Kenyan Safari: Beyond Wildlife, This Is A Once-In-a-Lifetime Experience

Safari. We practically exclusively identify this phrase with exploring the African wilderness in open-top Land Rovers and taking pictures of lions and elephants in their native environments. However, this Swahili phrase literally means “to journey,” and in that regard, Kenya is awash in opportunities for diverse safari experiences.

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One such safari adventure is going to the Rhino Charge, the most exciting motorsport event in East Africa. An annual off-road 4×4 competition, it generates money for Rhino Ark’s conservation work. It takes place in early June. It is a 5013c recognized non-governmental organization that seeks to preserve Kenya’s “Water Towers,” which are mountain ecosystems. In order to keep people and animals safe from one another, the organization also constructs electric fences in places with a lot of wildlife and rural village inhabitants. Many villages lived in constant terror of assaults by elephants or buffalo before the fences were created. As a result, many children avoided school or slept ten to a house for protection.

Rhino Charge is an amazing event to support if you enjoy sustainable travel and want to give back to the place you are visiting. It’s a three-night camping event conducted at a top-secret wilderness site that was only made public one week in before. The major draw of Rhino Charge is a 10-hour 4WD race known as the most extreme in the world. This game is not about speed. Each team must travel the least distance to complete 13 checkpoints in order to win. This implies that in an effort to cross the finish line without giving up any length, race cars will be seen winching out of deep, muddy ravines or crawling over enormous stones.

Rhino Charge has a festival atmosphere and nighttime DJ dance events. There were individuals from all over the world at my camp, despite the fact that most racers and spectators are from Kenya. Among them were an American movie star, a Kenyan artist, and a German fashion designer.

The day prior to the competition, every car had to go through “scrutineering.” Here, GPS tracking devices are fitted, and vehicles are examined to ensure they meet the rules of the class in which they are competing, whether modified or not (the latter of which may result in some vintage, hard-core rides). If you enjoy racing, you should be impressed by the range of race vehicles and the often drastic modifications made to them in order to survive the harsh African environment.

Meeting local Kenyans, witnessing some amazing vehicles and trucks in action, and camping in the woods are all made possible by the Rhino Charge event. Bookings for tickets and camping are available on the Rhino Charge website. With glamping-style tents that include beds and outside bucket showers and toilets, the campgrounds are fully equipped. They can also have a complete bar and a chef to make all of the meals.

A Customary Safari in Kenya

Of course, while visiting Kenya, you must do a typical safari. To do this, travel one hour south of Nairobi to the region around the Masai Mara National Reserve. When planning a Kenyan safari, seeing the Great Migration is the most unforgettable experience. Over two million wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, and elands travel from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve between June and August, marking the biggest animal migration on Earth. Many animals do not make it through the perilous, predator-filled voyage.

My favorite spot to stay in the Masai Mara is Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, which is situated on a 6,000-acre private game reserve next to the well-known Mara park. The excellent guides, outstanding service, and nostalgic luxury make it truly stand out. Staying at Cottar’s allows you to avoid the car throngs seen in the park proper and enjoy views of giraffes munching on prickly acacia trees, lions mating, and cheetahs stalking prey across the Savannah.

A trip to this camp is like traveling back in time and into the pages of Out of Africa. Everything about this place, including the chandeliers made of birdcages and gramophones, is appropriate for a TikTok video production and seems like it belongs in a glitzy, nineteenth-century safari camp.

Only 10 tents, strategically spaced to optimize seclusion, make for an intimate all-inclusive safari experience. You will feel like royalty staying in these opulent tents that are furnished with all the comforts of home. Mosquito net-draped billowy four-poster beds, oriental carpets, steamer trunks, and distinct lounging spaces featuring indoor fires are all present. After a safari, take a bubble bath without fail. The crew will prepare a bubbly bath for you to enjoy in an al fresco canvas tub with champagne.

You may choose your own schedule and receive highly customized service, such as having breakfast in the bush after a morning game drive or enjoying sundowners while listening to lions roar in the distance. For the length of your stay, you’ll have your own car with a knowledgeable Maasai guide and a tracker, the best in the industry, providing you with classic African “big-five” animal action with lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo, and elephants.

Safari on the Swahili Coast

Kenya is also home to some of Africa’s most stunning beaches; a safari along the country’s Swahili Coast is an additional must-do activity. This area has breathtakingly beautiful sea and is on the same latitude as locations like the Maldives. This is a year-round paradise of turquoise and emerald hues set against sugar-sand beaches, with warm water. Excellent diving and snorkeling are available, and the reef system is still intact and growing.

For a beach experience in Kenya, I adore Watamu, a little beach village. Due to its steady trade winds, one of Africa’s best places to go kitesurfing is also becoming more and more popular with remote workers, and it is home to a sizable expat community. Watamu is a simple and secure place to travel. In addition to using Uber, you may travel between locations for roughly US $1 each ride on a bodu bodu, a motorbike taxi.

Temple Point Resort is my preferred lodging option. Travelers in their Millennial and Gen Z years are drawn to it because of its fantastic seaside location and lively atmosphere. It is dispersed over beautifully planted areas and quaint cottage lodging. They also own Lichthaus, the premier bar in the community. Come around sunset to enjoy its many amenities, which include hammocks hanging over the river, plenty of food and drink, and frequently DJs spinning during the summer. Temple Point boasts its own diving facility with activities ranging from wall and reef dives and certification courses to swimming with whale sharks.

Another excellent option is the most opulent lodging option, Hemingways Watamu. It offers accomodation in the form of rooms, apartments, and homes right on the beach. The homes are particularly large and luxurious. They have kitchens, up to two bedrooms, wall-to-wall windows, and contemporary interior design.

Where to Stay in Nairobi & How to Travel to Kenya

Kenya Airways exclusively operates direct flights from the United States to Nairobi, Kenya, departing from New York’s JFK airport. It was a fairly short flight, taking less than 14 hours, but I really enjoyed traveling with Kenya Airways (the trip back takes around 16 hours). The business class seats are worth the extra money, and the service was excellent. If you’re unsure which class to reserve, you may also bid on business class upgrades before to departure (based on availability), which can lead to incredibly low prices. Delta miles can be accrued or redeemed on Kenya Airways as it is a part of the SkyTeam alliance.

When traveling into or out of Kenya, it is highly recommended to spend a few days in Nairobi, the country’s capital. It’s a dynamic, multicultural city with top-notch dining options, a buzzing nightlife, and fantastic lodging. Reserve a place at Tribe. Situated adjacent to Village Market, the city’s most popular eating and shopping area, this five-star hotel has a handy location. Because to its Marriott affiliation, you may utilize and accrue Bonvoy points.