Royal Travel’s Kendra Thornton took an amazing trip to Kenya this past May and shares all of her spectacular adventures!
Nairobi, Kenya: Upon arrival, a Micato Safaris representative was waiting to welcome me in the airport Arrivals Hall. I was then transferred to The Norfolk Hotel, my home for a few nights in Nairobi. The Norfolk Hotel offers luxury accommodations and has been around for over 100 years. It has this old-world charm combined with modern design and sits in the most perfect location in all of Nairobi.
Nairobi, Kenya: After a delicious breakfast and a briefing on the adventure to come, I was off to visit the home of Karen von Blixen and the surrounding area, which is now called Karen Estates. I continued to the Giraffe Centre to experience the rare treat of hand-feeding the Rothschild giraffes from an elevated viewing platform. Then, I visited Daphne Sheldrick’s Wildlife Orphanage to meet her current charges. For the evening, I was invited for cocktails and dinner at Lavington, the home of Felix and Jane Pinto, my Kenya hosts and the founders of the Micato Family of companies. This was a unique opportunity to experience Kenyan Hospitality at its best. I stayed at the Norfolk Hotel again that night where I could take a dip in the heated swimming pool and spend time at the health club.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya: After breakfast, I boarded my flight to the famed Maasai Mara. A short drive brought me from the airstrip to the camp. After lunch, I set out across the plains in search of game. Then, I returned to the camp for a candlelit dinner at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club where I was staying for the next three nights. The Fairmont Mara Safari Club is the pinnacle of luxury. They offer several fine dining experiences and multitudes of outdoor activities. It offers absolutely stunning views as it is surrounded by the Mara River on three sides.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya: My day began with a hot air balloon safari. I left camp before dawn, and just as the sun began to rise over the Mara Plains, the balloon lifted off and floated just a few hundred feet above herds of wild animals. Finally, I touched down and was delighted in a champagne breakfast in the middle of the bush. The rest of the morning and afternoon I had game drives throughout the reserve. I spent my second night at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club looking out over all the wildlife attractions hoping to spot a hippo or alligator in the river down below.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya: After an early wake-up call, I headed out on a game run in the cool morning, which is when the animals are most active. I saw dozens of zebra, elephants, giraffes, and even a rhino! After my afternoon game drive, I enjoyed a bush dinner with Maasai dancers, which is such a magical experience! I stayed my last night at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club.
Mount Kenya Safari Club, Kenya:
After breakfast, I made my way to Nanyuki and continued overland to the magnificent Mount Kenya Safari Club, nestled in the foothills of snow-capped Mount Kenya. This is where I stayed for a few nights. There was a host of optional activities available at the Club, including golf, horseback riding, fishing in a trout stream, bowling on a manicured green, strolling the gardens and grounds, and enjoying a spectacular view of the peak of Mount Kenya from the poolside patio. Mount Kenya Safari Club is a special resort because it sits right on the equator line and you have the unique opportunity to experience both hemispheres in one resort!
Mount Kenya Safari Club, Kenya:
In the morning, I visited the Ol Pejeta Ranch. The property is home to a chimpanzee sanctuary, originally established by the Jane Goodall Institute. I returned to the Mount Kenya Safari Club in time for lunch. In the afternoon, I visited the animal orphanage, operated by the William Holden Wildlife Foundation. At the orphanage, wildlife foundlings are raised with great care, and many are quite tame. It was an opportunity to get close to some wild creatures that, despite a struggle, have managed to survive. The rest of the day was at leisure to enjoy my exceptional surroundings and the many available activities. This was my last night at the Mount Kenya Safari Club so I really had to take in the views of the magnificent Mount Kenya.
After breakfast, I boarded my flight to Nairobi. Upon arrival, I visited an AmericaShare Project. I spent a few hours in an impoverished area of Nairobi where AmericaShare is working to better the lives of the people there. This was my unique chance to witness everyday life in Africa. Later, I was transferred to The Norfolk Hotel, where a day room was reserved for me. After dinner, I was transferred to the airport for my departure flight.