what to see:
Hell's Gate Gorge:
The gorge that runs through the heart of the park is a wide valley lined with sheer, rusty-hued rock walls. At the eastern entrance is Fischer’s Tower, a 25m-high volcanic column named after Gustav Fischer, a German explorer who reached the gorge in 1882.
All through this valley you’ll come across zebras, the occasional giraffe, warthogs and various antelope species, while birds of prey circle overhead. The site undergoes sporadic geothermal excavations, so entrance to the gorge may be limited at times. We recommend getting a guide, as the gorge can get wet and slippery at times.
A track looping from the south from close to the main Elsa gate, you can climb up and over the hills before rejoining the main valley. En route, you’ll have some outstanding views of Mt Longonot, and there’s generally more wildlife here, including giraffes, various antelope species and the odd buffalo or two. The Buffalo Circuit would be a fairly strenuous walk or cycle, but it’s accessible by 2WD vehicle, except after heavy rain.
what to do:
Cycle: Renting bicycles is one of the best ways you can get around the park, as it covers an area of over 26 miles. The park does not have any predators, so those on bike feel quite safe while taking in the sights. Perfect for active travelers who want to have an adventurous method of viewing all the wildlife in the park.
who to tour with:
Urban Adventures: Get ready for a full 10-hour day exploring Hell's Gate National Park, with a pick-up time of 7 a.m., bird watching, and a visit to the Elsamere Conservation Center. Don't forget your camera! Urban Adventures will take you to some of the best spots to snap a photo of the gorgeous wildlife inside the park. And fuel up midday with some local cuisine, native to the Hell's Gate area. For more information and booking, click here http://www.urbanadventures.com/nairobi-tour-hells-gate-national-park
where to stay:
The Majlis Hotel: One of the most luxurious, incredible resorts you will encounter in all of Eastern Africa, the Majlis is a secluded boutique hotel located on the waterfront of Lamu Island. The architecture and overall aesthetic is just breathtaking, verandas with carved archways and white fabric canopies thin enough to see the stars through. Muslim influence in the native Swahili settlement has always been prevalent in the unique architecture and decor on Lamu Island. During your stay at the Majlis, you’ll be treated like nothing less than royalty with delicious seafood dinners and staff that is willing to assist you with any need. Spend your days lounging by their fabulous pool or sailing boats in the bluest of waters around the island. Room pricing begins at $420 USD/night. http://www.themajlisresorts.com/
Baytil Ajaib: Leisurely, unspoiled, and one-of-a-kind can describe this restored Swahili house that has been turned into a guesthouse for visitors to the island of Lamu. The owner Malik is a caring and generous host, who will ensure that your stay is nothing but magical. Be transported to another time when the UNESCO Heritage Site of Lamu was in its prime, when you book to stay at the Baytil Ajaib. Staying in a room at the Baytil Ajaib will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a chapter of Arabian Nights, as the decor is so intricately placed and preserved. Nightly room rates begin at $155 USD/night http://www.baytilajaib.com/start.html
where to eat:
Moonrise Restaurant: Enjoy fish fresh from the sea at this waterfront restaurant on the island. Enjoy a variety of seafood options from tuna steak to ginger crab- ask and they may just make you items that are not on the menu! All dishes are prepared by Frank, a Belgian chef that knows how to cook his fish. A quiet spot to enjoy a candlelight dinner and feel the ocean breeze on your back, perfect spot for couples to enjoy a meal.
Karkadeh Restaurant: This restaurant is a part of the Subira House Bed and Breakfast, but you may find yourself there for dinner more than once during your time in Lamu-it’s that good. A different selection served every night, so your meal will always be a surprise. Karkadeh uses all organic ingredients and a slow cook technique to ensure it’s diners have the most authentic meal possible. Enjoy pan-seared prawns, mango, pumpkin in coconut sauce, or some avocado mousse- just to name a few! Be sure to check them out while you’re in Lamu.
where to stay:
Naibor Camp: During days 2-3 of your safari with Live Worldly and Trine, you will have the pleasure of lodging at Naibor Camp . Located in the heart of the Game Reserve, this luxury tent camp will ease all difficulties from a day out on the reserve. On the banks of the Talek River, Naibor Camp offers guests their own private canvas tent, equipped with en-suite bathrooms, a safari shower, king-sized bed, private patio, and solar powered lamps. A truly beautiful and luxurious set-up amidst the most exotic wildlife in a secluded area. Enjoy the company of other travelers around the campfire and during communal dinners, made by world class chefs from the freshest local ingredients. You will feel incredibly safe, as well as catered to by the experienced staff, during your stay at the Naibor Camp. http://naibor.com/
Cottar’s 1920s Camp: Continuing to days 4-5 on your Live Worldly/Trine Safari, where you will travel right outside the game reserve to the Maasai South East Conservatory to lodge at the Cottar’s 1920’s Camp. Take a trip back in time to the ‘20s, when Hollywood idealized the African safari, during your stay at Cottar’s. Located on a 6,000 acre private conservatory, composed of 10 private tents with en-suite bathrooms and enough privacy for honeymooners and families alike. After a day of admiring the wildlife in the reserve, enjoy a private dip in the springs before indulging in a 5-star meal. www.cottars.com
activities to try:
Governors’ Balloon Safaris : A jeep may be your first idea of transportation while out on a safari in the Maasai Mara Reserve. Make your safari a truly unique experience by viewing the wildlife from above- in a hot air balloon! See the sunrise of the Masai from a new perspective that will be worth every penny. After about an hour in the air, you will land on the reserve and enjoy a delicious champagne breakfast. Drift over tree tops, come close to the giraffes, and see the massive crocodiles swimming down the winding Mara river. Book your balloon safari soon, as they do tend to book up far in advance. For more information, inquire here http://www.governorscamp.com/things-to-do/masai-mara/hot-air-ballooning
Game Drives: Game drives are designed to take you close to the wildlife rich spots in the Maasai Mara. This gives you an opportunity to view wild animals in their natural habitat as they go about their daily activities. Game drives are done during the day or night time. It is recommended that you use a local driver/guide s/he should be familiar with the area, able to give you lots of information about the animals and their habitat, and know where they can currently be found and how best to approach them. However, one can opt for a self-drive safari on condition that you are familiar with the rules and regulations of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. You can book a game drive with your luxury camp (Cottar’s, Naibor).
This month we are taking you on a safari with us through the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and you have the opportunity to preview the trip you can take with Live Worldly and Trine. Trine is a boutique experience agency that specializes in curating unique trips and events within the worlds of entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, art and sports. This 9-day safari through the Kenyan National Parks includes sleeping in treehouses, bath in secluded dipping pools, visit Kenya's tropical coast, and more. Pricing begins at $13,500 per person. To inquire for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and check out their website for more unique trips at http://www.trine.la
where to stay:
Ngong House: Stay in a luxury hotel located amongst the trees in the Longata area in your own private treehouse. Certainly the best lodging in Nairobi, your stay at Ngong will be the perfect way to begin or end a safari through the national parks of Kenya. Ngong House has 6 treehouses, made of all natural elements and offers spectacular views of the Ngong Hills! Spend your nights around the campfire or lounge by the pool. A lovely oasis amidst the wildlife, just 15 minutes from the airport. http://www.ngonghouse.com/homepage.php
where to eat:
Marula Mercantile: Perfectly relaxed and effortlessly hip, the vibe of the place sets you at ease. But then the food really gets your heart racing. The homemade donuts are some of the best you’ll ever have. You’ll have a difficult time deciding which brunch dishes are the best. Certainly this is the best brunch spot in Nairobi. Different from most ordinary restaurants you will find in Nairobi with a unique atmosphere.
Tatu: A hidden culinary gem in an old hotel in the city of Nairobi. This restaurant is known for having the best steaks and an impeccable, international wine list to pair with your meat. Understated, effortless, and relaxed. Comparable to some of the best steak houses around the globe. http://www.fairmont.com/norfolk-hotel-nairobi/dining/tatu-restaurant/