Africa

It’s Adventure Time! Back to Kenya to Explore Samburuland

I’m off on a new adventure!

O Malo Website

Photo: O Malo Website

Honestly, I wasn’t sure it was going to pan out, it was touch and go there for awhile. But my itinerary finally arrived last week, my tickets two days later and I started to relax. It was really going to happen. The waiting and uncertainty were drawing to a close and the promise of golden sunsets, sage-scented air and spectacular wildlife encounters were on the horizon.

I’m going back to Kenya, at the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism, one of the most beautiful countries on earth and a place that has tugged at my soul since the first day I set foot in the Masai Mara two years ago. The following year, I found myself in Amboseli, southeast of the Mara, and I still dream about the dusty blues and golds, and the large herds of elephant that almost defy the imagination.

Joy's Camp Website

Joy’s Camp Website

Kenya’s tourism has been hit hard these last couple of years. The Ebola threat which was thousands of thousands of miles away—Rome is closer by the way than Nairobi— and the fear of terrorist attacks (while I can’t say it’s impossible it’s unlikely in Nairobi and non-existent in the bush where most people stay. Heck we have more public shootings in the U.S.A unfortunately),  have struck the country hard which directly impacts the people and important conservation efforts that keep the national parks and the wildlife safe. Therefore, when the opportunity to experience Kenya again came my way, I jumped at it. If I can inspire more people to visit by sharing my stories and photos, I’m thrilled to do so. It deserves your attention.

This time, I’m headed north into Samburuland and the Shaba National Reserve. I’d never heard of Shaba before—my bad. Or more honestly, I wasn’t paying attention. It’s where Joy Adamson, of Born Free fame (one of my favorite childhood movies), lived until her death in 1980. It was the setting for many of the scenes in Out of Africa, and I just read that it was also the setting for Survivor: Africa. (I wouldn’t know first hand. I can’t stand reality shows.)

Speaking of Joy Adamson, my first stop is Joy’s Camp, built on the site Adamson’s tented home once stood. How cool is that?

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Photo: Cincinnati Zoo An Aardwolf

According to a promotional video I watched last night, the Shaba National Reserve is sometimes referred to as the “Namibia of Kenya” because of its arid landscapes and spectacular rock formations. Having loved my visit to Namibia in March, that sounds just fine by me. I’m told it’s elephant and leopard country, but it’s also home to some unique species of wildlife including the aardwolf, striped hyena, gerenuk, grevy zebra, beisa oryx, the blue-legged somali ostrich, and the reticulated giraffe, all of which, of course, I hope to see. However, when I go to Africa, I always remind myself that I must never “expect” to see anything. Don’t misunderstand me, if you go into the bush you’ll definitely see wildlife, but that’s just the point, they’re wild and can’t be counted on to appear out of thin air as if in a storybook.

O Malo Website

Photo: O Malo Website

That may seem obvious, but I’ve run across countless travelers who act as if they’re entitled to sightings on cue and become really crabby and unpleasant when it doesn’t happen. It’s beyond my comprehension really. Disappointment? Sure. Angry? That’s just plain ridiculous. (Ok.. I’m stepping off my soapbox now…)

My second stop will be at Ol Malo, a family owned and operated lodge in the Samburuland desert. Friends of mine stayed there a few years ago and loved it. I’m looking forward to seeing the dunes, riding camels—which I haven’t done since a visit to the Sahara five years ago—or possibly sleeping outdoors in the lodge’s tree house under a sea of shining stars.

Joy's Camp Website

Photo: Joy’s Camp Website

At both camps I want to visit with the local Samburu tribes. I love learning about new cultures and spending time with people who live traditionally. Photographically, I can’t wait. My time with the Himba in Namibia last March is one of my most treasured memories.

There’s more of course, but I don’t want to give it all away on the first post!

I’ll be posting here but not sure how often. It’ll depend on how much wi-fi I come across. Follow my Instagram and Facebook feeds which are likely to be fed on a more regular basis…

Toodles!

25 replies »

  1. Born Free and the followup books were some of my favourites when I was growing up, esp after seeing the movie and I think there were some TV programs as well. It had a profound effect on my understanding of the world at a young age. What a fantastic experience and I am sure you will have a wonderful time and I look forward to the images.

    • Born Free was very important to me as well. It’s the first memory I have of falling in love with lions. I used to pretend as a young child that I had a lion cub of my own. My cat was not thrilled. I can still hear the theme music in my head when I think of it. joy’s camp supposedly has some of Adamson’s artifacts. Can’t wait to see what they are. I’ll be sure to take some pics of them. 🙂

      • We didnt have cats until after my father moved out – he didn’t like them. So I was cat deprived but able to get all the lion goodness from those books. I must see if my library has a copy of Born Free. I can hear the theme music too now you mention it!

  2. What a wonderful trip you have planned! I would love to visit Africa some time. Kenya sounds like a wonderful country to start with. Some day. In the mean time I can enjoy reading your writing and viewing your photographs.

Would love to hear from you!