Like every twenty-something I grew up watching a bit too much Lion King, which made a safari a long standing item on my bucket list. I finally fulfilled this African dream when I went to Kenya, and did a safari in the Tsavo East National Park, one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
We arrived at the Swara Osteria Camp in the evening, where we were greeted by Maasai with refreshing drinks and towels, after the long drive in the savannah to get here. We were also greeted by the most amazing starry sky, since the power generators don’t kick in till later at night, we got to sit around the pool and the fire and enjoy the star and candle lit atmosphere. Before having dinner we decided to head out for a night safari, which was incredible. Driving around the savannah under the stars, surrounded by all the sounds of animals getting ready for the night was magical. We didn’t see big cats, which we were hoping to see as they usually come out to hunt at night, however we did see a group of elephants with their babies. We also saw a rabbit, who ran away as soon as we approached, can’t lie when I say it was pretty unexpected.
The morning after we woke up at 5am, and had the best breakfast while watching the sun rise over the river in front of our camp. We set off nice and early, so that we could have a full day searching for animals, and watch the sun rise over the savannah. I had a very Lion King moment when the big red sun rose in all it’s beauty. My safari companions didn’t appreciate my singing moment as much.
We had an adventure packed day, featuring mostly a lot of driving, interrupted very often by a yell of “I see something!” or “Look there ahead!”, which was usually an animal, but sometimes just turned out to be a funny shaped rock. Seeing our first elephant in daylight was quite the encounter, the power and size of a mother elephant with her cub have a way of making us feel small. After that we saw lots of elephants, playing in muddy rivers or simply walking around. One even almost charged at our land rover!
At one point we got to a block up in the road, with three or four cars parked on the side of the road, we were wondering what they were doing when our guide explained they had spotted lions. I got super excited about this. The lions were resting in the shade under some bushes, but we saw them move around and walk from one to the other. I can happily say I saw Simba. Although I still need to find Pride Rock.
After that we saw an abundance of zebras, antelopes, monkeys and giraffes. Driving along the river our guide told us to keep an eye out for hippos, for those with an untrained eye however this is really hard. We stopped a few times with the driver pointing out at what looked like shallow rocks, but when you look at it long enough realise it’s moving and it’s a hippo! We got to get out of the car at a “Hippo Point”, where you could walk down to the river to look at the hippos, we even saw a couple walk out of the water. Not going to lie, after all the stories of how hippos are more dangerous than lions, I was actually really scared. Fortunately it was all fine, we walked down to the river, saw the hippos and then back to the car.
On return from the safari we went on a sunset walk along the river, accompanied by the Maasai from our camp. Walking in the savannah, compared to driving, was an even more magical experience, especially when accompanied by expert Maasai, who were pointing out all the traces of animals and told us stories of the area. We then closed the day with a lovely dinner under the stars.
Thank you Swara Osteria Camp for making it possible! Watch the video for the full footage of all the animals and our lovely camp! Have you ever been on a safari? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below! We spent the rest of our Kenya trip chilling at the beach in Malindi, where we were surprised to find white sandy beaches, beautiful clear water and reefs for scuba diving! Click here to check it out and discover the other side of Kenya!
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