Friday, February 20, 2015

Kenya: Over and Above - A New Ten-Day Air Safari!

Soar over the African savannah on a ten-day air safari hosted by three of the finest boutique lodges in Kenya: Saruni Samburu, Saruni Mara, and Campi ya Kanzi.  Enjoy abundant wildlife, diverse landscapes, and cultural connections on an unforgettable adventure through the Kalama Conservancy, the Maasai Mara, and the rolling Chyulu Hills.  Add an extension to Saruni Ocean to experience the Kenyan coast on the quiet, pristine beach of a top-notch resort and spa.

   
Saruni Samburu | Days 1-3


Explore the vast, unspoiled wilderness of the Kalama Conservancy at the stylish and exclusive Saruni Samburu.  Enjoy game drives and bush walks with knowledgeable Samburu warriors, then relax with a massage or a refreshing swim before sipping a glass of wine at sunset.


Saruni Mara | Days 4-6


Witness the Great Migration in the world-famous Maasai Mara.  Take a hike, a game drive, or a hot air balloon ride before settling down for a spa treatment and a dinner under the stars.


Campi ya Kanzi | Days 7-10


Hike in Ernest Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa” with local Maasai guides and enjoy a stunning view of Mount Kilimanjaro from a community-owned eco-lodge that has a passion for conservation.


Saruni Ocean | Optional 3-Day Extension


Unwind at the end of your safari by adding three days of bliss at Saruni Ocean.  Bask on the sands of Msambweni beach, snorkel and dive beneath the waves, and rejuvenate at the Sarunity Spa.


For more information about the air safari, please contact bookings@maasai.com.

To learn more about each destination, check out the following websites:
Saruni Samburu - www.sarunisamburu.com
Saruni Mara - www.sarunimara.com
Campi ya Kanzi - www.maasai.com
Saruni Ocean - www.saruniocean.com

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ithumba: A Safe Haven for Elephants

For elephant lovers, it is hard to imagine a paradise more perfect than Ithumba Camp in Tsavo East National Park.  Owned and managed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the camp operates a reintroduction program for orphaned elephants.  Guests at Ithumba have the extraordinary opportunity to interact with young elephants who trust humans but are progressing toward life in the wild.  Guests can watch the elephants safely from a short distance and can even feed and pet them if the elephants allow.  Wild elephants also join in on the action, mingling with the orphans and tolerating human presence in a safe and welcoming environment.  Ithumba has had extraordinary success in rehabilitating and releasing elephants, and it plays an important role in elephant conservation in Kenya.

Two elephants share a tender moment at Ithumba.

Founded in 2005, Ithumba was designed as a conservation initiative to protect all wildlife, not just elephants, in the northern area of Tsavo East.  Its construction was funded by the proceeds of the BBC Elephant Diaries series.  The camp is self-catering and has relatively low maintenance costs, so most of its income is paid directly to the Kenya Wildlife Service to support conservation projects.  It only has four tents, so it provides a truly intimate experience for visitors.

Guests at Campi ya Kanzi can request an overnight excursion to Ithumba as a special added activity.  A guide, cook, and pilot will accompany the guests to ensure their comfort and enjoyment as they embark on this magical experience.  We have made several excursions to Ithumba in the last six weeks, and we are delighted to share some of our photos and videos with you.  Scroll down to see heartwarming pictures by Stefano and to watch Luca kiss an elephant!

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The young elephants at Ithumba absolutely love their milk bottles!
 
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Like humans, elephants drink with their heads upright.
They use their trunks suck up water and then squirt it into their mouths.
 
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Have you ever wanted to kiss an elephant?
Watch Luca feed one directly from his mouth!
   
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Wild elephants mingle with the orphans at bath time.
  
The elephants love their midday mud bath.

A refreshing swim helps the elephants to stay cool, clean, and parasite-free.

A host of happy elephants rush into the water at bath time.

This photo-friendly elephant is ready for a close-up!

The young elephants loyally follow one of their caretakers on parade.

Stefano made a new friend!

The young elephants are perfectly comfortable with Pashiet.

Parashi poses with the elephants.

The main lodge at Ithumba is remarkable for its bold architectural design.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fly Camping: The Luxury of Simplicity

Step back in time to the elegantly simple safaris of Ernest Hemingway and Denys Finch Hatton.  Back in the 1930s, before in-flight movies and infinity pools, explorers enjoyed a different kind of luxury: the serene splendor of unspoiled wilderness.  Fly camping at Campi ya Kanzi is a tribute to a bygone era, a blend of old Africa and modern comfort in a pristine, timeless landscape.  Imagine tracking elephants with a Maasai guide before cozying up to the fire with a glass of fine wine and a view of Mount Kilimanjaro.  Eat a three-course dinner under a sprawling shroud of stars.  Then retire to your tent with a kerosene lamp and a warm Maasai blanket.  You can even take a hot bucket shower to keep with tradition.  Who needs five stars when you can sleep under a billion?

A classic safari tent awaits you at our fly camp in Motikanju Conservancy.

You may be asking yourself, "What is a fly camp exactly?"  A fly camp is a simple, mobile camp in a remote area.  Fly camps were once used by hunters who needed to pack light and move quickly in order to follow game.  The fly of a tent is the top outer layer that shelters the structure from the elements.  If hunters were in a hurry, they could sleep under a fly without pitching a tent.

At Campi ya Kanzi, "fly camp" has a dual meaning because we also fly to the location.  Guests enjoy a short, scenic flight to and from the fly camp in our giraffe-spotted bush plane, soaring over green hills, lava forests, and herds of hartebeest and elephants.  Our fly camp is located in Motikanju Conservancy, a private nature reserve that is dedicated to wildlife and free of human presence.

Our bush plane flies in for a landing at the fly camp.

Campi ya Kanzi guests who would like to experience an authentic, old-fashioned safari in "Out of Africa" style can request to go fly camping as a special added activity.  This is offered as an extra for those who would like to try something new and spend a night away from the main lodge.  The rustic charm of the fly camp has captured many hearts and imaginations, and it is a beautiful place to make safari memories.  Scroll down to see photos of our simple savannah paradise.

The top cover of a tent is called the fly, hence the name fly camp.
Get back to basics in a cozy tent like this one.

Each tent can sleep one or two people in twin-size cots.

The dinner table is set under an acacia tree as the sun goes down.

A cook and waiter on site serve the same delicious cuisine
that is served in Tembo House at Campi ya Kanzi.

Guests can gather around the fire to watch the sunset and enjoy a drink.

A Maasai attendant builds a warm fire that will glow through the night.

On a clear evening, you may see the moon rise over the Chyulu Hills.

This saffron savannah moon is the best we have ever seen at the fly camp!