Day 1 – 2: Hemingways Nairobi, Nairobi
Day 2 – 5: Ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills National Park
Day 5 – 9: Cottar’s 1920s Camp, Maasai Mara
Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and East Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, with a vibrant population of 4.5 million. Unique to the city is the proximity of Nairobi National Park, a true wilderness area juxtaposed against the larger urban metropolis. It is the only national park like it in the world and a real embodiment of the human-wildlife conflicts that challenge many African communities who must learn to cohabitate with wildlife on their doorstep.
Nairobi National Park is one of the best places in Africa to see rhino and also has a healthy population of lion, leopard, cheetah, and plains game like giraffe and antelope. Other attractions include the Karen Blixen Museum, the Giraffe Center, Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage, a visit to a tea farm, and shopping for local crafts and trinkets. There are some great local and cross-cultural restaurants to explore, from roadside food stalls to local nyama choma (barbecue joints) to five-star dining establishments.
Hemingways Nairobi is an elegant boutique hotel situated in Nairobi’s Karen residential area with magnificent views of the nearby Ngong hills. Designed for the discerning business and leisure traveller, Hemingways Nairobi offers the full facilities expected in a modern day luxury boutique hotel. The hotel offers forty-five luxury suites which include the Hemingways suite, The Blixen suite, 19 Executive rooms and 24 deluxe rooms. The Hemingways Nairobi Brasserie serves classic dishes and the very best of local and international cuisine and is open everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
These spacious rooms are 80m² and are located on the ground floor of each wing. Each Deluxe Suite has a seating area and private terrace. Large en-suite marble bathrooms feature walk-in closets, double vanity units and separate bath, shower and WC.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: Founded in 1977 by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, in memory of her late husband, famous naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust claims a rich and deeply rooted family history in wildlife and conservation. Since the death of her husband, Daphne, and her family, lived and worked in the Nairobi National Park where they built The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and its pioneering Orphans’ Project into the global force for wildlife conservation that is today. Daphne’s daughter Angela worked alongside her mother running the Trust for twenty years, and since Daphne’s passing in 2018 continues the mission with passion and vigor ably supported by her husband Robert Carr-Hartley, their two sons Taru and Roan and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust team.
The Nairobi Nursery: The Trust is best known for its work on elephants, and although the Orphans project is the heart and soul of the Trust, the organisation has now expanded to veterinary units, anti-poaching units, community projects and the saving habitat initiative.
One can visit the Trust every day of the week, excluding Christmas day, between 11am and 12pm when the orphans come in for their midday bath and feed. Note: visits require advance booking.
Situated south of Nairobi between Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park, Chyulu Hills National Park boasts striking and diverse landscapes. The Chyulus were formed by a 100 km (62 mi) long series of ancient volcanic cones and craters, and now has one of the longest lava tubes in the world. Its beautiful green rolling hills drop down into misty forests of Acacia tortillis and sweeping savannahs that have played backdrop to many iconic movies, including Out of Africa. The views towards Mt Kiilmanjaro are some of the best to be had.
The local Maasai work together with conservation groups to minimise human wildlife conflict with the nomadic pastoralists. Big Life is one of the well known conservation groups that work in this area alongside some of the luxury boutique lodges situated in the Chyulus.
Activities in the greater Chyulus include exploring the area by foot, vehicle and horseback, as well as cultural visits, day trips to Amboseli, and hiking to the highest points (around 182 m/ 6000 ft high).
Wedged between Kenya’s Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks in the heart of the Chyulu Hills, the lodge, honed from the ancient lava rock that spewed out of Kilimanjaro 360,000 years ago, creates a timelessness that touches everyone who visits. On the Mbirikani Group Ranch – 275,000 acres of private wild Africa bordering Chyulu Hills National Park and owned by 4,000 Maasai – ol Donyo Lodge blends contemporary design with the rich culture of the Maasai.
Deluxe Pool Suite
No two of the lodge’s eight bedrooms is exactly the same, but what is consistent is the view of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the lodge’s famous waterhole. All suites have a pool, verandah, indoor and outdoor showers, double washbasins, flush toilet and bath, and “star-bed.” The rooftop “star-bed” is a fabulous sleep-out option, with utter privacy and all the amenities of the suite just below. The three deluxe pool suites have an expansive lounge in addition to the bedroom.
Standard Pool Suite
No two of the lodge’s eight bedrooms is exactly the same, but what is consistent is the view to Mt. Kilimanjaro and the lodge’s famous waterhole as well as star beds atop each of the suites for sleeping under the stars. All suites have a pool, verandah, indoor and outdoor showers, double washbasins, flush toilet and bath, and “star-bed.” The rooftop “star-bed” is a fabulous sleep-out option, with utter privacy and all the amenities of the suite just below.
This is a camp that embraces community, where the guides will take you to their villages for authentic experiences that change your life. You can walk, cycle, horse ride, and drive around the conservancy, and then return to Relais and Chateaux quality meals served by Patrick (Executive Chef) and his team.
The Mara conservancies are Maasai owned group ranches that have combined to conserve a total area nearly the size of the Maasai Mara National Reserve itself, covering 1450 km2 (560 mi2) across fifteen conservancies. The wildlife in the conservancies can be comparable to the main Maasai Mara game reserve, and in fact some areas have higher densities of predators than in the central reserve. Because there are fewer camps, the conservancies can offer a more exclusive experience than in the central reserve, with generally fewer game viewing vehicles around sightings.
There are opportunities in some conservancies to do night drives, walking safaris, as well as visits to some of the villages of the local Maasai who own the land.
The conservancy approach is widely seen as the way forward for wildlife conservation and eco-tourism in Kenya, because it not only secures vital space for wildlife but includes the local population as custodians of their national heritage. This has been vital not only for conservation of the whole greater Mara but also wildlife corridors and the prosperity of many hundreds of Maasai families. Nearly forty tourist camps contribute to employment amongst the communities and provide a presence, alongside Maasai anti poaching units, for the protection of the wildlife.
Vintage luxury at its best, the award-winning Cottar’s 1920s Camp is situated on a 7608 acre private conservancy bordering the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Masai Mara in Kenya and the Tanzania Serengeti game reserve. Owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa it extends an era of luxury and quality and returns to the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’.
Cottar’s 1920s Camp provides the romance of safari under cream canvas tents, the style of the bygone era of the twenties, while at the same time supplying the amenities required by today’s modern world travellers.
Luxury Double Tent
The tent includes private en-suite dressing room and bathroom, main bedroom with veranda. There are four luxury double tents, three double configuration and one twin.
The Cottar family provide genuinely stunning wildlife and wilderness experiences, engaging in the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’: an abundance of wildlife, a guarantee of privacy, and the highest standards of professional guiding, in a luxurious and authentic safari environment. The Cottars’ have developed unique, purpose-driven experiences that contribute to sustainability. They have spent the last year developing safari experiences that have a positive impact to the client, to the complex and unique biodiversity that surrounds them and to the local Maasai community as they move forward into the next 100 years of providing safari and conservation services.
Some of those experiences include engaging and learning about vulture rehabilitation, spending time with the only all-female conservation ranger unit in the Masai Mara, learning about the unique medicinal plants of the area, foraging and tasting local wild food, touring the community-owned private conservancy and participating in a reforestation seed disbursal bushwalk experience.
The Cottar family have been providing safaris for more than 100 years and focus on providing an authentic and individualized safari experience and supporting an ongoing legacy of wilderness, wildlife, comfort and security and honouring a balance between conservation, prosperous commerce, community and culture.
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