I was privileged to go on Safari with ClassicAfricaSafaris from the 2nd to the 12th of August this year and still have not recovered from this wonderful experience.
The safari experience offered by ClassicAfricaSafaris is great. The big plus factor here is having continuous access to the personal expertise of Kieran Barnard and Hamish Grant who with their vast anecdotal knowledge and enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment of being out in the big open spaces just infuse one with an appreciation of this World Apart that none of us can afford to take for granted,.
I started my Safari at Wilson Airport on a crisp Nairobi morning and landed about an hour later in Samburu where we were to spend our first 3 nights. Home was a tented camp dotted among trees along a river bank.. The scenery I think captivated me almost more then even my first sightings of animals that I had never seen before such as the generuk and grevy zebra which we saw on our very first game drive. The animals were very accommodating and seeing the very rare and elusive striped hyena was one of my highlights.
Kieran incorporated the cultural aspects of the safari into our experience by first of all arranging for an eloquent Samburu Man to give us an anthropological perspective of his tribe while sipping gin and tonics along the river bank and afterwards we relocated to the camp fire where he continued our education through the making of a fire with out matches and getting members of his community to display courtship behaviour by dance.
The adventure side was experienced by taking us on a bolder hopping walk in Shaba on our last day – and this was amazing to be walking in the wild surrounded by animal tracks and the feeling of the unknown eyes watching us from unseen rocks and crags.
Flying from Samburu to Rongai to have a further 3 night stay was a scenic adventure on its own.
Staying on Hamish’s working farm and exploring the area and visiting local industries like a fly-fishing tying factory makes this a unique experience. We also had dinner with local friends of Keiran and Hamish who patiently answered all our questions and gave us another dimension of our safari experience. At first I was not going to do this bit due to time restraints but I am so glad that I did. Not only would I have missed out on the Home Stay and all it had to offer but I would have have missed Lake Bogoria which lies at the threshold of Northern Kenya and at the centre of an arid landscape nestling in the shadow of the dramatic walls of the Siracho Range. This 32 sq km lake is still volcanically active. I had an almost spiritual experience on entering the lake which stayed with me for the duration.I will have to return – and to think I nearly didn’t do it. Flocks of startling pink flamingoes line the shores in numbers that take one’s breath away.
This sojourn also affords one the chance to go to Lake Nakuru which again has a different landscape with a forest of fever trees that stretched as far as the eye could see. The bird life is prolific here and the animal antics kept us entertained for hours.
From the lakes of the Great Rift Valley we flew into the Masai Mara. This was the culmination of this great Kenyan Safari and although I have been back for 4 weeks now – I often still find myself back in the Mara. We were unbelievably lucky with our guide. Where other people sat for hours if not days waiting to watch the “crossing” we sat for 30 minutes – and then they crossed right in front of us! From cat sightings and the most amazing family interactions to even being right on the spot of a leopard kill it was almost as if Kieran had choreographed each daily experience especially for us.
I could go on for pages but this is a product that I can only urge one to come and experience for oneself. Somewhere sometime I must have done some good and to this piece of Africa – I will be returning.