening.
Both Camps have comfortable land rover jeeps with a private Masai guide for each 2 couples. They kept walkie talkies in the jeep to communicate to the other jeeps on wildlife sitings. They have open air roofs so you can stand up to get a better view of wildlife and take photos. The amazing part is how very, very, and i mean very close you come to the wildlife. The wildlife do not seem afraid of the jeeps or humans as long as you are with a local guide. These are very protected areas and they are for the most part not threatened. It is a natural surrounding with no protection or fencing from the animals so good behavior is mandatory, never getting out of your vehicle unless your guide says you can and a quite tone when speaking will generally make it safe.
“Rekaro Camp” in the Masai Mara ecosystem: this was our groups 1st camp. It’s location is on a beautiful part of the Masai River. The wildlife viewing was plentiful as you sat outside your tent or in a chair on the grass under a shade tree by the main lodge overlooking the flowing river. Wildebeest would cross the river, home to crocodiles and hippos. Water buffalo, giraffes, elephants, zebra were sighted around the camp or just across the river. It is also a great bird watching area. Masai Warriors guarded our camp nightly and would tell us each morning the game sightings in the camp. Made you wonder how you ever slept. Our Warriors had to escort us to and from our tents at dark with their weapons in case there was an encounter. We felt save with them but also a huge adrenaline rush. the hippos at night could be quite loud. The family style dinners at night in the main lodge were full of fun and excitement listening to all the stories from the days game drives and sharing pictures. We visited one of the villages our guides come from. They are circles of mud houses facing into the middle and usually only house a chief, his wife’s and children. Very life changing to see how they survive. There money comes from the sale of their cattle.
“Naboisho Camp” in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy: this was our groups 2nd camp. We met the other 1/2 of our group at this camp, had lunch and great conversation about all our experiences so far and then we settled in while they left for Rekaro Camp. Naboisho camp was about a 2 hour drive from Rekaro and had a more arid terrain with lots of acacia trees. The same style of luxury was prevalent at this camp. The overall experience was great. We had a special permit at this camp to do night drives which was unique as well as a guided walking safari in the mornings in lieu of a land rover drive. Everyone chose to do both. The morning walking safari was exciting and a bit nerving as well as you have no jeep to drive off in. Our guide carried a rifle just in case there was any threatening situations. the night drives were interesting to watch the wildlife’s movements after dark. They use a red light that does not bother the animals. This conservancy has the more cheetah and lion per square kilometer than anywhere else in Kenya. We view “Prides” of lions which is usually a family of males, females, cubs etc. They interacted together with cubs playing, lions roaring at each other not knowing if they were just communicating or angry.
We don’t know that we would enjoy going to a Zoo again. Once you encounter wildlife in their natural habitate and behaving without interference from humans it is life changing . The passion and expertise of the guides, the high levels of personalized caring service, along with a team that have worked together for may years, create a warm and friendly atmosphere at the camps and on the wildlife drives. The guides even have names for their animals that they see every day and we only get the privilege of seeing them once in a lifetime.
WILDLIFE – Where do we start?
Lions, lion cubs and prides of lions (large families traveling together), Lions eating their Kill, Cheetahs, Leopards, Leopards hunting their prey and eating their kill. Leopards would take their kill up in the tree to protect it, Zebra, Giraffe, Elephants & a newborn elephant 24 hours old, wildebeest and a 13000 wildebeest crossing ( rare), zebras, hippopotamus, cape buffalo, huge crocodiles, baboons, monkeys, mongoose, warthog, Gazelles, caraco cats(rare),serval cat, jackals, dick dick’s, hyena, antelope, large ostriches (male dance and mating – rare) several bird varieties.