Kenya | Arriving in Samburu
I’m back! Can’t believe its been almost two weeks since my last post… But throw together a bout of flu, a burnt eye ball, NYFW, six flights, a trip to Kenya and a house move and any kind of routine gets thrown off kilter. But said routine is almost within reach so I’ll be back to my regular thrice-weekly posts asap so thank you for being so patient while I went on my unintentional little hiatus. I’m excited to start sharing lots on here again!
Now about that trip to Kenya… You might have seen my instagram has been full of lions, cheetahs and giraffes lately and I’m still reeling from being back in the real world rather than waking up to hot tea and game drives every morning.
I haven’t been to Kenya for 10 years since I lived and worked as a teacher in Uganda and was beyond excited to go back to East Africa, only this time I’d be swapping my hostels and tents for something a little more jaw-dropping…. Ou first stop was the stunning Samburu, an area I haven’t to before. An hour north of Nairobi on a plane, this arid, dry region of Kenya is hot (so much so the male lions here don’t have big Mufasa manes) and wild so every time you see something it feels special. We were staying at the incredible Sasaab, a beautiful, Moroccan-inspired camp with huge airy rooms open to the elements perched high over the river, each with its own private plunge pool. Everything here is sensitive to the environment and the community it’s in. Showers are solar powered and you’re encouraged to ‘save-a-bucket’ and put a bucket under your shower until it warms up so that water can be used for cleaning or watering plants. Sasaab do and contribute a huge amount to the local areas too which I’ll chat a bit more about later but it really makes you feel like you’re staying somewhere that’s luxurious without being out of touch or insensitive to its environment which is exactly the kind of balance you want. Amazing views, delicious food, lovely staff and the most romantic rooms ever… This place was a real wonder for all the senses.
The days would start with tea and biscuits at your room at about 6 A.M before heading out on your first game drive of the day. This is the best time of day to see animals before it gets too hot and they all start having siestas. Plus there’s something pretty magic about getting up super early in the bush – nothing like trying to rouse myself in London that’s for sure.
We were so lucky within our first day in Samburu. Not only did we see a lion proudly carting around his warthog supper, we also spotted giraffes, monkeys, elephants and a grevy’s zebra (a really rare sub species) just on our drive from the airstrip to Sasaabl. Bush breakfasts are the absolute best bit of safari for me… Our amazing guide and tracker would find a quiet spot, pull out a gas stove stored in the Land Cruiser and whip up eggs, bacon and pancakes with fruit, maple syrup, cereal and coffee on the side. Sitting in the bush eating breakfast with the sun warming up on you – it really doesn’t get any better.
After our first drive, we were back at Sasaab in time for lunch and had a few hours to dose in the shade and dunk our dusty, jet-lagged selves in the pools before it was time for the next adventure. This time it was taking quad bikes to the local Samburu village.
Sasaab have a great relationship with this local community and hence guests are welcomed in with open arms. Over 75% of Sasaab’s staff are employed from the local area and they make monthly donations to the West Gate Community Conservancy which funds health and education projects so you’re making a difference just by staying at the lodge. Once every three months Sasaab brings a nurse to the local villages for any vaccinations and treatment needed and each year they house doctors and nurses for an annual eye clinic in partnership with kenyan charity Meak. These are just a few of the diverse projects Sasaab gets involved in and can put guests in touch with depending on what they might be particularly keen to support. Essentially this is a camp totally devoted to and in touch with its community and wildlife so heading to the local village to learn more about their culture was a key part of the trip for me.
And rule 101 for instantly making friends with kids worldwide? Get your phone/camera out an take a group selfie…. The new international language when it comes to connecting.
These little characters were mine and Livs absolute faves.
After returning from the village, racing down empty river banks on the quads (releasing my inner Lara Croft if you will), we were immediately told there was a leopard hunting not far away and jumped into a car again, raced off and found said leopard hunting a dikdik. I have to admit, I was kind of rooting for the dikdik (lots of pics of these little things in the next post), but it was amazing to watch the leopard stalk at dusk, most of us glimpsing the action through Ben’s night vision camera.
After that it was time to head back for dinner and bed before another early start in the bush.
More from Kenya next time…
Khaki Tie Trousers | Faithfull The Brand
Black Bikini | Marysia
Necklace | Lucy Williams X Missoma
Rope Sandals | Nomadic State of Mind
White Shirt | Madewell
Khaki Trousers | Old J Crew (similar from Madewell here)
Trainers | Sezane
Watch | Larsson & Jennings
Sunglasses | Toms
Ph. by myself and Liv Purvis