Camille was invited to experience a safari with Great Plains Conservation in Kenya. She loved it and came back with lots of renewed knowledge about logistics and updates to share with us. Here’s a photo essay and some of her impressions.
Kenya is great destination for a first-time safari as well as repeat safari aficionados thanks to its diversity of landscapes – from the classic savannah and awe-inspiring wildlife viewing of the Maasai Mara, the verdant Chyulu Hills with views of the snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro.
I love trail running and horse riding and was delighted to discover that Kenya is the perfect destination for the active traveller
Besides experiencing Great Plains’ iconic safari hospitality and conservation, I loved the opportunity to go horseback riding, hiking, biking as well as thrilling game drives in search of Africa’s amazing animals.
Ol Donyo Lodge
We landed at the airstrip not far from Ol Donyo. The lodge is tucked away alongside the Chyulu Hills, between Kenya’s Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks. It was early morning and the top of Kilimanjaro was covered in cloud but a couple or hours later the cloud moved off and we had the most incredible view of the mountain.
The landscapes at Ol Donyo are vast and varying. With amazing mountain ranges, huge open plains and Mount Kilimanjaro to crown it all off. The area has some amazing rock formation formed by the volcanic activity in the area. I found it all quite fascinating because it is not something I had ever seen before.
The rooms at Ol Donyo are all quite different. Mine had an open lounge area that flowed onto the pool. All of the rooms at Ol Donyo have a star-bed. Unfortunately being there in the rainy season meant that we couldn’t use it but we did have the benefit of the most beautiful green vegetation.
The staff attentive at the lodge were attentive and so friendly. We at excellent and healthy food. I love my wine and if you do too, then Ol Donyo has the most amazing wine cellar. They have wines from all over the world. We even had dinner in the wine cellar one night. It was a very special evening. The cellar is decorated with photo’s of Beverly and Derek as well as the original owners of of Ol Donyo.
In the rainy season the game is quite scarce but I loved the activities they offered from the lodge so I didn’t mind that there wasn’t a lot of game.
We saw the lion prints in the volcanic sand while we were horse riding – I did feel quite nervous and relieved that we didn’t see the actual lions!
The cycling was so much fun. They took us out onto the plains so it is so easy to just cruise along and enjoy the scenery which was made even more dramatic by the thundershowers on the horizon that day.
An added benefit of visiting Ol Donyo is that you get given a Canon camera to use during your stay. When you leave they hand you a memory stick with all of your photos on it. I loved this because my phone can only do so much.
Mara Expedition Camp
Our second stop was Mara Expedition Camp. This camp is situated in the Masai Mara Reserve. Game drives are done in either the National Park or in the Mara North Conservancy. It is great to be able to do game drives in both as you have the privacy of the Mara North Conservancy but you are also able to be right in the middle of the migration when it comes through the reserve. The tents are on raised platforms and very comfortable. Each tent has a ‘gym in a bag’ which is great to make use of during your town time.
The highlight of my stay at Mara Expeditions was the Singing Kitchen. The kitchen staff cooked and sang to us. It was lovely to interact with the chefs while they prepared the most delicious meal for us.
Mara Expeditions Camp is perfectly positioned to take the best advantage of two migrations – the famous annual Serengeti migration and the green season migration from Loita Plains.
The camp has 5 large canvas tents, each with en-suite bathrooms. It is tucked away in the acacia tree and the simple ‘back to the classics’ safari design is perfect for private groups and safari enthusiasts.
There is a really fun plunge pool which is in the back of an old truck with views of the Mara from the pool.
Mara Nyika Camp
Our third and last Great Plains camp was Mara Nyika in the Naibosho Conservancy. It was last but certainly not least. The tented rooms at Mara Nyika are raised and connected by wooden walkways. The rooms are very spacious with everything you could possibly need. The food and service as with all the Great Plains properties was not excessive and excellent.
Each tent has an exercise bike and a ‘gym in a bag’. I loved sitting on the bike on my deck looking out over the bush.
Game drives in the Naibosho Conservancy were really amazing. According to our guide there are more lions per square km in the Naibosho than anywhere else in the world. And I can totally believe him. The added benefit of being in a conservancy is that there are far fewer vehicles. We were the only vehicle with 13 lions one evening. As with Ol Donyo you get a Canon camera to use during your stay at Mara Nyika.
If you’d like to know more or are interested about a Kenya safari, please get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org