We ended 2019 and welcomed 2020 on safari this year. An incredible trip that saw us traveling through Kenya taking in the sites of Amboseli, Lewa, Kipsing in the Northern Frontier District and the Maasai Mara.
Over New Year we were based in the beautiful Tawil Lodge, located on a private conservancy of 6,000 acres, just five minutes from the eastern entrance to Amboseli National Park. This lodge is especially stunning as it is located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s largest free-standing mountain. The lodge seamlessly integrates modern comfort and African tradition and is focused on the promotion of a harmonious development for the wildlife and the Maasai people along the corridor between Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills.
An especially memorable part of this trip was spending time with the local Maasai warriors as the sun went down on New Year’s Eve. Even in the 21st century it is still possible to see nomadic tribesmen living as they have for centuries. The sun set over a camp fire where we roasted marshmallows and enjoyed the Maasai dancing among old friends and new.
On a night game drive, as the sun set the stars came out and the skies treated us to the most incredible light show over camp. It really was a “Starry, Starry Night”.
You can’t mention Amboseli with talking about elephants, the iconic attraction of this ecosystem. For almost 50 years, these gentle giants have been followed, named and studied from birth and throughout their lives by the Amboseli Trust for Elephants – no small task considering they currently number close to 2,000 in and around Amboseli National Park. With an experienced guide, some patience and a little luck, it’s possible to approach them very closely in the vehicles and sometimes even on foot. The most special experience of our stay was when Tim, the biggest ‘Tusker’ in Amboseli, curiously approached our game drive vehicle and then joined us for sundowners in the shadow of the mountain!
Post update: On 4th Feb 2020, Tim, this incredible, gentle, elephant ambassador, passed away of natural causes. You can read more here.
While elephants are one of the main attractions of Amboseli, there are other activities available from our base Tawi Lodge. One of our favourites was the camel ride. The camel’s slow lanky walk was a perfect way to get into a relaxed rhythm and see the amazing landscape. The camels we rode were great traveling companions, especially tame and friendly, very keen to give us an affectionate nuzzle.
Amboseli makes a wonderful addition to any Kenyan safari, incorporating iconic scenery, wildlife, culture and some once in a lifetime experiences.