Spectacular safari you’ll go for
Goes back to nature on an ecologically friendly African safari
THE hyena saw the lion first. Its scavenger head shot up from the rib-cage of the wildebeest, a bush breakfast disturbed by something far off across the savannah.
The prey had met its end earlier that morning, probably killed by a stealthy lioness that had devoured most of it before sloping off satisfied to tend her young.
Now it was the spotted hyena’s chance to eat, as skittish jackals and patient, hunched vultures PAUL Ogden was a guest of Gamewatchers Safaris (gamewatchers. com/07901 396513) which offers a 12-day safari and beach package with the first night at Nairobi Tented Camp, two nights at Porini Mara Camp, two nights at Porini Lion Camp, (porini.com) two nights at Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge (serenahotels.com) and four nights at Msambweni Beach House (msambw0enibeach-house.com) from £3,050 per person, full-board, based on two sharing. The price includes domestic flights on happen,” Mickey smiled. wants to see on an African Kinyei Conservancy –
With 50 yards to go, the safari. 17,500 acres of gamelion switched on the During my time at three rich, undulating speed, leapt a huge log Porini camps – Porini savannah, scrub, forest, and, in a flurry of mane, Mara, Porini Lion and hills and streams. muscle, fur, teeth and Nairobi Tented Camp Like all Gamewatchers yelps, drove off the hyena. right in the capital – I was camps, it is based around With an electric shock to lucky enough to see them spacious, comfortable the hairs on the back of all, the dangerous animals safari tents – there is even my neck, I just managed a prized by big game a hot water bottle waiting startled and very English hunters of old: Cape for you – all en-suite with “My gosh”, as Mickey buffalo, lion, rhino, flush toilet and safari laughed and high-fived us leopard and elephant. shower. all. My non-Big Five list was You gather in a
It was just one just as charismatic, communal tent to enjoy unforgettable encounter including crocodile, lovely, all-inclusive food among many on our cheetah, zebra, impala, and drink, and swap Gamewatchers Safaris trip warthog, caracal, baboon, stories from your day. to Kenya’s Masai Mara, giraffe, mongoose, and The discreet, solarone of the world’s most myriad birds. powered camp, with no Safarilink heart-stopping But on Gamewatchers permanent structures, (flysafarilink.com) concentrations of wildlife safaris you experience this blends seamlessly into Nairobi-Mara– a bucket list destination stunning eco-system the bush. Amboseli-Dianifor anyone who loves without leaving a There is no bar, no Nairobi, safari animals, birds, pristine footprint, which is more infinity pool. This is activities, park/ scenery… or just than I can say for those safari as it should be millenniaill i or next to a pooll belowbl theth foothillsf hill conservation fees, adrenaline. hippos. experienced – in nature. filled with snorting of Mount Kilimanjaro. airport transfers, That day I’d awoken at The company is But what a hippos; and an The elephants thrive meals, non-premium 4am, two hours before multi-award winning for Gamewatchers safari exhilarating night drive to in the emerald-green, alcoholic drinks and our pre-dawn game drive, its conservation and lacks in glitz, it makes up literally shine a light on boggy waterholes that taxes. to the booming roar of a sustainability work and for in an unrivalled safari shy, nocturnal creatures. punctuate the scrubby
Kenya Airways lion across the low hills co-operates with the experience. Our host, Jake Grievesflatlands – and you will (kenya-airways. around Porini Mara Maasai, leasing land Numbers are strictly Cook, founder of want to watch them all com/020 8283 1818) camp. outside Kenya’s controlled so, unlike the Gamewatchers Safaris day. operates daily I had been warned not government-run national national reserves, you and a former chairman of We stayed in Amboseli overnight flights on to leave my tent at night reserves for safaris which might not see any other Kenya Tourist Board, is Serena Safari Lodge, a its new B787 and was happy not to as pay the locals to stop tourists on your game passionately convinced 92-room hotel inspired in Dreamliner from another sound – a steady grazing their traditional drives. this is a model that can design by Maasai culture London Heathrow to chomp, chomp, chomp of rangelands and employs They also do not have to save areas of Africa under where game wanders up Nairobi. Economy grass being eaten a few them on higher than abide by reserve threat from human to the terrace where you return prices are from feet away – was from one average wages. restrictions, so you can activity, and other sip a gin and tonic. £722.45 including of the huge, hungry In the 20 years since the enjoy ‘sundowner’ companies are following Serena prides itself on taxes. suit.hipposwholeavethefirstcampopened,areascocktailsatspectacular being eco-friendly,
General information caramel-coloured Laetoli on the verge of being locations; a bush We flew east by supports community from Kenya Tourism creek nearby for barren have regenerated breakfast of fruit and Safarilink bush aircraft to out-reach programmes, Board (magicalkenya. nocturnal feast. and the once smoked honey high on a one of the best places in and guests are even com / 020 7593 1731). Despite their size, marginalised wildlife has hill overlooking a the world to see elephant, encouraged to plant a tree hippos do not figure in come back in droves. game-spotted plain which Amboseli National Park, in the grounds during ‘The Big Five’ everyone Porini Mara is in Ol has not changed in on the arid plains their stay. watched and awaited their turn.
Mickey, our redblanketed Maasai driver, and his passenger seat spotter had seen the carcass from some distance and juddered the open-sided Land Cruiser to a halt next to it.
Ignoring us, the hyena’s head darted up again, its steely black eyes fixed on the horizon... where a huge male lion was padding relentlessly towards it – and us.
“Let us see what will
●● A lion trots past one of the safari jeeps while, inset left, a cheetah relaxes in the Masai Mara. Paul Ogden, below, relaxes as his hosts prepare refreshments