I’m going to paint a scene for you, a scene that I recently got to experience for myself. It’s a scene that resembles my version of paradise & I want you to experience it with me. I’m going to transport you far away from your laptop screens and we’re going to travel to the Mother Continent. We’re going to travel to Kenya in East Africa.
It’s hot. A different type of heat though, it’s dry yet bearable as the harsh sun beats down on your body as you lie outside soaking up the Vitamin D. Below where you lie, a river gently flows weaving it’s way like a snake through the dry riverbed, the hot sand absorbing the trickle of moisture that flows across it.
The vegetation around you has adapted to the harsh conditions that face this land & for miles in every direction all you can see is wildlife dotted across the short golden plains. The iconic umbrella trees cast a shadow of refuge for those in need of the break from the midday heat. Along the riverbank, the vegetation is thick, the trees are tall and green and the birds are in abundance. The noises of the city that you know so well are now forgotten memories as the sound of traffic is replaced by bird songs amongst the gentle rustle of the leaves and a silence that feeds your soul.
Suddenly, leaves crunch as a spike of adrenaline floods your veins only to realise that it’s a small antelope grazing nearby, occasionally looking up with it’s big brown eyes and a twitching nose to see that you are where it last saw you. As you look toward the river below, a herd of elephant start navigating their way across the riverbed with their babies in tow. Their discreet and graceful movement comes as a surprise in comparison with their towering frame as their giant feet glide across the earth with such grace and agility.
You think back to earlier in the day when you had stumbled across a scene that had consisted of a large herd of wildebeest grazing alongside zebra. Behind them are three male bachelor elephants ambling towards the herd as a nearby eland, the biggest antelope of them all, is getting frustrated with a hyena who seems to be causing trouble whilst carrying a rather oversized bone in his mouth. Despite predators being in the same vicinity as what would be considered their prey, there is no need for the hyena to kill. Unlike humans, the animals take what they need to survive resulting in an equilibrium amongst these species who have co-existed for thousands of years.
This is my version of paradise & I was lucky enough to experience it last week thanks to The Safari Collection who hosted a few of us for five nights in three amazing lodges across Kenya. Ben & I flew out one day early to spend time at Giraffe Manor, a giraffe sanctuary located in Karen, Nairobi & the only place in the world that you can eat breakfast with giraffes poking their heads through the windows.
We then spent 2 incredible nights at Sasaab Lodge in Samburu National Park, which still has many of the local communities present alongside the borders of the park tending to their herds of grazing sheep & donkeys.
Lastly we stayed at my personal favourite, Sala’s Camp in the world renown Masai Mara National Park, where the famous mass migration of about 1.5million wildebeest takes place every year and results in avid nature enthusiasts traveling from all corners of the globe to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Unfortunately we had just missed the migration and the last of the crossing in our vicinity, which is where the wildebeest cross the croc-infested waters to get from one side to the other. If you’ve never heard of it, you need to YouTube search that, or even better you need to find a Sir David Attenborough (my man) documentary about it, it truly is incredible.
The red African sunsets and sunrises, the warmth of the people and their smiles that could warm the coldest of hearts, the silence, the noise, the smells, the beauty of being surrounded in an abundance of nature. I can’t explain to you what it is about this great continent that draws me back time and time again. It’s the simplicity of it all, it’s the organised chaos in the dusty streets, it’s the making do of what one has without endlessly complaining, it’s the unrefined beauty, it’s the people that continue day in and out who possess so little compared to many of us but yet seem to possess so much more. It’s the joy of celebrating life and being alive, & sometimes you & I, we need to be reminded what that looks like again.
You can follow my Kenya adventures on YouTube! Here is a video from our time at Giraffe Manor & Sasaab Lodge: