Kenya!

Ok, it has taken me a couple of weeks to finish sorting through all of my photos, but I finally finished this evening! I took about 1600 in total and have managed to cut that down as best I can – I find it so hard to let go of pictures though!

We spent our first day on a plane, so I’m counting the start of the holiday as the Tuesday! We went to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in the morning, which was absolutely incredible. They basically have a couple of pools set up, and the babies come and have some milk and then play around in the mud and water, getting you covered in the process! Genuinely a once in a lifetime experience, and I feel so privileged to have been. We were even lucky enough to touch the elephants.

After our excursion we went back to our hotel and relaxed for the afternoon, before having dinner in the African BBQ restaurant. We got to try all different kinds of meats, including crocodile (which was so yummy!), ostrich and camel! Following dinner, we had an early night to prepare for travelling to the Masai Mara in the morning!

We set off for the Masai Mara first thing in the morning, via the Rift Valley. The journey lasted about 4.5hrs, the last 1.5hr of which was on an unfinished road. We arrived in time for lunch and took a few hours to freshen up, before heading out for an evening game drive (between about 16:00-18:30).

We saw some absolutely incredible things, initially getting stupidly excited by some wildebeest, but then going on the see elephants, zebra, ostriches, giraffes, and finally a cheetah eating it’s fresh kill! It felt amazing to see something so unusual, though not for the faint hearted – lots of blood and guts! Both Dave and I were really surprised at how many amazing things we saw on our first game drive though. We literally expected to see a couple of zebra and that be it, so we were really excited for what the rest of the holiday had in store!

Our first full day in the Masai Mara. We went for two game drives today, starting early til lunch and then going out again in the evening for another couple of hours. Again, we felt so incredibly lucky. After finishing the previous night with the cheetah, were really weren’t expecting our first sight of the day to be not just one but two cheetahs! We followed this with some awesome bird life, leopards (again, not just one but TWO), giraffes and later on some lions. The amount of wildlife and the diversity of it is incredible. With the leopards, we saw the first one whilst it was hunting wildebeest and thought that would be it, but after a close encounter with some elephants we saw the second leopard sleeping in a tree! Definitely a strike of luck! Dave made a good spot with a pool of hippos on the evening drive, and I managed to take a picture of two lions mating (again, apparently not usually seen that often).

After being blown away by all of the wildlife, we returned to the hotel for a really great dinner, and then dancing from some of the local Masai, which was really awesome to watch.

Another full day in the Masai Mara. We had some massive storms the night before, so our guide Frank suggested we drive over to the other side of the park to see if we could find any crocodiles – success! It was a long drive but we saw several crocodiles on the riverbank. We then made our way back to our side of the park and passed cheetah, lions, and lots of wildebeest (literally millions) and visited the local Masai village. It was approximately 3 miles away from our lodge, tucked away behind some trees – you’d have never known it was there, to be honest. We were shown around by a really lovely guy called John, who made us so welcome. Dave got to dance with the men, and they showed us how to make fire. We also got to look inside one of their houses, and met family members. It was a really amazing experience and I feel really privileged to have met them.

After a short break we went back out into the park again (staying a bit closer to home this time) and tried to find some rhino. We were unsuccessful but did spot loads of hippos, and some tiny baby gazelle, so all was not lost. We then returned to our hotel to pack and prepare for moving to our next location in the morning.

We left early for our journey to Lake Nakuru, stopping once on the way. It’s approximately 6.5hrs, as you have to go back towards Nairobi before going along the lakes. After settling into our new lodge and freshening up, we went for an evening game drive in the national park – we saw rhinos! That completed our “big 5”. Such a privilege to see. We were both a little gutted we couldn’t get a little bit closer, but we saw them (bottom left). We also saw some of Lake Nakuru’s famous flamingoes, a really interesting troop of baboons, and some different birds. Our guide, Frank, also got a picture of us infront of Makali waterfall.

We woke up to the most amazing sunrise this morning, but had to set off early to travel to Amboseli. Enroute we stopped for a boat ride across Lake Naivasha. I really don’t like boats and was expecting to hate it, but it was so much fun! We saw loads of different birds! It felt refreshing to photograph something completely different as well. The pied kingfishers were absolutely adorable – I could’ve watched them all day!

After our boat ride, we made our way back to Nairobi and had some lunch, and then continued to Amboseli along the Mombassa road. We got held up by an accident on the way, but Frank decided to off-road past it haha! We arrived in Amboseli just before dinner, so that gave us opportunity to have a look around the lodge resort and then chill a little in the evening. We were both so tired after the long journey though, so it was an early night for us both!

Amboseli is so hot! Our game drive today went from about 7:30-2:00 and peaked at about 33 degrees. It was like an oven in the truck when we weren’t moving. We did have an incredible experience with some elephants though, so it was totally worth it. We saw our first herd eating just inside the park entrance. There was an enormous bull elephant – I was really shocked at how big it was. Amazing how quiet these animals are though, when you look at the size of them. We then moved on and saw another herd making their way down towards the swamps. We sat for ages watching them all walk down, throwing dust at each other and playing. Then they went into the water to graze and cool down. We were so close. Definitely a highlight of the whole holiday!

After lunch we got an afternoon to chill out (which we really needed). We checked out the Masai ladies market in the resort and bought a few souvenirs. Their jewellery is so beautiful!

In the morning we managed to see Mount Kilimanjaro peeking out from the clouds before we left – I was so worried we wouldn’t see it! We drove back to Nairobi, arriving at lunch time, and spent the afternoon in the tour operators lounge relaxing before our flight. Here we are with Frank and our truck!

The flight home was very long and very boring. It was overnight and I didn’t sleep at all…so I worked my way through 3 films and chatted with the flight attendants! We arrived back in London at approximately 6am and drove straight home, where I had a nap for a few hours and tried to work through our washing!

We had the most amazing time. Kenya is a beautiful country, full of beautiful people. Everyone was so kind and helpful, and it was incredible seeing a completely different culture. We couldn’t have asked more from our guide Frank – he was super knowledgable and so lovely! The variety of animals was insane, as I’m so glad that we eventually saw some rhinos. We’ve both decided that we would love to go back one day! Hope you like all the pictures. I’ve done lots of crochet since getting home, so an update on that is on the cards for later in the week!

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