Safari in Kenya - Kenya sunset on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Wild weekend safari in Kenya

Kenya on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Experience: Wild weekend safari in Kenya – Keen adventure traveller Marisa Marsden tells us about her action-packed safari weekend in Kenya…

Kenya – land of the endless African sky, home of safari and location where many childhood dreams are realised. Promises of desert and jungle, ocean and rugged mountain peaks pervade this magical country and, as it’s only a direct, overnight flight before your feet touch Kenyan soil, it’s an ideal location for a long, adventurous weekend.

Safari in Kenya - Mount Kenya on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Soaring high into the ever-expanding sky in our six seater Cessna, we left our Kenya Airways aircraft (now tiny in comparison) far below on the grey tarmac of Nairobi International Airport. The arid East African plains stretched wide below until they reached the Indian Ocean on one side and the ominous grey slopes of Mount Kenya on the other. Seated in the passenger seat next to the pilot with the oncoming banks of clouds towering ahead like impenetrable brick walls, I squeezed my eyes tightly shut as the plane soared fearlessly towards them. Instead of colliding with the white fluffy mass, we glided effortlessly into it and following a moment of dazzling whiteness, we were through the other side and soaring smoothly towards the mighty peak of Mount Kenya, peeping through its white blanket of cloud.

Safari in Kenya - Elephants on GlobalGrasshopper.com

As we descended, wobbling lightly over the air pockets, our first herd of elephants ambled into view, oblivious of our prying eyes high above. With fingers firmly in position over our camera shutters, we glided on to the grassy Meru airstrip and were greeted by traditional-dress Masai guides. Winding our way through the dense, jungle-like bush, every muscle tense with excitement, we finally arrived at our home for the night, deep in the heart of one of Kenya’s most unexplored national parks. High on the hit list for any well-respected traveller, the Masai Mara fulfils every childhood dream of game watching in the wilds of Africa. However, on arriving in Meru National Park (one of 57 other national reserves in Kenya), the lack of tourists and sheer abundance of wildlife immediately proves that this is one of the country’s best-kept secrets. After exploring the camp and receiving a lesson in the “bush shower”, we were keen to jump back into the vehicles for our first safari experience.

As the sun decided to head toward the horizon and our sleepy eyes were looking for home, we rounded a corner to be greeted by the gasp-inducing view of a young bull elephant resting watchfully, flanked by two giraffes and a herd of 50 or so antelope. As quick as my hand leapt for my camera, my heart jumped into my throat and tears pricked in my eyes – a childhood dream fulfilled. As we savoured the first of several “sundowners”, comprising of an appropriately chosen Tusker Beer and homemade crisps, we looked back on our eventful first day and couldn’t have felt further from home.

Safari in Kenya - Kenya Plains on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Day two began with being woken by the jungle noises around my tent. Bursting with inquisitiveness and excitement, I unzipped the front and peeped out. Gingerly stepping out, a small lizard greeted me along with the magical sounds and exotic smells of the dewsoaked forest. As I settled into the canvas chair in the porch area, my attentive Masai watchman or “askari” warmly greeted me with tea and warm cookies and prepared my shower before heading off to wake the others. After our second game drive, we headed back to the lodge for a sumptuous breakfast with our host and his friendly, attentive team before heading back to the airfield for the short flight to the next and very different game reserve – Laikipia.

Laikipia consists of a collection of privately-owned ranches, with a dramatically different landscape to the dense, jungle-like conditions of Meru. As our plane spluttered to a stop on the grass, we were welcomed by our generous hosts and driven to the lodge house. Accommodation on safari varies between elegant tented camps to exquisite country lodges. Far from memories of family camping holidays in damp, drafty tents that are prone to collapsing at the slightest puff of wind, these luxury tents are the height of comfort, with built in bathrooms, elegant four poster beds, handmade rugs and authentic furnishings. Lodges, on the other hand, are made up of a central ranch house with separate rooms or cottages to houseguests, each featuring beautiful bathrooms, solid wooden beds and all uniquely decorated in the traditional Kenyan chic style.

Safari in Kenya - Wild dogs on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Our lodge was no exception. As we relaxed on oversized wicker chairs, mesmerised by the view, our host dashed in to announce that a pack of wild dog – one of Kenya’s rarest sightings – had been spotted on a nearby hillside. Filled with anticipation, we leapt into the safari truck and headed for the hills. Sure enough, as we nervously slinked through the bracken, trying to dumb down the noise of our heavy western footing, we glimpsed a shot of these remarkable animals trotting through the undergrowth. Sundowners that evening were held at the edge of a marshy pond as crested cranes stretched their legs in the cool air and kingfishers danced across the water’s surface.

Our final stop on the way back to Nairobi was the deep blue stretches of Lake Nakuru. Known across the world as a haven for pink flamingos, the lake magically comes into view after the green, rocky outcrops of the Great Rift Valley drop away. A lake of deepest navy, brushed with a gentle wash of contrasting pink feathers, growing to shocking cerise at the edges where the number of bird intensifies, is a magnificent sight to behold.

Safari in Kenya - Kenya Safari on GlobalGrasshopper.com

As the sun set on our time in Kenya, our truck headed for the teeming streets of Nairobi and our flight home. Our long weekend had fuelled my passion for the wilds of Africa and had drummed up a determination to return with as many of my friends and family as possible in order to bestow on them this wonderful gift – the safari bug.

Cox & Kings offers luxury holidays and tailor-made holidays to Kenya.

 

Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

9 Comments

  • Luxe

    24 March, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Kenya is a great destination and increasingly an innovative market for many travellers. It is a place where you can get many pleasant surprises during your safaris. Some experiences are simply out of this world.

    Reply
  • GK

    13 May, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Kenya is one of the most beautiful destination. It is having most beautiful sight-seeing places. I went to Kenya with my family and I spent my weekend over there. I never forget that moment in my life. My safari trip was adventurous as well as amazing. Thanks a lot and keep sharing.

    Reply
  • ED

    16 April, 2014 at 5:08 am

    I had a great and adventurous experience in Kenya. I went there with my family for vacation and I enjoyed a lot. The trip was awesome and I stayed in a nice place. After getting through your post I memorized my past and again I decided to go there because of the beauty of Kenya. I’d just like to say thanks for sharing this here for us.

    Reply
  • Tourist Places

    6 December, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Kenya the land of spirituality showing her cultural photos and the place to spend a weekend with safari…… with safari start your tour to Kenya and other places that is nice topic to be discussed here…

    Reply
  • Ashley Knowles

    27 November, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I first fell in love with Kenya when I saw it on TV while watching a documentary show about wild flife. Man! It is not easy to live in a place like Kenya, but make sure you have attended all training on how to survive in the wild.

    Reply
  • Mark Benson

    26 November, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Go on a wild life safari in the magnificently beautiful Kenya and spend an adventurous weekend with your loved ones at one of Africa’s best safari spots. Take a flight to Nairobi the capital of the country and then start your wild life cruise from there.

    Reply

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