Kenya Up-country Safari
Kenya Highlands and The Great Rift Valley
This safari in Kenya took in the Masai Mara, Mount Kenya forest, Laikipia plateau and The Great Rift Valley.
A great itinerary put together by long term Kenyan residents Marion and Gordon Weston included some of Kenya’s most impressive destinations.
Our overseas visitors hailed from New York and Miami, and after a night in Nairobi, a quick 45 minute flight took them to the heart of the Masai Mara for a 3 night big game viewing extravaganza. Lion devouring hippo, and stunning sightings of leopard were just two of the highlights.
Having flown back to Nairobi, and experienced an evening at the world renowned Muthaiga Club, we were charged and excited about our onward leg.
A two hour drive north, leaving Nairobi on the newly completed ‘super highway’, through the coffee, pineapple and avocado plantations, across Kenya’s largest river - the Tana to the foothills of Mount Kenya.
Mountain Lodge is situated inside Mount Kenya National Park overlooking a waterhole in a forest glade.
The beauty of this equatorial mountain forest is fully appreciated when nestled in amongst it. Viewing buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, elephant from one’s balcony at leisure is an interesting alternative to game-viewing from a vehicle, and allows one to slow to the pace of the natural surroundings from a different perspective.
Colobus and Sykes monkey abound, and a short walk around the lodge grounds reveals all manner of smaller forest flora and fauna, including bush squirrels, forest birds, and of course the huge variety of indigenous shrubs and trees.
As the sun sets, the forest takes on a different feel, and with the waterhole bathed in floodlight, the chances of a rare sighting of creatures at night is made all the more likely. Elephant, buffalo, genet, and leopard are regularly seen from the viewing decks of the lodge.
Our next destination took us north across the equator through the historic rancher's town of Nanyuki. We were joined by Nanyuki resident Jilly, and her kids - Thomas and Samantha - a real treat to have old friends very familiar with the Laikipia plateau. Our convoy of three 4x4 vehicles headed west out of Nanyuki into the beautiful ranchlands.
Sosian Ranch is an old cattle farm built in the 1920’s. After a long period of neglect - the ranch was given a new lease of life - and is now a thriving Boran cross Hereford cattle ranch working in harmony with a wildlife sanctuary across 18,000 acres.
Superb hospitality from the lodge managers, Simon and Rosie ensured we were given the royal treatment, and nothing was too much trouble. Bush lunches, and dinners, horse riding, game drives, walks, sundowners, fishing, snooker, swimming, and just relaxing on the wide ranch house verandah taking the the splendour of the wilderness around were just some of the activities available at Sosian - and with enthusiasm of two young locals - we were very privileged to enjoy some very memorable experiences here.
Our group had really gelled, and stories from New York, New Jersey, Miami and all manner of travel destinations were recounted by our American friends - with many a raised eyebrow or two in fascination. Just another wonderful aspect of being on safari - meeting new friends, traveling vicariously, and learning of new destinations for future adventures.
Having said our goodbyes at Sosian we drove on south west - through Rumuruti towards the town of Nyahururu - also named Thomson Falls, where Scottish geologist, Joseph Thomson was the first European to view the Falls in 1883 and named them after his father. The road then took us down into The Great Rift valley, through the small town of Gilgil, along the floor of the valley to Lake Naivasha. Oserian Game Sanctuary and Chui Lodge is situated on the south west side of Lake Naivasha.
In June, after the long rains - the sanctuary is lush with grass, and the many herbivores in the sanctuary are in their element. The rare Grevy’s Zebra, giraffe, rhino, warthog, wildebeest, waterbuck, and buffalo are plentiful on the plains.
An excursion to the lake shore allowed us to experience the fascinating birdlife, and the splendour of flamingos. Walking amongst zebra and giraffe feeding in the tranquil Yellow-barked acacia forest, viewing fish eagles circling overhead, and watching the many bird species all around that Lake Naivasha is so famous for.
A short hour and a half drive back to Nairobi, followed by a relaxing afternoon and a farewell dinner at The Lord Errol restaurant took us to the end of the a wonderful week full of fun and great experiences. Great friends were made, and we looking forward to meeting again.
‘Stick a fork in me, I’m done!’