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Kenya Travel Diary

Taking a road trip through Kenya is a great way to explore this iconic destination. My safari begins in the lush rainforest of Mount Kenya National Park where I discover that a good guide can turn an uneventful stroll into a magical experience. What more could you ask for: the haunting skull of a forest buffalo, monkeys whooshing through the canopy, and mid-morning tea served in a woodland clearing?

Kenya Travel Diary - a hike through Mount Kenya National Park
Hiking through the lush rainforest of Mount Kenya National Park turned out to be a scenic and interesting experience.
Kenya Travel Diary - a lonely skull on the plains
The skull of a forest buffalo.
Kenya Travel Diary - early morning refreshment!
Mid-morning refreshment.

After meandering through the Great Rift Valley, I reach Lake Elmenteita – a body of water too alkaline to drink but bound by a magnificent fever tree forest on one side and an enigmatic outcrop known as The Sleeping Warrior on the other. My accommodation is Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp, a sumptuous stopover between more demanding safari attractions, but fellow travellers be warned: the menu is superb and the high tea irresistible! 

Kenya Travel Diary - Lake Elementieta
Lake Elmenteita, serenely beautiful as the last rays of the sun outline The Sleeping Warrior across the waters.
Kenya Travel Diary - having lunch with the group
The menu at Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp is simply irresistible - freshest ingredients & a contemporary approach to classic favourites.

My last stop is the Masai Mara National Reserve, home to Kenya’s Great Migration. My previous visit was during the migration when thousands of wildebeest were crossing the Mara River. As the grotesque bodies of drowned animals - far too many for the feasting crocodiles to consume - piled up in the rapids, the scene looked more like the River Styx pouring into a sulphurous Hades. There is, however, nothing sinister about the Mara in the quiet season: the crocs bask contentedly in the sunshine, seemingly as harmless as the family labrador.

Kenya Travel Diary - the rushing Mara River
The rapidly-flowing waters of the Mara River is a burial ground for thousands of unlucky wildebeest during the Great Migration.
Kenya Travel Diary - a classic sight in the Mara
A classic sight in the Masai Mara.
Kenya Travel Diary - a curious hyena youngster
A curious hyena pup.

In fact, the whole park is as serene as a chapel between services. Instead of vast, noisy herds stretching across the horizon, a lone wildebeest stands sentry while a buffalo bull, like a heavyweight prizefighter at an out-of-season spa, wallows alone in glorious mud. And in place of a blood-speckled pack squabbling at a kill, adorable hyena cubs play hide-and-seek in the long grass. There is a hush over Kenya's great plains at this time, a silence that nevertheless calls up the spirits of the first people, our common human ancestors, who thrived here. Perhaps it is their presence we feel when the wind sends ripples through the grasslands.

Kenya Travel Diary - a lone wildebeest waits his chance
A lone wildebeest stands sentry on the empty plain, keeping a look out for lurking lion.

Visiting Kenya outside the July to October high season has definite advantages. Far fewer visitors mean a more personalised safari at a slower pace with less pressure all round. Where high season can become an urgent blur of thrilling experiences, Kenya's quiet season allows you to stop and smell the wild sage along the way. 

Written by Donyale MacKrill. Connect with her on Google+

 

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