I so enjoy relating our wonderful travel experiences to you all in these weekly blogs but now this one is coming to an end with the final stop in our 19 day journey. Last, but definitely not least! Last week I shared with you that we stayed at the lovely Tortilis Camp in Amboseli National Park and absolutely adored it. (Pictured below)
Our next stop after Amboseli was flying into the Masai Mara which is truly part of the Great Migration safari circuit. It's the primary location in Kenya whilst most of the rest of it occurs in neighboring Tanzania. One of the most exhilarating parts of the migration happens at the Mara River from July to September considering it's such a perilous crossing for the animals. The steep banks, heavy currents of water, dangerous crocodiles in the water and lions and other predators on the banks, make it extra difficult for the weaker animals to survive these challenges.
We were neither there during the Great Migration, nor were we right at the spot of the Mara River, but we still had an incredible array of great animal viewing, beautiful surrounding scenery and an incredible property to stay at while we were there. The other wonderful reason for being there when we were was the absolute lack of crowds. Often times, we were the only vehicle with no other vehicle sightings within miles which was fabulous.
Ultimately, there's really no bad time to visit Kenya or even most parts of Southern or Eastern Africa.
The place we stayed at was magical in the Naboisho Conservancy, called Hemingways Ol Seki Mara Camp. Hemingways Collections happen to have 2 other lovely properties including Hemingways Nairobi that happens to be a Virtuoso property and Hemingways Watamu, a beautiful beach property on the Kenyan coast. This first 2 photos are of Hemingways Nairobi and the third photo is of our Ol Seki Mara Camp.
At Hemingways Ol Seki Mara Camp, they have just 10 exclusive luxury tents that give a stunning 270 degree view overlooking the Mara plains. Generally, when you think of 'tents', you wouldn't think of this form of 'tenting' - it's really much more considered 'glamping', in the true sense of the word. Fabulous huge comfy bed, sofa, desk, huge shower, separate toilet/washing area, closet and dressing room, and huge deck! Plus a well-stocked cooler to serve most of your needs for beverages and snacks! AND a fabulous view! What more could anyone want?!
The rest of the property is also wonderfully equipped with a beautiful infinity pool and lovely large deck space, a great library area with telescope and comfy sofas and chairs, a well-suited dining area and plenty of personal spaces for everyone!
The animals here were also abundant and it actually rained as we were landing there which was amazing considering how dry our entire journey had been with very little rain even though it was supposed to be the start of the 'short rains' season. It's amazing what a little bit of rain can do to the overall environment there after a dusty, dry season with no rain.
We were thrilled to be greeted by their lovely little hyrax and Agama lizards around our luxury tent. In all of our trips to Africa, this is the first time we'd seen the hyrax as they tend to live in very rocky areas similar to where this particular lodge is located. They were such cute little creatures who seemed to love lounging around our tents basking in the sun as were the lizards as well with their beautiful colors.
Here too, we were treated like royalty with a wonderful anniversary dinner yet again in a very dramatic setting both at night as we arrived in the dark and then were able to see it again in the daylight the following day. They gave us a beautiful multi-course meal starting with a bottle of champagne. The Masai 'guard' kept us safe with fire stoked to keep the animals away that we could hear in the not-too-distant darkness. It was all very exhilarating and a tad bit scary, but fun too! Such an incredible experience! The 3rd photo was the daylight view from our dining spot. All we could see was the fire and hear the hyenas howling in the dark.
Another special experience was our bush breakfast the morning of our departure - what a GREAT sendoff! We showed up in the middle of nowhere and were served up a fabulous meal to set us on our way. Such a beautiful setting!
The animals were fabulous with a couple of different groups of cheetahs, 2 different, huge, entertaining lion prides, Cape buffalo, warthogs, zebra, jackals, antelope, vultures, wildebeest, elephants, hippos, giraffe, ostrich, and even the Masai Mara with their cattle and sheep.
We watched the couple of prides of lions and the cheetah for very long periods of time including as the latter munched on one of their meals while we enjoyed the setting sun and our gin and tonics from the safety of our vehicle. It was an interesting way to have our 'sundowners'!
We were also treated to seeing a lot of jackals in this particular area. They're such interesting animals considering their position in the animal kingdom and how they have to fight for every scrap and fight they will with a seeming 'dog like' nature. They fought off the vultures but had to give in to the big cats including the lions and cheetah. They almost seemed somewhat equivalent to the hyenas since they seemed to be able to swoop in sooner to scavenge some of the last of the remnants. The natural order of things is just so interesting to view in the Animal Kingdom! We were able to witness a lot of it on this trip and in these photos.
When we did our safari bush walk, we encountered the "network tree", the whistling thorn bush, and the leaves that the Masai would use as tissues and toilet paper since it's so incredibly soft along with getting a closer look at holes that were dug by aardvarks and then later used by other animals for their dens.
We saw a lot of activity with the Masai with their cattle or sheep as we did our safaris. We could only imagine the challenges they've always faced throughout their lives living as best as they can with all the dangers surrounding them.
All in all, Kenya is an AMAZING country with so many different areas to visit including those we did get to, but also many we didn't have time to visit. Two other interesting areas include the Samburu and Laikipia regions in the northern part of Kenya. Laikipia is located in the foothills of Mount Kenya and also happens to be home to over 1/2 of Kenya's endangered population of black rhinos. Then, you can't forget their lovely beach areas too, including Diani Beach.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Kenya including the action-packed visit to Nairobi visiting all the great places they have to offer there, the lovely Amboseli National Park, and the famous Masai Mara area known for the great migration. Kenya truly does have so much to offer and the people are very warm and caring and the animal population is absolutely amazing! You simply must add it to your bucket list in order to be able to experience the "Out of Africa" experience for yourself!