After my short beach getaway, next up was safari in the Masai Mara. The first time I spotted animals in the wild was when I was flying into the airstrip in Masai Mara and literally, my jaw dropped. I was in awe and at the same time, I felt so giddy inside!
I stayed at the Kichwa Tembo camp (one of the &Beyond camps), which was amaaazing!! Beautiful facilities, great food, the friendliest and the most accommodating staff and my guide, James, was so knowledgeable!! The camp had little Timon’s and Pumbaa’s running around, an added bonus, because they’re sooo cute!!! Oh, and I definitely did not mind the personal wake up visits each morning with a pot of tea and biscuits. I’d return to Kichwa Tembo or any of the &Beyond camps in a heartbeat.
Seeing animals in their natural habitat was simply amazing. There is no other way to describe it. And it also kind of grounded me and put things into perspective for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and my own world and forget that I’m part of a bigger ‘system’ if you will… I loved that mama giraffes walk in front of their babes and maintain a distance between them so as to keep their babies safe and that birds chirp to warn other animals when there is a predator close by. It seemed like most had a very strong sense of family (maybe it’s instinct but the kid and Lion King-lover in me likes to believe that it’s love!) and it was neat to see different animals just grazing and chilling together peacefully…I think we can learn a thing or two from these guys, no?
Thanks to James, I saw elephants, zebras, giraffes, gazelles, hyenas, lions, cheetahs, hippos, buffaloes, wildebeests, crocodiles, monkeys and more!!! Zebras and giraffes were my favourite because they are just so pretty!!!!! but I think my favourite ‘moment’ was seeing a mama lion and her three cubs playing together. According to James, the cubs were less than a year old and they were the cutest things ever!!!!
In between game drives, I chilled at the pool in the camp. Kichwa Tembo had an infinity pool with a view of the plains and I could literally see animals grazing not too far away. I mean…talk about pool goals!!!!
I also took the opportunity to visit a nearby Masai village. The Masai people live in the Masai Mara and are known as warriors. They have a very distinct and strong culture. They welcomed me into their village with a song and beautiful jewelry. The traditional Masai attire is really beautiful: red blankets and bright and very elaborate bead work. I also loved learning that Masai women are strong! In their villages, it is up to the women to build housing. Before they get married, they have to prove to the elders in the village that they are ready to take care of a family by building a house!! I loved my visit to the village. It was so cool to see their way of living and to learn about their culture first hand. Ughh this is why I loveeeee traveling, I really do love different cultures and learning about them.
So, safari turned out to be more than just safari. My safari experience was way too short!!! Well…my entire trip to Kenya was too short, really. My flight out of Kenya on my last day was at night time so fortunately, I had time to visit the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi. I really really reeeeaaallly wanted to stay at the Giraffe Manor at least for one night but they were fully booked (apparently they are almost fully booked for 2018 already!! Crazy.)
The Giraffe Centre next to the Giraffe Manor is open to public and my love affair with Stacey bloomed as I fed her haha. I’m pretty sure she was just using me for food but I mean…she was such a cutie that it didn’t matter! The Giraffe Manor is open to staying guests only but I begged, begged and begged the staff to let me in to see it until they finally caved ;). Persistence pays off my friends, and I think throwing in the few Kiswahili words I learned earned me some extra points. The Manor was quaint and charming. I mean afternoon tea with giraffes is such a dream! I can’t wait to stay there during my next visit to Kenya (one day!).
So that, my friends, was my Kenya trip in a nutshell. Beach and safari…Kenya really offered the best of both worlds, and not just in a mediocre way. I really did fall in love with Kenya. It was so much more than I imagined. I saw the most beautiful things, felt every emotion possible and learned a lot. This trip was so very special and Kenya will always hold a special place in my heart. I really hope to return one day. Napenda Kenya <3 <3 <3