African Safari Diaries – Kate and David’s Luxury Honeymoon in Kenya
I had been before and had really loved Kenya, and David I both love wildlife and photography so it was a natural choice for us both to go on a luxury honeymoon where we knew it would be a trip of a lifetime and bring back memories to last year after year.
We went into our local travel agent (Thomas Cook) and Somak Luxury Travel were their partner for touring holidays and after browsing the itineraries in the brochure the most popular choice for us was the Cheetah Safari, 7 days of exploring many different parks and habitats with a small group of people and an experienced guide in George, it was the perfect combination.
Night 1 was Aberdare Country Club – this was just what we needed after our flight. It was a quiet location, friendly staff, and it helped us adapt to the Kenyan way of life, the currency, the food and the ease of saying *Asante Sana* to all the staff.
It felt so liberating that we were able to walk freely through the grounds which had zebra, baboons, warthogs and giraffe roaming. One thing that did happen on our night there was that a giraffe stood on a water pipe and had broken it, that’s really not something you hear everyday!
Nights 2 and 3 was our favourite location Ashnil Samburu Camp. The hotel was amazing, a tented camp right on the water’s edge with hills in the distance, and there were monkeys and plenty of bird species around the camp including the horn bill which tried to clear up our breakfast crumbs for us.
The staff at this camp were exceptional, so helpful, so kind and did everything they could to make our stay enjoyable. The food here was so delicious, local dishes and fresh fruit and vegetables and the most naughty little desserts. As for Samburu National Park, the red soil made the elephants appear to have red tinted skin. There was plentiful photo opportunities and we saw our first leopard here and also got to visit a Samburu village.
Night 4 was spent at the Serena Mountain Lodge and we travelled up a very narrow road towards the lodge and it just felt so different to what we had previously seen. The smell of dew on leaves, the clean air and the echoing sounds of baboons in the trees calling to each other.
The lodge itself was built encasing a waterhole next to woodland facing the tip of Mount Kenya in the distance. All of the rooms were facing the watering hole and you had your own balcony to sit on. After supper we all sat on the large balcony just off the bar area just watching the watering hole, seeing the waterbuck, the buffalo and mongoose passing through.
The hotel passed us a piece of paper at supper asking us what animals we would want to see if they came to the watering hole during the night and they knocked on our door if that animal arrived for us to see, to be honest I had written hyena on the list but when the hyena came I heard their calls before the knock on the door so I was straight out of bed!
Night 5 we travelled to the Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge and our rooms were in units of 4 rooms spaced around the grounds of the hotel. Each room has either a balcony or a patio where you could view the animals.
The giraffes, zebras, hippos and waterbuck roamed around the grounds towards the lake and at night if you were returning to your room after dark you had to be escorted by one of the staff as there may be an angry hippo around the corner (this made things even more exciting).
A couple of people from our group went on the boat trip out on the lake and they really enjoyed that.
Nights 6 and 7, we made our way to the main event, the Masai Mara, staying at the Ashnil Mara Camp. The accommodation here was large tents spaced along the river bank that was filled to the brim with hippos all making the most amazing sounds and playing in the water.
Our tent was furthest from the main reception area and the walk was just beautiful along a winding path of trees and flowers, We felt like we were the only ones there and we had a hyena calling next to our tent on both nights as well as a troop of baboons that ran past as I was sat on our veranda.
We ended our trip by flying to Mombasa to a quiet hotel on the white sand of Diani Beach.
The wild elephant that greets you as you arrive at Ashnil Samburu Camp. He walks along in front of your tent and seems to enjoy the human interaction, as he watches everyone eat their breakfast.
Seeing my first leopard and she was so beautiful. She was sat high in a tree with the perfect backdrop for me taking photos. She sat there for ages obviously perusing her territory. She made me cry.
We were in a landcruiser that took 6 people and we had never met the 4 people we spent the week with. We were all different ages but we all shared the same passion for animals, photography and adventure and have stayed close friends with them all.
For me the special moments are not knowing what you will see next and the adrenaline that comes from seeing a large cat or something like a rare black rhino that really makes you feel lucky to be living that moment in time.
This trip is special, yes there is lots of travelling but that is part of the fun, You get to experience the real lives of the Kenyan people and you see shops, petrol stations, fruit sellers by the side of the road, but along with that you are creating those memories, the feeling when you enter the gates of the game park, the sunsets you see, the smell of lions when you stand up inside the raised roof of the landcruiser, the sound of water flowing as you negotiate your way across rivers and spotting that giraffe’s head popping up above the bushes.
For anyone who wants a holiday of a lifetime and to have a company that takes care of you every minute of every day then this is the trip for you, When you arrive in Kenya the representative from Somak is there to greet you and your guide that stays with you all week is there with the biggest smile.
It’s sometimes daunting entering a new country but with this company they take care of your worries and they have the answers.
I would love to go again one day, to be honest I would spend all my time on safari rather than heading to Mombasa only because the animals are the excitement for me. I would maybe try different areas such as Tanzania or Botswana just to enjoy the diverse landscapes and experiences.
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 Kate Poole.