Kenya Safari

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					Welcome to the third installment of our October 2010 familiarisation trip to Africa.
After another night at the Metcourt, we are off to Nairobi to start our Kenya safari as
many seem to regard Kenya as the African wildlife safaris capital of the world,
probably because of the many wonderful documentaries such as big cat diary.
  We arrive to a warm welcome from Otieno who spirits us away to a waiting vehicle
for the battle through the dense Nairobi traffic. The House of Waine, our
accommodation for the night is just as elegant and efficient as it was on our last visit.
We have been allocated the suite which is so large you would need a GPS to find your
way around! Gazing down on the manicured gardens and pool, we muse that this is a
perfect start to our Kenya safari.
  Tomorrow morning we are flying to the Masai Mara from Wilson Airport which is
relatively close to the House of Waine. East Africans seem to like to stick to providing
what is considered 鈥渁 uthentic 鈥?African wildlife safaris meaning that they
endeavour to reproduce experiences of a bygone era with paraffin lamps and largely
demountable tents.
  The first stop on our Kenya safari is Karen Blixen Camp in the North Mara
Conservancy, which borders on the Masai Mara. The conservancy is dotted with
Maasai settlements and because the Maasai are purely pastoral, the wildlife must
co-exist with goats, sheep and cattle which are the measure of a Maasai 鈥檚 wealth.
It is said that the cow was a gift from God to the Maasai who now own all the cattle in
the world 鈥?even those in Australia!
  The first thing on the agenda when we land is an urgent pee as ours is the last stop
on this air shuttle service. Thankfully generally on African wildlife safaris, every tree
is a lava tree (lavatory!) On arrival at Karen Blixen we are delighted to see a breeding
herd of elephants refreshing themselves on the opposite bank of the Mara river, along
which the camp is beautifully positioned. After a short briefing it is time to deposit
our bags in our tent. Simon, our 鈥 渉 ousekeeper 鈥 ?for the time being,
conscientiously points out all the features.
  Our game drive this afternoon is in the conservancy. The Maasai, who shepherd their
flock by day, stand out like beacons on the horizon in their bright traditional attire,
believing that bright colours will frighten away predators. Thus confirming our
approach of wearing muted colours on safari as we are keen to see the wildlife rather
than frighten it away! The juxtaposition of domestic animals with wildlife strikes us
as totally incongruous especially when we see a domestic dog tucking into the carcass
of a very recently deceased buffalo. But this is all part and parcel of a Kenya safari or
at least those which include some time in the conservancies that border the Mara.
  We are joined for dinner by Martin, the major shareholder of Karen Blixen Camp
who is kind enough to schedule a visit to the Camp to meet up with us. The second of
our dinner companions is Mark who manages the North Mara Conservancy, which
involves negotiating with the resident Maasai aggrieved by the loss of one of their
flock to the wildlife predators in terms of compensation to avoid retaliation by killing
the predator. The last of our dinner companions is Tedi who is running a permiculture
type project encouraging the planting of indigenous trees and the maintenance of a
more sustainable environment. After a fascinating and fun dinner we are lulled to
sleep in a comfortable bed by the soporific sounds of the Mara River rippling along its
rocky bed just outside our tent.
 Since the purpose of our trip is to assess or in some cases reassess properties and
locations for memorable African wildlife safaris for Destinations Africa clients, we
have a very busy day ahead of us with four properties to inspect before lunch. While
we have some trouble reconciling the proliferation of domestic animals on our game
drive cum inspection tour, the co-existence of local Maasai communities and wildlife
camps and lodges provides an interesting cultural perspective to a Kenya safari.

 About Destinations Africa
 Destinations Africa is a family run business that was formed through the desire of
John Mitchell-Adams to share his love of Africa. John, his wife Hilary, along with
their team of Tracey, Sandie, Faye, Craig and Kim are here to ensure your trip will be
both exciting and memorable.