The Ewaso Ng’iro river (“brown river” in English) flooded while we were there. It happened during the night while we were sleeping and when Karole opened the tent the next morning there was a panic I hadn’t heard in her voice before…all she said was, “oh my gosh, pack your bags!”

Our safari experience at Samburu Intrepids tent camp in Kenya was beyond anything I had ever dreamt of in a safari. From the tiny plane we took to deliver us to the gravel airstrip, which seemed to appear in the middle of nowhere, to seeing the largest, most beautiful owl I have ever laid my eyes on (the verreaux eagle owl), to seeing a gorgeous lilac breasted roller bird and many, many other amazing animals that I will mention later…..the whole thing from start to finish was simply AMAZING!  Well, ok, the food maybe was a little weird, but we never went hungry. The attention to detail, by the staff, to ensure our experience was as flawless as possible was so overwhelmingly meaningful.

We had reservations in “off season” which means it was cheaper, praise be, and there were fewer guests, which meant we got more 1:1 attention, which allowed us to get to know the staff and some other guests more personally. In fact, we may go to London before we head back to the states to stay with a very sweet new friend we made in Samburu! Each morning and evening we had the same staff for our “game drive”, we rode in an open top/sides jeep-type Land Rover with many available seats but it was just the driver, Karole and me. The drivers name was Dominic and he absolutely rocked! He was so knowledgeable about the area and each and every animal. He loves his job and it showed! We bonded and laughed a lot together. He even ended up riding with us from Samburu to Nyeri in the car we rented all the way up to the front door of the house where we would be staying for the next week, then he went on further in the rental car to his home. He was beginning his vacation break and we were happy to be with him on the first leg of his journey.

In Samburu we stayed in a luxurious canvas tent, the kind I have always seen in magazines and wanted to be in but never though I would be. Never say never! We were welcomed each morning with hot coffee and cookies delivered to our tent by the staff, and we always got the same warning each morning…”be sure to put the carabiner clip on the end of the tent zippers so the monkeys don’t get in, they love the cookies”. We were told many stories about guests forgetting to put the carabiner clip on the tent zippers and the little black faced vervet monkeys sneaking in to take any and all food they could find. They are also reportedly known for taking food right out of your hand as you walked around the grounds. They were adorable and were seen scurrying all around, I love monkeys so this was delightful!

Other animals we were thrilled to see close up in the wild were Lions and Lionesses, the Nile crocodile, many gorgeous birds such as the white headed buffalo weaver, the superb starling, the hoopoe, and the grey headed king fisher; as well as the reticulated giraffes, the Grevy’s zebras, the Somali ostriches, bat-eared foxes, gerenuks, beisa oryx, a cheetah, Impalas, Gazelles and many, many elephants of all ages. Some of these animals are unique only to Samburu area. I grew up watching, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” TV series and fell in love with animals! The only time I got close to these types of animals was at the zoo and at Barnum and Bailey circus…little did I know at such a young age how different this life was for these wild animals than roaming their natural habitats.  I am thankful for wide open open spaces for these animals to roam and for sanctuary’s and spaces where wild animals are rehabilitated if needed and kept safe!

The Ewaso Ng’iro river “brown river” flooded while we were there. It happened during the night while we were sleeping and when Karole opened the tent the next morning there was a panic I hadn’t heard in her voice before…all she said was, “oh my gosh, pack your bags!”  Of course I had no idea what she was talking about, but when I peaked outside I knew. The water, which had been ~ 40-50 yards from our tent, was now AT our tent and it appeared that we were now part of the river rather than beside it!  And although our tent is built firmly on a permanent frame up on stilts, it was VERY close to reaching the height of our porch. Karole was quite anxious about the situation and moved swiftly. I proceeded to video and take pictures while packing along the way. She had reason to feel the way she did b/c every guest had packed their bags and we were soon to be notified to evacuate the tent camp. We packed our bags into the Land Rover with Dominic at the wheel and headed out on a morning “game drive” with no idea if we would return to the camp for our last night there or not. Thankfully the camp ended up being fine but two other safari camps nearby were not as lucky and were unfortunately/sadly, flooded. 7 years prior the Samburu Intrepids tent camp flooded and they lost everything and had to rebuild. When we returned to the camp later that day the smiles on the faces of the staff and the welcome we received was one of love and relief.

After our awesome experience, we thought we would give you a few Safari tips of our own !

  1. If you are a female, wear a sports bra! (Remember this is on off-road type of adventure for nearly 6 hours a day!)
  2. Karole says don’t come on a safari with a temporary crown in your mouth.
  3. If you are a Diet Coke or Dr. Pepper drinker, bring your own b/c they don’t have these and coke light just doesn’t cut it.
  4. If you come during rainy season, bring a life vest!!  (ha-ha)
  5. If you have back or neck trouble, you really might want to reconsider or load up on ibuprofen. We are only discussing Samburu’s roads but other safari’s may be different.
  6. Bring snacks b/c the food is very different from what you are used to.
  7. Don’t expect to catch up on rest, unless you skip one of the “game drives” one day. The days go by quickly when you have two “game drives” a day and each lasts about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, plus time for three meals a day.
  8. Bring your own binoculars.
  9. There was a pool at Samburu Intrepids which I wasn’t aware of b/c I didn’t read up before I left. I would never think to bring a bathing suit on a safari, but here you can and the pool area is lovely!
  10. If you are an OCD-ish type of person, you might want to consider some way to patch the holes that will likely be in your mosquito net.

The safari was definitely an experience never to be forgotten. We highly recommend adding it to your bucket list! And we hope to do another one some day!

 

Kwaheri for now,  ya’ll!

2 Comments

  1. Marlo Kirkpatrick

    October 30, 2017 at 2:20 am

    You two are living my dream! I visited Africa briefly three years ago and my goal ever since has been to go back for an extended trip with the my husband. I’ve been looking at Botswana, but your experience sounds wonderful. Do you mind emailing me a rough idea of the cost for your adventure, where all you’re going, and how long it will last? (Karole knows me and will hopefully vouch for me as someone you can safely share info with).

    Reply
  2. Carrie Clabo

    October 31, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I have to say a safari has never been on my bucket list so I am living vicariously through you, but who knows what the future will bring. Love you!

    Reply

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