In August the year 2013 our dream came true. Together with good friends we went on our first safari through Kenya. For me it was actually the first time that I left the European continent. We travelled through Kenya on an individual safari in our own four-wheel drive vehicle (a modified Toyota LandCruiser) with an excellent guide who accompanied us the whole time (thank you very much for this, Eric!). From a photographic point of view it was a paradise, I took during the 17 days almost 10.000 photos, from which I would like to show a selection here.
Nairobi - August 11th 2013
We reached Nairobi early in the morning on a KLM night flight. I could not sleep on the flight and was accordingly tired when we arrived. The check-in at the airport was very improvised (a few days before the international terminal had been destroyed by fire), but it was still quite uncomplicated (typically African: Hakuna Matata). In front of the airport we were picked up by our guide and driver Eric and transferred with our safari vehicle to our hotel in Nairobi.
After a short check-in we started our first tour in Nairobi: A visit to the Karen Blixen House (known from the movie “Out of Africa”), the elephant orphanage as well as the giraffe center where you could feed a giraffe - my 12 year old daughter loved that.
Afterwards we enjoyed in the hotel a first African dinner with local Tusker Beer and fell afterwards into bed like dead.
Mount Kenia - August 12th 2013
On the next morning we drove very early to Mt. Kenya, with almost 5200m the highest mountain in Kenya and one of the highest mountains in Africa. We stayed there for one night in the Mt. Kenya Serena Lodge at an altitude of almost 2200m. The lodge is a completely wooden building, which opens up to a waterhole in an arch.
Here we could now see the first wildlife. After a rich African buffet we slept very well in our beds and were awakened shortly before sunrise to watch the rising sun above the summit of Mt Kenya.
Then we went on to the Samburu National Reserve.
Samburu - August 13th to 15th 2013
The Samburu are a tribe living north in Kenya. The Samburu National Reserve is a 165 km² national park and is situated on the Uaso Nyiro River. Characteristic animals are Oryx antelopes, Gerenuks, Grant gazelles and Grevy zebras. Also typical for the region are the reticulated giraffes, which differ from other giraffe subspecies by their particularly contrasting colouring. Among the predators, lions, leopards, cheetahs and striped hyenas are especially important. Especially the leopards are less shy here than elsewhere, as they were lured with prey for a long time. Among the birds that can be found here are Vulturine guineafowls and ostriches. In addition, large herds of elephants and numerous other game species, such as waterbucks and Nile crocodiles, can be found in the park.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy - Sweetwaters August 16th to 17th 2013
After three nights in Samburu we went back south to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where we stayed at Sweetwaters Tented Camp. Sweetwaters lies directly on the equator. For the first time we spent the night in tents - but very comfortable ones, each with its own bathroom and a terrace where we could observe some of the rhinos in the evening. Thus we had already seen all of the Big Five: lions, leopards, buffalo, rhinos and elephants in the wild - in just 5 days!
Also included in the park is a chimpanzee sanctuary. Chimpanzees do not actually live in Kenya, but here one takes care of chimpanzee orphans from West and Central Africa, where these intelligent animals are threatened by hunting and wars.
Rift Valley and Thompson Falls - August 18th 2013
From Sweetwaters we went on towards Lake Nakuru, passing the great African Rift Valley where we could visit the famous 74m high Thompson Falls.
Lake Nakuru - August 18th to 19th
Lake Nakuru is famous for its numerous flamingos, which we unfortunately only saw in the distance because of the high water. But on the other hand we saw a lot of white rhinos.
Lake Naivasha - August 20th
Actually there are two lakes, the smaller one is a salt lake and here we could finally watch the flamingos from a very close distance during a boat safari. Later on we did a walking safari on a peninsula in Lake Naivasha, the Crescent Island, where we got by feet very close to giraffes and wildebeests.
Then came the highlight of our trip, driving to the Masai Mara and there to the Little Mara Bush Camp.
Masai Mara - August 21st to 25th 2015
The camp consisted of only 8 very luxurious tents, which each were situated at a distance directly on an arm of the Mara River.
In the river you could watch the hippos from the tent terrace. During several game drives we could see many animals and watch several magical sunrises and sunsets. We were even allowed to experience the famous river-crossing of the wildebeest twice. This was a breathtaking experience - we will certainly visit the Little Mara Bush Camp again.
On August 26th we went back to Nairobi, stayed there one more night and flew back with KLM in the morning of August 27th. It was an extraordinary trip, we were infected with the “african virus” and Africa will surely see us again.