Research Report: Jamie’s Trip to Kenya

Research Report: Jamie’s Trip to Kenya

Kenya is renowned for having some of Africa’s most sensational safari experiences, something our Africa specialist Jamie can confidently vouch for. On a recent trip to this colourful country, she sampled game drives while staying in luxury camps, visited community-founded elephant sanctuaries and immersed herself in the Masai culture. Whether you’re a seasoned wildlife spotter or new to the world of safaris, read on to discover Jamie’s top tips for an enriching trip to Kenya.


How long was your trip?

It was just under two weeks, with ten days spent exploring Elewana’s safari camps in Kenya’s stunning parks. Afterwards, I spent three days in Nairobi visiting some family.




Where did you visit?

I visited various parks across Kenya, staying in a range of gorgeous camps such as: Kifaru House in Lewa, boasting impressive views over the 65,000-acre conservancy and Mount Kenya; Loisaba Lodo Springs within Loisaba Conservancy, which sits on a vital Elephant Corridor; Sand River Camp in the Masai Mara Reserve, perched on the banks of a river from which it takes its name; and House in the Wild on the banks of the Mara River in the Enonkishu Conservancy. I also went to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city in south-central Kenya.


What did you get up to?

While staying in the safari camps, I was lucky enough to go on two game drives each day, spotting Kenyan wildlife like rhinos, elephants and hyenas. The camps prepared delicious bush breakfasts to start the day, lunches to keep us fuelled and relaxing sundowners to finish. I also got to go for refreshing swims in freshwater pools, explore on foot during nature walks and even try e-biking.

Camp Lunch



What made your trip special?

Staying in such beautiful properties run by teams who know how to care for you was really special, particularly in Lewa. Our safari guides here were cousins, and we were able to learn about the Masai culture directly from them. Their personal relationship with the community made their role as guides invaluable, and their fantastic wildlife-spotting skills were unmatched.


Did you learn about any hidden gems?

The Ngare Ndare Forest at the foothills of Mount Kenya was an incredible hidden gem, as it was such a different experience from the traditional morning and afternoon game drives. Rangers took us on a forest walk to a waterfall, where we could jump into the freshwater pools – a much-needed experience in the hot weather!

Ngare Ndare Forest



What’s your favourite thing you ate?

Although it’s not typical Kenyan cuisine, soup was my go-to. I had a delicious cold harissa butternut squash soup that was flavoured to perfection.


What new things did you learn?

I learned the incredibly intriguing way some Masai people decide their age. Traditionally, they don’t have birth certificates and no one records dates, so, as a result, they don’t know their birthday. One of our Masai guides shared with us how, when he was applying for his passport, he chose a birth date by recalling that his mother described his birth as occurring after the drought but before the rains. He used this seasonal guide to select a time of year and opted for an even-numbered month, as odd numbers are considered unlucky. To decide the year, he asked someone their age – as he thought he looked a similar age – and chose based on that!


What was something you’d never done before?

Jumping into a freshwater pool from a knee-wobbling height in the Ngare Ndare Forest. The fact I'm scared of heights didn’t help, but it ended up being one of the best experiences, as it was so different from the typical safari game drives.


What’s one thing that can’t be missed?

The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary completely stole my heart. I’ve previously been to the amazing Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, but the lesser-known, community-founded Reteti stands out due to its inspirational practices. They focus on rescuing elephants in the north before releasing them back to the areas they are from, which increases the chances of them finding their families. Also, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, they introduced a new feeding regime, opting for goat’s milk instead of expensive imported formula. This change not only reduced costs but also empowered over 1,000 local women by supporting their businesses through milk purchases.

Elephant Sanctuary



Did anything surprise you about the destination?

Yes – how fantastic the wildlife was in Lewa, and the sheer number of rhino sightings we had. We were lucky enough to see rhinos on every drive, and not just in the distance. At watering holes, we had the incredible opportunity to get up close and personal, showcasing the incredible conservation efforts underway in Kenya.


What’s a top tip you’d give to clients?

You should combine north and south safaris to see dramatic landscape changes, for example, pairing Lewa or Loisaba in the north with a conservancy in the Mara in the south. Wildlife is different at each end of the country, too, so you’re treated to a wide variety of beautiful animals.

Header Image by Olivier Romano.