A Christmas safari in the Mara
Masai Mara, Kenya; Belated Christmas wishes all! Having just returned from my safari adventure in the depths of Kenya’s Masai Mara, I was hoping to have plenty of juicy, meaty tales to tell, but alas no. Unlike South Africa, hunting is forbidden and therefore you won’t find wild meat on any menu. I realise it’s not very FooDiva, but given the safari was so exhilirating, I just had to share the highlights, along with some snapshots – I’m sure you won’t mind! Firstly to set the scene please click on this video.
Having overnighted in Nairobi on Christmas Eve at the Tribe boutique hotel (by the way, the Village craft market next to the hotel is the best place to shop for African artifacts and souvenirs), we flew to our Masai camp, Kichwa Tembo the following morning. A Masai tribe greeted us with a very moving song and dance, followed by some Christmas bubbles and nibbles.
I have always heard that out of all the African countries, wild animals are more abundant in Kenya, and they certainly are. We saw four of the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard) – the rhino escaped us unfortunately. There are only about 20 or so left in the Masai, and even though some of our fellow guests managed to spot them, we weren’t so lucky. But we did see plenty of giraffes, zebras, gazelles, impalas, wildebeest, cheetahs, topi, baboons, hyenas, mongoose, hippos, crocodiles, plus our very own resident warthogs, as well as blue and copper tail monkeys. The holiday highlight and absolute must for anyone considering a Kenyan safari is a hot air balloon ride (it’s expensive but worth every schilling), followed by champagne breakfast in the midst of the savannah. Not only are the views spectacular, it’s so peaceful yet highly energising despite the dawn start.
Kichwa Tembo is one of the Masai’s older luxury camps, giving it a very ‘Out of Africa’ feel – despite looking a tad tired, our luxury tent (number 37) was beautiful and you could not fault the service. The Kenyan staff are an absolute delight, ready to accommodate our never-ending requests.
The quality of the food however was inconsistent…the simple barbeques worked best, as did the safari breakfasts, and my friend’s strict dietary requirements were well and truly taken care of. Oh and guess what, the camp has its very own vegetable garden which the chef proudly showed off.
African specialist operator And Beyond took care of all our on-ground arrangements including overnight stay at the Tribe boutique hotel in Nairobi, three nights at Kichwa Tembo camp in the Masai with all meals, transfers, safari rides (two a day), hot air balloon trip with champagne breakfast, hippo walking trail and Masai village visit.
A bientôt everyone and cheers to a fabulous, bubbly new year’s eve!