Hello Beautiful People, thanks for checking in! Logan and I had an amazing time on our honeymoon to Kenya and Tanzania; it was such a whirlwind of experiences it’s hard to know where to start or what to include. The animals? The gemstones? The profound gratitude you gain for the USA? I’m going to try to include it all, but Africa is something you truly need to experience to understand; it is a world apart- a wondrous, challenging, beautiful, world much as OZ must have been for Dorothy. I think the best way to go about it is chronologically; so depending on how long these posts end up being, I’ll split the trip into several groups and away we go!
This was our absolute favorite place, but first things first. The trip over there is hard. The flights are long, Addis Ababa airport is a trial, the time difference is going in the wrong direction to be helpful. By the time we landed in Nairobi I was just about done; Logan exchanged some currency, we had to wait in line for our visas, and we had to figure out a phone to buy. All I really wanted to do was sit on my suitcase and cry a little. Or sleep; sleep would have been very good.
Our driver from Sleeping Warrior, John, saved the day. He was waiting for us right at baggage claim, helped us with a few details and off we went. I promptly slept through my first glimpses of the Kenyan countryside.
Located in the Soysambu Conservancy on the shores of Lake Elementatia, The Sleeping Warrior Camp gets its name from the volcanic caldera it overlooks. The Masai legend says they used to gather at the foot of the ridge to celebrate and sacrifice and stay till morning. One warrior who fell asleep there never woke up and now he guards the mountain as he sleeps.
We were welcomed to the “camp” (I am putting that in quotation marks because, while our room did have canvas walls, this was the most high end, luxurious version of camping I had ever done. I think this would qualify as the definition of Glamping), by a roaring fire and drinks on the patio over looking the Sleeping Warrior. Our bags were already in our room, by the time we were escorted up there and dinner was soon to follow. We slept really well, our first night in Africa, thanks in good part to the warm, professional, and detail oriented hospitality of the staff. The staff is headed up by Lawson- one of the most gracious men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Oh, and dinner was AMAZING.
We spent the next two days out on game drives with John, both inside Soysambu and outside at the Lake Nakuru National Park. We took about 4,000 pictures while we were there, and I think about 1,000 of those were taken in those first two days. The wildlife was incredible. The Soysambu Conservancy isn’t a hotspot of touristy action; we never ran into another car, had John’s incredible knowledge and animal spotting ability all to ourselves, and we were even able to step out of the car and walk around a bit- after the area had been declared clear of buffaloes, of course! The animals were a little shyer than in some of the big parks, but that’s a good thing. It felt different, less like a zoo, and more like a visit to another world. And it certainly didn’t inhibit our animal spottings. Nakuru is much more frequented by humans, but the animals are so used to the cars that you do get to see a lot. We both managed to get terribly, and I mean awfully, sunburned standing out the top of the Land Cruiser. I learned that floppy sunhats are really great for napping on the beach, but not so great for DSLR’s with telephoto lenses. In our time outside the Land Cruiser, we hiked the Sleeping Warrior, ate breakfast in the bush with the baboons, chatted with all the wonderful Sleeping Warrior staff, ate wonderful food, and lazed around on our private patio. We were out there one evening, overlooking a herd of zebra, when we heard him- the Leopard. Just one, unmistakable, remarkably large cat ‘Rowr!”. He was the only critter we really missed out on seeing, but we know he was there, just below our room that evening, on his way to the watering hole. The other awesome animal fact we learned- Mocking Jays are real! There is actually a bird, called the Tropical Bobo that hides up in the trees and makes a hollow wooden whistle sort of call in three or four note sequences. AND THEY MIMIC OTHER BIRDS! If you whistle to it, it will come closer and answer you! And on the day we first discovered this bird, we had lamb stew for dinner. BAM, Mocking Jays are real.
We easily could have stayed longer than three days; there were adventures that we just didn’t have time to fit in. As it turns out, solitary travelers, such as ourselves, aren’t the most common guest; most are there as part of a safari, with an outside company, who are staying for a night or two as they journey around with their own itinerary. We had a lovely time having some drinks on the patio beside the fire before dinner meeting a few of these groups and exchanging stories. That might not be the case all the time, but we benefitted from it and had the full attention and time of everyone there. I have a feeling that even if the place was booked to the brim that you would still feel like you were the only guest there, that’s just how good they are.
All the Best,