Susan’s Safari Journal: Kenya

3 min Read February 15, 2024

Susan’s Safari Journal: Kenya

I recently had the rare luxury of experiencing a safari through the eyes of an African Portfolio client when I embarked on an adventure in Kenya based on one of the sample itineraries on our website.

My Out of Africa Adventure began with a convenient non-stop flight on Kenya Airways from JFK to Nairobi. Upon arrival, my cheerful driver Dan and I chatted and enjoyed the lovely views of Nairobi National Park on our way the leafy suburb of Karen. Within about half an hour, we pulled up at the exquisite House of Waine. Eric and Angela Marungi used the initials of their family members to create the name when they renovated a stately private home into this elegant 11-bedroom boutique guest house. The serene setting on 2 ½ acres of manicured gardens created the perfect sanctuary for me to decompress and catch my breath. I highly recommend staying for a second night to enjoy the heated swimming pool, and drinks in the lounge or at the bar and a 5-course gourmet meal served by the wonderful staff in the upscale dining room, not to mention a day in Nairobi, as I did.

In the morning, I was up early and ready for my safari adventure. Our group had the good fortune of flying on a private charter with Scenic Air, which gave us access to their shiny new lounge at Wilson Airport. Our 11 seat Grand Caravan had super comfy swiveling leather seats and we had a thrilling low flying game viewing experience over the Masai Mara. (For groups of 9 or more it’s about the same price as scheduled flights.) We landed at Siana Airstrip with a warm welcome by our Masai guides and trackers. Mara Bushtops is perched on a hill with a natural salt lick at its base, so I could enjoy an armchair safari with an abundance of giraffe, wildebeest, antelope, wart hogs, jackal, topis and mongoose right from the deck of my gorgeous tent.

Being inside the private Isaaten Conservancy allowed for night drives, guided walks, sundowners and bush meals. We enjoyed a walk to the Kikuya cave where our Masai guides explained its significance as a sacred place as a rite of passage and other rituals. On game drives, with the short rains in the Mara, we experienced dramatic panoramic views and seeing the contrast of the sky with the green grasses was a sight to behold. All around us the animals were relaxed and happily munching on the plentiful grass. A pride of 11 lions and cubs was a highlight.

I was undeniably nervous about my first balloon safari, but my fear of heights vanished once I saw the sun peaking over the horizon and could watch the wildlife from above as we floated over the plains.

After incredible days of game drives, walks, pampering in the spa and so many delicious meals, we headed out to another private conservancy in the far north at one of the highest points in Laikipia. Ol Lentille commands spectacular views from the each of the four unique villas. I was awed by the dark red soil and rocky scenery, in sharp contrast to the Mara, ready for a change of pace with camel rides, quad biking, and happy to stretch my legs on some serious hikes around the stunning landscape. Throughout, the al fresco dining experiences in magnificent locations were delightful.

The lodge is owned by the local Maasai community, whose mantra is “here you stop being a tourist and become a guest of the community.” This came to life when we had the honor of attending a wedding of a Samburu bride and a Masai groom. The entire day was a moving, and truly unforgettable experience.

For yet another drastic change of scenery, our trip wound down on the Kenyan coast at the renowned Alfajiri Villas in Diani Beach. With only 3 villas on the property, once you turn off the main road, you enter your own private oasis. The staff are dedicated to ensuring a seamless and memorable experience, from preparing delicious meals including fresh seafood, salads and fruit, and pasta dishes to arranging excursions and activities. Here I was happy to spend some time among the palm trees, white sand and crystal-clear waters of the Indian ocean. We enjoyed snorkeling, walks on the beach, shopping, and massages, but relaxing at the pool, a cool drink in hand while listening to tide coming in was my favorite “activity.” With a full heart (and belly), I was very sad to leave this magical place, but grateful for the  time and opportunity to experience three such distinctly different regions of “Magical Kenya”.

If you are looking for the perfect “Out of Africa” adventure combining city, culture, safari and beach, look no further and give us a call to start planning your version of this itinerary.


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