Safari Experiences (9)

A ‘Sundowner’ is an essential safari tradition performed at the end of the day on a Kenya Safari Tour.  It will probably be one of the most memorable and enchanting parts of your Safari in Kenya with Safari Joe. As long as the sun sets, there will be a Safari Sundowner!

Can you even begin to imagine what it is like to sleep in a small canvas tent on a Kenya Camping Safari in one of the wildest places in Africa? It is a truly magical experience that you must try, even once, a Camping Safari Holiday in Kenya with Safari Joe is totally mindblowing!

I often think about what strikes me most about Africa and I think it is the vibrant colours.  Whilst a lot of places in the world live in monochrome, the continent of Africa is seen in Technicolor!    From the moment that you land on the continent on your Kenyan Holiday, your eyes are in for a feast, the colours are truly magnificent.  From the rich ochre of the fertile earth, the vibrant tropical green of the banana plantations to the deep blue of the endless skies overhead, there is never a dull moment for your eyes. 

The stunning ebony skinned beauty of the people that walk the continent and the warm golden colour of their cattle.  The dazzle of the hot sunshine glitters like a million jewels bestowed upon the luscious green grass.   Africa is blessed and cursed by the hot sun; whilst it gives life to the continent it also drains the very same life, still that very same sun beats down on the land and fills it with every colour imaginable, even with the rains there are rainbows bowing down to kiss the earth.

Equatorial Africa has two very unique seasons, namely the ‘wet’ season, also called the rains and the dry season. The dry season, a period where it is generally hot and dry, runs for the most part of the year, broken up by the short rains and the long rains. The rainy season doesn’t just appear overnight, it builds up for days, even weeks, the parched earth thirsty and craving water to bring it back to life. Slowly clouds begin to gather on the horizon, big burly white clouds, boisterous and turning a shade of purplish grey as they accumulate, the air charged with excitement.

The cicadas begin their frenzy, their shrill racket all around as the electricity builds. This is a great time to be on safari in Kenya, a time where new life is just about to begin, the animals giving birth to their young, the grass ready to crack through the dry crust of the earth and the rivers preparing to flow once more.

You can smell the first drop of rain as it comes, a cool refreshing scent, all at once the winds pick up and the heavens open, the much awaited rains have arrived and you have witnessed this spectacular event, the immense energy of mother nature touching the earth and breathing new life into its soul. To be witness is unforgettable, the colours, the sounds, the smell, the feel, you can even taste the rain; your every sense is awakened as only nature can do.

African nights in the bush are usually pitch black, just the moon and stars overhead, but what can be more romantic than a candle lit dinner, under the stars? Your table gently illuminated by a flickering candle, the yellow light softly creating the perfect ambience. Around the camp there are lanterns to light the way, placed along the paths or hung from the branches of a tree, adding a warm glow, creating shadows and shapes that flicker as the flame jumps around inside the glass.

Yet perhaps the most spectacular light comes from something else more exquisite. As your eyes become accustomed to the flashes of yellow and green you realise you are surrounded by hundreds, even thousands, of tiny fire flies, their light twinkling like the lights on a Christmas tree. This is a sight that you will hold in your heart for a lifetime, these tiny flies creating this fascinating show in the middle of the wild African bush, pure, natural and magical, better than anything you have ever witnessed before, a natural phenomenon displayed just for you to enjoy on this perfect evening of your Kenyan Safari.

It is an unforgettable experience. Why? Because it is Magical! I will never forget the excitement of seeing our first zebras, impalas and giraffes, and we had not yet even reached the gates to the park, already we had taken so many photos. After entering into the National Park it wasn’t long before the unmistakable shape of an elephant appeared, and another, and another and before we knew it we were alongside a whole herd of these noble creatures. Our afternoon just got better and better, a pride of lions tucked beneath a kopje of rocks, their golden coats camouflaged so well amongst the tall yellow grasses, just the playful cubs visible pouncing on each other, carefully watched over by the lioness. 

After a hot and dusty game drive, we were taken to one of the most heavenly spots to observe the sun going down. No safari is complete without ‘Sundowners’, a unique tradition performed at the end of the day. We watched as a giant orange ball disappeared over the dusty horizon, the colours of the earth dramatically changing as the evening quickly began to close in. To compliment this special moment we had drinks from the cool box, some wine and beers to toast the end of the amazing day, accompanied by some ‘bush bitings’ of nuts, tortilla crisps with guacamole, cheese and crackers and cocktail sausages, all served on the bonnet of our safari vehicle.

There may be one time on an East African Safari Holiday that a long drop loo may be your only option because, let’s face it, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go! It is used daily by millions throughout Africa that’s why we thought it only pertinent to share with you some of our expert knowledge of this “special” place. In fact I think we fall under the category of pro’s!

It is an unforgettable experience. Why? Because it is Magical! I will never forget the excitement of seeing our first zebras, impalas and giraffes, and we had not yet even reached the gates to the park, already we had taken so many photos. After entering into the National Park it wasn’t long before the unmistakable shape of an elephant appeared, and another, and another and before we knew it we were alongside a whole herd of these noble creatures. Our afternoon just got better and better, a pride of lions tucked beneath a kopje of rocks, their golden coats camouflaged so well amongst the tall yellow grasses, just the playful cubs visible pouncing on each other, carefully watched over by the lioness.

After a hot and dusty game drive, we were taken to one of the most heavenly spots to observe the sun going down. No safari is complete without ‘Sundowners’, a unique tradition performed at the end of the day. We watched as a giant orange ball disappeared over the dusty horizon, the colours of the earth dramatically changing as the evening quickly began to close in. To compliment this special moment we had drinks from the cool box, some wine and beers to toast the end of the amazing day, accompanied by some ‘bush bitings’ of nuts, tortilla crisps with guacamole, cheese and crackers and cocktail sausages, all served on the bonnet of our safari vehicle.

A holiday to East Africa is a journey to another world, a world to be embraced with a sense of adventure and a willingness to enjoy the ride; pot holes, bumps, mud, dust and all. Once you have left your ‘creature comforts’ behind and spent a few nights in the wilderness, it will seem quite normal to sit around the camp fire in the evening, sleep under canvas, use a traditional ‘bucket’ shower and perhaps even wear the same ‘dusty’ safari trousers two or three days in a row! It is a really fun experience; especially if you are down to earth then you will really love this grass roots type of travel. Safaris in East Africa are always an adventure; remember to pack a sense of humour and a sense of wonder, you will need them both.

Camping safaris are 'hands on', putting up your own tent, helping with the cooking and cleaning up is all part of the experience. Camping is really one of the world’s greatest travel adventures. Pitching your tent in the bush gives you the feeling of really living in the wild. The campsites can be quite basic, adding to the authenticity.

The romance of an open campfire under a magnificent sky full of stars is undeniable and a night in the wild beholds a magical experience. During the night you have a Masai guard who sits around the camp fire whilst you are asleep, keeping the embers going to scare away any wildlife that may come too close.