I have been fortunate enough to travel to many far-flung parts of the globe but I've never been on safari or travelled to East Africa. In December, however, I was lucky enough to visit Kenya where I headed to Nairobi briefly, before heading down to the Masai Mara to stay at Richard's River Camp. Nothing prepared me for how beautiful it would be and how much I would love the place. It came as no surprise to me that Richard's Camp has just been nominated as one of Condé Nast Traveler's Great African Safari Lodges you haven't heard of yet. I might be able to give you a little indication why...
Making a Comeback
Kenya has had something of a torrid time of late but the honest truth is I have never felt safer and am already planning my return visit for 2016. I cannot speak for the parts I didn't visit but Nairobi and the Mara were far from intimidating. I was only in Nairobi for one night, but it was great to see the city before flying into one of the most beautiful places I have ever been - the Masai Mara. We were so lucky; it had been raining non-stop for a couple of weeks before we got there so everything was lusciously green. Flying over the plains, spotting animals from the air was a real highlight and I didn't think it could get better, until we landed.
The Big Five
As soon as we touched down we were whisked off by our guide, William, and his brother, Sedera (our spotter), for over an hour of game-viewing on our way to camp. En-route we saw several lion, a herd of elephant, giraffe, buffalo and much more. I was already in my element and had not even reached camp!
Wow... This gorgeous tented camp is the second of Richard's Camps, located on the banks of the Njageteck River. I don't know what I expected, but whatever it was, seeing the camp exceeded all of them. The camp is simply stunning, designed by Richard's wife, Liz - she has created an exceptionally beautiful luxury living space tucked away in Mara North. I was so impressed by the whole thing, I could not stop grinning and was bouncing around my tent for most of my stay.
Life is in the Detail
At Original Travel, we love the tiny details and no detail was spared at Richard's Camp; from being advised of the best spot from which to see the sunset as we sipped our gin and tonics, to the hot water bottle that was left in your bed at night, ready for you to snuggle on in. These thoughtful touches made all the difference to our stay.
A Well-Deserved Condé Nast Nomination
It's not just the accommodation that is flawless either; our guides were also amazing and during the five days I was there I was fortunate enough to see a hyena kill, the birth of a Thompson's Gazelle, elephant charging at one another, as well as huge numbers of lion, rhino and hippo (to name a few). I was so impressed with how much we were able to do and see, all punctuated by the fabulous service at Richard's Camp - I have to give a special mention to the bush breakfasts and lunches! I simply cannot wait to go back.