Back down from the mountain slopes, crossing the equator and into the Great Rift Valley to the most recent addition to Serena’s portfolio – Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp – somewhere where even seasoned Operators, used to seeing stunning properties, were to be truly impressed. Large, beautifully appointed tents where attention to detail has left nothing to chance. A lakeside paradise, with thick lawns running down towards the tranquil lake only disturbed by the pelicans gracefully swimming to and fro. Intimate and stylish lounge areas, dining tents and bar evoke the elegance of a by-gone era. Incredible artwork, some of which may have gone missing if the operators weren’t such an honest bunch! Haute cuisine at its very best – curries as only Kenyans can make them – service with pride and a smile. This is truly somewhere to relax for a few days after a safari – a lakeside haven – particularly if the beach is not your choice.
The group indulged in some fantastic activities while staying at Lake Elmenteita including an afternoon game drive through the very pretty Soysambu Conservancy, sundowners at a location so awesome nobody wanted to move (even when lightening, thunder and rain threatened!), a nature walk, a night game drive complete with night-vision binoculars, a visit to Kariendusi Archaeological Site and a boat trip on Lake Naivasha with hippo sightings, feeding Fish Eagles, a walk on the peninsula (where Out of Africa was filmed) and close up encounters with giraffe, wildebeest and various antelope. It felt like something out of Jurassic Park!
A drive up the spectacular Rift Valley escarpment back to Nairobi for the short flight to Mombasa. Sad farewells to Bernard and Steve who had driven so safely, shared their wicked sense of humour and imparted such a wealth of knowledge – true ambassadors for their country and for their company. Thank you to the ARP Group.
The final days of the trip were spent at Serena Beach Hotel & Spa on Shanzu Beach. Here, once again, Kenyan hospitality at its best. Days and nights of sheer indulgence – Jahazi Grill lobster one night, another night dining and dancing to the sounds of a local band beneath the Milky Way – tour to experience the history and culture of Mombasa’s fascinating past, learning about the turtles and butterflies which are being bred at the hotel, snorkelling in the clear blue waters, gazing at the beautiful coral from a glass bottom boat, lazing by the pool, drifting off under the swaying palm trees and being pampered in the Maisha Mind Body and Spirit Spa – it’s a tough life but some people had to do it!
Time to get others to follow in their footsteps.