Magical Kenya – 26th January – 11th February
I lived in Kenya in the early 1970s and again from 2001 to 2006. It is a beautiful country and soon after joining Ramblers Worldwide Holidays as a leader in 2008, I started to help the company plan a tour there. The first one ran this January in true pioneer spirit and it was wonderful for me to be able to share many of the experiences I had enjoyed before with a great group of clients. These are some of the highlights:
Feeding Rothschilds giraffes at the Nairobi centre.
Visiting Karen Blixen’s house, the scene of Out of Africa, with the famous view of the Ngong Hills.
Walking by the lake at Naivasha to see so many beautiful birds and hippos at Hippo Point.
The ascent of dormant volcano Mount Longonot in the Rift Valley.
The weird and wonderful gorge walk in Hells Gate National Park, with hot springs bubbling from the walls.
The flamingos and pelicans in Nakuru National Park.
Forest walk at the tree hotel (Don’t mention the thieving Sykes monkeys!).
The Mount Kenya climb with its outstanding flora and views across the range – the best part of the tour for the climbing group.
The food at Sweetwaters lodge and the birds (over 50 species identified by our group) & animals at the waterhole by our luxury tents, as well as the elephants, lion and rhino seen on our game drives.
The panoramas and variety of agriculture, from wheat to tea, on the drives past Thompson’s Falls and round the north of Mount Kenya.
The high standard of accommodation and meals in most of the hotels and lodges.
The gardens and pool at Izaak Walton Inn – wonderful for a rest after the climb.
Carnivore-style lunch at Panari, Nairobi.
Beach and headland walk to Watamu Swahili village, cycling to Mida Creek and the mangrove swamps.
The haunting and magical Gede ruins as well as the fascinating butterfly farm.
History and shopping in Malindi.
For the ladies – the manicure and pedicure sessions at Turtle Bay before departure.
Of course, being a pioneer tour, there were parts of the itinerary that have to be amended next time. We will fly to Malindi rather than travel the long road in a bus. The climbers will have more time to acclimatise to the altitude on Mount Kenya and rest up in preparation for reaching the summit. Those who opt out of the climb will have the opportunity to visit an additional National Park at Meru, stay in an eco-lodge and explore the riverine forest.