Travelling with kids (and babies)
Many moons ago, before the kids arrived, holidays used to be rather spontaneous and adventurous. We put together a 4 day safari Kenya locally and last minute from a wonderful stay with Diani beach. Our dive instructors recommended Tsavo East safari for proximity, diversity and wilderness. We combined it with Tsavo West over 4 days, a vibrant lifetime experience.
Tsavo parklands are vast, covered with dry vegetation and great biodiversity. Named after the river flowing West to East, the parklands are one of the oldest and largest at 13,750sqkm (about the size of Wales or Israel). The West is hillier especially in the North, whilst the East consists mainly of dry and scrubby plains.
Tsavo national park safari spoiled us with the famous Big 5, black rhinos, antelopes, mongooses, giraffes, bat-eared foxes, hyrax, Grevy’s zebras, ground pangolins, Sykes’s monkeys, black-faced vervet monkeys and dik diks, to name just a few. The vastness meant we watched in peace the game without the constant company of other vehicles. Tsavo East safari could feel though slightly patchier for seeing many animals but certainly more rewarding in terms of wilderness and privacy – one has to work slightly harder in here.
About 12,000 elephants inhabit the two Tsavo parks. Their fondness for the red muds habitat gives them the trademark looks – these are the lands of red elephants.
A Tsavo national park safari is a birds paradise as well – there are about 500 species recorded in the area, including ostrich, kestrel, starling, weaver bird, kingfisher, buzzard, hornbill, secretary bird and heron.
December is the wet season for Tsavo, with daytime temperatures between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius and very short rains. Our 4 day safari Kenya mid December has been glorious – games starting at 5am felt breezy and fresh, whilst 4pms were pleasantly warm.
Tsavo national park safari works well for anyone landing or departing from Mombassa; it takes just about 100kms on the highway to Nairobi. A Tsavo East safari is also great for a short bush vacations after or before few days by white sand Diani beaches.
We went mid December and spent 3 nights and 4 days with 2 ecolodges, both boutique, cosy and beautiful.
In Tsavo West we stayed with Lions Bluff Lodge, stunningly suspended and with views accross miles and miles of Kenyan parkland, Kilimanjaro and Taita Hills. The bliss, peacefulness and perspectives one gets in here are just magic.
For Tsavo East safari we stayed at Lions Hill Safari Lodge, just outside the entrance park at Voi. We’ve done the Tsavo East safari usual landmarks, including Mudanda Rock and Yatta Plateau, but for us the days in here were very memorable for a couple of extra reasons. We shared the Christmas dinner with the owner of the lodge who delighted us with lots of local and Tsavo East safari stories – including man eating lions centuries ago and lions making occassional appearances in their dining area!
And memorable dinner aside, the Christmas evening and night in here got even more memorable after – lions roaring literally all night outside our boutique tents. Full moon must have made it an exciting hunting occassion; so Lions Hill Safari Lodge Masai went around and checked our tents and lodges regularly overnight.
So Tsavo East safari for us was less peaceful than Lions Bluff Lodge – but rather filled with adrenalin.
Tsavo lions are also legendary for being ‘man-eaters’ – many people working on the Kenya-Uganda railway in the late 1800s were attacked and eaten by a viscious pair. The stories even made it into a film -The Ghost and the Darkness and certainly these legends in conjunction with lions roaring so closely our lodges made it very real.
Tsavo lions are historically famous for not having manes -even the males; and as a result of this uncommonness, many lions have been hunted and killed.
Kenya has banned hunting for many years now, but the closeness of Kenyan villages to its game reserves means that human-wildlife conflict has to be carefully managed.
We felt truly blessed on our Tsavo national park safari with our fabulous close to nature thrilling experiences, our sweet driver sharing so much of his life with us, the privacy of our ranger, the boutique lodges, the vastness of the landscapes and soothing sunsets over these old glorious African lands. For more wildlife on Kenyan shores, head to our article 7 best places to spot, swim or dive with wild dolphins.
Would love to go back with a young partner in crime, almost 5 years old now – so excited about our stories and keen to see the animals and the magic savannah. He’s already an avid wildlife lover himself – having spent his very early days volunteeering with me at a Wildlife sanctuary in Kangaroo island, Australia. We get to talk a lot about the orphan kangaroos, why we don’t support or visit zoos and why we love best animals in their habitat. His favourites latest wildlife experiences were snorkelling with baby sharks by Angsana shores and sailing and spotting wild dolphins in Maldives.
Thank you so much Audley for taking us on a sweet memory lane trip of our 4 day safari Kenya. We’d love to return to the glorious African lands, back to our ancient roots, and share further vibrant lifetime experiences.
PS: this is an entry post for Trips100 & Audley Travel blogger challenge. For Audley’s upcoming campaign, post and share between 20th August – 23rd September your best wildlife photograph or video on your social media channels tagging #AudleySafari and @AudleyTravel on your Instagram and Twitter or share directly on the Audley Travel Facebook page. For full details, visit www.audleytravel.com/social. Best of luck to you all – an African safari with Audley Travel is at stake!