At the end of last year Sue took a group of select tour operators out to Kenya to experience some of Serena Hotels renowned hospitality.
After a relaxing overnight flight with Kenya Airways they arrived at the Nairobi Serena in time for what those who had visited Kenya before described as ‘the best breakfast in Nairobi’. The group freshened-up in their day rooms (resisting the strong temptation to try out the very inviting looking beds!) then set off, on the newly improved road network, for Sweetwaters Tented Camp. It was Sunday morning and Kenyans were dressed in their Sunday best as they went to church and to market – a colourful picture driving through all the towns and villages en route. Adding to the enjoyment of the journey were Bernard and Steve – ARP Travel Group’s two first class, entertaining and informative driver guides.
At Sweetwaters the group received a great welcome from the smiley staff and the giraffe on duty at the waterhole in front of the camp. An exciting game drive in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy was heightened because for some it was their first such experience in East Africa. Included was a visit to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a chance to hand feed the rescued blind rhinoceros and a look around Ol Pejeta Private House. Back at Camp, time to relax in front of the roaring fire with a pre- dinner drink before feasting on Serena’s well renowned excellent cuisine. A semi-peaceful night’s sleep listening to the sounds of Africa and woken at dawn to the sound of the monkeys playing on the tent roof.
Leaving the serenity of Sweetwaters the vehicles climbed gently through the forest and into the foothills of Mt Kenya to the atmospheric Serena Mountain Lodge. An undoubted highlight of the whole trip was the forest nature walk lead by Benson, the resident naturalist, whose knowledge and delivery captivated the entire group. This topped with tea laced with brandy served in the middle of the forest ensured an unforgettable stay! Not forgetting, of course, the excitement of being woken up at dawn to see Mt Kenya appearing in all her glory as the early morning cloud dispersed or the somewhat biblical picture as animals and birds took their turn to drink at the waterhole throughout the evening and night. Everyone was unanimous – Serena Mountain Lodge is a very special place and they reluctantly tore themselves away.