Exciting travel story that will take you to discover the wonders of some of the most beautiful countries of Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.
Travel Diary in Africa: experiences and emotions
The organization of this fantastic journey begins in January 2019, when I contact Cristian, a guy from Watamu I had heard about on the Internet.
We left in 5 (2 couples and a friend) from Milan in September with a flight British Airways booked in March.
Routine stopover a London and we come to Nairobi around 19 in the evening.
Cristian waits for us with a minibus, loads us and takes us to a hotels in the center.
THEhotels it is obviously spartan, but for the fees of the place it could be almost a luxury, and for the 5 of us, prepared for a tent safari, it is.Holidays in Campo Tures: what to see, where to ski, walks and fly lines
Quick shower in spartan but clean rooms and down to the hotel restaurant where a spit-roasted chicken with fries and Tusker beer (the typical beer of Kenya) awaits us.
The following morning we leave for the first stage, Lake Nakuru.
We are 5, Cristian, the guide and the cook.
We are a little tight but for the whole trip we will not have space problems. The van is comfortable, with windows and a sunroof. We are ready and excited.
After about 2 and a half hours of travel we arrive in Lake Nakuru and we head to our first accommodation.
Here we immediately have a first surprise, a leopard rests on a branch of a tree. The previous summer I had already been to Kenya and had visited 3 parks, but I had never been lucky enough to see a leopard. Here in Nakuru we will see even 3.
After the positive shock we head to our accommodation and here we have the first surprise prepared by Cristian (I can't tell you how many there have been afterwards !!).
We thought we were going to spend 9 days in a tent (I'm talking about camping tents, provided by Cristian, together with the mattresses), but when we arrived at our "camp", we discover that we will be staying in a camp with 5-6 bungalows (but there is only us in the campo), with real beds, a kitchen and a bathroom.Marina di Campo where you can eat well and spend little
To us it seemed like the Ritz in Paris, it was wonderful, also because the field was fenced and allowed us to have a fantastic view of the savannah and the herds of buffalo grazing.
The cook prepares us a pasta (alas) with sauce. We can't say it was that great, but we're hungry plus we're in Kenya.
For this aspect we will refer extensively to Watamu, as you will see. A light rest break to take pictures and admire the view and off to the safari.
Lake Nakuru it is an absolute spectacle, I honestly did not believe it, but it is breathtaking.
Open spaces of savannah and forest with trees in addition to the lake, of course.
The day is not sunny and perhaps this is also why we do not see all the flamingos that we would have expected .. On the other hand we see lions, zebras, gazelles, even 2 rhinos, the leopards I mentioned above, and many other animals ..
We go back to the camp, we are alone and we relax with a shower and look at the photos of the day ..
The cook begins to prepare dinner and we sit at the table, all together, with soft lights and silence ..
All indelible memories. We go to sleep and wake up early in the morning because the second stage, the longest (I would say very long !!) is towards Amboseli.
So we get up and after coffee we watch the sun rise. A group of about thirty baboons cross the field right in front of our eyes.
Cristian is not satisfied with what we had seen the day before on the lake and so he tells the driver to take us back to the shore.
The morning is sunny and the spectacle in front of us is breathtaking.
Imagine a large lake where it is difficult to see the water as it is invaded by flamingos. Pink fills all the visual space, the emotion is wonderful and we thank Cristian, thinking that if he hadn't made this decision we would have left again without really understanding what Nakuru is.
So let's leave for Amboseli, the stage is really long (6-7 hours) and we arrive at the park around 4 in the afternoon. In this case we do not stop at the camp but we immediately take advantage of it to do the safari, then we open the roof of the van and start taking pictures of all the animals we see.
Here too lions, zebras, giraffes, but also elephants and hyenas.
The landscape compared to Nakuru is totally different. Here we are right in the savannah, huge open spaces and many animals. When we think it will be enough (even if it would never be enough), we go to the field. Here the situation is different.
Once again we are fine because we will not have to set up the tents, in fact we will sleep in a tented camp. Then a tent over a concrete base with two mats. The field here, however, is not fenced and above all the bathrooms do not have hot water.
The fearless take a shower just the same, those who can't, heat the water in the cook's pots.
Obviously adaptation is the basic word, but believe me, if being able to adapt as we did allows us to experience these emotions and everything we have experienced throughout the journey, then I would like to live a life of "adaptations".
Among other things, I add that at the beginning we thought it was much worse, in the sense that a tent safari in Africa, organized by us, could have been a little scary, instead there were no difficult situations and above all we had to "adapt" less than expected, thanks to Cristian's organization.
However, when we finish cleaning up we are talking a little bit and then we all go to bed.
During the night the hyenas visited the camp, we heard their typical laugh and the next morning we saw the footprints all around the tents.
In the morning we enjoy the sunrise and leave for the direction Lake Manyara.
Here too the journey is long, but above all we are slowed down by the border crossing where, after normal visa checks, we discover that we have to change crew because the law requires Kenyans to work in Kenya and Tanzanians in Tanzania. So we leave the guide and the cook who are replaced by 2 others, and we also change the minibus with a comfortable Jeep, always with a sunroof. We also manage to leave our dirty clothes and suitcases with all the things to the previous guide for the 10 days at sea that await us at the end of the safari.
We will find everything when the same guide will come back to pick us up at the border to return to Kenya.
I open a parenthesis because so far I have expressed myself badly, when I speak of a guide I mean a driver, our guide obviously is Cristian, who naturally continues the journey with us.
We enter Tanzania and on the way we stop to take a huge ostrich egg with which we will make a giant omelette that same evening.
We arrive at our camp, which is located in the middle of a village.
In fact, where we are there are several rooms, but for the first time we put up the tents (with the help of C. and the driver, always ready to lend a hand).
We enter the Lake Manyara Park in the afternoon and we visit this place full of trees and baboons. Here, too, the lake, smaller in size than Nakuru, is full of flamingos.
The safari continues in the middle of the trees where we also see a scene that saddens us: two elephants, a male and a female, keep watch, the dead cub.
Cristian explains that elephants usually do this. The scene is sad, but we know it is the law of nature anyway.
In the evening we go to the "restaurant" of the camp which is actually a covered place with tables where all the cooks are together to cook for their respective tourists.
We sit at our set table and all have dinner together.
Usual coffee at the end of the meal (excellent because we had brought the coffee pot from theSpain) also much appreciated by Cristian and then to sleep in a tent.
Wake up in the morning and leave for Serengeti.
We arrive at the park entrance where we eat something quickly and enter ..
The Serengeti is mainly savannah with some tree-lined areas, very similar to the Masai mara, but with the difference that here you cannot do the so-called "off-piste" that are allowed in the Mara.
Having said that obviously in this park (where we will stop for 2 days) we really see all the animals that can be encountered in Kenya, including a leopard ready to hunt ..
With several other tourists we wait for the attack for half an hour, but the group of wildebeest in the area is perhaps too far away for the feline, which leaves us with a dry mouth ..
In short, the hunting scene is perhaps the only thing that we have not been able to see in the 9 days of safari.
After the afternoon safari (beautiful) we go to our camp.
This time the situation is really different as calling it a field is really a big word.
It is an area in the middle of the savannah without the slightest fence, with a canopy where the cooks meet to cook on the fire and stop.
In reality there was also a kind of toilet sheltered by a curtain and showers.
Again I would have to say about the kind of showers as they were hanging bins that were loaded with water heated on the fire. It was covered by curtains on all 4 sides and so with a little patience we still managed without a hitch to all take a hot shower.
So no problem, also because we thought we would be faced with such a situation every day and instead it was the first time.
We prepared the tents and waited for dinner ..
Obviously the thrill of dining with the only light of an oil lamp under the most beautiful starry sky I have ever seen, in the most unreal and romantic silence imaginable, should not even be explained.
We were alone (there was another group of tourists but it was like being alone) in the middle of the savannah, at night; practically a dream.
Cristian at one point told us to follow him in the dark and although hesitant, we did.
At one point, he extended a finger and showed us a direction to look.
After some time we saw what he wanted to show us… a lot of gazelle eyes visible in the night.
This is the advantage of having a person available and who does his job with his heart.
Cristian could have gone to bed, because he too was surely tired after the day, and instead he wanted us to see the eyes of the gazelles in the night as well.
After admiring the sky full of stars for a while, we went to sleep in the tent. At night no animal visited us (or at least we didn't hear it).
The next morning, after the usual breakfast, we leave for the safari, with the advantage of already being inside the park.
Also on this day we see all kinds of animals, but we experience the most exciting moment when Cristian informs us that another minibus has spotted an area where a group of lions is eating.
In fact, on the Jeep there is always a radio with which the various guides inside the camp can talk to each other, informing each other of the presence of animals or even of a possible problem with the means of transport (which among other things we do not have never had).
We go to the place indicated and we witness the most exciting scene of the entire trip: a group of 3 lions, 5-6 lionesses and 4-5 cubs are sharing the remains of what Cristian explains to us is an elephant.
We actually notice the end point of the paw in the lioness's mouth and we understand that this is the case.
We watch the scene for more than an hour, take a lot of photos and in the end we leave satisfied.
Tonight we will sleep in another camp where we had already set up the tents ..
This time the field is fenced but even here the showers are cold, never mind, we enjoy a bit of rest, a baboon enters from the roof left open of our Jeep, steals a packet of sweets, walks away calmly and looking at us almost with air defiantly (as if to say: "I did it!"), he unwraps the candies and eats them.
We have dinner and throw ourselves upset in the tents.
The next morning we wake up when it is still pitch black, but we want to fully enjoy the day because it awaits us Ngorongoro.
So let's take the curtains apart and go.
When the sun begins to rise we spot a lone cheetah moving in the savannah.
In the late morning we enter the crater, greeted by a mist typical of the area.
Surrounded by the crater we begin the safari and here too we see wildebeest (a tide), zebras, gazelles and elephants drinking in a stream.
We see the black rhino and lions with lionesses, hippos, ostriches, dik dik and antelopes.
We stop for a packed lunch on the shore of a small lake and continue our safari.
Towards evening Cristian tells us that we will return to the camp inside the village where we had already been and I ask him if we can book one of those rooms we had seen the first time.
He calls and, to the delight of all 5, he informs us that we can take a shower in a real bathroom and sleep in real beds.
So booking made, we arrive in the village in the evening, we immediately throw ourselves in the shower and go to drink the classic tusker of the pre-dinner.
Then Cristian invites us to follow him through the streets of the village.
It is evening but there are so many people around, all of the place, we are the only white people, the only tourists to go around those streets (and this is also a wonderful emotion, which can only be experienced if accompanied by a person from the place..)
We go to a restaurant and Cristian orders the typical dish for everyone, a course with meat, various vegetables, their typical bread and the delicious white corn cooked in milk.
After dinner we go back to the camp and went to sleep, finally on a comfortable mattress!
The next morning we usually wake up early and leave for Tarangire.
Arrived on the spot we immediately notice the quantity of baobabs present (the park is famous for this reason) and we enter ..
The park is really beautiful, not much advertised, perhaps, but in the end it will be one of those that struck us the most for the views and the variety of landscapes and vegetation.
They range from forest areas, to barren areas, to the savannah.
The image that has remained most impressed on me is the view from the top of a watercourse where a tide of animals went to drink.
In short, images seen only in documentaries or not "The Lion King".
We also see a lioness following a herd of gazelles and we hope again in a hunting scene but the lioness gets tired and climbs up a tree to rest.
The day is actually very hot.
In the late afternoon we return to the camp where we set up the tents, take a shower and have dinner.
After the usual routine chatter we all go to bed.
We get up early for the last leg of our safari: Tsavo East.
The park is famous for the deep red color of the earth and this is actually the first thing that strikes anyone who enters it.
So when we arrive at the border we await the arrival of the driver left at the border a few days before and in the meantime we have lunch in a local bar.
As soon as the driver arrives we leave for Tsavo.
This park is also very beautiful and truly characteristic for the red color that can be seen everywhere and that you will soon find yourself on all your clothes !!
Here too, as in all other parks, we will see many animals.
In the evening we set up the tents inside a garden of a local hotel.
So hot showers and relaxation.
We have a great dinner in the company of a local kitten, we witness a show of two Masai (unlikely compared to those seen the year before at the Masai Mara .. they even had a cell phone) in front of the fire and we go to the tent.
The following day we continue on safari in Tsavo and, once finished, we leave for 10 days of total relaxation a Watamu.
At about 19 pm we finally get off the bus, we have arrived at Watamu, more precisely at Cristian's house, a wonderful building where 3 bedrooms await us (each with its own bathroom and 2 of these with a sitting room and kitchen!) and a veranda on the third floor to leave you speechless.
It is a very spacious veranda with a large table, chairs and a sofa (but it looks more like a bed, very comfortable) where we will have dinner and spend our evenings.
The living room is relaxing the house a sight, we never thought we would have such luck!
Immediately out of the house there is Cristian's restaurant, where we have breakfast, lunch and dinner (when we don't do it on the veranda) every single day.
The cuisine is excellent and every day we stuff ourselves with fish and fruit (but also with the spectacular aubergines parmigiana) and I go crazy in the true sense of the word, for the polenta with octopus cooked here!
During the day we are on the beach (Cristian lets us know a few jokes), which is 5 minutes from home, we take a tour of the village, full of shops where everyone will ask you to come in to buy and we relax on the veranda.
One evening I decide to surprise my traveling companions so I ask C. if he can contact a Gospel group of about twenty girls and boys that I had seen the previous year in the village where I had been.
No sooner said than done, Cristian contacts them and in the evening they show up (with other friends in the dark about everything) on the veranda while we are drinking coffee and for an hour they entertain us with thrilling songs and unforgettable voices.
In short, an unrepeatable experience ..
I would recommend to anyone going to Watamu, on their own or even in the village, to try to contact them and ask to listen to them.
With little money you will have a unique experience, unparalleled, not even with the American church gospels. An experience that you cannot try anywhere else. And at the same time you would help these guys who certainly do not live in well-being.
In conclusion, there is absolutely no reason not to do such a thing.
One morning we also went to a local church to attend mass. Here too there is the opportunity to attend Gospel songs and to understand how they understand participation in a function of this type in Kenya.
On the last day, as already anticipated to Cristian from Spain, we have a need.
We have to bring our clothes to the local children and teens.
Here too I would like to give some advice, that is to try to do as we did.
Go to a village where there is no influx of tourists, you will make happy children and young people who have never received anything !!
Bring as many clothes as possible.
We are full of garments that we never wear, or old ones, maybe even a little broken (for them it is still luxury !!). and if we don't have enough to fill the suitcase, we ask friends and relatives to give us theirs!
In short, we do everything to fill our suitcase as much as possible.
The smile of all those children will pay off, but above all it will surely be the strongest emotion of your whole holiday; everything will become secondary.
You will not be able to solve the situation but you will bring a lot of happiness, believe me.
Even a squalid T-shirt, to a little girl who has always worn rags, will make that day seem like a dream ..
In the days of safari we dressed only and exclusively with clothes that we would then have left down ..
During the safari I used to wear an M when I usually wear an XXL, I was ridiculous.
But I didn't care, because that M would have ended up with a child ..
This is to say that all the clothes used during the safari were washed by us and hung the day before going to take them to the children.
We loaded the filled suitcases onto the van and left for the village inland.
On the way we stop at a place where Cristian made us try the cane wine.
To them it seems a delicacy the 5 of us preferred to postpone in short, the taste is not the best or maybe it is for fine palates.
Arriving at the village we asked Cristian to explain to a local boy what we wanted to do, and since there were so many children, we decided to make them all sit side by side (this is because, after having already tried experience 2 times, a Zanzibar and always in Kenya the previous year, I realized that if you distribute everything randomly you find the most crafty child who can take the most things, leaving the others empty-handed) and we started distributing T-shirts, shorts, costumes, underwear and socks one at a time, slippers and shoes, towels and backpacks, in short, everything we had brought.
Giving a moment of joy to all those children (and also to several adults) was undoubtedly the most intense, exhilarating and emotionally strong moment of the whole holiday.
I highly recommend not to miss such an opportunity.
After 10 wonderful rounds we start again with a plane that takes us from Malindi a Nairobi and from there to Milan.
What to say?
Cristian was a perfect organizer and allowed us to experience an unforgettable holiday that will always remain in my heart and, I am sure, also of the other 4 people who shared this very exciting experience with me.
Kenya and Tanzania tent safaris: pictures and photos