African Safari Diaries: Julie's Personal Thanks to Somak Luxury Travel - Somak Luxury Travel
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African Safari Diaries: Julie’s Personal Thanks to Somak Luxury Travel

As a regular client of Somak for around 20 years, I feel privileged to be able to document my experiences and memories of this company as they celebrate their 55th Anniversary. 

Photo credit: Julie Titcombe


I don’t really know where to start as there are so many adjectives to describe my encounters with Somak, all positive I should add.  It is easy to list the usual references such as:

  • Professional
  • Knowledgable
  • Organisational Expertise
  • Friendly
  • Reliable
  • Helpful/Flexible
  • Punctual/Reliable

But there is far more to add to the experience whilst enjoying the services of Somak. My partner and I have used the services of Somak for up to 20 years travelling to various destination primarily, Kenya, (15-20 times, I’ve lost count), Tanzania, Zanzibar, and India (twice).

Somak’s brochures contain a wide choice of options in Africa, as well as India and others. 

Itineraries can be complex when doing a safari, as it is usual to visit various locations, whether it be by road,with an organised tour package from the brochure, or a tailor made itinerary to suit an individuals requirements. However, clients do not need to worry as Somak can help. They have it all  within their grasp, and are experts in arranging everything for you, from taking off at your nearest UK airport to your destination, including when you are there, pick ups, transfers, internal flights, and  locations and named lodges of your choosing. 

Our first 2-3 trips were taken using itineraries shown in the brochure, so that we could get to know the various areas, which can vary considerably regarding landscape, temperature changes, and wildlife. Within tour vacations, Somak provided good locations, accommodation, and tour drivers  and guides who are most knowledgable about wildlife, know where to find them, and can describe behaviours of different species.  

It is interesting to travel by road as this allows you to witness the real atmosphere, colour, and culture, within passing villages, homesteads, and communities.  The hustle and bustle of life is highlighted by experiencing the various sights, smells and sounds of a way of life, very different to our own culture in the UK.  It is, of course, not uncommon to see monkeys, baboons, cattle, and donkeys wandering, and crossing busy roads, quite rightly having right of way. 

Somak choose lovely locations, lodges and camps, but are happy to discuss with you any variations to standard itineraries should you have somewhere  particular in mind you want to travel too. This of course is under the tailor made option, which Somak do their utmost to accommodate.    

Photo credit: Julie Titcombe

My partner and I have supported a charity based in Nairobi, who rescue injured and orphaned animals, mainly orphaned baby elephants after their families have been destroyed by poachers or by other circumstances, e.g. human conflict. These orphans are rescued from where they are found, and taken to the elephant nursery in Nairobi, called the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. We fostered  baby elephants over time, the first, way back around 20 years ago, and to date, I have 6 foster elephants that I sponsor on an annual basis, which supports their care, vets, rescue vehicles, upkeep and relocation back into the wild, after many years of nurturing them back to health, after a very sad and traumatic start in life.

The charity have saved 100’s of orphans , some rescued when only days old and my partner and I have visited the orphanage over 60 times over the years, making sure we built this into our itinerary as a priority. Although you arrange this independently with the Trust, , Somak obviously are involved regarding organising the itinerary, allowing us to spend time at the orphanage to see new orphans who are sadly brought in far too regularly, and for us to see the staff, who have become part of us. All of our 6 orphans are now in the wild, but still under the watchful eye of keepers at reintegration units across Tsavo East National Park.

Photo credit: Julie Titcombe

As supporters of the Trust we have been allowed to visit our orphans in the wild.  This is where Somak comes into it, by supplying transport for us, built into our tailor made travel plans. This opportunity is now a regular thing for me to do, supporting the Trust and fulfilling my dreams of being  in the close presence of elephants. As an amateur photographer, I have thousands of photographic images of wildlife observed, and of course these memories will stay with me forever. Somak make it easy to fulfil your ambitions.

After a while, we decided to fly by light aircraft to our chosen locations, and Somak organised this within our itinerary.  Somak did it all. The advantage of going by plane is that it cuts down the travelling time enormously.  Instead of taking all day to go by road to Samburu in the north, the plane takes around 1 hour, giving you almost an extra day at the safari location.  The landing strips are not tarmac, which all adds to the ambiance and enjoyment.  Vehicles are there waiting for you at the airstrip ready to take you to your accommodation, whether it be a lodge or tented camp.


Photo credit: Julie Titcombe


I think that it is important for me to include my praises for the Somak staff in Kenya, and other locations, who are equally proficient, friendly and ensure you have the most memorable stay. The game drivers and guides are very knowledgable about the native wildlife and can describe their behaviour patterns and co existence.

They are trained and have studied how and where to spot and identify all species, and my partner and I have learnt so much from them, which wants me to go back for more. The drivers on safari also  have a strict “code of conduct” to minimise any distress to wildlife as well as protect their living environment.  After all, it is their home and we owe it to the to protect and cherish it all.

The wildlife comes first and yet we have had the privilege of witnessing  elephant herds, lion prides, hippo pods, giraffe, zebra species, cheetah  stunning birds, and even leopard on more than one occasion. As an amateur photographer, I bring home with me thousands of images to recall my memories of a wonderful time, and these will live me with forever. 

Photo credit: Julie Titcombe

I feel so at home in Kenya in particular, and will always return if I’m able. I call it my second home! Across the board, the whole experience with Somak has been second to none.

When you know you are on to a good thing with Somak, why go to anyone else!

Sadly, my partner passed away in 2019 after a short illness. At a loss but still wanting to return toKenya, I did manage to return in Oct 2022, with Somak of course. I was fortunate to have two friends accompany me on the trip, and we visited places my partner and I loved. My friends were not just amazed at the locations I took them to, but they also commented on the efficiency and organisational skills of Somak. Nothing went wrong at all,so overall very impressed like me.

Finally, I should add that my partner and I travelled to India with Somak on two occasions with the aim of seeing tigers in the wild.  Our first trip included  “The Golden Triangle”, and Ranthambore National Park. Fascinating and wonderful landscape.  Our second visit to India took us to two different National Parks, i.e. Bandhavgarh and Kanha.  It was here that I achieved another objective of photographing tigers in their own habitat. Again Somak excelled with their services.

To conclude, I feel that Africa is now in my blood and I will continue to return, using Somak, whom I’ve got to know well. I cannot thank them enough for everything they do so expertly to ensure clients have the best time across all the countries they cover in their brochure. This is one slick operation and I cannot thank them enough for their hard work, patience, friendliness, professionalism and knowledge. 

I convey my congratulations to everyone at Somak for their achievements over the years and for reaching their 55th Anniversary which has enabled so many to achieve their life long dreams and experiences in travel. I wish them continued success long into the future.

I cannot wait for my next visit to Kenya and other places with Somak. 

With much gratitude, 

Julie Titcombe


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