Though I’m a city girl through and through, and love living in central London, whenever I get down to planning my big trips, I tend to go for destinations close to nature, with beautiful landscapes or lots of local wildlife to see. The best trips then tend to be the ones where I manage to tack on some vigourous outdoor activities, so countries like New Zealand, Canada and Slovenia rank amongst some of my favourite destinations.
Another one of my most memorable trips was Kenya, where I went on safari in the late summer of 2012. Whilst there wasn’t much in terms of outdoor activities (apart from standing up in a safari jeep!), the nature that I was immersed in was absolutely stunning, unique and something I feel privileged to have seen.
In my opinion and based on my experience, Kenya isn’t really a place you want to visit as a solo female traveller. As this was going to be my first time in sub-saharan Africa, I decided to play it safe and went on a package trip in a couple. My reason for wanting to visit Kenya was to go on safari in any event, and with large distances to travel between some of the national reserves, it made sense economically and transport-wise to have everything pre-arranged.
I’m going to make this post mostly a photo post as I think the pictures speak for themselves. Going on safari in Kenya really has been one of the best experiences of my life and my poor narrative wouldn’t do it any justice, so hopefully my photos will convey some of the beauty that I saw. As I’ve got so many photos I want to share, I’m going to split this post into two.
Nairobi (and the drive to Samburu)
Flying from London, we landed in Nairobi where we would be spending the night, before being picked up by our driver / guide who would be accompanying us throughout our entire trip. We were warned to stay within a certain area marked by specific streets for safety, so it was fair to say we were pretty wary when we found out we had to withdraw a relatively large sum of cash to pay for our night’s stay at the hotel as credit cards were not accepted. Still, it’s definitely worth a visit and a walk around the centre of Nairobi, just to get a feel of the city. If you’ve got time, be sure to try the famous Carnivore restaurant for a taste of exotic meat like zebra and crocodile (surprisingly good!).
Samburu National Reserve
The first national reserve we visited was the Samburu National Reserve. I wasn’t expecting much from this, my first visit to a national reserve, but it pretty much blew me away in terms of the huge diversity in wildlife I saw and the beautiful light we had during our twice-daily safari drives. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to view wildlife as that it when they’re most active (out of the harsh heat of the mid-day sun).
Aberdare National Park
The Aberdare National Park was the next stop on our itinerary.
We stayed at the Treetops Lodge which offers a rather unique wildlife viewing opportunity that doesn’t include any safari drives. What happens instead is that each room has a viewing balcony that faces out to a watering hole clearing, so that one just needs to sit comfortably and enjoy the live National Geographic show. We were lucky enough to see a small group of elephants come down to drink and bathe in the water.
What is also pretty awesome is that if you’re up for it, you can set an alarm clock to wake you up in the middle of the night to catch sight of some of the nocturnal animals that you wouldn’t get the chance to see during a day-time safari drive. We managed to catch sight of some hyenas overnight.
More to come in a following post!