Day 1 - France - Nairobi via Zurich: 10h flight (stop included) - arrived around 18:00 (local time)

Welcome by Caroline and James who came from Mombassa. Almost as much time as we, but by road.

Installation and meals at the hotel.

Sentrim Hotel Boulevard.

Day 2 - Nairobi - Samburu: 354 km - starting at 07:00 coffee break, gasoline, arrival at 13:30.

Long road in very good condition which crosses the Aberdares and along the foothills of Mount Kenya. Stop in Isiolo, taking photo to rember the passage of the Equator. Numerous checkpoints, we are not concerned.

There are many "tourist traps" with a bucket of water in hand trying to convince them that the water which flows north (walking a few steps) from the equator rotates in the opposite direction than the water flowing south from the equator (walking a few steps), waiting for a few shillings.

Experience is the Coriolis force: "The Coriolis force due to the rotation of the earth is too small to have time to influence the direction of rotation of the flow of water in a sink that empties . Arsher As shown by Shapiro and Lloyd Trefethen, to collect such an influence, it is necessary to observe a body of water stabilized in a large circular pool with a diameter of the order of at least several tens of kilometers to effect in centimeters. In a sink drain, the direction of rotation of the water is due to the geometry of the sink and micro-streams created during its filling, or during agitation of the water., it is possible to distort the result by giving an impulse to the water, as can be seen on some videos, where experience is offered to tourists on the equator. "

Cloudy until Samburu. Mount Kenya is constantly in the clouds or mist.

Compared to the years 1983 and 1995, we observe the development of Islam in Kenya. From Nyeri appear many women wearing the burqa and more mosques along the road. Many Somalis seem to have migrated into the region.

In the Samburu region, we note the presence of tribes from Lake Turkana. As for the Samburu villages, like the Masai villages, they become "cultural centers", with entrance fee and tourist shops. The Samburu are less traditional dress that we had known 10 and 40 years earlier.

Lunch at the lodge. First game drive from 16:00 to 18:30.

The Samburu reserve is for us one of the nicest in terms of landscapes, diverse wildlife and flora. Surrounded by aride hills, tracks winding through bushes, acacias, and small open areas of savannah.

River Ewaso Ngiro through it, down the green ribbon from one side to the other of the reserve. It attracts every morning and evening many animals of the reserve who come to drink.

We observed individual animals in Samburu Grevy's zebra, increasingly rare, the reticulated giraffe, the gerenuk or giraffe gazelle, quite numerous. What adds many lionesses with their cubs, many elephants, oryx, dik dik, Grant's gazelle, impala, waterbucks, warthogs, jackals. We attended two elephants charges against lions, giraffes in mourning following the attack of one of them by lionesses. Crossing the river by a family of elephants is an impressive sight.

Birds at the reserve is no exception: the magnificent lilac breasted roller, the shimmering guinea vulturines with their iridescent blue highlights, the secretary and their take off tomake the Air France pilotes jealous, the kingfisher, themasked weaver and their fragile nests hanging from the ends of the branches of acacia like balls of christmas, beautiful Superb Starling and coat color, hornbills, bustards, the beautiful bee eater and Jamaican held, always in pairs, the male catches insects to provide the female. The beautiful red and yellow barbet that is often seen perched on a mound on which it feeds occupants. Vultures and marabouts (stork), garbage faithful few eagles and falcons.

Samburu Sopa Lodge: 40 ° in the sun at 15h and 22 ° at night in the room. we meet  TapTap, an old guardian with a smile and an unforgettable face. This man is a welcome alone. This is the kind of person that you love cross to begin and end a day.

Day 3 - Samburu game drive from 7:00 to 12:00 and 16:00 to 18:35.

In 9 game drives over 3 stays in Samburu, decades apart, we never saw a leopard, although the overview remains of his victims in the trees. Blessed are those who have been observed.

Day 4 - Samburu - Nakuru: 325 km - departure at 07:00 arriving at 14:15. Is 22 ° day and 18 ° night

Long road until Nyeri. Nyeri horrible track still Nakuru. It rains all day. Crossing the region inhabited by people seems quite poor, living in shacks with single piece. Markets seem much less busy than the south, found mostly onions, tomatoes and pumpkins. The humidity and mud everywhere add a sinister character in this region. People are bundled up in coats, and wear boots.

Before arriving in Nakuru, we stop at Thompson Falls rumbling all the water spilled lately. Step no real interest. False Kikuyu and full of tourist shops. For lovers of waterfalls.

Lunch at the Lodge.

Lake Nakuru reserve surprised us: in our previous visits we have seen many animals: white rhino, black rhino, Rothschild  girafe, many lions hunting a family of gazelles,young lions playing with a rhino, many buffalos, common zebras, hyenas.

This time no lion, no black rhino, no hyena. Few white rhinos, some buffalo, some girafes, few zebras, impalas and gazelles. It was pouring rain, some roads were impassable, covered by the lake flooded.

3 game drives in over 3 stays in Nakuru, decades apart, we never saw a leopard. Blessed are those who have been observed.

Lake Nakuru Lodge.

Day 5 - Lake Nakuru - Masai Mara: 350 km - starting at 07:00 - at 14:00

Long road in very good condition (3:30), and very bad track "corrugated" (3:30). It is overcast and cold until Narok. Then the sky cleared and the temperature rises a little. The track is in an arid landscape, inhabited by the Masai.

They await tourists sitting in groups by the wayside for sale visit their village, etnic items and the right to take a photo.

We observe from our recent trips they have changed somewhat their tradition dress, wearing colorful printed fabrics, which are seen from afar. During stops, the relationships are commercial, often arrogant or aggressive.

The manyatas once composed only of beaten mud huts and cow dung in a circle in the center, today they have some corrugated iron shacks. The shepherds slender accompanying herds of cows and sheep still have their sledgehammer, their stick, sometimes their spear in one hand and a cellphone in the other. Some wear sunglasses, advertiser hats or tee shirts.

The Masai Mara game reserve is best known for the huge migration of animals according to the seasons through the Mara River which separates Kenya from Tanzania. June-July-August-September, the herds are supposed to be in Masai Mara in Kenya, after they leave to Serengeti in Tanzania.

This reserve is one of our favorites. It is almost certain to be able to observe a maximum of the animals listed in East Africa.

It is very photogenic with its changing sky and acacias seem to supportit with their flattened heads.

The rapid alternation of clouds and huge patches of light and shadow that they manage on the Masai Mara plain often makes photos very disappointing in terms of color, forcing correct white balance frequently

We discovered this year that the choice of lodge to stay is crucial to the smooth running of game drives. The migration is complete since mid-July, we were not able to attend crossing the Mara River, the majority of animals were concentrated in one area at a time track of the lodge. One hour to go and one hour back,  bad track,  to be deducted from each game drive. It was clever to provide full day game drive.

First game drive from 16:00 to 18:30.

Day 6 - Maasai Mara - Full day game drive from 07:30 to 16:30. Picnic under an acacia tree in the reserve.

Day 7 - Maasai Mara - Full day game drive from 07:30 to 16:00. Picnic under an acacia tree in the reserve.

Picnics in the heart of the reserve under a tree are very nice. We choose a single tree with a good view of the surroundings to ensure that no animal approaches.

We spent three days contemplating this immense plain of sight with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, hundreds of zebras and buffalo.

We took the time to follow lions in honey moon, many lionesses napping sated slumped to their prey consumed half, fighting fierce vultures, stork and spotted hyena to appropriate leftovers, hesitations of cheetahs satisfied, harassed by many minibuses and 4x4, majestic Masai giraffes with their marbling so special, the slow evolution of a giant python (4 m) whose stomach was crowded by prey.

Various antelopes and gazelles were also on the agenda: waterbuck, topi, elans, hartebeest, Thompson's gazelle, Grant's gazelle, impala the inevitable.

Warthogs , mongooses, baboons , the vervet monkey jackals are less shy than Samburu.

Many trees are inhabited by eagles, storks and yellow billed stork landing in their nest in the treetops with the same techniques as the paratroopers, while at ground kori bustard patrol proudly among the herds as if they were guarding.

The Sand river allow to observe many Nile crocodiles and hippos' families.

Visiting the Mara Bridge on the River Mara is of no interest outside the migration.The presence of armed rangers who are required to accompany us to the river by invoking a protection against possible bandits is a big rip off to earn money. It does not exist in our previous visits. There was just a guard who ensured that the tourists do not approach too near the edge, because of the crocodiles.

We also have been seduced by the skies, so special Masai Mara ... The deep blue skies in the morning, becoming frothy late morning, creating alternating patches of shade especially dark and bright light on the immense plain, gradually covering the afternoon, making mad settings of our cameras, to emerge again in the late afternoon, warming colors that we took time to correct for eventually the apotheosis of a sunset.

In 15 game drives over 3 stays in Masai Mara decades apart, we never saw a leopard. Blessed are those who have been observed.

Ashnil Mara Camp for 3 nights - it is 29 to 31 ° during the day and 13-15 degrees at night.

Day 8 - Maasai Mara - Nairobi: 320 km - including 4 hours of infernale track. departure at 07:00  - arriving at 13:30.

It seems hard and long to go directly from Masai Mara to Amboseli. An intermediate step is required to Nairobi.

Same track as the go. A Narok we turn to Nairobi.

Lunch in a pizzeria in Nairobi.

In the afternoon, visit Karen Blixen's house in the residential suburb of Nairobi. Karen is the author of the autobiographical novel "African Farm," which resulted in the film "Out of Africa", tracing his life in Kenya. Its role being played by Meryl Streep.

Built in 1912 near Nairobi, Karen Blixen's house became a small museum in 1985. The remains of "Out of Africa" brings together different pictures designed to illustrate parts of the life of the heroine. Decorations and fittings have been very well preserved. Some accessories were added, from utensils used during filming. Many properties sold at his hasty departure were recovered and returned to the museum. Everything is well done so that we imagine the context in which Karen lived.

It reigns in this house and in the garden, especially on the south side where you can see the Ngong Hills where buried Denys Finch-Hatton, his friend, a special atmosphere. A sense of peace, calm, serenity very communicative.

The house was used for exterior shots in the film. The interior was restored in another farm.

Dinner at the hotel.

Sentrim Hotel Boulevard.

Day 9 - Nairobi - Amboseli: 260 km starting at 09:00, arrival at 17:30

In the morning we visit the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi, near the Nairobi National Park.

Orphaned elephants came crom mothers died of disease and more often killed by poachers, who are still rampant in Kenya, they are supported by this foundation, before being released once able to get by.

The visit is paid (500khs), only from 11am to 12pm. This is a show that is repeated every day in front of hundreds of tourists.

Although this is not dressage, one wonders if by repeating every day the same "circus", elephants do not end behaviors that have nothing authentic. Taking small bottles of milk, followed by bathing and tasting "fresh leaves." Sham mothering with blankets, spray mud. The public can touch a small elephant while walking in front of the barrier.

It is expected that outside of show, elephants live in a large enclosure, or small reserve. In fact they are quite cramped cages. Without much interest since it has the opportunity to see them free in the reserves.

Lunch in a pizzeria, depart for Amboseli.

Long road, stopping for coffee Emali. He was scheduled a 45 minute visit market that has not occurred. I went during the driver's break. Not much to see, stalls of onions and tomatoes, hard to take pictures, people do not cooperate much.

On the road to the lodge, beautiful view of Mount Kilimanjaro, with no clouds or mist for once. We take this opportunity to take photos, fearing that the next day we may-be do not get the chance to see it.

Dinner at the lodge.

Sentrim Amboseli camp. 30 ° in the day, 24° at night

Day 10 - Amboseli: Full day game drive from 07:00 to 16:00. Picnic on observation hill. Weavers and many other birds come to beg bread crumbs: golden palm weaver and superb starling which mingles sometimes beautiful agama lizard orange red head  and green blue body.

We've been to Amboseli 3 times before this tour. We were surprised how few animals encountered. There are very few gazelles and antelopes, and virtually no predators.

In the Amboseli Reserve we saw rhinos, many lions, cheetahs, many crowned cranes.

Apart from hundreds of elephants and zebras, a few hippos, warthogs , few wildebeest  and an isolated lion far away, a couple of reeds kob , there is not so much to see.

Sometimes we drive 15 minutes without seeing anything, except elephants everywhere.

Some explain this by global warming, lack of rain, so there are wetlands in much of the reserve but animals migrate to Nairobi Park, more welcoming in terms of food. Others invoke poaching, which have squandered the resources of the reserve.

Amboseli is first for the majestic mountain, wearing a ribbon of snow, more or less thick according to the abundance of rain: Kilimanjaro. It is true that this volcano is fascinating. It has a special charisma that makes people coming from around the world to see, photograph, if possible with elephant before (which is virtually guaranteed)

Amboseli Serena Lodge. 29 ° day, 22 ° at night

Day 11 - Amboseli - Tsavo West: 200 km, starting at 07:00, arrival at 13:00

Initially, before leaving the park, we got a herd of elephants grazing in front of Kilimanjaro clear. Photo above. The sky is clear and sunny.

Track in poor condition from Amboseli  to Tsavo, crossing lava flows. The area is dotted with old extinct volcanoes. The sky is deeplely covered. Everything is grey.

This track is grouped in a convoy of vehicles accompanied by armed guards ... we have always known this part of the track under armed escort: rebels? bandits? He arrived as tourists do assaulted brutally by gangs. The problem does not seem to be resolved ?

We have seen Tsavo East twice without seeing virtually no animal (the last time one elephant, two dik dik and a herd of buffalo), we opted for the reserve Tsavo West, thinking that it would be different.

Lunch at the Lodge. Game drive from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Tsavo west is a reserve tormented alternating dry savannah, thorny bushes, acacia, rocks and lava, surrounded by old volcanoes. The earth is red, with areas in places black volcanic sand. Sometimes with the light the blond grass contrasts with the redness ground.

Many red elephants because they sprinkle red laterite, many dik dik less wild than Samburu, giraffes, some of which carry a colony of red billed oxpecker on the head and back. A saddle billed stork dressed in black, white and red, serious as a notary, Hadada ibis pecking the ground undisturbed.

We have done sometimes many miles without seeing an animal, apart from elephants and giraffes.

In 8 Game drives over 4 stays Tsavo East and West, decades apart, we never saw a leopard or lion. Blessed are those who have been able to observe.

Dinner at the lodge.

Kilaguni Serena Lodge at 15:00 37 °, 24 ° at 22:00

Day 12 - Tsavo West - Lumo: 50 km. Departure 7:00 arrival in reserve at 08h30  Lumo lodge at 13:30.

Few tourists, little mini-bus from Taita Hills Lodge and Salt Lick Lodge's clients.

We chose to go into the sanctuary of Lumo, reserve self-managed by the community Lumo, because many users praise its wildlife particularly abundant predators. It was the last place we had chances to see a leopard.

Game drive before arriving at the lodge from 08:30 to 13:30. The sky is overcast alternately. Colors suffer.

Lunch at the lodge and drive new game from 16:00 to 18:30. We have to refuel gasoline in another lodge.

The Lumo's sanctuary is surprising: feeling to arrive after an attack. Everything is trashed ! Overcrowding elephant contributes to a radical destruction of all edible acacia. Savannah is littered with debris from trees, dead trees, broken branches. Depending on the light, the grass is pale or pastel green on a background of red earth. A river whose banks promotes forest area flows through the reserve, from which emerge a few rocky hills more or less high.

Many red elephants, brown zebras brown because of laterite, giraffes, impala, eland, kudu lesser, hartebeest , buffalo , rocky hyrax in the rocks.

A driver who reported the presence of a leopard in the rocks of the lion, we turned around this hill for hours without seeing anything other than three gray druiker.

We have seen many birds, some lacking in our knowledge: white bellied go away, white headed buffalo weaver, red billed buffalo weaver, black bellied bustard, the beautiful african hoopoe with its orange and black crest.

At one very special point of the park, on the track against the Salt Lick Lodge, many birds come to eat bread in hand. This allows to observe closely, to touch and be touched by them. At this point only they are extremely familiar : superb starling, greater Blue eared starling, hornbill, red billed buffalo weaver.

In 3 game drives in one stay inLumo, this year, we've never seen leopard. Blessed are those who have been observed.

Dinner at the lodge

Lion's Bluff Lodge   24 ° in the day, 17 degrees at night.

Day 13 - Lumo sanctuary - Kyevaluki (chevaluki) District Kangundo  departure 07:00 - arrival at 17.45.

A thick fog surrounds the lodge. In the plain sky is overcast. The colors are cold.

Last game drive of 7:00 to 8:15 to try to spot a leopard on lion rock ... in vain.

An employee of the reserve told us a lion is a few kilometers from gate. We go there, a young male slumped under the branches of a tree.

Long track in poor condition along the Tanzanian border to join the road from Nairobi to Emali. Good road, but very congested due to traffic between Nairobi and Mombasa. Many checkpoints, we are not concerned.

After Sultan Hamund, we turn to Machakos to join Kangundo. This whole area is the territory of the Akamba tribe.

It's Sunday, everyone is dressed to go to church. We are amazed at the elegance of the ladies in the villages, who wear their prettiest dresses and gentlemen in suit and tie. Printing enjoy the atmosphere of our campaigns once. Everyone looks relaxed and serene. Many groups talk or sing to the various churches of different denominations. After Mass, people walking in the streets, on the roads to visit family or friends.

We benefit greatly from this appeasement, these greetings, this unusual home in Kenya.

The objective of our destination, orchestrated by Tanke Tours to discover the authentic rural life and a Kenyan village.


This was the fireworks at the end of our stay. A real village, away from the hordes of tourists and tourism 's business.

We are staying in a family Akamba, who runs a small farm. Simple accommodation, simple amenities, it is Africa in its simplest expression. But with a fabulous welcome, a variety of food, delicious, fresh vegetables and fruit from the market or garden, chicken killed and cooked just before meals, bottled water. Everyone speaks English, the head of the family was a teacher in primary school.

After the greetings, the master of the house told us about his history, showing us around his small farm.

No ostentation, no sign of wealth. This is a humble family, but so happy. A cook was specially called to take care of meals, so as to release the hosts and make them available to visitors. At meal times, some people passing through, friends or family, came to eat. There is enought for everyone. Avocado, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, rice, lentils, peas, delicious tomato sauce with onion pieces, green beans, spinach, chapati, chicken nice cooked, ugali. Bananas, papayas. Tea, coffee and water.

Long evening talking about values, traditions, compare and share lifestyles, ways of doing things.

It is 24° at night, the room and the bed has a mosquito net. But hakuna matata there are no mosquitoes. Clean towels available.

The night was quiet, and gentle with a bonus: wake up a little later.

Day 14 - Kyevaluki (chevaluki) - Nairobi  airport   80 km env   1h30

Hearty breakfast with eggs and fresh sauteed vegetables, bread, fresh fruit, pancakes, tea or coffee.

Whole morning will be devoted to the discovery of the village, its various activities and meet the villagers guided and accompanied by Caroline and James.

We start with the pond where the whole village water supplies, with cans carried by donkeys or hanging on the back. These are the holidays, many children help their parents in their daily tasks. No child beggars who demand a gift because we are foreigners.

Discovery of small villages shops where they sell the essential, which is useful in daily life, the milkman, the butcher, the blacksmith, the tailor, the miller, the greengrocer with very little vegetables etc ... Each earns his living as he can using skills or resources.

Having briefly introduced three kids to digital photography, we gave them our camera to carry a story on their village with their eyes. We publish on this site the pictures they have taken in tribute to their village.

Visiting primary school made us realize how life is rudimentary in the kenyan's villages. Classes of mud brick and corrugated sheet metal, without equipment, without comfort, just wooden benches and a table as in our villages 200 years ago.

Any help from the state, apart from teachers' salaries. Families are responsible for all related expenses, until the construction of the school. Classes have door if someone makes a donation to buy a door that will display the name of the donor, otherwise, nothing closes the class. Children have very little material to work (very few notebooks, pencils, slates, etc ...).

Throughout the holiday season, children take turns each day, in groups of two or three to keep the school: water small trees planted in the year, and to ensure that nobody comes degrade or fly.

During this visit, we find Caroline's involvement in the life of the village. With other adults, she tries to contain the idleness of children and adolescents, creating, facilitating and financing activities. Beautiful generosity.

We believe that human break is a great way to complement a safari in Kenya.

This formula reminds us the integrated tourism implemented in Senegal in the 1970s. Allow foreigners to discover the life, culture and traditions of a village, adapting and integrating lifestyle of the village with the help of facilitators from the village with a small tourism training. Fees allow villagers to provide for collective spending

A model very far from equitable tourism, sustainable, supportive, fashionable, sold by some agencies have discovered a new juicy economical vein.

Day 15 Arrival in France

rewiew- advices
swahili glossary
Hotels : pictures & rewiews

Karibu in Kenya



August 14 - August 28 - 2012