Spec­tac­u­lar sa­fari you’ll go for

Goes back to na­ture on an eco­log­i­cally friendly African sa­fari

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

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

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