Story and Photos by Steve Juba
There are many ways to experience the great animals of East Africa, but a luxury Kenya safari is a guaranteed trip of a lifetime. Luxury safaris utilize only the best lodges and game camps, the most experienced guides & drivers, excellent food, and a complete package from start to finish.
Imagine touching down in Nairobi about to embark on an adventure filled with giraffes, zebras, lions, wildebeest, and so much more! On a luxury safari there is no need to plan anything. As soon as you collect your luggage a driver and guide will pick you up and bring you to your first hotel in Nairobi. It’s best to plan at least one night here before heading off to the game parks to catch up on much needed R&R after long flights and layovers.
After a good nights sleep, you’re off in the early AM to a wonderful tree house lodge built on stilts in front of Mount Kenya. Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Africa (behind Kilimanjaro in Tanzania - safaris in Tanzania are also something to dream of). This lodge floats 2134 meters above sea level and is situated right in front of a huge watering hole. Each room has a wonderful view and balcony of this important life source for the surrounding animals. Kick back and watch the animals flock to and from the watering hole with camera in hand. It’s not uncommon to see elephants, baboons, gazelle & other antelopes come and go. In the evening enjoy dinner in a traditionally timbered dining room built on top of stilts giving the illusion of floating on top of the surrounding ancient rainforest. After dinner enjoy a massage or hang out on the rooftop viewing deck to witness the creatures of the night.
In the morning venture back down the mountain and across the equator. Enjoy the ride through the bush as the temperature rises heading to the north. Arrive at the luxury game lodge just outside the Shaba National Reserve. The luxury thatched bungalows are set amongst extensive gardens with a beautiful pool to cool off in. It’s set alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River, a haven for crocodiles! Don’t worry, an electric fence protects guests from the reptiles of the river without obstructing awesome views of these fierce predators and their habitat. This evening witness a performance of Samburu dance while feasting on a delicious, locally sourced meal. The next day is filled with safari! The game drives take place in the morning and afternoon when most animals are out roaming the plains. The Shaba National Reserve is teeming with elephants, reticulated giraffes, monkeys, zebra, lions, and the rare Beisa Oryx with huge horns!
This adventure is only beginning because after a hearty breakfast you’re off to Lake Nakuru, the most famous lake among the Great Rift Valley and home to a massive population of over 1 million flamingoes! Arrive at the game lodge to a tasty lunch overlooking the flamingo filled waters. Your private bungalow features its own balcony and view of the lake. The lake and surrounding park is also home to Kenya’s first and largest rhino sanctuary (the park is home to the rare black and white rhino)! Head out on an afternoon safari in search of these great beasts along with monkeys and lions. At some point you’ll stop along the lakes edge to walk along the unique shoreline of Lake Nakuru. It’s known as a “soda lake” due to its high alkaline content supporting rare algae’s and specialized organisms. The fuchsia pink flamingos flock here in the millions to eat the specific types of algae that only grow in the warm, alkaline waters. During certain seasons there are so many flamingos you can’t even see the water but instead a constant wave of pink. This world famous spectacle is not to be missed and amazing pictures will be taken with ease!
This morning you’re off to the world renowned Masai Mara, home to the Great Migration. If you’re lucky enough to take this trip during September & October you’ll witness the world famous migration of over 1 million wildebeest. All the predators of Africa come out for this annual March as you witness amazing hunts and the circle of life, Nat Geo style! After settling in at a luxury tented camp (and we mean luxury!), enjoy lunch before your first unforgettable game drive on the Mara. The camp is surrounded by tropical gardens and crystal clear streams. These are no ordinary tents; they feature king sized beds, ensuite baths, and electricity. Cool off at the swimming pool after your first game drive before dinner. The next day is spent entirely on safari in East Africa’s most concentrated stadium of wildlife. It’s here you’ll have the best chance at seeing the largest lion prides and elephant herds. The elusive leopard can also be spotted if you’re patient enough. Cheetahs, cape buffalo, wildebeest, gazelle, and so much more are around ever corner. This is truly a wildlife photographers dream. Tonight enjoy a final massage at the camps spa before bidding farewell to a luxury safari of a lifetime.
About the Author: Steve Juba is an experienced world traveler who plans unique, off the path trips for his PhotoFly Travel Club .The group goes on adventures like the one above every month. Steve resides in San Francisco where he leads local hikes in the Bay Area in between escorting international excursions for his travel club. His love for travel, photography, culture, and people make for a great travel companion and leader. You can follow Steve and the club on Twitter: http://twitter.com/solotravelclubs and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photoflytravel