The journey begins…..
Since Aai was to join us from next day, we had a days time in Nairobi and decided to spend doing some interesting activities…..
We reached the hotel in Nairobi by noon, and after a quick take away at a local fast food joint (Tamasha) we set off for an exciting Giraffe feeding, Karen Blixen Museum and Kazuri Beads Factory.
Giraffe feeding /kissing was a unique activity enjoyed by kids the most, did spot a weird 3 horned lizard nearby….:)
I was very impressed by Danish author Karen Blixen, unfortunate that I hadn’t read her book nor had I seen her movie “Out of Africa”….but planning to see and read the same. When the local guide took us around her farm house now converted into a museum I could help but visualize her in the house, what a neat house she had and the things she did for the locals was commendable…spent the evening strolling through the beautiful backyard of the house and could see the Ngong Hills from there…. Interestingly we got to see an Avocado tree next to the farmhouse.
Kazuri which means “Small and Beautiful” in Swahili is a tiny workshop that makes handmade ceramic beads. Though we did reach a little late and we missed seeing the local women actually making the beads, we did get to see the entire factory. Will definitely preserve a beautiful choker necklace that I bought from the gift shop….;)
Ol Pejeta Consevancy
With Aai aboard…our next stop was Mt Kenya Safari Club (What a beautiful spot to build such a magnificent club) We all fell for the picturesque location. The club boasts of a variety of activities for kids….they have an animal orphanage, Golf, croquet, Horseback riding, table tennis, swimming pool, Grass maze….lots to do whilst you stay there. Late afternoon we went tot the “Ol Pejeta Conservancy”is a 90,000-acre wildlife conservancy in central Kenya. It is situated between the foothills of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya. It is East Africa’s largest Black Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees….got to see many chimpanzees named George, Max, Julia…and also a blind chimpanzee Poko….saw lots of white rhinos….and got to see 2 of the northern white rhinoceros which are critically endangered. We got to meet Baraka (a blind Black Rhino)….touch him rather.
Baraka means “Blessings” in Swahili. Was a bit nervous, as I had read about the aggressiveness of a black rhinos…but finally did touch him with shaky hands….;) Most of the rhinos had their horns cut as if they don’t theyfall prey to the poachers…felt sad…and as we continued our ride in theconservancy we saw lots of warthogs, zebras, impalas, deers, buffalos were busygrazing the mosaic of grass plains…unfortunately it rained heavily that eveningand we had to satisfy ourselves only these animals in the Ol Pejeta, back to our cozy room and as we relaxed around the fire we recollected our experiences of touching Baraka….:)
Equator line & Lake Nakuru
A beautiful morning amidst the majestic views of Mt Kenya,we left the hotel with a sigh!!!! We crossed the Equator line and kids were thrilled to carry out a small experiment with water in the northern and southern side of the equator, they even got a certificate with their names to show off that they did visit the equator….:) Had my first sip of Kenya Black coffee and I must say I who am not a big fan of black coffee actually enjoyedit !
Lake Nakuru was our next spot and we got to have lunch at the Lake Nakuru lodge, again a beautiful property and we set off towards the lake, a beautiful sight to see the flamingoes, though they were very far we did to see them flock away…. what a beautiful sight, lake nakuru was truly a beautiful lake….again Rain was a spoilsport and all the animals went hiding and hence missed the change of seeing any wild cats….we settled down early evening at the Lake Elementita Serena Camp, a very exclusive camp and so glad that we stayed here, we had the view of the lake from the lobby…..couldn’t ask for more…..an absolute heaven. Each tent tastefully furnished with its own private veranda and NO we did not leave this opportunity to toast a glass of wine! Had the most yummilious food of all the lodges that we had stayed so far…. peaceful dinner with some live music…..back in our cozy lodge we slept off listening to hyenas….
We had to leave early morning, which was crispy and clear,and we left left sighing and wishing we could have spent more time in this beautiful lodge. Local people did say “If a visitor comes to Africa and it rains it means that you are blessed”….hmmmm…..I think were blessed enough and prayed it did not rain…lolz….we were off on road to the most awaited destination of our Trip….the Masai Mara….
Ok lets get one thing straight….if you ever go to Masai Mara…..u have to stay at Governors Camp. (Period)
What can I say, we all fell in love with Masai Mara, it was overwhelming to see animals in so close harmony with nature, got to learn a thing or two and was really impressed by the way the people took care of the animals….there are some places that touch your soul and masai mara struck the right cords in us…..this place actually makes you rethink your priorities in life ! Time is gauged by sunrise and sunset and was so glad that we could bring the kids at such a place, the after effect being that at the end of the trip kids did not want to leave the Mara, such is the beauty of Masai mara.
We stayed at Governors camp (one of the oldest estates in Kenya). Located next to the mara river, it does not have any fencing around the camp, at night Askaris always accompanied us and at no point we were allowed to go alone from our tent even to the Main dinner Tent. Saw hippos, elephants outside our tent, throughout the night askaris stayed up doing their night duty just so that we could sleep in peace…..animals came and went their way….no harm done….
We spent 3 days here and so glad we stayed here, early morning drives, followed by picnic breakfast by the mara river, a late afternoon drive after lunch and an gourmet candle night Dinner…..before retiring to the comfortable bed and dozing off to the sweet lullaby’s of the African animals….:)
Game drives – beauty of it was we got to see the migration….herds and herds (not thousands but millions of wildebeest, zebras, buffalos, Topi’s, Impallas….and many such animals) stalked by predators….got to see the Lions almost 30 of them including hopelessly adorable & shy lion cubs, we were lucky to see 2 Cheetahs. We also saw herds of elephants, though I did feel that they liked their own space and didn’t like us getting too close to them, Saw giraffes and by the end of the third day we all had started guessing as to how old could the giraffe be, thanks to our trained and qualified driver Jacob, he knew many species….we got to see an almost kill ; A lion attacking a buffalo,it was as if the Nat Geo channel was left On, I still get goose bumps when I recollect it….we saw it all, in early morning drives we got to see fresh kill by the lions….we could even hear the snap of the bones of the buffalo / wildebeest….it was a purely raw sight!!!!With blood stains on the faces of the beast! Circle of life !!!!! We got to see more of the “Relentless enemies”(Lions & Buffalos) and now I understand why they are called so…..
In our three day stay in mara Zebras, Elephants, Giraffes had now become common to our eyesight, also seeing the lions amidst their pride was a truly amazing experience…. Lioness caressing the cubs…. lovingly licking her cubs cheek made us want to bring one cub back home with us….:) Mothers in a pride often nurse each others off springs…I was touched by this selfless behavior….What more can I say….magnificent animals and we tried to click as many photos as we could, and I swear we could have done it forever….;)
Never imagined that a dawn drift by Hot Balloon ride would have such a calming effect on me and I was more than happy to have a champagne breakfast where the balloon landed…Aai and Natasha enjoyed the experience.
Later that evening we got to visit the Masai Village, muddy houses, fir making, dances by Masai locals and finally a visit to their hand made clay animals, all were impressive.
Amongst all we got to see Lions, Cheetahs , Giraffes, Elephants, African fish eagle, Black crested Eagle, Foxes, Jackals, Velvet Monkey, hyenas and many more animals…though alas we didn’t get to see the leopard….
3 days passed by in a jiffy andas our journey came to an end, we all felt that we should have stayed longer…..:(….
On the way back from masai mara we took a bush flight to Nairobi and all others had “Beast of Feast” at the Carnivore, I was lucky enough to get vegetarian food at all places….:P
“Asante Sana” (Thank you) Kenya, for unfolding such a beautiful experience for all of us, am sure the kids will cherish it for a long long time! Truly we learnt the real meaning of staying in rhythm with nature.