African Safari Diaries – Clarissa’s bucket list safari in the Masai Mara
Clarissa and her family recently visited Kenya for a bucket list safari, choosing to spend some time in Nairobi and the world-renowned Masai Mara. She shared her amazing experience and some wonderful photos with us. Find out why good things come to those who wait patiently!
1. Was this your first time visiting Kenya? What made you decide to visit?
A rhino in the Masai Mara
Yes this was our first visit to Kenya, but it certainly won’t be our last! We’ve always had a safari on our bucket list, for us it was a must do holiday. A family member went on safari a few years ago and they absolutely loved it, from their experience and our own research on the different types of safari available, we decided to book our own holiday to the Masai Mara.
2. How did you choose your itinerary?
Our itinerary was put together through an independent travel agent, from her personal experience, our own research on the area and family recommendations we put together a list of what we wanted from our holiday; a gated camp with a swimming pool, the option to book a hot-air balloon ride and a fully immersive experience. We were able to have all of these and more!
3. Where did you stay whilst on your trip and what was your favourite property and place?
A lioness and her cubs in the Masai Mara
We spent two nights at the Tamarind Tree Hotel in Nairobi, one night before and one night after our safari. The Tamarind Tree is a lovely hotel near both airports, all of their staff were friendly and welcoming, the perfect way to start and end your stay in Nairobi.
For our safari we stayed at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club and I honestly can’t say enough good things about this hotel! From its beautiful location, to the luxury tents and everything in between, it was absolutely perfect. The staff were incredible, nothing was too much trouble, and we left feeling more like friends than guests.
I wouldn’t hesitate in returning to either hotel.
4. What were the highlights and special memories from your trip?
Elephants in the Masai Mara
Although it sounds clichéd, our whole safari was special, I’d be hard pushed to give you one moment which I considered more special than another!
We were able to ‘tick off’ the Big 5 in just two days, which is obviously something most people strive for; but it’s not just seeing the animals that makes the trip special. It’s the people you’re with, the stunning landscape you drive through and the events and moments that lead you there that make the whole experience.
Its singing Hakuna Matata with your guide and new found friends while driving across the African plains, it’s stopping for a picnic under a tree while you’re out for the day, and being able to immerse yourself in where you are and fully appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
5. Do you have any advice or tips for anyone thinking of going to Kenya for a holiday?
Go, as soon as you possibly can! It’s an exhausting holiday, but it goes quickly; we stayed for three night (but in hindsight I think four nights would have been better), and definitely needed a few recovery days afterwards – you can easily add beach stays on to the end of your trip should you want to, and I’d suggest you do.
Don’t overlook activities in Nairobi, we visited the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Sanctuary and the Kazuri Bead Factory, all of which were incredible, it’s also great to see the ‘behind the scenes’ effort that goes into protecting the countries wildlife.
Spend as much time as you need to plan your trip, it’s such a special experience you shouldn’t rush it, take advice, do your research and always book with a reputable agent and company such as Somak, it’s their staff that help to make your trip.
A rare spot of a Leopard
Pack your patience, and be brave enough to use it… on day two of our trip a radio message came in to say a leopard had been spotted not far from us, so we rushed to her location. Just as we arrived she slipped silently into the tree line and disappeared from view. Our guide told us to be silent and as the other cars departed, he drove us round into a clearing in the bush, and there we waited, and waited and waited, you could have cut the tension in the van with a knife.
As we sat patiently a hyena passed us by, followed shortly after by a troop of baboons. About fifteen minutes later, just as we were about to call it a day, she appeared, slipping out of the bush and stopping right in front of us, a few seconds later the baboons spotted her and chased her away, no one else saw her that day.
If, after reading about Clarissa’s experience, you would like to book a Kenyan Safari you can find out more here: https://www.somak.com/kenya-safari
We would love to work with you to plan the safari holiday of a lifetime. For more information on how our safari experts can help you, call Somak Holidays today on 020 8423 3000.
All photos are credited to Clarissa Friend.