In Part 1 of their East Africa adventure, Robyn Stalson shared her experiences in Kenya. Breakfast at the famous Giraffe Manor; a stay at Finch Hattons, “Africa’s Leading Tented Safari Camp”; and the breathtaking views from Angama Mara are just a few of the highlights of that leg of the journey.
Next, leaving the Masai Mara behind, she flew across the border to the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania where her adventure continued.
The Great Migration: Mara River
“On our way to Olakira Camp we saw a spectacle like no other: about 3,000+ wildebeest gathered from far and wide to form a massive, yet compact huddle along the bank of the Mara River. Their goal clearly was to cross en masse to the more fertile grazing on the other side.
“There were so many wildebeest that they looked like a swarm of ants, yet when the herd ran we could feel the ground shake. We watched several crossing attempts, only to see the herd deterred by the appearance of a massive crocodile idling on the riverbank. Although greatly disappointed not bear witness to a famous Mara River crossing, we came to realise that in the wildebeests’ world tomorrow was yet another day.”
Olakira Migration Camp: Serengeti National Park
“Olakira was my first mobile camp experience: the camp moves between two carefully selected sites in the northern and southern Serengeti. Nine beautifully appointed tents each have a bucket shower that is filled with hot water whenever needed. And, although comfortable, you really get the feeling of being in the wild with no fences. Several of the group were enjoying a gin and tonic when a beautiful leopard walked past just a few metres away! And later that evening a wandering hippo appeared from out of the bush. Now that’s truly being at one with nature.
“In anticipation of the supermoon over the Serengeti, we found a wonderful open area to set up our sundowners. The sky was turning pink and we were looking forward to our drinks and snacks when one of our guides spotted a female lion approaching us; slowly at first and then more determined and focused. We instantly packed everything up and headed back into the vehicles, so sadly no sundowners in the bush that night! But we did get to watch the lioness approach and find her mate, a big fully-maned lion sitting under a nearby tree – all under the spectacular light of the supermoon.”
The Highlands: Ngorongoro Crater
“Our last stop was The Highlands, a new property strategically hidden in the highlands region of Ngorongoro Crater. Eight unique, dome-shaped tents are set high on the slopes of the Olmoti volcano; their bay windows looking out over forests and rolling hills.
“The décor inside each tent is amazing; the super comfortable beds made up with fine linens. Being at a high altitude, the temperatures drop dramatically at night so our wood-burning stove was a true godsend (a fire is lit while you’re at dinner).
“Our early morning wake-up call seemed somewhat harsh at the time, but once up and nourished by a hearty breakfast the excitement built steadily for our full-day game drive on the vast crater floor. The descent from the rim was spectacular: the clouds and mist eventually giving way to breathtaking views.”
“Even though I’ve been on many safari game drives in Africa, I was unprepared for the thrill and drama of the interplay between the massive variety of animals and birds on the caldera floor. We passed through a number of different ecological environments; each attracting unexpected visitors, accompanied by fiercely competitive behaviours and territorial claims. This was delightfully juxtaposed by the myriad of colourful birds with their quaint and entertaining antics!
“From that first breakfast with the giraffes at Giraffe Manor to the last game drive in Ngorongoro Crater; this truly was an East Africa Adventure. I feel fortunate to have had so many incredible experiences, and have come to fully expect the unexpected in the African bush!”
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