Following our trip to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda, we arrived in Nairobi to continue our adventure planned by Patrick at Journeys Discovering Africa.
Giraffe Manor Lodge was originally built in 1932 in the style of a Scottish hunting lodge. Set on 115 acres, the manor provides security to a number of endangered Rothschilds Giraffe, most of which were translocated when their home in northern Kenya was destroyed. The Manor has six bedrooms, one of which is furnished with the belongings of Karen Blixen, of ‘Out of Africa’ fame.
The next day we flew to The Masai Mara to begin our safari.
The Masai Mara and adjoining conservancies form the northern portion of the 25,000 square kilometre Mara-Serengeti ecosystem that lies to the west of the Great Rift Valley, and extends south into Tanzania. The thin cover of volcanic soils of the area can only support grassland, with riverine forest along some of the seasonal stream beds. What the ecosystem does support is wildlife. On a normal day’s game drive, you are likely to see a large variety of plains game, as well as the predators that stalk them.
We are based at Kicheche Bush Camp, a classic bush camp with six tents, completely unfenced. Our tent has an en-suite bathroom and a safari bucket shower. The conservancy we are in is a partnership with the local Maasai, where in return for keeping the land aside for wildlife, they receive revenue from our stay here.
Charles makes us breakfast on the Mara and then takes us on an amazing game drive.
We see the animals that migrate each year, like the wildebeest, gazelle and zebra.
Charles was keen to find “The Big Five”: lion, elephant, leopard, cape buffalo, and rhino. There were at least two lion families in the area, & a gorgeous pair of cheetahs. Charles knew there was a leopard but he eluded us. Sadly, there were no rhinos.
We were surrounded by elephants on our first Sundowner.
Dinner at the camp was fun, sitting around the table with professional photographers, everyone telling about their day’s finds. After an evening around the glowing bonfire, Joseph got us safely back to our beds. We had to be ready for another early wake-up call the next day. There was still lots to see.
Our last Sundowner with sunset on the Mara.
We were sad to say goodbye to Charles and our fabulous safari adventure.
Back in Nairobi we visited The Giraffe Centre & fed the same giraffes we had visited at Giraffe Manor. There was a lovely gift shop for little presents to take home.
Then we visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I returned to Kenya a few years later to visit all the Sheldrick Camps and see how our adopted babies were doing.
Best known for their work to protect elephants, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. To get an almost private visit, you book a time for 5:00, when the orphans are returning home for their evening milk bottle. When they go to their own secure stockade you visit them all and choose one to adopt for the year ($50). You get progress reports every month.
You’re ready to go! Have a look at Packing for a Safari