Exploring Kenya was one of my favourite trips this year. I hadn't been to Africa before this trip and it was the most amazing introduction to this incredible and diverse continent.
I spent a week there, hopping around to 3 different areas of Kenya with The Safari Collection and staying in 3 of their 4 beautiful lodges.
The Giraffe Manor
I have been wanting to come here ever since I saw you could eat your breakfast with a Giraffe. Yes that's right you did read that correctly. It was probably the best way to begin our time in Kenya, we got a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful surrounding that the manor is set in. The manor itself looks like a Scottish hunting lodge and the giraffes were brought here by the first owners who wanted to ensure the Rothschild Giraffe didn't go extinct, they now roam the grounds and at breakfast and tea time come up to the house to join you, poking their heads in the window for some pellets.
I was staying in a room with a balcony and they provide you with pellets because in the morning you can head out onto the terrace to feed them in your bathrobe if you want to.
This is one of the most unique places I've stayed and I loved every second of it, I can't wait to come back here.
David Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary
Whilst we were staying at the Giraffe Manor we paid a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary which was amazing, you can have group or private sessions with them, each will be just as special. They bring the elephants out in stages depending on their age, all of the elephants have been orphaned due to poaching and it's so sad and equally infuriating to hear about how poachers are so insensitive towards this incredible and endangered species.
The Solio Reserve was our first taste of Kenyan safari, we flew the short flight from Nairobi to Nanyuki, in the shadow of Mount Kenya. To get there you take a tiny little hopper plane which is a little bit terrifying but because it doesn't fly very high you get a great view over the areas your flying.
Solio Reserve is a rhino conservancy so it's fenced off to protect from poachers. This also means that whilst the animals inside have thousands of acres to explore, it also becomes way easier to spot them on a game drive.
We experienced this situation first hand when we saw a kill, 4 male lions, multiple gazelle, dozens of white and black rhino and giraffe all in about the first 20 minutes. Over the next 2 days we also saw a few prides of lions which was incredibly special.
I highly recommend visiting Solio Lodge and the Reserve, it's an incredibly special experience and is a great taster of an African safari, there's not a lot of waiting around so that's good for taking younger children as there's always plenty to see! For adults, the sundowners each evening are always in spectacular locations, the final night we saw a journey of giraffe crossing the sunset in front of us!
Sasaab Lodge and Samburu National Park
The final destination on our trip was up north in the Samburu region of the country, perhaps one of the most breathtaking places I've ever been. The rust red sand, exquisite land formations and sheer beauty of the area was incredible. We flew into Sasaab's landing strip to be greeted and taken straight to the lodge.
The lodge itself was magical, there's no other word for it. It's all open plan with huge, luxurious canvas tents, constructed under thatched roofing with an open bathroom working there way along the mountain side surrounding the main building. The view from the room overlooked the rust red river that ran through the valley with the occasional elephant or baboon wandering upstream. It was completely surreal, I felt like an African princess waking up to the view each morning!
Each hut had it's own plunge pool to cool down from the desert heat in, as well as a big infinity pool with sunbathing area and a spa to relax even more. Words and photos cannot do a place like this justice, one of the most amazing places I've ever stayed. If anyone's looking for a honeymoon destination, this is your place.
On our last night we went down to the banks of the river to be treated to a very special Samburu Warrior dance as the sun set and we sipped on gin and tonics. As I said this place is magical, it's completely unique and somewhere everyone should visit if they get the chance!