At the end of February, I travelled to Kenya with my mother. Our 2 weeks spanned from wildlife discoveries in the two remote and distinct national parks of Maasai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park to coastal discoveries by the Indian Ocean, including relaxation, diving and food explorations.
Getting started in Nairobi
Although we spent one full day in Nairobi on arrival, I don’t think that we’ve truely seen the capital. However, this first day helped us settle in and discover some first cultural traits and other elements of Kenyan everyday life. We discovered Uber as the easiest way to get around. Like I had experienced it with Grab in Southeast Asia, I appreciated the freedom we got through this mobile application. Instead of renting a car or taking a driver for the day, we could just spontaneously decide when to go where.
We visited Karen Blixen Museum, which made me feel rather repelled by the white employer’s habits and living style. But we were happy to support an income for locals and get a little insight in parts of the region’s history and Colonial life.
Maasai Mara National Reserve
Whenever I talk about our first week in Kenya, I cannot stress enough how much time we spent driving in order to reach our different destinations. When I talk about one week of safari, we actually enjoyed 2.5 days of pure safari and 4.5 days in vehicles or hotels to reach the two parks. Maasai Mara National Reserve is where we did our first safari. It’s adjacent to Serengeti, which speaks for itself – this park is a must-see in my view. If you can only see one park, choose this one because its ecosystem is probably one of the healthiest ones you can find in all Africa.
I published a reel on Instagram that gives some impressions of our time in Maasai Mara. It’s one of these destinations where I’d love to go back and which I’d recommend without hesitation. The wildlife is impressive there. We were very lucky to encountered the Big 5 in just one safari. The conservation efforts there have truely brought great success. But I’ll go into more detail in another post (read more here).
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is located at the foot of Kilimanjaro. We chose this park in addition to Maasai Mara because we wanted to see Africa’s highest mountain and the famous elephant groups. And we were very lucky again. Kilimanjaro was uncovered from the surrounding clouds after several days of bad sight, exactly on our second day and last safari.
But our visit to Amboseli National Park also had a bitter taste since the devastating effects of long-lasting droughts and sudden strong rainfalls, resulting in floodings were unmissable. I noticed that many phenomena that you witness in this park are not easy to research online. Thus, I’ll dedicate another post to these parts of the otherwise quite touristic Amboseli.
Crossing Kenya by Madaraka Express
My adventurous spirit succeeded in convincing my mother to take the train from Emali to Mombasa. It departs from Nairobi but we wanted to avoid going back and forth again. That’s why we spent one night in Emali to catch the train from there.
Searching accomodation in Emali gave us some headache before our trip, but we luckily found a good option in the end. This stop was exactly right for us after the many days in 4×4 on bumpy roads. Finally, we had a full afternoon and evening that we used to simply relax, sort pictures, talk to our dear ones and sleep.
The train ride was comfortable, even though all first class seats had already been sold out. But we passed by Tsara National Park, where we saw elephants and ostriches from far.
One week by the sea: Diani Beach
The second week was perfectly relaxing for us after the many days seated in 4×4. We enjoyed beach walks, swam in our hotel pools, read books, tasted delicious Swahili dishes, dived in the Indian Ocean and negociated some last-minute gifts on local markets.
Kenya has cast its spell on us. We’ve made unforgettable encounters with the most warm-hearted people and exceptional wilflife, experienced breathtaking landscapes and tasted delicous local food. Whoever got an eye on Kenya, don’t wait too long to discover this beautiful country. Word has already got around.
Who is planning to travel to Kenya? Leave me a comment below. I’m curious to know who is reading to get inspired!