Thanks for joining me!
Kenya changes you forever. Once you have been there you will never be the same.
Kenya gets under your skin and into your blood. Once visited it is a country that many fall under the spell of, to return time and time again.
My wife and I first visited Kenya in 2008 for the “holiday of a lifetime” on safari to celebrate her 50th birthday. We instantly fell in love with the country, the wildlife, and the people. The country is diverse in the habitats that it provides for its wildlife, from the lush grasslands of the Masai Mara which feed the annual migration of thousands of animals; the drier and more arid lands of Samburu; to the more dense and less heavily browsed bush of Meru, sitting astride the Equator. The people are warm, friendly and welcoming. Drawn from 43 tribes, the Kenyan people are diverse, but common to all of them is a great sense of pride in being Kenyan.
Subsequent to that first visit we have returned to Kenya a further three times. What I hope to do through these words and images is to share with you some of the fantastic sights and experiences we have had on our travels. I will be taking you on a journey through Kenya, showing you the sights, and the wildlife, while sharing with you our experiences.
The Legal Bits
Apologies, but it is necessary to make sure that you are aware of a couple of points before we go any further:
- Any opinions expressed here about camps, lodges or operators are mine and mine alone. They are based upon my experience at the time and changes, for better or worse, may have taken place since. Undertake your own research and then blame yourself or your travel agent if you are disappointed. You can do no better, in my view, than to visit Tripadvisor where you will find reviews of camps, lodges and hotels based upon the experiences of people who have stayed there before you, including some of my reviews.
- All photographs used in this site are mine and I own the copyright. I do not like to put watermarks on photographs, as I feel this spoils the photograph. However, all my photographs have my copyright details embedded into the metadata so that if I think somebody has ripped off my images I can search this down and take appropriate action to protect my work.
The history of the safari belongs to Kenya, even the word “safari” comes from Swahili, the language common to all Kenyans, and means “to travel”. Safaris first took place in the turn of the 19th century in colonial Kenya when the early hunting safaris were known as “foot safaris”, typically made up of a small group of wealthy European visitors, a professional hunter, and several hundred cooks, grooms, gun bearers and porters. The usual ratio was 80 porters to each European, and each porter would carry 80 pounds of luggage on his head!
Common to all safaris was the idea that at the end of a hard day’s travelling or shooting, folding chairs would be drawn up around a fire and drinks would be served as the sun went down. Thus was born the concept of “sundowners”, a tradition which is still carried on by some modern-day safari camp operators. It is also customary to serve with the drinks, snacks, refered to locally as “bitings”.
Today safaris are about shooting the wildlife with cameras and capturing their images, rather than shooting them with guns to capture their skins or heads as trophies, but they still rely on local knowledge and support through the drivers, spotters, guides and the staff of the camps and lodges, who are employed to ensure that you see the wildlife and get the best possible experience in the limited time you have available.
A typical safari day today, certainly one that is worth the money you are paying for it, will be out at sunrise, usually around 6 am, and will end at sunset. The best safaris are those that leave camp as the sun is rising, taking breakfast with you to eat out in the bush, returning to camp for lunch. Then setting out again in the mid-afternoon, stopping somewhere for sundowners as you watch the setting sun rapidly disappear over the horizon, returning to camp for dinner, as the last glimmers of daylight fade into total darkness. As Kenya straddles the Equator, sunset is always around 6 pm. Such a timetable, we have found, affords maximum time with the wildlife, observing their behaviour, and getting those photographs that otherwise you might only be able to dream of!
Our first two safaris were booked through Kuoni, who used Nairobi based Private Safaris to provide the transportation and drivers from location to location, and on game drives within each location visited. More latterly we have used Somak, who provide tailor-made safaris to your individual preference, using either road or air transfers between locations, where you choose the camps you stay at.
Experience has shown us that to derive the maximum enjoyment and benefit of seeing the wildlife, the optimum time to spend at each camp is two to three days. You can of course spend longer or shorter time at each one, depending upon your preference and budget, but it is important to remember that the wildlife cannot be delivered “to order”, if the timing or the conditions are not right then you will not necessarily see what you want. An example is the annual migration of the wildebeest and zebras between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara – this is totally reliant upon the availability of grazing. Once the millions of animals making that journey have depleted the grazing in the Serengeti, they make the hazardous crossing of the Mara River and into the Masai Mara, but while this generally happens between July and August, the timing is not exact and is totally dependent upon a number of elements, none of which can be controlled by human hand.
Karibu. Sit back, relax… …and enjoy Kenya with me as we meet its people, its wildlife, and make this safari together.
If you wish to contact me with any questions or comments then please use the contact form below. Requests to purchase copies of my photographs will be considered, but will obviously require discussion between us over your requirements, costs, etc. I will respond to all comments and questions as soon as possible.