Review by: Robyn Clabrough

Overall Impressions

Wow! What an amazing trip. Claire, thank you so much for making this last minute trip to Kenya happen for us with less than 2 weeks from booking to departure, and over the holiday period amidst a pandemic! Everything went perfectly from booking, receiving the itinerary and then on arrival and during our time in Kenya. On arrival in Kenya we were whisked through international arrivals in Nairobi within 10 mins (including the health checks), to the awaiting transfer to our hotel. All our transfers and internal flights were as planned and the camp selections were exceptional. Claire checked in with us at a few points during the trip to ensure we had everything we needed. Excellent service from Mahlatini, the ground service and Elewana camps. Great selection of camps giving us a wide variety of animals and scenery to enjoy. It's hard to remember that you are in the middle of the bush when you have access to such fantastic food, running hot water and every amenity including wifi.

Countries Visited

Kenya

It was our first visit to Kenya after many visits to South Africa. First impressions in Nairobi were being amazed at how clean and environmentally focused the country is. Not a plastic bag in site. On arrival in the national parks this continued, being provided with our personalised stainless steel water bottle for our trip from Elewana, solar powered camps in 5 star luxury tented accommodation. The wildlife is spectacular even though we were not there during the height of the migration. The people are friendly and helpful and we felt safe everywhere we went.

Accommodation Visited

Tamarind Tree Hotel

Welcoming, comfortable and very friendly staff. This was a short overnight stop over for us and suited that purpose well with easy access to the Wilson Airport. The room was well appointed and all the services were available and operating within COVID controls. We enjoyed a few hours in the sunshine by the pool drinking a cocktail after arriving from a wintery European location. We were escorted to the Carnivore restaurant which is a short walk away, for dinner which we highly recommend. They arranged for us to have our breakfast at 6am before the usual opening hours (6:30am) to allow for our early transfer to Wilson Airport.

Tortilis Camp

We were greeted by Festus just off the runway on arrival with drinks and snacks followed by a game drive as we headed towards the Tortilis Camp and Amboseli National Park. We saw the most amount of game in a short time on this first drive which was amazing! This location is all about the Elephants and they didn't disappoint. Kilimanjaro was also a big attraction for us and the view from Tortilis was awesome (when Kili shows herself which, was often for us!). And let's not forget the Flamingos! It was the first time we'd seen them and was really enjoyable sitting watching them interact on the lake. The camp was very well appointed, the tented rooms were very comfortable with all the creature comforts despite being in the middle of the bush and running on solar. The staff were extremely welcoming and friendly and all our special needs were met with the assistance of Jackson and the rest of the staff. Festus was our guide and we enjoyed a safari vehicle to ourselves. He was very experienced and knowledgeable about the area, the animals and photography, knowing what position to get us into for the best shots! We spent 3 nights at Tortilis.

Lewa Safari Camp

Lewa has beautiful gardens and well appointed tented rooms. It is all about conservation and in particular Rhinos (black and white), and let's not forget the beautiful views of Mount Kenya. We were treated to a leopard sighting, lions with cubs, a bush walk with a white rhino escorted by a member of the anti-poaching unit and many other wonderful experiences. The staff and guides really help you to feel connected with the landscape and animals with their in depth knowledge and storytelling of the animals and the animal's connection to each other. We also got to see variegated giraffe and grevy's zebra for the first time. Our guide Tom was excellent, with local knowledge and very experienced and personable, getting us into those all important angles for the best photos. The chef here was a standout, whipping up some exceptional meals to meet dietary requirements and exceeding our expectations. We spent 4 nights at Lewa.

Sand River Masai Mara

The well appointed tents are set along the sand river where we saw elephants crossing between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. These are large tents with a living area and deck with an outdoor shower. Once again the staff were exceptional. A bit of rain on our last 2 days didn't prevent us enjoying our game drive and Daniel went out of his way for us to enjoy our drives. Animal sightings were great including leopard, lion cubs, baby hippos, lion feeding on a buffalo and other excellent animal interactions. We enjoyed meeting other travellers at the fire pit in the evenings after an excellent 3 course meal, thanks to the chef and kitchen staff. Nothing was too much trouble and we had the opportunity to meet and talk with most of the staff there.

Staff Review

Greg and Claire were excellent to deal with. After an initial consultation with Greg, Claire put everything into action presenting us with available options to meet our travel dates, budget and location. We didn't provide much notice due to a last minute decision to travel and Claire was able to get everything arranged very quickly (less than 2 weeks!) despite the challenges of COVID and availability at late notice. Everything went to plan and we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Claire was very professional, checked in with us before, during and after travel and ensured we had everything we needed from start to finish. We didn't need to worry about anything from the time we arrived from our international flight, to the time we departed as we knew it was all in hand. Thank you Mahlatini!