Truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, Kenya surpassed expectation in every way. To encounter a country for the first time with such a unique and diverse culture, to meet and befriend such passionate and welcoming people and to experience world class luxury combined with action packed adventure has proven to be the formula for awarding this the top travel experience of my life.
My itinerary was perfect. Having flown in to Nairobi, I was transferred to Giraffe Manor, arguably the most instagram friendly location in the country. My first Kenyan sundowners were with a journey of giraffes. As the sun set around us, I experienced that renowned and magical African twilight for the first time. I had the opportunity to feed, hug and even kiss the animals, as the team educated me on giraffe conservation, over a sneaky G&T, no less. Drawing my blinds the next morning, I was greeted by one of the majestic creatures, waiting patiently for his morning nibble. Feeding a giraffe by hand in your pyjamas is a memory I am sure you can imagine will be forever treasured, followed closely by the breakfast we shared that morning!
After the perfect soft launch, I was flown later that day by charter plane to Mara Plains where I was greeted at the air strip by my guide. My first game drive was immediate and unexpected, en route to our tented camp. Before I could even digest the beauty of my surrounds, I was photographing herds of elephants and buffalo with their young. From bush breakfasts and drawn rose petal baths, the surprises continued. The passion of both the staff and the guests is infectious and I felt myself becoming intertwined with the animals and the land as I slowly switched off and adjusted to African time. I loved falling completely into the experience.
At night, as you sleep above buffalo, you are surrounded by the sounds of animals and nature as you dream and by day, you learn about and silently watch and document these glorious animals in their natural habitat. Reconnecting with the natural world is a priceless experience.
After a glorious few days in the Great Plains, I flew by charter plane back to Nairobi for the night where I had the luxury of staying at The Emakoko, a lodge in the National Park, in the centre of the city. An awe-inspiring experience, to do a game drive with the cityscape of one of the country’s largest cities in the background, and enjoying dinner under the stars with the lights and buzz in the distance.
The highlight of my trip was saved until last. Arriving at Ol Donyo, I immediately knew I was somewhere special. Here, I experienced the most magical people, and beauty of my life. With Mount Kilimanjaro presiding over the lodge, Ol Donyo merges indoor and outdoor living, connecting you and nature, with the most luxurious finishes you could imagine. Matched only by my star bed, the most memorable moment was dancing and laughing with some of the Maasai tribe, a vision that encapsulates so perfectly my overarching memory of Kenya. This is the journey, the safari, the trip of a life time.
Every person I’ve ever met lists Safari as the best trip they’ve taken and now I proudly fall into that category. Africa is a wild and free country and I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I look forward to spending a lifetime becoming more closely acquainted. xHermione.
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