Ah Kenya, I had missed you, what a pleasure it was to return to this special country.  It was where I fell in love with this amazing continent and experienced my very first safari and a long love affair with travel to Africa.  Kenya continues to surprise, delight and fill my heart with those vast open plains and endless vistas.  Always efficient, with an excellent infrastructure and the warmest of welcomes.





Gamewatchers Safaris Airport transfer vehicle with Air con and wifi

Gamewatchers Safaris Airport transfer vehicle with Air con and wifi


Gamewatchers Safaris’ team went above and beyond during the entire trip.  Edith met us at JKIA for our transfer with the lovely guide, Nicholas, to the House of Waine using the new expressway to Karen, it seemed that the Nairobi traffic flows much better these days.  Nicholas pointed out the wildlife just the other side of the fence in Nairobi NP as we scooted by.    Their new airport transfer vehicles seat 4 and have air conditioning and wifi.






House of Waine is located in Karen, a quiet suburb of Nairobi and with easy access to Wilson Airport, home to most of the domestic flights out to safari parks and coastal destinations.  It was a short stay, but they cooked us a fresh meal, even though it was very late and a light breakfast.  The towel art made me smile, a comfy bed, beautiful gardens and a pool made for a lovely oasis for a night to recover before setting off on safari.





Our first stop was Meru NP, a quiet Park, and a bit off the beaten track, north of Mt Kenya.    Air Kenya touches down in the Park and after a quick freshen up and briefing we set off to explore.  Driving alongside the swamps it was green and fresh, but the rain had been sporadic and localized so we also traversed some very dry areas.  The wildlife was prolific with lots of young antelope and zebra, plenty of towers of giraffe, buffalo and elephant deep in the swamps and as we headed towards camp, we crossed into the rhino sanctuary which holds around 130 black and white rhino and is part of the Park.

Picnic Breakfast in Meru NP

Rhino River Camp is situated in a stunning indigenous forest adjacent to the Park with a bubbling stream providing a beautiful, lush wilderness.  With 7 rooms, 3 river facing and 4 in the forest it felt like a haven from the hot savannahs of the Park.  It is all tented with two family tents, one with all the rooms under one roof and the other with the rooms slightly separate, ideal for teenagers or couples travelling together. Delightful rooms, they offer massage on the decks, a pool to relax and dip in and maybe spot the odd turtle or crocodile basking near the dam.  Bushbabies were a highlight as we gathered for a sundowner by the fire and then on to individual dining.  Roberta hasn’t recovered from the Happy Birthday singing and celebration from the RRC team 😊 Daniel has the biggest smile and was an amazing host.

Most guests do 2 game drives into the Park or take a picnic lunch for a full day but they also offer fishing, massage and nature walks in the reserve.

It was a short stay, but we managed a picnic breakfast before flying on to the Mara.


Flying from Meru to the Mara was fascinating, from dry barren, very very dry Lewa to the heavily farmed and occupied areas bordering the Mara and its conservancies which were very green.  The impact of the last few years and the strain on the land and why there is such tricky human/wildlife conflicts were very clearly on show.

Gamewatchers Safaris open vehicles with camera holdersIt is a short 20 minute drive from Ol Seki airstrip to Porini Mara Camp, guests at Camp were blown away by the fact that Ol Kinyei conservancy is ONLY for Porini guests and no one else can enter the area.  It is such a big selling point especially after having traversed into the Mara itself as well as the experience when visiting the neighbouring conservancies.

With a maximum of 6 people in the Porini open sided vehicles and specially adapted ‘camera steadiers’ as well as a guide and spotter it makes a real difference to the safari experience.  David, our Masai guide from the local community, bought the area to life with fascinating tales about the flora, fauna, insects, birds and mammals.  Every drive was fascinating and different. David also had a lovely back story, 6 years ago he joined Porini as a porter at Porini Bush Camp and even with the pandemic has progressed to shortly be taking his gold guiding award which if all goes well, he will be one of the youngest guides to hold.  David and Stanley were an effective team, Stanley has been guiding and driving for many years and we felt in very safe hands and David bought enthusiasm and storytelling at its absolute best. The entire team remain in their traditional Masai dress which continues to surprise and delight all those we met and encourages discussions about their traditions and way of life which is fascinating.


Breakfast in the bush with Stanley and David

The Camp is small with just 5 tents and a family tent and whilst the Camp was full it remained calm and peaceful, the communal dining remains in place, but it is centred around each safari vehicle and the staff seemed to understand the mix of guests in camp and adapt as necessary.

All the meals were delicious at both camps, bush breakfasts were well thought out and presented, lunch was light and included fresh salads and good portion sizes.  Dinner was 3 courses, soup and a lovely main with a small pastry for pudding.  There was always someone on hand to offer a soda or a beer and gathering around the campfire remains one of my favourite moments on safari.  A tale to be told and exchanged. The new family tent is excellent, and I particularly noticed the ground level toilet and shower areas are a welcome adaptation.

The gentle tap and ‘morning’ as they deliver piping hot water and coffee is always welcome and makes those early morning, rising before dawn, more bearable.  Watching the sun rise and sun set with all the sounds and smells that ensue is very special.

We did not have time for a walking safari but I was interested to hear that all walks in the Mara and its conservancies are now escorted by an armed KWS Ranger.  Dedicated night drives are available after dinner, but for many the short return to camp after sundowners with the red spotlight is always fun.


I popped in to see Porini Cheetah Camp.  PCC is a collaboration between Porini as majority shareholder and some wonderful hosts who are part owners and are on site, manage and host their guests.  The tents were light and well looked after.  It was all spotless. I love their approach to solar power and their eco credentials. Their wifi is truly excellent, the part owner is ex telecoms, it is currently available in the guest areas, but they are looking at extending the wifi to the rooms.  They host every lunch and dinner and follow a western menu, Asian or Indian food is available on request and they mentioned that often guests tell them that they wished they had known about the menu options earlier.

Everyone we met loved what Porini do, they had learned and now understood why conservancies are so important and would factor that into any future trips.  They really loved the team, the service, the food and your support and hire first attitude with the community.  Most of the other vehicles we came across in Naboisho had just one guide which several commented on.    We certainly experienced the benefits of having 2 silver guides spotting, guiding and driving.



Tales around the firepit


Air Kenya and Safarilink were efficient.  All the pilots were excellent and gave a good briefing. Loved the 2-woman pilots on Safarilink!  Wilson was smooth and efficient as always.




After an efficient flight back to Wilson we connected on to a larger aircraft, we even had seat numbers 😊, and continued to Lamu.  I loved the airport transfer in Lamu, our bags were popped on a cart and we walked to the jetty for our boat to Kijani.  Brilliant!

Airport Transfer Lamu style


Kijani Hotel is in Shela which is about 10/15-minute boat ride from Lamu and is a small village catering mostly to the tourist trade and fishing.  It was lovely to wander the narrow streets and discover some beautiful boutiques alongside markets and local shops.  A short walk along the sea wall, a narrow path separates the town from the tidal sea to Peponi and after that a beautiful stretch of golden sand with not a person in sight.  The dunes tower behind and make a great back drop.  We did not have a chance to cross to Manda Island but this is where the best sunsets can be seen or from a private dhow which can be taken to discover this beautiful archipelago of islands.  It was very windy during our stay so we only went to Lamu town where bar an initial flurry of men offering to guide us we were left along to wander and explore.  We did come across a persistent guide but just went in to a shop and the lady in there completely understood and we sheltered there for 5 minutes.  Each guide said that we would miss the key elements and we probably did but it was fascinating to explore alone, stop for a fresh seafood lunch and hop on a boat back to Shela.  There are only 4 vehicles in the whole island, donkeys are the main transport though we did see a few motorbikes and were offered that as an alternative to the boat taxis to Lamu.

We heard primarily English accents and a few French, only one US. The food was the freshest seafood with spices and gentle curries, rice, fresh fruits and just delicious.   I could eat Octopus salad or grilled calamari/jumbo prawns every day. Yum.

I really liked Kijani, the rooms were spacious and private with vast high lamu style beds and mosquito nets. The dining room had glorious views out to sea and was light and open serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, all cooked to order.  It has a lovely garden and shady trees, the pool is central to the resort with plenty of sunbeds, both doubles and singles, towel kikois are available.  Note that there is no air conditioning but they do offer fans and overlooking the beach there was always a cooling breeze straight off the ocean.  The beach is tidal and not for sunbathing but a working beach with lots to watch.



Asante Gamewatchers Safaris, we will be back 😊