To be honest, Y and I did not know what to expect with this safari trip, in terms of living conditions, the journey, the place, would it be too hot or too cold, will there be mosquitoes sucking through my fur every day? But the moment we landed in Lewa, I had a great feeling just looking at the neverending vast land that greeted us as our plane touched down on the air strip in Lewa, also known recently as the place where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton back in 2010. The air was crisp and dry, and despite the strong sun, the wafts of wind blowing made the weather more enjoyable than the hot humid sunny Singapore that I just left behind.
Loading off our bags after arriving in Lewa.
Vast land and sunny skies greet us in Lewa.
Alex, our guide cum driver for the next few days introduced himself to us and brought our bags to the open air jeep, dedicated vehicle to our group for the next 3 days in Lewa. The weather at this time of the year in June is drier and much lesser rainfall which explains for the brown hues across the landscape.
Here in this video, Alex makes a short introduction of Lewa Wildlife and what sort of animals we can expect to see. Pardon the loud wind sound, it’s blurred out some of what he’s saying, what a pity. Essentially he was explaining to us when the small rhino sanctuary was started which was back in 1983 to save the endangered rhinos, and at the moment now they have 62 white rhinos and 63 black rhinos. He also gave some explanation of the other endangered animals we can expect to see.
We went on an immediate short game drive on the way to Lewa Safari Camp, which was great fun, soaking in sights of the neverending landscape and seeing random animals from ostrich to zebras just popping up beside us in a jeep was pretty unreal. We also learnt that there were more than one type of zebras in Africa, did you know that? Yes, you have to forgive me, as I am not a big fan of watching National Geographic channel other than anything on bears, so it was really enriching to learn so many new things on these animals on this trip. There are what we call the grevy’s zebras and the common zebras which I am more acquainted with seeing in zoos and generally in pictures. I somehow had an image of a zebra swimming in a thick gravy sauce when i first heard the word “grevy’s zebras”, yes my very imaginative mind.
Antelopes hopping away. So cutey, like Bambi.
We arrived after maybe an 1 hour plus ride from the air strip at Lewa Safari Camp. A team of staff greeted us with cold towels after which we were ushered into the main reception area where the manager Lucy warmly greeted us. We settled in nicely with a refreshing glass of welcome drink and she spoke with us and gave us an introduction of the camp and what we can expect. The ‘rooms’ are actually nicely covered tents and a total of 12 tented rooms sprawl across the estate, so there’s a sense of privacy and we never felt too close to our neighbours, only seeing them during mealtimes.
We were brought to our individual rooms shortly after speaking with Lucy, and the 6 of us were split into 1 tent and a family tent which had 2 tents side by side. We had a large bedroom with 2 single beds and a rather spacious ensuite toilet. Maybe the beds could have been bit bigger given I was sharing with Y. We were rather amused how all the toilets were designed to have this large wooden seat around it, same for even the public toilets near the air strip. First thing I did upon arrival to the room was to jump into the bed and take a breather before having to freshen up and head out for lunch. It was also very comforting to know that the hot water and water pressure was sufficient to last my 10 minute shower. Anyhow, at all these camps, they always encourage us to not take such long showers as a bid to conserve energy and water, so for all you friends out there that love to take loooonnggg, hot showers, you have to change that habit over here.
We heard the owner is Italian which explains for the style of cuisine we see during lunch and dinner. Pastas are often featured in lunch and dinners served. Lunches are in a more casual format served as buffet style in the open verandah, where we can help ourselves to a variety of cold salads, focaccia, cheeses and often accompanied with a main dish for that day that alternates between cooked meats and pastas. We had initially thought that the royals – Prince William and Kate Middleton stayed in one of the tents in Lewa Safari Camp, but later we found out from Alex, our guide that they had stayed in a private house. We were joking we couldn’t imagine them eating in the dining areas with the rest of the visitors, there will be no privacy at all for them!
Every night after dinner, they will tuck a hot water bottle in bed for us as part of the turn down service as it can get rather chilly sometimes and in the mornings, we always have a freshly prepared tumbler of coffee for each of us served at the table just outside our tent with some biscuits, for us to drink before we head out for the early morning game drives. We usually woke up around 5.30 am and set off around 6 or 6.30 am. We also had the opportunity to experience a truly authentic safari breakfast picnic in Lewa Downs compliments of Alex – will share more of that in our next post.
If one is lucky, we can sometimes find animals walking near our tents. I was peering out for a good while but did not see anything, but there was a day that WT saw giraffes just outside our tents! Shucks I missed that.
The great thing about staying in Lewa Safari Camp is that we don’t really see many other vehicles and its location and views of Lewa is pretty spectacular with views of Mount Kenya in the far distance. This was probably the best time to go, as no rainfall meant non interrupted game drives everyday. The weather was dry and not humid at all, and I loved the cold air in the early mornings and nights.
You can find details and cost of my itinerary for this Kenya safari trip in my previous post here. I leave you here with some of my favourite photos taken on the 1st day. Off to a good start, we managed to see the rest of the BIG FIVE over the next few days in Lewa and subsequently Maasai Mara. I will be sharing more fantastic pictures of our game drives and views of the wildlife in Lewa in my next post!
Love the singular formation of the zebras.