Kenya – The Very Very Best

After my recent Rwandan gorilla trek and luxurious Kenyan safari, I have a renewed love of all that is Africa. My visits to Kenya have been numerous and I never tire of the endless horizons and wildlife.

At the request of one of our long time clients we assembled a fabulous trip for an extended family…a small slice of the best of Kenya. Arrive at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where you will be greeted by our Safari by Appointment representative who will assist you through immigration and customs. On clearing customs you will be transferred to your private charter flight to one of the most gorgeous properties in all of Africa – Ol Jogi Ranch, which has been a private Ranch for decades and is still family owned, besides the sumptuous interiors which sleeps up to 14 guests, the wildlife is a private sanctuary teeming with an incredible diversity of game. Including more than 40 of the 790 black rhinos that remain in East Africa, migrating elephants, and 15% of the remaining Grevy’s zebras.

The private compound assures you won’t see another land cruiser ever – hunt for the Big Five and never encounter another vehicle.

Night drives are popular, or take a horse or camel ride among the animals on the plains of this magnificent ranch. https://i1.wp.com/oljogihome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/verandha-2.jpg?resize=584%2C277The private watering hole and salt lick attack numerous wildlife all day long. For a closer inspection head through a tunnel to a hide with eye level windows just a few feet from the amazing wildlife…safe and protected in the hide or rest on the veranda for the parade of wild beasts!

Each compound is personally decorated in elaborate style, but arrive in jeans and sneakers to dinner prepared by the family French chef, who prepares elaborate meals in the dining room or will surprise you with a bush dinner or breakfast during your morning drive.

https://i2.wp.com/oljogihome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/main-house.jpg?resize=584%2C277An optional excursion that we would recommend for one of your days at Ol Jogi would be to take a helicopter trip to Lake Turkana.  This is a spectacular way to see the rich and dramatic northern landscapes of Kenya. You could stop on the sand dunes north of the Suguta Valley for an early morning coffee break before continuing on to the shores of Lake Turkana for a swim in the ‘Jade Sea’. From the lake you would fly up to the lovely Desert Rose Lodge for lunch, and then back to Ol Jogi for afternoon tea.

Another optional excursion we would recommend would be to fly by helicopter into the heart of Samburu Land where you would spend the morning/day with the Samburu people and wildlife, learning about their traditions and culture. Perhaps even take a ride on quad bikes/dune buggies up the wide open dry sand river beds that run through the Samburu region.Today gives you another opportunity to explore Ol Jogi further, or perhaps take an optional excursion to the stunning lakes on the upper slopes of Mt Kenya for a day/morning of fly-fishing.

Day 6 After breakfast, depart by buggy, quad and safari vehicle (for the faint-hearted) bound for a two night adventure ‘fly- camping’ in the bush of the Samburu Tribal region. Here you will get to spend time with the Samburu tribal people, as well as explore this rugged and beautiful part of Kenya in open buggies.

Day 7  Your activities in Samburu would include village visits, walking, long drives up wide open sand river beds, night game drives, and relaxing in the Fly Camp. The ‘fly camp’ is a very lightweight but comfortable camp set up for us on the wide & dry sand river beds of the Milgis and Seiya luggas in the Samburu tribal area.Day 8 After breakfast, fly by private charter to Ithumba Camp in Tsavo East National Park where the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust sends the orphaned baby elephants to re-introduce them back to the wild once they are too big for the Nairobi nursery. Ithumba Camp, Tsavo East National Park.

Day 9  You will have a unique and exclusive access to these little treasures. It is an incredible project and this is one of our favorite places to visit because you get to spend time with these beautiful creatures in such close quarters, joining them for their mud baths and feeding times.

When you are not visiting the babies you will explore this pristine wilderness for other wildlife including huge wild elephants, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, kudu, various antelope & gazelles as well as lion and the elusive cheetah and leopard.

Day 10 Depart after breakfast by air charter to our Safari by Appointment private mobile camp within Masai Mara National Reserve. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the official natural wonders of the world. The great Migration may be starting to arrive in the Mara, with droves of zebra and wildebeest galloping around.Day 11 Our shaded campsite is on the banks of the lazy Sand River, close to the border with the Serengeti. This is a favorite crossing place for the migration as it moves from the Serengeti into the Maasai Mara, providing some entertainment while in camp during the heat of the day.

Day 12 We have booked a private hot air balloon flight for this morning. Nowhere in the world is there a movement of animals as immense as the wildebeest migration, over two million animals migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya during July through to October. The migration has to cross the Mara River in the Maasai Mara where crocodiles  will prey on them.  Our days here will be spent on game drives marveling at the Mara’s legendary wildlife and scenery. The Mara also has one of the highest predator population densities in the world, so there is never a shortage of the big cats! Spend the day exploring the Mara and its wildlife.Day 13 After a leisurely breakfast enjoy your last game drive to the airstrip. You will fly by private charter to Nairobi where you will have time to go shopping or visit the Nairobi elephant orphans at the Sheldrick Wildlife trust (optional activity). Return to your dayrooms to freshen up before connecting to your international flight home.Spectacular Safari and always designed to suit your needs – amazing staff, beautiful locations and accommodations – superb dining even off the grid!

And She Floated Like A Bird – 2

5 am Thursday in November

Standing in a field of darkness in Kenya, great experiences await those who arise at dawn in the bush. We climbed aboard our comfy Range Rover, Lepeta wrapped us in woolly red plaid blankets and gave us warm muffins and steaming coffee. We briskly made our way through the savannah to a flat hot balloon attached to an upturned oversize wicker basket. A small crowd gathered on the dewy short grass, people stretching and beginning to wake up.Men hovered around the flat stretched out orange and yellow balloon, checking tethers and then the flame bursts with a brilliance in the dim dawn light. The silky balloon begins to billow with each blast of heat and red hot flame. It doesn’t take long as the chamber rises and opens to reveal a colorful bright cavernous tunnel large enough to walk through, not that anyone does.

I’ve done this once before in the bush, but wasn’t rewarded with much game life on the ground.  We climb into the wicker basket and stake out a corner for our gentle ascent. It’s a magical experience to float in the sky, the quiet and calm punctuated by blasts of hot flames, keeping the delicate balloon aloft.It’s a dream, gentle gliding, weightless – the drivers and tire trails begin to disappear and we spot herds of giraffes, zebras and a few stray hyenas. I tell Susan, look for watering holes for hippos; or a kill, as lions will be about. We spot both!Drifting quietly above the busy wildlife scene below on the flat open plain. The sun begins to rise up from a line on the horizon. Earth edge kissed by a pale pink glow.Captain calls out, we will soon brace for a gentle landing, the basket will bounce and slide a bit across the wet grass and we will come to a stop on the dirt road you see ahead – as predicted, we slide to a gentle stop.Kenyan Magic!