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Trip Report Amazing Kenya - a must visit

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This is a continuation of my report from Uganda, then continued in Rwanda and now finishing in Kenya.
We arrived in Nairobi, Kenya and were escorted to Giraffe Manor. Pulling up to the manor is just incredible. There are videos on line that show the manor and giraffes, but I can honestly say they don’t come close to showing how wonderful the experience is. First we are shown around the manor. It is a beautiful home. Then we are taken up to our room, we are in Betty’s room. It is just incredible. Our windows face the giraffe lawn so we can see when the giraffes are coming to feed and we have a balcony overlooking the lawn as well. After cleaning up, we go downstairs to the lawn for cocktails and to meet some of the other guests staying at the manor. Then the first giraffe comes for a snack. It is Kelly and she is just magnificent. Then before you know it, there are many giraffes, adults and young alike. We have lots of fun feeding, taking pictures and sipping cocktails. Then the sun starts to set and it’s time to go inside for dinner. Dinner is served in the main dining room and is just delicious. Good food, fine wine and pleasant conversations. The next morning we are up early as the giraffes are coming to our window for breakfast. I can also feed them from our balcony. My wonderful travel agent, Alana, from Born Free Safaris & Tours, knew the perfect room to request for us. Next it is down for our breakfast in the breakfast room. But we still have visitors. The giraffes bend their necks and push their heads into the breakfast room so they can join us. It is so much fun. Great pictures and an excellent experience.
Now we are off to the airport for our bush flight to the Lewa Conservancy in north Kenya. When we land in the conservancy we are greeted by our driver and guide for the next 3 days, Joseph. He is going to drive us up to the lodge, but on the way we must make many stops. We see Vervet Monkeys, a beautiful lioness, Reticulated Giraffe, Cheetah, Elephants and Grevy Zebras. Then we arrive at the lodge and we’re greeted by Rachel, the manager. Rachel warmly welcomes us and shows us around. Then it’s to our cabin. We are in the Watering Hole Earth Pod. They are called Earth Pods because they were designed to blend in with the environment. Ours Earth Pod is fabulous. The room is spacious and has double doors across from the bed that face the watering hole. So while lying in bed we can see the animals coming to drink. There is a beautiful patio area, but my favorite part is just outside the bathroom is a very private bath with its own fireplace. That will definitely be used. We have our first game drive that afternoon. Every imaginable beast is out for viewing. We stop at dusk for our sundowner, wine and sunset. Just incredible. Dinner is in the lodge that evening and is delicious.
The next day we have an early morning game drive, just as the sun is rising. Off to see the animals waking up. Joseph has planned a special surprise, breakfast in the bush. It is a beautiful setting and a warm wonderful breakfast. Later that day we visited the operations center for the conservancy. The conservancy is a private enterprise, developed to protect the animals. Its main concern is the endangered Rhino. The conservancy is funded through corporations, private donations and the income from tourism. John showed us the command center and explained how it works. All 131 rhinos have identifying marks and are checked on daily. Since 2013 they haven’t lost a rhino to poaching. They also have developed a great relationship with the surrounding communities. The villagers understand the importance of protecting the wildlife and will call the rangers with reports of problems. The conservancy also monitors the movements of the elephants. It was a fascinating visit and I feel so much more aware of the plight of these beautiful animals. During the afternoon I was able to go horseback riding. It was great being able to see the animals on their level. The next day we had two more game drives and a great surprise for dinner. Rachel told us we were dining out that evening. She walked us all to an isolated area of the camp that had been set up for dinner under the stars. The surrounding area aglow with candles and fires. Great dinner and evening.
The next morning Joseph took us back to the airstrip for our next bush flight to the Masai Mara North Conservancy. When we arrived in the Mara we were driven to our next camp, Ngare Serian. When we approached the camp, I noticed that it was on the far side of a river. The only way across was along a very long, very narrow swing bridge. Oh dear! I made it across and let out a sigh of relief, only to realize I would be making that same journey every time we would be going out on a game drive. Oh well! The camp was amazing. The main lodge all open and rustic. There was a large wooden patio just along the river with a fire pit. Only 4 tents at this camp. Ours was just lovely. Large outdoor wooden deck and beautiful accommodations. I loved being so close to the river. At night the water lulled us to sleep and in the morning the hippos woke us up. That afternoon we went out on our first game drive with our driver and tracker. We saw all types of animals, but then we noticed something in the distance, it is a male lion dragging his kill (a zebra). We sit and watch. It is an exhausting process. He drags it along and then drops it to the ground to catch his breath. Two other male lions come to watch, hopeful that the dominant male will share dinner with them.
The next day we are heading into the Masai Mara reserve. It is off to hopefully see the Wildebeest migration. We see lots of animals along the way. Then we come to the river and wait to see the crossing. The Wildebeest come down to drink, we wait. They turn and walk away. So our driver takes us to different location. We sit and wait, and wait and wait, finally the Wildebeest walk down to the river, and then they turn around and walk away, then back to the river, back away, then back down to the river and this time two go in. Once it starts they all follow. Before our eyes they are all running, swimming and fighting to get across. But then the inevitable happens, a baby Wildebeest gets taken down by a Crocodile, so sad. There are other animals crossing with the Wildebeest, Zebra & Topis. We see a Zebra go under, another Crocodile, I’m filled with emotion. The crossing is amazing, but so is the emotional turmoil associated with it. We finally move on, back to the camp for some much needed rest and relaxation. The next day we go on a morning game drive and we are able to witness the most amazing sight. Three lionesses are on the prowl for something to eat. They spot a warthog and set themselves up for the kill, but they are not all ready and he gets away. So they keep watching and waiting. Finally they get set for another kill. This time they are all ready and the poor little warthog is chased and caught. It is amazing to watch the process. Sad to see the kill, but I understand the need and we are grateful for the experience. That afternoon we are able to visit a Masai village. The villagers put on quite a show, welcoming us into their lives. We get to see how they live and work. It is a wonderful way to finish our visit in the Mara. That evening we have a romantic dinner, set up right outside our tent. Great day, great evening and great visit to Kenya.

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